Kelly: Mexico and Central America 'do more' to stop drugs than US

White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE praised Mexico and Central American countries for their roles in drug interdiction on Thursday, while also making an argument for increased border security.
 
Responding to a question from The Hill, Kelly talked about the role Mexico plays in fighting trafficking across the border.
 
"Places like Mexico, Central America suffer more from our drug demand, and do more in many ways to stop that drug flow than we do in our own country," he said.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Kelly, the former secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) and head of the U.S. Southern Command, is widely considered an expert on transnational crime in the Americas.
 
At DHS and the White House, Kelly's been central in advancing the Trump administration's policy on immigration and border security. 
 
President Trump's push on border security started at his presidential announcement speech in June 2015, where he portrayed Mexico as lawless, an image he's fostered to argue for the need for increased border security.
 
But Kelly praised the Mexican government for its role in border security, saying the United States doesn't pull its weight on fighting demand within the United States for the drugs.
 
"We have great relationships with the Mexicans on the border. They're in the counter-drug fight with the United States. In fact, in my view, suffer more from the drug — our drug demand — which we don't seem to address," said Kelly.
 
Still, when comparing the northern and southern borders, Kelly warned the dangers of transnational crime were much more prevalent to the south.
 
"[We] don’t have nearly the issues on the northern border with Canada. Great partnerships there," he said. "But the problem with our southern border is the drug flow and the illegal immigration flow rides on a network that right now comes up through into the Western Hemisphere from abroad, up through Mexico — Central America and Mexico — and into the United States."
 
Kelly added that, despite the cooperation from Mexico, he favored increasing the size of the existing border wall.
 
"We definitely need more wall or physical barrier. We have about 600 miles of that border now secured by some type of physical barrier," he said.