Tom Homan: Latest cartel violence shows Mexico needs help from US forces

Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan said Monday that it may be time for the United States to more substantially help Mexican forces against powerful drug cartels.

Homan was asked on "Fox & Friends" by host Brian Kilmeade about Saturday's shootout between suspected cartel gunmen and Mexican police near the Texas border. Four police officers were among the nearly two dozen people killed in Villa Union, a small town in Coahuila state located about an hour’s drive southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas.

Homan, a Fox News contributor, credited the brave police officers but noted that they are facing increasing firepower from the cartels.

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"They’re not well-trained, they’re not well-equipped and they certainly don’t have the expertise at dismantling large criminal organizations like the U.S. law enforcement does. We’ve proven that in Panama with [ruler Manuel] Noriega, we proved that in Colombia with [Pablo Escobar]. The United States can go down to Mexico and help them address this crisis once and for all," he said, agreeing that the cartels should be designated as a terror organization by the U.S.

He said that such a move will allow U.S. authorities more leeway to go after the cartels' finances and conduct "out-of-country operations" against cartel strongholds.

"A safer Mexico means a safer U.S. These criminal cartels don't respect the borders and that violence will pour over our border and we've already seen over 60,000 opioid deaths from the drugs being poured across the border by these cartels," he said.

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Coahuila state Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme told local media that four of the dead were police officers killed in the initial confrontation and that several municipal workers were missing.

On Sunday, the Coahuila state government said that security forces killed seven additional members of the gang, bringing the death toll to at least 21.

The armed group of suspected cartel members stormed the town of 3,000 residents in a convoy of trucks, attacking local government offices and prompting state and federal forces to intervene. Ten alleged members of the Cartel of the Northeast were initially killed in the response.

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Homan said the migrant crisis will worsen on the border as violence in Mexico increases. He said groups like the ACLU will argue to U.S. judges that Central American migrants can no longer be sent to Mexico since it cannot be considered a "safe third country."

"Once that happens, the surge will be back full force because [migrants] will know they can't be returned to Mexico to wait for their hearings," he predicted.