Americans overwhelmingly want U.S. to label cartels as terrorist groups, poll

The White House earlier this month made clear it had no plans to do so. 

Published: March 15, 2023 4:05pm

Updated: March 15, 2023 5:05pm

A sizeable majority of Americans support designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, a recent survey revealed. 

In total, 69% of Americans support designating the cartels as terrorist groups, with 80% of Republicans backing such a measure and 65% of Democrats concurring, according to a Wednesday poll from Rasmussen Reports.

Americans are increasingly wary of the cartels, with 79% of likely U.S. voters considering the groups to be a serious threat to the country. Fifty-five percent further identified the threat as "very serious."

Conducted on March 9 and 12-13, the survey questioned 950 likely U.S. voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

The survey appears to show the Biden administration at odds with the American public on the issue of how best to handle the drug cartels.

Amid mounting pressure to label the cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO), the White House made it clear earlier this month that it had no plans to do so. 

"Designating these cartels as FTOs (foreign terrorist organizations) would not grant us any additional authorities that we don't really have at this time," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week. "The United States has powerful sanctions authorities specifically designated to combat narcotics trafficking organizations and the individuals and entities that enable them."

Her remarks follow calls from Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Lindsey Graham, S.C., and John Kennedy, La., who have introduced legislation to label specific gangs as terrorist organizations and authorize military force against them.

"We are going to unleash the fury and might of the United States against these cartels," Graham said earlier this month. "We're going to destroy their business model and their lifestyle because our national security and the security of the United States as a whole depends on us taking decisive action."

Such rhetoric follows a lethal kidnapping incident in Matamoros, Mexico, wherein four Americans were kidnapped amid a firefight between rival cartel factions in the city. Two Americans died in that incident while the other two have been repatriated to the U.S. to recover. The cartel has since apologized for the incident.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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