House conservatives urge Trump admin to declare cartels terror organizations

· February 20, 2019  
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Arrested cartel members with seized guns
Yuri Cortez/AFP | Getty Images

Drug cartel operations have made a mockery of our laws, flooded our streets with deadly illicit drugs, and endangered our citizens for years; now, two conservative lawmakers want the Trump administration to give them the same treatment as terror groups.

House Freedom Caucus members Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, announced Wednesday that they would send a letter asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to designate dangerous drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The letter claims several cartels already meet the three criteria for FTO designation and makes the case that it would give law enforcement even more tools to combat the cartels’ deadly, dangerous, and destructive operations:

“Numerous drug cartels employ terrorist tactics that clearly fit this definition,” it reads. “These groups use terror to intimidate and advance their agenda. They threaten the stability of governments across the globe.”

“These cartels have utilized barbaric tactics including those adopted by ISIS and al Qaeda – murdering and torturing innocents, destabilizing countries and assassinating members of law enforcement,” reads a press release from Green’s office. “Moreover, they threaten our homeland security. Our communities suffer from the powerful and dangerous drugs cartels make available to our citizens. Fentanyl and heroin overdoses have taken thousands of lives.”

Green is a former Army ranger and was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Cartels are the problem and it is time we started acting like it,” Roy said in a statement about the letter. “Cartels are endangering American citizens, our Mexican neighbors, and the migrants who seek to come here.”

Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz made the case for designating the cartels as terror groups in a January article.

“Imagine for a moment that groups of Islamic terrorists set up shop at our border, killed tens of thousands of Mexicans, mutilated bodies, controlled a flow of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants every year over our border, and flooded our country with drugs and gangs,” Horowitz wrote. “Now look at the reality. All of this is happening at our border and in our communities, with one exception. The perpetrators are not Islamic terrorists.”

“Although many of these groups have already been designated as Transnational Criminal Organizations,” he explains, “we will not be able to defend our national integrity and security with the tools we have, such as special operations strikes, until they are designated as terrorists.”

According to Green and Roy’s press release, the FTO designation in this case would make it unlawful for any person who knowingly assists a cartel to enter the U.S., while also barring any known member from legal entry. It would allow the Treasury Department to block all cartel assets, and it would also “further stigmatize these groups both at home and abroad.”

The proposal even has the support of Obama administration Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan, who told Blaze Media that simply putting more resources at the border, while important, “will not stop the Mexican cartels’ efforts to threaten our country” and that they “will continue to develop new tactics and techniques.”

“The cartels must be targeted … with the same level of commitment and tenacity as we have against terrorist organizations,” Morgan continued. “To successfully eliminate the threat cartels bring to our country, we must do everything we can to actively destroy them as an organization.”


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.