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Lindsey Graham to introduce bill authorizing military force against Mexico

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
March 8, 2023

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is not taking lightly the fact that the four Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico—two of whom were killed—were from his home state of South Carolina.

Senator Lindsey Graham wants to authorize military force against drug cartel in Mexico

On Monday, Graham said he intends to introduce legislation that would allow for the U.S. to use military force in Mexico, saying that America needs to "get tough" in connection to the drug cartel in Mexico, according to The Hill.

"I would put Mexico on notice," Graham told Fox News. Graham, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has been tough on Mexico in the past and is considered one of the more hawkish members of the United States Senate.

"If you continue to give safe have to drug dealers, then you are an enemy of the United States," he added.

Graham said the legislation he intends to introduce will declare that certain drug cartels are recognized by the United States as, "foreign terrorist organizations under U.S. law and set the stage to use military force if necessary."

"I would tell the Mexican government if you don't clean up your act, we're going to clean it up for you," Graham said.

Bill would be introduced to divided Congress

The legislation Graham wants to introduce would need to pass a divided Congress, and then President Biden would have to be willing to sign it into law.

If  Biden chooses to veto the bill, then it would need two-thirds of Congress to override the veto.

With an election year fast approaching, the legislation is being introduced at what is likely an uncomfortable time for Democrats, who typically choose softer ways of dealing with the complex issues of drugs and immigration in connection to Mexico.

Why the Americans went to Mexico

The scuffle involving gunmen and the four Americans occurred in Mexico's border city of Matamoros

Two of the four Americans were found dead, and two are alive, according to CBS News.

On Tuesday, the two surviving Americans were escorted to an international bridge at the U.S. - Mexico border by Mexican officials on the federal and state levels.

On Friday, The foursome were traveling in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates and weren't very far across the border when they encountered gunfire, according to AP News.

All four were placed in another vehicle and taken from the scene.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that the group of Americans was going to Mexico to, "buy medicine," and ended up getting caught in crossfire between two armed groups, according to CBS News.

Zalandria Brown, the sister of one of the victims who lives in Myrtle Beach, said that the four friends were a close knit group and one of the reasons they went together was to share driving duties, according to The AP.

"This is like a bad dream you wish you could wake up from," she told AP News in an interview. "To see a member of your family thrown in the back of a truck and dragged, it is just unbelievable."