Letters to the Editor

Yes, Mexico’s drug cartels are terrorist groups

In his March 15 opinion, “Trump wants to label Mexican cartels as ‘terrorist’ groups. That’s a bad idea,” Miami Herald writer Andres Oppenheimer suggested that we are asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to label specific cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations to “please Trump’s anti-immigration base,” “demonize Mexicans,” and undermine national security.

He misses the obvious point of our legislation: To accurately define these specific factions of these specific cartels for what they are, and to put them on notice, giving law enforcement the tools to address the root issue creating the humanitarian crisis at our border.

Yes, cartels use barbaric forms of violence similar to ISIS and al-Qaida — murdering and torturing innocents, but they do much more than just use violence, or traffic drugs and human beings; they assassinate elected officials, members of law enforcement, members of the media, and locals in order to destabilize governments. They use fear, violence, and intimidation so as to ensure an anarchic regime is in place to allow them to gratuitously spread their power and influence. That’s terrorism by any reasonable understanding of its definition.

It is clear to everyone operating on the ground that cartels have operational control of large sections of the United States border. To turn a blind eye to the threat and the humanitarian crisis is a dereliction of our constitutional duty. This is why we have requested the Trump administration designate the most egregious cartels as terrorist organizations.

Rather than being attacked for it, we hope that bringing attention to the human suffering and violence will bring about better outcomes for Americans, Mexicans and the migrants seeking to come here.

U.S. Rep. Mark Green,

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy,

Washington, D.C.