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America is understandably aghast with the 254 pounds of fentanyl seized at the Arizona-Mexico border, reportedly enough to kill more than 115 million people.

And guess where federal officials carried out this huge fentanyl bust? At the Nogales border crossing in Arizona. Yes, a port of entry, not somewhere over a border fence in the barren desert.

"This seizure represents only one of the many fentanyl seizures at the Southern border from just July," U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release Thursday. "Over the last year Border Patrol has seized 110 percent more fentanyl than the year prior."

The wall is a symbol of what divides us

The drug bust, valued at $4.6 million, shows the ineffectual crime-fighting abilities of a border wall that President Donald Trump insists he must have or else he’d be ready to shut down the federal government once again.

The bust undermines Trump’s argument that a physical barrier along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico is the way to stop human and drug trafficking.

But that doesn’t really matter. Not to Trump, anyway, who’s made the border wall the symbol of his presidency.

It doesn’t matter to his supporters either, who view the wall as a symbol of America’s physical divide between north and south. A divide between the more European part of the continent and the mostly brown folks of Latin America.

The moment the border wall became a symbol of that divide between people, nothing else mattered. And that’s the real American tragedy.

This distracts from a real problem: Addiction

While the president is obsessed on getting his border wall, thugs are smuggling all sorts of drugs and dumping them into the hands of millions with devastating and deadly consequences.

Kudos goes to the federal agents who scored this historic fentanyl bust, but we know many more smugglers are succeeding in meeting the increasing demand of Americans for drugs.

No wall is going to keep thugs from trying to smuggle drugs across the border as long as there is a high demand for them.

But nobody wants to talk about that. And that, too, is a tragedy.

The country’s obsession with a symbolic border wall is a distraction from a real problem of drug addiction. Too many people dying from opioids or hooked on other narcotics.

President Trump should take the $5.7 billion he's demanding for the wall and spend it on more agents, other border security tools and to combat drug addiction in America.

Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or elvia.diaz@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.

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