DHS secretary refuses to support designating drug cartels as terror groups

March 29, 2023

Mexican drug trafficking organizations are continuing to unleash carnage, with Fox News reporting that six women who went missing earlier this month were burned by a group of armed men.

Crimes such as those have led some Republicans to call for the cartels to be treated as terrorist groups. However, some top Biden administration officials won't get on board. 

Alejandro Mayorkas dodges issue

According to Breitbart, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was asked during an appearance on Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about whether Mexican drug cartels should receive a terror designation.

"Well do you support my efforts to make them FTOs [Foreign Terrorist Organizations]?" South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham asked Mayorkas.

"This is a decision that rests in the jurisdiction of the Department of State, and it is a difficult question as to where the line between criminality, however vicious, and terrorism is drawn," Mayorkas responded.

Attorney general voices "diplomatic concerns"

The secretary attempted to continue but Graham cut him off, saying, "Not, not, not for me. When you kill 70,000 Americans, you have crossed the line."

Breitbart noted that Mayorkas is not the only senior White House figure to dodge the issue of treating cartels as terror groups.

"They are already designated in any number of ways and sanctioned," Breitbart quoted Attorney General Merrick Garland as saying earlier this month during his own testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month.

"I wouldn’t oppose it, but again, I want to point out that there are diplomatic concerns. We need the assistance of Mexico in this," Garland added.

Texas congressman introduces cartel terror bill

Fox News reported on March 10 that Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy has put forward a bill that would force the State Department to designate a number of Mexican cartels as FTOs.

Called the Drug Cartel Terrorist Designation Act, it would cover the Gulf Cartel, the Cartel Del Noreste, the Cartel de Sinaloa, and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion.

"It's long past time to designate these cartels as the terrorists they are and give U.S. authorities the tools needed to take them down," Roy told Fox News.

Breitbart pointed to a recent poll that found widespread support for treating drug cartels as terrorist organizations, with 65 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Republicans, and 63 percent of swing voters supporting the move.

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