Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Executive Order Designating Mexican Drug Cartels as Terrorist Organizations

On September 21, 2022, Texas Governor Greg Abbott enacted an executive order that officially classified severla Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.  On top of that, Abbott has called on President Joe Biden to take similar steps in order to stem the flow of dangerous substances such as fentanyl. 

According to Bethany Blankely of The Center Square, “In one year’s time, fentanyl killed nearly 20 times more people than those killed in terrorist attacks over decades.”

“Fentanyl is a clandestine killer, and Texans are falling victim to the Mexican cartels that are producing it,” Abbott declared. “Cartels are terrorists, and it’s time we treated them that way. In fact, more Americans died from fentanyl poisoning in the past year than all terrorist attacks across the globe in the past 100 years. In order to save our country, particularly our next generation, we must do more to get fentanyl off our streets.”

Further, Abbott sent Biden a letter demanding him to designate Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations as outlined by Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In the executive order, Abbott proclaimed, “Mexican drug cartels are responsible for trafficking hundreds of millions of lethal doses of fentanyl into Texas and the United States. Over 1,600 Texans were fatally poisoned by drugs containing fentanyl in 2021, representing an increase of more than 680 percent since 2018, and fentanyl’s death toll continues to rise in 2022.”

Since Abbott launched the border security campaign, Operation Lone Star, last March, Texas Department of Public Safety functionaries have confiscated over 336 million lethal doses of fentanyl. 

Blankely noted that In fiscal years 2021 and 2022, “CBP agents have confiscated enough fentanyl at the southern border to kill nearly 5 billion people.”

On September 21, Abbott announced that he was expanding the Operation Lone Star campaign, instructing DPS to set up a Mexican Cartel Division within the Texas Fusion Center. The division will concentrate on identifying Texas gang members who cooperate with Mexican drug cartels. This new initiative consists of targeting and busting up cartel’s infrastructure, confiscating their assets, vehicles, and buildings. In addition, Texas law enforcement will be carrying out multi-jurisdictional investigations of foreign terrorist organizations active in Texas. The goal of these investigations is to help facilitate criminal prosecutions. Southbound criminal interdiction operations and activity between ports of entry will be dialed up. 

In his letter to Biden, the Texas governor wrote, “Mexican drug cartels terrorize the United States and its citizens every day, leaving thousands of dead bodies in their wake. Their latest weapons of choice are the millions of tiny pills laced with fentanyl that they pour across our southern border. As a result, it is necessary, now more than ever, for you to designate the Sinaloa Cartel, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, and any similarly situated Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations” as spelled out by Section 219 of the INA.

Abbott is of the belief that designating cartels such as the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel as terrorist organizations will give the Texas state government the tools to “fight back against these terrorists and disrupt their deadly attacks on America.”

The federal government will likely do nothing constructive to address America’s drug trafficking problem. Instead, it will be focusing its attention on Ukraine or China as far as national security policies are concerned. Talk about misplaced priorities.

In light of this policy dereliction, states like Texas will have to assume immigration enforcement functions themselves. Border walls, state border patrol agencies, and other mechanisms of state-level immigration enforcement are needed to stop the crisis at our border.


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