Flawed immigration policy begets gang violence


Youths flood across border, MS-13 gang numbers climb, 92 percent are illegal aliens

WASHINGTON, DC – The Center for Immigration Studies held a teleconference to accompany the publishing of the first two reports of a series on the placement of tens of thousands of illegal alien minors from Central America in communities across the country and the corresponding rise in MS-13 gang violence. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has placed 80 percent of the unaccompanied alien children (UACs) with lightly vetted sponsors who are themselves illegally living in the country, with almost no monitoring or follow-up contact. Some of these youths, who are not being sent home, are being recruited into the gangs; thousands of the UAC’s are even being placed with criminal sponsors.

The increasing MS-13 population and violence results in part from Congress passing the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which was intended to protect against the trafficking of unaccompanied minors. But the Obama administration has misused the law and allowed in tens of thousands of illegal alien teenagers who are neither unaccompanied nor trafficked. Over last three years the administration has used the law as a pretext to allow over 120,000 minors to remain in the country, resulting in “a national security and public safety crisis,” according to Joe Kolb, a Center fellow and author of the two reports.

Sheriff A.J. Louderback of the Texas Sheriffs Association spoke of the 800-plus MS-13 gang members in Houston and the shocking “level of violence and savagery” being experienced by victims, including scalping, sexual assault, and machete hacking, a hallmark of the transnational criminal organization.

Reports, Factsheet, Teleconference Audio, and Transcript: http://cis.org/GangCrime

The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Baltimore, Long Island, Charlotte, Newark, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and several Texas cities suffer the highest level of MS-13 violence, as shown by ICE arrests. Brentwood, N.Y., on Long Island, a town consumed by MS-13 crime, exemplifies the association between the huge influx of illegal alien minors and MS-13 violence levels. In a town of 60,000, there have been 30 MS-13 murders since 2010; an additional three murders this fall, plus two bodies found from the spring are being attributed to the dangerous gang.

Lenny Tucker, President of the Brentwood Association of Concerned Citizens, said, “residents feel under siege by the influx of illegal immigrants and gang members.” He described a 16-year-old dying in his home at his son’s birthday party as the result of several young men shooting into his home as part of an MS-13 initiation attack. He also spoke of a 34-year-old man killed, chopped with a machete, and left on the street on his block.

Without notifying local officials, ORR settled 3,709 UACs in Suffolk County – home to an estimated 1,000 MS-13 members – more than 1,800 of them settling in Brentwood. Schools and law enforcement were unprepared. Children are scared to attend school, property values have plummeted, and people who can afford to leave town are doing so, causing a shrinking tax base.

The flood of illegal aliens continues. CIS Policy Studies director Jessica Vaughan noted that currently an average of 260 unaccompanied youths are being allowed in every day, compared to about 150 a day in 2014. Sheriff Louderback speaks for all of the traumatized communities when he said, “We need help.”