Texas Gov. Greg Abbott fired off a letter to the Biden administration, and demanded that the federal government designate Mexican drug cartels — such as the Los Zetas, Sinaloa, and the Gulf Cartel — as foreign terrorist organizations. In the letter addressed to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Abbott urged "immediate action to combat the dangerous and deadly Mexican drug cartels" that "bring terror into our communities."
"They smuggle narcotics and weapons into the United States to fund their illegal enterprises," Abbott said of the Mexican drug cartels on Thursday. "They force women and children into human and sex trafficking—enriching themselves on the misery and enslavement of immigrants. They murder innocent people, including women and children."
"These Mexican drug cartels are foreign terrorist organizations, and it is time for the federal government to designate them as such," the Republican governor of Texas said in the letter, which was the fourth letter he sent to the Biden administration.
Abbott noted that the Biden administration could designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In order for a group to be designated a foreign terrorist organization: "The organization engages in terrorist activity, or retains the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism," and "the terrorist activity or terrorism of the organization threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States."
In 2019, the Trump administration designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including its Quds Force, as a foreign terrorist organization in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Last month, Abbott announced that Texas had launched Operation Lone Star to "combat the smuggling of people and drugs into Texas," which has been exacerbated by the current border crisis.
"The Operation integrates DPS with the Texas National Guard and deploys air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas," Abbott said.
The Texas governor placed blame on the massive surge of migrants across the southern U.S. border on the Biden administration.
"The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration," Abbott stated. "Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans. We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis."
Also in March, Abbott claimed that Border Patrol agents informed him that drug cartels are getting rich because of Biden's "open borders policies."
"They also said that the reason for the change, the reason for the increase and the influx is because of the policy change by the Biden administration," Abbott told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. "More importantly, though is ... Border Patrol officers told me that the Biden administration policies, they are enriching and they are empowering the drug cartels in Mexico, who make money off of the people that they assist in smuggling them into the state of Texas."
"The cartels make money off of these migrants that you and your viewers see on TV," Abbott continued. "They also told me about the escalating numbers of the people coming across the border."
Abbott said that Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector caught "78 sex offenders, and 62 gang members, which include MS-13 gangs."
Abbott has been an outspoken critic of the Biden administration's handling of the migrant crisis, saying the detainment of unaccompanied minors has been an "abject failure."
"The Biden Administration has been an abject failure when it comes to ensuring the safety of unaccompanied minors who cross our border," Abbott said in March. "The conditions unaccompanied minors face in these federally run facilities is unacceptable and inhumane."
"This is a crisis that is being made worse by the fact that the Biden administration is subjecting even more children to come into Texas or coming across our border who are going to be victimized by these cartels," he said.