Group Run by Former Trump Officials Calls for War on Cartels

Group Run by Former Trump Officials Calls for War on Cartels ken cuccinelli gestures while speaking Former Trump DHS official Ken Cuccinelli (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Tuesday, 11 October 2022 09:04 AM EDT

The Center for Renewing America, a group led by former officials of the Trump administration, is calling for the U.S. to declare war on Mexican cartels, Axios is reporting.

The group also wants Congress to consider approving a trigger mechanism to shut down legal ports of entry based on estimates of undocumented border crossing.

The leadership of the group includes Ken Cuccinelli, who held the second-highest post at the Department of Homeland Security when Donald Trump was president; Russ Vought, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump; and Kash Patel, a former Pentagon official, Axios noted.

The proposals from the group came in a policy report as Republicans attempt to steer voters' attention to immigration and crime as the midterms draw closer.

President Joe Biden and Democrats are seen as politically vulnerable to problems at the border with Mexico given the large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers crossing every day, according to Axios.

The group's policy paper seeks a formal declaration of war and calls for coordination between with the U.S. military and the Mexican government.

The group is calling on Congress to look at a trigger mechanism to close legal ports of entry at the southern border based on estimates of the number of people crossing illegally.

The policy paper wants the Navy to interdict drug smuggling ships and the Treasury Department to issue sanctions on cartel leaders.

"The chaos playing out along the U.S. southern border is almost exclusively driven by the cartels and their sophisticated trafficking of drugs, people, and criminals," Cuccinelli said in the policy paper.

But Roberta Jacobson, former ambassador to Mexico from May 2016 to May 2018, who also had served as Biden's border czar told Axios, "It's a dumb idea. Not least because the U.S. has been sanctioning cartel leaders, money launderers, etc., under the Kingpin act for decades. And declaring war how? By mobilizing U.S. military to act in Mexico? Never gonna happen."

CNN had reported in September that a record number of migrants have died at the border this year, 748 to date, a mark that surpassed the previous high set just last year by more than 200 victims.

As of September, there had been 1,305 border deaths during the past two years under President Joe Biden. Trump had 581 total border migrant deaths in the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, the fewest of any president's first two years since the data records began.