Desantis Promises Extrajudicial Killings at the Border in Bid to Stop Cartels Bringing In Fentanyl

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has drawn applause from the audience at Sean Hannity’s studio when he promised extrajudicial killings at the border to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country.

Planned Killings

DeSantis proposed killing alleged drug cartel members on sight to stem the flow of drugs into the United States, as the country is fighting the synthetic drug crisis.

“We’re using lethal force against the cartels. If they’re bringing fentanyl in, breaking into our country, we’re going to leave them stone cold dead at the border,” DeSantis said. “Trust me, they will get the message.”

However, it’s not clear how DeSantis plans to identify the alleged cartel members that need to be executed. 

No Authorization Required

“There’s not going to be authorization to just shoot somebody like that, but when somebody’s got a backpack on and they’re breaking through the wall, you know, that’s hostile intent and you have every right to take action under those circumstances.”

The Florida Governor clarified that only those who “appeared” to be members of drug cartels would be targeted.

He didn’t offer an explanation on what makes someone appear to be a cartel member.

Drug Smugglers are Legal 

Some Republicans have claimed that the growing number of migrants at the U.S. border is contributed by cartels smuggling drugs into the US.

However, immigration authorities said that nearly all drugs smuggled into the United States are brought in by people who can legally cross the border, according to the NPR report

Critics of the proposed action said that DeSantis’s plan would violate the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, which prohibits government officials from committing extrajudicial killings. 

Hard-Line Approach to Immigration

DeSantis, who is vying for a Republican Presidential nomination along with a group of other Republicans is also known for his hard-line immigration approach. 

In May, Florida approved the harshest anti-immigrant law in the United States, when the Republican-controlled legislature signed off on a sweeping anti-immigration bill that will give the state access to millions of dollars more for a controversial program DeSantis used to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

He Criticized Biden’s Approach

DeSantis frequently criticizes Biden’s handling of the situation at the southern US border.

In the past, DeSantis has blamed Biden’s immigration policies for the growing number of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, many of whom make a dangerous trek through Mexico from South and Central America in hope to reach the United States.

Aside from DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, a former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and the leading figure Donald Trump, have suggested that the US could use its military to fight drug cartels south of the border.

Military Intervention

The conversation about military intervention to fight drug cartels south of the border emerged earlier this year, which was followed by Congress Republicans proposing formal war powers for the president to order US troops against Mexican drug gangs.

In March, Republicans introduced legislation to designate a number of cartel groups as “foreign terrorist organizations,” which would open the door for the US to use its military power.

Some foreign policy experts have also warned that growing calls for military operations in Mexico among Republicans shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Rocky Relations

Any type of intervention could deal a major blow to the already rocky U.S.-Mexico relations and affect a broad spectrum of issues including trade, intelligence cooperation and Mexico’s role in holding off the stream of migrants that use the country as a transit point for getting to the United States’ border from Central and South America.

The growing calls for military intervention into the neighboring country are prompted by an increased growth of fentanyl shipments into the United States.

Fatal Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a strong synthetic opioid drug that’s become a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S in recent years.

While pharmaceutical fentanyl is prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain, the majority of overdose cases are related to illegally made fentanyl, which is known for its heroin-like effect. 

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Source: The New Republic