Mike Lee Co-Pens Letter Urging Sanctions Against Mexican Drug Cartels
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) to call for the United States to implement aggressive sanctions in response to the recent massacre in Mexico that left multiple Americans dead.
According to a statement from Lee’s office, the senators wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State and the Director of the FBI to take action. The two urged officials to “proactively consider the full and creative use of existing sanction authority” in order to protect citizens of the United States.
“The cartels and the Mexican government must unequivocally understand the United States will respond strongly to the violence and corruption of the cartels which directly impact the American people,” the letter reads. “We will not tolerate attacks on U.S. citizens and we will protect the American people.”
Lee said the the attack removed any pretense that violence south of the border is contained.
“Mexico is leaning dangerously toward becoming a failed state,” according to a statement. “The cartels and gangs must know that the United States will respond to ensure they do not continue to threaten the American people.”
Sasse said the current administration should use “every legal avenue to bring these butchers to justice.”
The letter was delivered Monday:
Dear Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Pompeo, and Director Wray,
We write to you regarding the horrific massacre of nine American women and children in northern Mexico on November 4. We mourn with the families who lost loved ones and demand justice. While we wait for these butchers to be identified and brought to justice, we ask that your departments proactively consider the full and creative use of existing sanction authority in response to this tragedy to be implemented upon public attribution of the massacre.
We are encouraged to hear that the Mexican government has requested the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to bring those responsible to justice and arrests have been made, but we remain concerned about Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s security policy. López Obrador’s stated policy of “hugs, not bullets” is clearly insufficient to address this drug-fueled crisis of violence and lawlessness. What is required is the imposition of physical and financial costs on the cartels to deny them both territory and economic resources. We trust the United States Government is unified in its efforts to encourage the Mexican government to change the current security strategy and is advocating for an active response to the tragedy on November 4.
As more details emerge regarding which cartels or gangs are responsible for this heinous violence committed against American citizens, we ask your departments to consider the full and creative use of existing sanctions authorities against those responsible. Among the sanction authorities available for possible use are sanctions authorized by the Kingpin Act and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. This crime cannot go unpunished. The cartels and the Mexican government must unequivocally understand the United States will respond strongly to the violence and corruption of the cartels which directly impact the American people. We will not tolerate attacks on U.S. citizens and we will protect the American people.
We respectfully request that within 60 days after the FBI concludes its assistance to the Mexican government, we receive a briefing on the Administration’s formal efforts, including the implementation and effect on sanctions, and informal pressure of the Mexican government to act in a matter that better aligns with the safety and security of the American people.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working together to ensure justice for these Americans and secure our southern border.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse
U.S. Senator Mike Lee
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