Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News that he would introduce legislation to “set the stage” for using military force in Mexico to combat the drug cartel.
Mr Graham made the remarks on Jesse Watters’s show on Monday evening, saying he would “introduce legislation to make certain Mexican drug cartels foreign terrorist organizations under US law and set the stage to use military force if necessary.”
Mr Graham’s proposal comes as armed men kidnapped four Americans in Mexico and a Mexican governor confirmed that two of the Americans were found dead, one was wounded and another was unharmed. The group was taken hostage on 3 March after entering the state of Tamaulipas in Matamoros – an area dominated by the Gulf cartel. The Americans, who had driven from South Carolina, came under fire from a group of armed men and were bundled into the back of a pickup truck. Cartel members reportedly confused the Americans for Haitian drug smugglers.
“I would put Mexico on notice,” Mr Graham said. “If you continue to give safe haven to drug dealers, then you are an enemy of the United States.”
Taking military action in Mexico would require an Authorisation of the Use of Military Force in Congress, which would in turn need to pass both houses of Congress.
“I’m going to introduce legislation, Jesse, to make certain Mexican drug cartels foreign terrorist organizations under US law and set the stage to use military force if necessary to protect America from being poisoned by things coming out of Mexico,” he said.
Mr Graham is not the only Republican calling for military action against Mexico. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said that the United States military should cross into Mexico and “strategically strike” the drug cartels, even though it is not yet clear who exactly kidnapped the four Americans.
“Our military should be stationed at our southern border,” Ms Greene said. “We should strategically strike and take out the Mexican Cartels, not the Mexican government or their people, but the Mexican Cartels which control them all. They are international terrorists and criminals murdering Americans everyday with drugs and crime!”
Andrea Blanco contributed reporting.