Sasse and Lee to Treasury, State, and FBI: "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."

Today, U.S. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, seeking an aggressive sanctions response against the cartels that massacred an American family in northern Mexico on November 4.

"Mexican cartels slaughtered nine Americans, including babies," said Senator Sasse. "The Administration ought to use every legal avenue to bring these butchers to justice. Sanctions ought to be the first step in a coordinated effort to wage a smart, full-scale offensive against the cartels and gangs that are terrorizing our southern border."

"What happened on November 4 was a savage act of cruelty. The nine U.S. citizens killed were defenseless women and children,” Senator Lee said. “This attack has removed any pretense that the violence south of the U.S. border is contained. Mexico is leaning dangerously toward becoming a failed state. The cartels and gangs must know that the United States will respond to ensure they do not continue to threaten the American people."

The Senators' letter is available here and found below.

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.

Sincerely,
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse
U.S. Senator Mike Lee