President Donald Trump’s supporters are in a quandary these days.
Some — myself included — are bemused by the sudden neo-con foreign forays, wishing he had pursued ‘America First’ policies and left the overseas conflicts alone for the time being.
That said, many Americans approve of Trump’s performance so far, as the Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday, April 19, 2017, indicates:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove.
Other polling companies and polling aggregator sites consider Rasmussen to be too ‘right wing’. To them, Rasmussen has this message:
The same pollsters who called the presidential election wrong last November show the president with a worse job approval rating than we do. We called it right in November, so you decide who’s got it right now.
Reassuring those of us who thought he had gone soft on the domestic front, Trump tweeted:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions followed up on Tuesday, April 18, with his announcement regarding America’s gangs, especially MS-13:
Sessions said, in part (emphases mine below):
In February, President Trump issued an executive order to us to interdict and dismantle transnational criminal organizations, and today we’ll be proposing concrete ideas to follow through on President Trump’s directive.
So let me state this clearly. Under President Trump, the Justice Department has zero tolerance for gang violence. Transnational criminal organizations like MS-13 represent one of the gravest threats to American safety. These organizations enrich themselves by pedaling poison in our communities, trafficking children for sexual exploitation and inflicting horrific violence in the communities where they operate.
MS-13 has become a symbol of this plague that has spread across our country and into our communities. There are over 30,000 members abroad with their headquarters in the El Salvadoran prison system. According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, MS-13 now has more than 10,000 members in at least 40 states in this country – up significantly from just a few years ago.
Because of an open border and years of lax immigration enforcement, MS-13 has been sending both recruiters and members to regenerate gangs that previously had been decimated, and smuggling members across the border as unaccompanied minors. They are not content to simply ruin the lives of adults – MS-13 recruits in our high schools, our middle schools and even our elementary schools.
Just a few days ago, law enforcement believes that members of MS-13 murdered four young men and dumped their bodies in a park on Long Island. Last month, it was two teenage girls in Los Angeles who were killed with machetes and baseball bats. A few weeks ago, the FBI added an MS-13 member to their Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List for a suspected brutal murder with a baseball bat and screwdriver – all purportedly to earn his MS-13 tattoo. Violence is an initiation rite. They’ve killed mothers alongside their children and vice versa. They have gang raped and trafficked girls as young as 12 years old.
We cannot allow this to continue. We will secure our border, expand immigration enforcement and choke-off supply lines. If you are a gang member: We will find you. We will devastate your networks. We will starve your revenue sources, deplete your ranks and seize your profits. We will not concede a single block or street corner to your vicious tactics.
The Daily Mail has another MS-13 report dated March 2, wherein Houston gang members kidnapped two teenage girls and held them hostage for two weeks. The gang members shot and killed one of them. The other they plied with drugs and drink and took turns sexually assaulting her. They also forcibly tattooed her. The Mail has pictures of the young defendants, who are smiling and waving to the camera. The report states that they are illegal aliens from El Salvador with a deep interest in satanism.
Sessions spoke to Tucker Carlson on Fox News later that day:
Sessions explained that until 2009 — first year of the Obama administration — law enforcement authorities had made significant progress in stemming the growth of gangs such as MS-13. Since then, gang numbers have increased. He blamed this, as he said in his statement above, on lax border policies and sanctuary cities. He also cited the Obama administration’s lax attitude to what are known as the Unaccompanied Alien Child (UAC).
A graph from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) shows that the number of UACs more than doubled between 2008 and 2009 alone, from under 10,000 to approximately 20,000. By 2014, that number had risen to 70,000. The administration took action to reduce the number to 40,000 in 2015, but, in 2016, the number soared once more to over 70,000.
The CIS report — from May 2016 — says:
The initial response of the Obama administration to the surge in 2014 was to present these minors as victims of human trafficking, covered by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008, signed by President Bush and reauthorized during the Obama administration in 2013. TVPRA requires the screening of unaccompanied children as potential victims of human trafficking. The attempt, however, was quickly dropped and the case for smuggling upheld instead. It is true that the vast majority of UACs who are illegally entering the United States are smuggled and not trafficked. (Cases such as those forced to work on egg farms in and around Marion, Ohio, remain the exception.3) …
In July 2014, President Obama expressed his desire to set up a refugee/parole program in Central America.8 What the president suggested was screening children in their home countries to determine whether or not they qualify as refugee applicants, then flying those who do directly to the United States. These in-country screening programs are not common and were used as exceptional humanitarian recourses by the United States following, for instance, the Vietnam War and the 1990 Haiti earthquake …
As for humanitarian parole, parents in the United States need to prove they are able to financially support their child. The parolees are granted work authorization for two years (renewable).
The reason for this initiative’s lack of success is rather simple, as we are reminded by MPI [Migration Policy Institute]: “The United States is home to an estimated 1.3 million Salvadoran, 902,000 Guatemalan, and 534,000 Honduran immigrants. A majority of these immigrants are unauthorized and unlawfully present and therefore could not meet the program’s lawful presence requirements for parents.” MPI also notes that under existing U.S. laws those parents legally present in the United States can (and probably already did) sponsor their children for immigrant visas instead of going through burdensome processes.
