“The authorities that have been invoked will ensure the Department of Defence can properly sustain its support of the Department of Homeland Security concerning international drug trafficking along the Southwest Border,” Biden said in a note to Congress that was attached to the order.
The action is in reaction to the White House declaring a national emergency with relation to international drug trafficking in December 2021. The president levied penalties on prominent cartel officials and accused “drug cartels, transnational criminal organizations, and their facilitators” for smuggling “illicit drugs and precursor chemicals” and “drug-related violence” into American neighbourhoods.
Former president Donald Trump is among the rising number of Republican leaders who have urged for a military solution to the cartel issue. Last month, a group of 20 Republican congressmen introduced a bill that would designate the Gulf Cartel, Cartel de Noreste, Cartel de Sinaloa, and Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion as “foreign terrorist organizations,” echoing a bill from the Senate that would categorize nine such organizations as terrorists and establish a task force to dismantle them. The Biden administration had previously received a petition from the attorneys general of 21 US states asking them to label cartels as terrorist groups.
The fentanyl issue, which claims the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every year, is a consequence of social failings in Canada and the importation of Chinese fentanyl, according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopes Obrador. He criticized the US Drug Enforcement Agency for joining the Sinaloa cartel earlier this month and warned that such efforts put the lives of Americans and Mexicans in jeopardy.
On Thursday, the State Department also released a new migration strategy to make up for the repeal of Section 42, a public health directive from the Trump administration that permitted Customs and Border Patrol to turn away a large number of migrants who crossed the southern border of the US. Customs and Border Patrol is concerned that as many as 13,000 attempts to enter the border each day might overwhelm them after dealing with a record 2.76 million illegal crossings in 2017.