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Trump says he'll hold off on cartel terror designation at Mexican president's request

The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:

Plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terror groups have been put on hold for the time being, President Trump announced via Twitter on Friday evening.

“All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations,” the president tweeted. “Statutorily we are ready to do so.” However, he added, he paused the plan at the request of Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whom he called “a man who I like and respect.” Last month, Obrador responded to the idea of a U.S. terror designation by saying that "Our problems will be solved by Mexicans. We don't want any interference from any foreign country."

Chip Roy, a Texas House member who has been calling for terror designation against the cartels for months, responded to the announcement by asking what metric would be used to determine how “temporary” the pause would be: “How many dead Americans? How much Fentanyl? Heroin? How many dead / threatened Mexican [politicians] / law enforcement?  How many migrants abused & flooded into the US? How many beheadings? Hangings?”

An FTO designation wouldn’t just be a symbolic move; it would expand the toolbox of options available to U.S. authorities dealing with the deadly and dangerous crime syndicates. “Although many of these groups have already been designated as Transnational Criminal Organizations,” my colleague Daniel Horowitz explained in January, “we will not be able to defend our national integrity and security with the tools we have, such as special operations strikes, until they are designated as terrorists.”

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