A group of lawmakers recently introduced the Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act, noting the legislation would subject foreign criminal organizations such as drug cartels to sanctions.
Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) said the process, incorporating immigration, financial, and criminal penalties, would be similar to the system used for designating entities as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).
“Drug cartels along our southern border have been a problem for far too long,” Sasse said. “We need a way to keep these thugs in check, and this legislation would allow our federal law enforcement to do just that. These cartels are murderous organizations that have blurred the line between drug trafficking and terrorism, and this designation would allow us to label them for what they are.”
The bill seeks to bar organization members and their immediate families from admission to the United States; freeze assets; and seek civil and criminal penalties against individuals providing material assistance or resources to the organization.
“Criminal organizations and drug cartels that terrorize our communities and wage war at our borders ought to be treated just like terrorist groups in the eyes of the U.S. government,” Cotton said. “This bill would help stop cartel violence by ensuring these groups — and anyone who helps them — face dire consequences for their actions.”