This Monday, President Donald Trump made an interview for Breitbart in the Oval Office and stated that he is considering designating Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.
“We’re thinking about doing it very seriously. In fact, we’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” said the President when asked if he was considering the move. “As terrorists — as terrorist organizations, the answer is yes. They are.”
President Trump complained that the Mexican government cannot control the violence, saying “they’ve totally lost control of the cartels. Mexico last year had 42,000 deaths — murders — 42,000. It’s considered one of the most unsafe countries in the world.”
Back in February 2019, GOP lawmakers Chip Roy and Mark Green proposed to designate the Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, enabling the United States Treasury Department to sanction their assets aggressively.
The President has broad authority to designate groups as terrorist organizations under the Immigration and Nationality Act which triggers wider range of actions that the executive branch can take, including: seizing of all property identified, the prohibition of U.S. persons dealing with these organizations, criminal penalties on organizations that do business with them, and many other consequences.
The State Department says the designation of foreign terrorist groups depends on whether “the terrorist activity or terrorism of the organization threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States.”
Back in February, Todd Bensman explained for the Center for Immigration Studies that “foreign terrorist organization designation opens a whole new armory of American weaponry that can be used to debilitate the cartels and all who lend support and assistance to them, just like ISIS.”
He also noted the tools that our Government can be use against the cartels: “prosecution of associates for “material support”, the freezing of a broader range of funds, immigration restrictions on all members of the organizations, and travel restrictions on many others. These tools would add to already significant counter-cartel assets already in use.”