The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:
In a win for conservatives who have been calling for the policy for months, President Donald Trump said that he will designate Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terror Organizations (FTOs) under federal law in an interview released on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to say what I’m going to do, but they will be designated,” the president said in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. “I have been working on that for the last 90 days. You know, designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.” The announcement was followed by a statement from the Mexican government seeking a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “in order to discuss this very important issue for the bilateral agenda.”
The policy idea is not a new one. House Freedom Caucus members Chip Roy and Mark Green called on the administration to make the designation under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act back in February, explaining that such a move would give U.S. authorities even more tools to take on the deadly criminal organizations, in addition to further stigmatizing them around the world.
In January, my colleague Daniel Horowitz made the case for FTO designation this way: “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. … 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.”
“Unlike many in Washington wringing their hands about how this might somehow harm our efforts, President Trump is taking action,” Roy said in a Tuesday evening statement. “He recognizes what the excuse-makers of the swamp don’t, which is that designating cartels as terrorists is the step necessary to make Mexico stronger and to protect Americans and our border.”