Top Republican figures have voiced varying forms of support for sending the U.S. military to Mexico, reports the Wall Street Journal. The idea is centered around taking on issues involving illegal drugs. Former President Trump has suggested creating a naval blockade of Mexico, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promised to use "deadly force" against anyone caught smuggling drugs across the border. In Congress, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Kennedy (R-LA) supported the idea of a military operation in Mexico. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) told NBC that cartels should be considered terrorist organizations, meriting a military response. Other Republicans have supported a bill that would formally declare war on cartels.
In a late June NBC poll, a majority of registered voters supported the idea of sending troops to the border to stop drugs. The rhetoric is useful for Republican candidates eager to campaign on border and immigration police. “What we see in polling is a pretty big shift toward Republicans on all questions related to border security and immigration,” said Patrick Ruffini, a Republican pollster. “So it’s not surprising that you’re seeing Republican primary candidates up the ante.” Doris Meissner, who served as the top immigration official under the Clinton administration, said the Republican proposals are problematic because deploying the U.S. military on domestic soil to perform law-enforcement functions is illegal, and military operations in Mexico without the explicit cooperation of the Mexican government would be an act of war against a sovereign country.