On March 29, 2012 US Representative Mr. MCCaul introduced a bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker. The bill was to direct the Secretary of State to designate as foreign terrorist organizations certain Mexican drug cartels and submit a report on the activities the Department of State is taking to assist Mexico with drug cartel violence, and for other purposes.
Congress finds the following:
- The Office of Counterterrorism of the Department of State has stated, ‘FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organizations) designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.’
- Assistant Secretary Brownfield acknowledged in sworn testimony on October 4, 2011, that ‘[M]any of the facts on the ground, the things that are being done by those organizations (drug cartels), are consistent with what we would call either terrorism or insurgency in other countries.’
- On October 27, 2011, Secretary Clinton during a Congressional Hearing stated: ‘. . . we are sensitive to the characteristics that some of these drug traffickers have adopted that certainly resemble terrorist activities . . . I have said it has characteristics of an insurgency . . .’.
- When Americans at home and abroad, including agents assigned to protect United States borders and national security, are targeted, threatened, and attacked by such foreign entities, it threatens the safety and security of the United States and its people.
- Mexican drug cartels maintain drug-distribution networks, or supply drugs to distributors, in at least 230 American cities, leading the Justice Department to call Mexican drug cartels the ‘greatest organized crime threat’ to the United States.
- On March 13, 2010, Lesley A. Enriquez, an employee of the United States consulate in Mexico, and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, a detention officer with the El Paso County Jail, were targeted and killed allegedly by a drug trafficking organization (DTO).
- On February 15, 2011, the Zeta DTO boldly attacked and killed United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jamie Zapata, and wounded a second agent, Victor Avila.
- Since President Calderon took office in late 2006, assaults on Border Patrol agents have increased from 729 in fiscal year 2006 to 1,039 in fiscal year 2011.
- In Mexico, there have been over 8,000 homicides in 2011, increasing the number of deaths related to organized crime and pushing the number of deaths to over 40,000 since President Calderon came to office in late 2006.
- In early August 2010, President Calderon described the violence perpetrated by the DTOs as ‘a challenge to the state, an attempt to replace the state’.
- In 2010 there were 13 political assassinations, including several that took place around the July municipal and state elections.
- In the 5 years of the Calderon government’s crackdown on the DTOs, more than 40 journalists in Mexico have been murdered or disappeared according to the International Committee to Protect Journalists, including at least 7 journalists in 2011.
- DTOs use car bombs, displays of murdered individuals, body mutilations, beheadings, and other indiscriminate attacks on civilians, including the August 25, 2011, Casino Royale arson fire in Monterrey, to intimidate the public.
- President Calderon’s response to a DTO’s burning of the Casino Royale and murder of 52 innocent civilians was, ‘We are facing true terrorists . . .’.
- The Mexican drug cartels meet all of the legal criteria for designation as foreign terrorist organizations under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189):
The Secretary of State shall designate under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189) as a foreign terrorist organization the following:
- The Arellano Felix Organization.
- The Los Zetas Cartel.
- The Juarez Cartel.
- The Beltran Leyva Organization.
- La Familia Michoacana.
- The Sinaloa Cartel.
- The Gulf Cartel/New Federation.
The Secretary of State shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on the activities the Department of State is taking to assist Mexico with drug cartel violence, including programs under the Merida Initiative, training programs, and equipment.
In this section, the term ‘Merida Initiative’ means the program announced by the United States and Mexico on October 22, 2007, to fight illicit narcotics trafficking and criminal organizations throughout the Western Hemisphere.