President Trump to designate Mexican cartels as terror organizations amid escalated violence

President Donald Trump speaks during an event to sign an executive order establishing the Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives, in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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UPDATED 6:41 AM PT — Wednesday, November 27, 2019

President Trump recently announced a plan to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. In an interview Tuesday, the president said he’s been working to designate cartels as terrorists for the past 90 days. He confirmed the designation process is underway and said more announcements are coming soon.

The president also pointed out that the U.S. is losing 100,000 people per year to drug trade, human smuggling, and criminal violence incited by the cartels. The drug war in Mexico has escalated in recent years with data showing that since 2007 more than 250,000 people have died from the violence and tens of thousands more have been reported missing. The death toll reached nearly 30,000 in 2018 alone.

Many senators endorsed the president’s call for a crackdown on cartels after a massacre of an American family in Mexico. Nine women and children were murdered after their vehicles were ambushed in the northern party of the country. Although the question still stands, if this was a coordinated attack or just a case of mistaken identify, the Mexican government suggested that the cartel may have believed the SUV’s were a rival gang.

Family and friends grieve during a burial service for Rhonita Miller and four of her young children who were murdered by drug cartel gunmen, at the cemetery in Colonia Le Baron, Mexico, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

“I agree with the president when he says Mexico has to really knuckle down and go after some of these cartels, and and stop this this escalating level of violence,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). “And hope that if there’s a way we can help in that effort that we’re called upon to do so.”

Meanwhile, President Trump refused to say whether he would use U.S. military drones to strike cartel members and compounds.

RELATED: Mexican Cartels Poisoning U.S. National Parks With Illegal Pot-Growing Operations

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