One of the biggest scams being perpetrated against the American people as part of this mass migration from Central America is the fact that we are treating those who engage in self-trafficking as victims of trafficking and those who commit heinous violence in our country as refugees from violence. Nowhere is this more evident than with those who come here from Central America as teens by having their families pay to traffic them here, get resettled as refugees, and then join gangs and fuel violence in our cities greater than the violence in their home countries.
On Friday, police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, announced the arrest of five members of an MS-13 cell based in Fairfax County, Virginia, for the gruesome murder of a fellow gang member across the state line. The suspects allegedly stabbed the victim 100 times and set the body on fire, a hallmark of the Latin American gangs and cartels. All five suspects – Jose Ordonez-Zometa, 29; Jonathan Castillo Rivera, 20; Kevin Rodriguez Flores, 18; Cristhian Martinez Ramirez, 16; and Jose Hernandez-Garcia, 25 – are being charged with first-degree murder.
I’ve noticed a pattern of so many heinous crimes committed by young males from Central America and how many of them came in to the country as “unaccompanied alien children” several years ago. Under that rubric, we automatically treat them as refugees to be resettled, not illegal aliens to be deported. I reached out to ICE and was told that at least three of them were indeed resettled under the UAC program. Here is the information they sent out on the record:
Cristhian Martinez Ramirez entered the United States on an unknown date at an unknown location, and was encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol on May 18, 2016. Border Patrol identified Martinez as an unaccompanied minor and he was transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Martinez was released to a family member in Virginia on June 16, 2016. On March 11, Martinez was arrested by local law enforcement officers in Stafford County for murder.
Jonathan Castillo Rivera entered the United States on an unknown date at an unknown location, and was encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol on Feb. 6, 2016. Border Patrol identified Castillo as an unaccompanied minor and he was transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Castillo was released to a family member in Virginia on Feb. 19, 2016. On March 12, Castillo was arrested by local law enforcement officers in Stafford County for murder.
Kevin Rodriguez Flores entered the United States on an unknown date at an unknown location, and was encountered by the U.S. Border Patrol on June 27, 2016. Border Patrol identified Rodriguez as an unaccompanied minor and he was transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Rodriguez was released to a family member in New Jersey on July 15, 2016. ICE officers arrested Rodriguez on March 12 and transferred custody to Stafford County based on an outstanding warrant for murder. At that time, ICE lodged a detainer with the Rappahannock Regional Jail.
The other two came in at unknown times as adults. All five of them were citizens of El Salvador.
Notice the common thread here? They were all released into the custody of other family here, most likely themselves illegal aliens who, based on what DHS officials have testified before Congress in recent years, most likely paid for them to be smuggled into the country.
Our laws aren’t broken. It’s our policies contorting the laws that are broken. The relevant statute (Sec. 235(a) of the Wilberforce Act) authorizes the resettlement program only for those children who are 1) indeed children under 18; 2) have no parent or guardian present in the country; and 3) have been victims of “a severe form” of human trafficking. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these teens have legal guardians in America who themselves are here illegally. Yes: 80 percent of the UACs were settled with other illegal aliens, most often family members, and in almost all cases, they are self-trafficked, not victims of kidnapping. Thus, they are not unaccompanied.
Sadly, the American people pay for the rope to hang ourselves with by resettling these people as refugees. Places like Long Island, N.Y., North Carolina, Maryland, and northern Virginia have been flooded with gang activity since the Central American teens began coming in large numbers in 2014. And 98.2 percent of all Central American teens who came in fiscal year 2017 still remain in our communities.
If it weren’t so tragic, the irony of this invasion would be funny. We are told that these people are fleeing violence. In reality, violence in Central America has plummeted, coinciding with the skyrocketing of migration. There are now places in Maryland, such as Baltimore, that have higher homicide rates than Central America! Baltimore’s homicide rate in 2018 was 56 per 100,000 people. That tops the 51 per 100,000 rate in El Salvador and dwarfs the rates of 40 and 22.4 in Honduras and Guatemala respectively. And the homicide rates are plummeting in those countries while migration skyrockets. The homicide rates have been cut in half in all three countries since the migration began!
Indeed, while not all Central American youth are gang members, a lot of them are, and we are bringing the violence to our communities. Roughly 30 percent of all gang members arrested by ICE in some recent stings have been UACs.
Last year, the Washington Post reported on an “overwhelmingly Hispanic school in Prince George’s County,” Maryland, where MS-13 would “sell drugs, draw gang graffiti and aggressively recruit students recently arrived from Central America, according to more than two dozen teachers, parents and students.” It was so bad that “most of those interviewed asked not to be identified for fear of losing their jobs or being targeted by MS-13.”
The Post also did a report on an illegal immigrant woman from Guatemala who has to pay ransom to MS-13 not to be killed and how she felt she was living with the very elements she fled. She was living in the U.S. for 10 years, but things changed around the DACA surge when “MS-13 was on the rebound, fueled by fresh recruits from an unprecedented wave of almost 200,000 unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.”
It would truly be a tragic irony if the violence has gone down in these countries for precisely the same reason why it has gone up in some of our communities. Perhaps that is a consequence of a government that now cares more about the desires of foreign nationals than about the protection of its citizenry. At some point, this administration needs to assert its will and declare a shutdown to all cross-border migration and put an end to this dangerous influx of dangerous gang criminals.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.