Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas renewed his call for designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations during a Wednesday CNBC appearance.
“We have an emergency at our southern border. We’ve had five million illegal aliens cross since Joe Biden came into office. That’s the source of almost all drugs in America today. It really doesn’t come from other countries anymore, almost all [of it] comes from Mexico,” Cotton told “Squawk Box” co-hosts Joe Kernen and Andrew Ross Sorkin. “Last year we had over 100,000 drug deaths in this country, almost twice as many people died than in the entire Vietnam War. So it really is an emergency. So we have to secure our border. We — we have to crack down on fentanyl traffickers in particular here in America. I would suggest we need to — to take the fight to the cartels themselves.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered an all-time high of nearly 2.3 million migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border in the fiscal year 2022, which does not include so-called “gotaways,” or those who evade law enforcement.
“What would you do if al-Qaida or ISIS set up shop in Monterrey or Juarez or Tijuana and it is responsible for killing 100,000 Americans a year? You know, there — there is a precedent for this,” Cotton continued. “You know, it’s well known that American special forces were present when El Chapo was captured a few years ago, and they were present when Pablo Escobar was killed in the 1990s.”
Cotton noted that the US invaded Panama during the George H.W. Bush administration over Manuel Noriega’s involvement in drug trafficking. He previously called for the US to designate the Mexican cartels as terrorist groups in a Sept. 20 op-ed in The Washington Times.
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