Americans by wide margins support imposing the death penalty against those caught smuggling drugs or people into the US — policies touted by former president Donald Trump in his bid to regain the White House.
Fully 58 percent of US adults say traffickers of narcotics and people should face the ultimate punishment, our DailyMail.com/TIPP poll shows, a sign of growing alarm over unchecked migration and cross-border flows of fentanyl.
Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, last month released a campaign proposal to punish human traffickers with the death penalty, his latest tough-on-crime policy in his reelection campaign.
Once back in the White House, he would end Democratic President Joe Biden’s ‘border nightmare that traffickers are using to exploit vulnerable women and children,’ Trump said in a campaign video.
Executions in border states Texas and Arizona, and in federal cases, involve lethal injections
A Trump policy resonates with millions of Americans worried about drugs and immigration
‘I will urge Congress to ensure that anyone caught trafficking children across our border receives the death penalty immediately,’ he added.
Trump has also been calling for imposing the death penalty against drug traffickers, smugglers, and dealers, since last year, as the US battles an opioid crisis that killed nearly 110,000 people in 2022.
‘The penalties should be very, very severe,’ Trump told a Washington DC think tank last year.
‘If you look at countries throughout the world, the ones that don’t have a drug problem are ones that institute a very quick trial death penalty sentence for drug dealers.’
Though too extreme for most Democrats and many of those also seeking the Republican nomination, Trump’s tough penalties for narcotics and people smuggling resonate with millions of voters.
They highlight broader concern about two issues — the large numbers of undocumented migrants crossing the southern border from Mexico, and a drug epidemic that touches nearly every US family.
Illegal crossings along the US southern border jumped more than 30 percent in July, according to US Customs and Border Protection data obtained by The Washington Post earlier this month.
The more than 130,000 arrests at the frontier last month marked an uptick from 99,545 in June — a blow to President Biden’s new immigration strategy introduced as pandemic-era enforcement rules lapsed.
Undocumented migrants used to hire freelance ‘coyotes’ to get into the US, but that’s evolved into a multi-billion-dollar business run by organized crime, including some of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels.
Trump admits the policy ‘sounds horrible’ but says it’s the only way to end the drugs scourge
Most Republicans and Democrats support the harshest of penalties, our poll shows
A ‘coyote’ people smuggler (right) guides an inflatable boat carrying migrants illegally from Mexico to the US to seek asylum, on the Rio Grande river
Those same groups have been linked to the manufacture of fentanyl and other drugs that are smuggled into the US, which thanks to their deadly potency leave a trail of destruction across the country.
Drug deaths nationwide hit a new record in 2022, with 109,680 lives claimed as the fentanyl crisis deepened, according to preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Synthetic opioids — mostly fentanyl — now kill more Americans every year than died in the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars combined.
Mexican cartels import precursor chemicals from China and India and press fentanyl into hundreds of thousands of counterfeit pills each day. They often resemble such brand name drugs as Xanax, Percocet or oxycodone.
The pills are smuggled over the border to supply drug addicts across the US, including the homeless users seen stumbling around on the streets of San Francisco, New York and other big cities.
Against this backdrop, executing the drug and people smugglers behind the trade is broadly popular — supported by most Americans, with a third saying they ‘agree strongly’ with the harshest punishment.
Republican voters are the keenest on the proposal — 69 percent favor the death penalty for those convicted of drug and people smuggling offenses. Even a solid 54 percent majority of Democrats agree with them.
While a president can spotlight policy debates and pressure politicians, changing sentencing rules for convicts would require support from Congress and legislatures in the states, which are responsible for most drug prosecutions.