GOP Lawmakers Push to Designate Cartels as Terror Groups: They 'Clearly Fit the Definition'

Monica Sanchez | February 21, 2019
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Two Republican lawmakers are requesting the State Department designate known drug cartels as terrorist groups as they “employ terrorist tactics that clearly fit” the definition.

The Conservative Review reports,

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 …

The three criteria for FTO designation are as follows, according to the Congressional Research Service:

The suspected terrorist group must

  • be a foreign organization,
  • engage in or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorism, and
  • threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests of the United States.

The letter by Reps. Green and Roy argues, “Numerous drug cartels employ terrorist tactics that clearly fit this definition. These groups use terror to intimidate and advance their agenda. They threaten the stability of governments across the globe. Even the United Nation’s Security Council has recognized the clear link between drug trafficking and terrorism.”

“Drug cartels have committed heinous acts of terrorism, from carrying out bombings that have killed innocent people, conducting ISIS-style beheadings, assassinating government officials and members of law enforcement, and engaging in torture and indiscriminate murder,” the letter goes on. “Violent drug cartels are not just a domestic policy issue limited to their home countries. These groups view America’s sovereign borders as merely minor inconveniences.”

Green and Roy add that designating cartels as FTOs “would make it unlawful for any person who knowingly provides ‘material support or resources’ to the cartel to enter the United States, prevent any member of designated drug cartel from legally entering the United States, and allow the Secretary of the Treasury to block all assets possessed or controlled by the drug cartels.”

“The brave men and women of law enforcement deserve all the help they can get in combating these animals,” they conclude.

This comes amid an ongoing battle over President Trump’s national emergency declaration to secure funding for the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump has cited the violent criminals, gangs and drug smuggling as major reasons justifying the declaration.

“It’s very simple: We want to stop drugs from coming into our country. We want to stop criminals and gangs from coming into our country,” the President said Friday from the White House Rose Garden. “We don’t control our own border.”

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