WH: ‘Attacks on U.S. Citizens Are Unacceptable No Matter Where or Under What Circumstances’

Melanie Arter | March 7, 2023 | 6:37pm EST
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 7, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 7, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House said Tuesday that Americans should heed the State Department’s travel advisory when traveling to parts of Mexico in the wake of the kidnapping of four Americans there.

A Mexican state governor announced Tuesday that the bodies of two of the four kidnapped Americans were found, and a third was injured, while the fourth American had no injuries. The four were kidnapped after crossing into Matamoros in Tamaulipas, Mexico, which has a level four warning.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre began the press briefing Tuesday with a statement about the incident:

I wanted to start today by addressing the announcement by Mexican officials regarding the status of the four Americans attacked in Mexico. We’re still working with Mexican officials to learn more and to have all Americans returned to the United States. President Biden has been kept updated on this incident. Senior members of the White House have also been engaged.

We extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends. For the sake of privacy and out of respect to the families, we are going to refrain from further comment about those circumstances at this time. I can confirm that U.S. officials are in touch with the families of the individuals, but again, we will respect their privacy regarding our conversations with them. 

We appreciate the hard work of the Justice Department and the FBI, DHS, and DEA for their swift response to this awful incident and for their continued collaboration with Mexican authorities. These U.S. agencies remain in close touch with their counterparts, and we expect that they will share more as they can.

Attacks on U.S. citizens are unacceptable no matter where or under what circumstances they happen. We will continue to work closely with the Mexican government to ensure justice is done in this case. Since day one of this administration, we have been focused on disrupting transnational criminal organizations, including Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers.

In the past few months, President Biden signed an executive order giving the Department of Treasury expanded authorities to penalize cartel organizations and those who control or enable them, and we have imposed powerful new sanctions against cartel organizations in recent weeks. 

We remain committed to applying the full weight of our efforts and resources to counter them. Right now, our immediate concerns are for the safe return of our citizens, the health and well-being of those who survived this attack and the support, which must be rendered to the families of those who need it.

When asked what the administration’s message is to Americans who are currently in Mexico or who are planning to go there, Jean-Pierre said, “So we take it very seriously when it comes to– and have a commitment to provide U.S. citizens with clear, timely, and reliable information about every country in the world so they can make informed travel decisions. 

“As you all know, the State Department’s clearly the department that is focused on that and gives that information and do the travel advisory, and so when it comes to the travel advisory for this particular area in Mexico, that remains at level four: Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping,” she said.

“We’ve been very clear about that. The State Department again has put that out. We urge Americans to read these alerts before traveling, and so we’ll leave it there, but again, we take this seriously to make sure that we do everything that we can so that Americans understand what is safe and what to look out for as they travel or when they’re in a specific country,” the press secretary said.

mrc merch