After urging lawmakers and the Department of State last week to designate elements of Mexican cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) following the murder of nine Americans in Mexico, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) has garnered additional support from some of his colleagues for his proposed legislation, including four members of the Texas delegation.
In addition to Reps. Mark Green (R-TN) and Randy Weber (R-TX-14), who both previously agreed to cosponsor the bill, this week Reps. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27), John Carter (R-TX-31), Lance Gooden (R-TX-5), Roger Williams (R-TX-25), and Denver Riggleman (R-VA) cosponsored the legislation.
Rep. Carter attributed his support to the vast ways in which “cartels are employing the same ruthless violence as other terrorist organizations across the world,” describing Roy’s proposed bill as “common-sense legislation” that will provide the resources needed to protect the southern border.
“With their intimidation of law enforcement, execution of government officials, and murder of innocent Americans, they fit the mold to be deemed Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” Carter said.
Rep. Gooden issued similar sentiments of support to help to block the Mexican cartels access to outside resources, describing them as “a menace to our citizens, committing acts of terror and engaging in human trafficking across the border.”
Earlier this year, Congressman Gooden introduced his own border security initiative in the form of proposed legislation aimed at curbing human trafficking through DNA testing.
The designation of these organized crime units as FTOs would effectively prohibit the entry of cartel members and their affiliates into the U.S., cut off cartel resources through the elimination of funding from outside sources, and grant the Department of Treasury the authority to freeze their assets.
If implemented, the designation has the capability to help combat the inner-workings and far-reaching network of the criminal organizations and their sophisticated shadow economy.
Citing President Trump, who said in February he was considering labeling Mexican cartels as FTOs, Congressman Roy said in an interview last week that this bill is the next step for the Department of State in achieving that designation.
Though Roy says it would be beneficial to work with the government of Mexico on joint initiatives to combat the cartels as has been done to some extent in the past, the national security threat these criminal units pose place the United States in a position “to act regardless of what the Mexican authorities are doing.”
“Certain factions, like the Reynosa faction of the Gulf Cartel make 100 million dollars a week moving people across the border in McAllen, Texas,” he said in further illustration of the threats these organizations pose at both a national level and to the state of Texas.
Rep. Roy’s proposed legislation specifically identifies the Reynosa / Los Metros faction of the Gulf Cartel along with, the Cartel Del Noreste faction of Los Zetas, and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel offshoot of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Though not listed as a cosponsor, Texas Representative Ron Wright (R-TX-6) also issued a statement of support for the bill in light of the recent attacks in Mexico saying, “What is happening at our southern border is a crisis… We need to see these organizations for what they are, terrorists, and hold them accountable. I applaud my friend Congressman Roy for introducing this legislation.”
The Texan reached out to all Republican and Democratic Texas congressional representatives asking if they supported the proposed legislation.
No comments were received regarding their stance on the proposed bill from any Democratic representatives or from former State Senator Wendy Davis, whom Congressman Roy will likely face as a Democratic challenger in 2020.
Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.