Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) introduced on Thursday the Drug Cartel Terrorist Designation Act, a bill designating Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terror Organizations (FTOs) under federal law.
Roy’s legislation would specifically designate the Reynosa/Los Metros faction of the Gulf Cartel and the Los Zetas Cartel Del Noreste as FTOs.
“I’ve spent my time talking to people who actually know what’s happening at the border and I’ve been meeting with former DPS agents, people engage with and rooting out cartels and the violence and all they are telling me is that cartels are becoming increasingly violent,” Roy told the Daily Caller. “All of the data shows it all of the actions show it. We have people in America being shuttled around by cartel-paid American citizens to put them in human trafficking, sex trafficking.”
The act would also compel the State Department to provide Congress with a report on similar cartels that could be labeled FTOs. The department would have 30 days to assign the groups the FTO designation.
“The cartels are wreaking havoc at our southern border, smuggling drugs, innocent children, and known terrorists into America,” said Texas Representative Lance Gooden.“By designating them foreign terrorist organizations, we can equip our law enforcement and armed forces with the tools needed to stop these criminals.”
According to Roy, in one incident, an illiterate woman was being terrorized and held for ransom by the cartel. “They threatened her by showing a picture of her husband, who they had murdered,” he said.
“This is what the cartels are doing,” he continued. “They’re doing it in our communities. It is reaching our suburban communities. It’s time for Texas to stand up. It’s time for America to stand up.”
Roy said the impact on American communities is the main reason he decided to introduce the legislation, adding that the cartels are “undermining our national security. They’re undermining Mexico’s national security. And they are a violent organization that is basically the equivalent of having al-Qaida and ISIS literally operating on our border and we should stop them.”
The Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged the staggering numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border, with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas noting that the numbers are on track to reach the highest rate in 20 years.
Last week, over 200 sheriffs from dozens of states also called on President Joe Biden to finish former President Donald Trump’s border wall amid the unprecedented surge of illegal immigration at the United States-Mexico border.
“America’s Sheriffs are deeply troubled about the dangerous impacts your administration’s border policies are having on our citizens, legal residents and communities,” the letter stated. “You must act now before our nation’s public safety resources are overwhelmed with the criminal side effects of unchecked illegal immigration, including transnational gangs, guns, dangerous drugs and human trafficking.”