Recall Candidate John Cox Calls for Border Wall to Stop California's Drug Crisis

Republican John Cox has said that he would continue construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in order to address California's drug crisis.

Cox is one of 46 candidates vying to unseat the state's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom in the upcoming California recall election. Cox made his comments during a Wednesday evening debate featuring four of the recall candidates

One of the debate's moderators asked all the candidates what they would do to stop drug cartels from bringing an "avalanche of cocaine and deadly fentanyl" into the United States.

"We, first of all, need to end the sanctuary state nonsense of the state. We need to have the local police able to interface with ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] as well as the Border Patrol," Cox responded. "We absolutely need to build a wall along our southern border, all the way. It's there in parts of San Diego, but it's got to be all the way across this border."

John Cox California debate drug deaths wall
During a Wednesday evening debate between four candidates in California's gubernatorial recall election, Republican candidate John Cox said that he would address rising drug deaths in he state by continuing to construct the border wall between U.S. and Mexico. In this photo, Cox speaks during a campaign rally at Miller Regional Park on May 04, 2021 in Sacramento, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Fellow candidate California State Assemblymember Kevin Kiley said he would make drug use a felony crime again in the state. In 2014, California's voter-passed Proposition 47 made the personal use of most drugs a misdemeanor.

Former U.S. Representative Doug Ose said that he would "set up a much more serious inspection regime at the border." He said the state needed to do something about its many methamphetamine labs. He also advocated for increasing drug rehabilitation access and providing police with medications to help stop people from dying from overdoses.

Former San Francisco Mayor Kevin Faulconer responded to the question by saying, "I'm going to put victims first, and I'm going to put criminals in jail." He didn't specify whether he saw drug-addicted people as victims or criminals. He then shared a story suggesting that a local drugstore shut down because too many drug users congregated outside of it, thus depriving senior citizens of medication.

In 2019, legal authorities seized more fentanyl from California than from any other state, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment. That same year, California had the second-greatest amount of cocaine seized out of all U.S. states, the same assessment said.

The DEA's assessment said that cartels are "the greatest criminal drug threat" in the nation. The assessment also identified Los Angeles as one of the nation's major shipment points for cartel drugs.

Newsweek contacted Cox's campaign for comment.