In 2016, the Obama administration decided to expand that refugee/parole programme:
Despite the fact that this new addition to the existing (and somewhat unpopular) CAM Refugee/Parole Program was mainly designed in response to the increasing number of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States illegally, this new setting could benefit every person — adults included (“vulnerable families and individuals”) — from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who seeks asylum. The government’s primary concern, however, is still focused on providing children from Central America with a safe alternative to crossing the border on their own.
Whether Central American children meet the definition of refugees, however, raises serious doubts.
When asked to give his opinion as to why children from Central America were coming to the United States, Thomas Homan, executive associate director of Enforcement and Removal Operations within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), replied, “Based on my experience, I think there are some that are skipping fear, but I think there are many more that are taking advantage of the system.”20
The Conservative Treehouse has pulled graphics showing where these UACs ended up (first graphic) and the top cities are for ICE arrests. Notice the pattern between the two.
What happens when UACs arrive in the United States? Whilst not wishing to say that all of the 227,149 who have entered between 2009 and 2015 — according to a Fox News report which cited US Border patrol numbers — are criminals or turn into criminals, their vulnerable status presents ripe fruit for the picking by gangs such as MS-13.
That Fox News article, from September 15, 2016, states:
They remain in federal custody until a sponsor can be located, at which time they are often sent to communities where they are ripe for recruitment by Latin gangs such as the infamous MS-13.
“Our safety standards have increased,” Andrea Helling, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told FoxNews.com. “In the last few months screening procedures of children and sponsors has increased in their intensity which we hadn’t done previously.”
Some observers say that, at the least, the process sends a steady stream of loosely supervised youths lacking in language and coping skills right into the waiting arms of criminal gangs. At worst, the unaccompanied minors were already initiated into the gangs before they arrived at the border.
Indeed. The CIS paper states that this is true in many cases:
a report published last year by the Migration Policy Institute on “In-Country Refugee Processing in Central America” concluded that, despite the fact that many of these Central American children are “threatened by gang violence and have clear protection needs, being forced to join a gang or experiencing violence do not generally qualify as a basis for refugee status or fall readily into one of the refugee definition categories.”24
And MS-13 is rapidly expanding across the United States.
Fox News describes the Los Angeles gang’s growth in New York state and, surprisingly, not in the New York City boroughs:
MS-13 is believed to be among the largest street gangs on New York’s Long Island, and more than 250 members have been convicted on federal felony charges since 2003. Federal prosecutors there have pinned more than 20 murders on the violent gang.
The number of UACs in New York had grown rapidly by 2016:
Long Island has received 2,093 unaccompanied children, and between October 2013 and July 2016, all of New York received 12,478 children from Central America. The overwhelming majority of the kids are not criminals and likely have competent sponsors. But some are.
Just one or two miscreants can cause a lot of crime. Imagine adding to already existing criminal numbers in a particular town or county:
In June 2015, MS-13 members and El Salvadoran immigrants Jose Cornejo, 17, Bryan Larios, 18 and Joel Escobar, 17, all of Brentwood, N.Y. were charged with the brutal rape of a 16 year-old girl on a local golf course.
Earlier this week, Joshua Guzman, 15, was shot and killed in the Long Island city of Hempstead. While not an unaccompanied immigrant, the boy’s father, Raul Guzman, told Newsday his son was under pressure to join a gang. Police believe his murder may be related.
Other American states are similarly affected by an influx of UACs and gang activity:
MS-13 has a foothold in numerous other communities, where unaccompanied minors are being sent. Texas, which has seen a spike in MS-13 crime has received 15,999 over the same period. The 2015 Texas Department of Public Safety Gang Threat Assessment found MS-13 boasts some 800 members, and authorities explicitly blamed the flood of unaccompanied children being placed in the state.
“The influx of illegal alien gang members crossing the border into Texas in 2014, along with reports of extremely violent murders committed by its members in the Houston area, positions the gang as one of the most significant gang threats in the state for this upcoming year,” the report stated.
Other areas that have seen an influx in MS-13 crime are Maryland, Texas, and Virginia. Fairfax County, Va. has seen a 160 percent increase in MS-13 related incidents through April compared to the previous year.
From this, it would appear that some of these sponsors are gang members themselves. Also, it would be relatively easy to see where a UAC coming from a gang in Central America could lie and say he was victimised and would have to escape to the US. It would be a ruse to move up in the gang world, one which already would have been arranged by his home base in Central America and the recipient ‘sponsor’ in the United States.
Being in the US would offer greater prestige and richer pickings than staying south of the border. Consider it a promotion, if you will.
It is not beyond belief that we could find a gang network, particularly MS-13, funneling these boys to the US with sponsorship arrangements having been made in advance.
It will be interesting to see what transpires this year through Attorney General Sessions’s efforts.
Tomorrow: the unlikely, yet true, story of MS-13