What happens at the border doesn’t stay at the border. Elite East Coast politicians might not care about Arizona ranchers, but 95 percent of illegal immigrants traipsing through the ranchers’ land don’t stay in Arizona. Most of them go to the East Coast. The hardest-hit areas? Right around the nation’s capital.
Fredrick, Maryland, used to be a quiet town that was shielded from the crime problems plaguing the Baltimore-Washington metro area for years. Sitting at the foothills in the mountainous western part of the state, it was a sort of asylum for those who wanted to escape the Baltimore-area problems when I was growing up in central Maryland. Now, it is a hotbed for MS-13 activity, thanks to our open border.
Late last week, the Washington, D.C., medical examiner confirmed the identity of the mutilated body found near the Potomac River inside the nation’s capital. It was that of Eberson Guerra-Sanchez, a 16-year-old student at Tuscarora High School in Frederick. Police suspect this was an MS-13 killing because the area was marked with the gang’s colors, but the search for the killers is still ongoing. This coincides with last week’s gang-style butchering of a 14-year-old girl with a bat and a machete in Prince George’s County, a suburb on the other side of D.C., allegedly by illegal aliens who were recipients of catch-and-release and shielded by a sanctuary government.
What does it say that the suburbs of our nation’s own capital are now infested with the worst transnational gangs fueled by illegal immigration from Central America? Whether it’s Frederick and Montgomery counties to the northwest, PG county to the northeast, or Fairfax County, Virginia, to the south, the flow of Central American teens and families has fundamentally transformed these areas beyond belief.
According to census data, in 2000, just 7.3 percent of the city of Frederick was foreign-born. As of 2017, that number is 18.7 percent for this once rural town, and the numbers are growing wildly with the surge in Central Americans. Nearly a quarter of residents speak a language other than English at home. With this change has come a surge in transnational gangs.
PG County, on the other side of the nation’s capital, has become a hub of MS-13 activity ever since the arrival of more Central American teens in 2014. In March, PG County officials arrested five MS-13 members for stabbing a gang rival 100 times and setting the body on fire. Three of them were resettled as 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 had been 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.”
The Post was referring to the “unprecedented” wave of Central Americans in 2014. Well, the current wave, if left unchecked, will likely bring in over one million.
According to the census, PG County’s foreign-born population has surged from 13.8 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2017. The population of non-Mexican Hispanics has more than tripled since 2000. The number of Central Americans quadrupled just from 2000 to 2010. With the illegal aliens from Central America has come explosive gang growth.
Fairfax County, Virginia, has a similar story. Its population of non-Mexican Hispanics has almost doubled over the past two decades. Prince William County to the south, which has a growing MS-13 problem in Woodbridge, saw its overall foreign-born population double, while the Salvadoran population grew more than sixfold just from the 2000 to the 2010 census.
“Where you see immigrant populations, you will likely see the gang,” said Asiano Davila, the FBI’s program manager for the Transnational Gang Task Force, in an interview with WTOP news in 2017. Fairfax County Police Detective Ken Compher is quoted in the same article as saying, “We’re getting kids from other countries who have killed people down there, who have committed murders, who are coming here and recruiting. And they’re coming here with that one goal — the gangs are sending them here.”
But it’s more than just those who are known gang members in Central America. Today’s harmless 12-year-old coming over the border is often tomorrow’s new gang recruit in our own cities. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who used to be a U.S. attorney in Maryland, said at an MS-13 roundtable last May that in addition to letting in those who are already gang members, “we’re also letting people in who are vulnerable.”
“What we found in recent years is a resurgence of MS-13 in Maryland, in the D.C. area, and it was fueled by illegal immigration and particularly by the challenge of unaccompanied minor children,” said Rosenstein in the presence of the president in Long Island last year. “Many of these alien children, who have no parents, no family structure — we’re releasing them into communities where they’re vulnerable to recruitment by MS-13,” said Rosenstein.
As I reported earlier this month, fewer than ten percent of those sponsoring the UACs have legal status themselves, and most UACs are self-smuggled by families rather than being “victims of a severe form of trafficking,” which is the requirement of the statute for eligibility for the resettlement program.
Last year, in a report on MS-13 for the Center for Immigration Studies, Jessica Vaughan referred to “one MS-13 clique leader in Frederick, Md., who had received a DACA work permit … reportedly was told by gang leaders in El Salvador to take advantage of the lenient policies on UACs to bring in new recruits, knowing that they would be allowed to resettle in the area with few questions asked.” Which gives you a sense of what the surge in Central American teens has done to this area. “Several of these unaccompanied minors now have been arrested and incarcerated for various crimes, including a vicious random attack on a sheriff’s deputy in 2015,” warned Vaughan, who herself used to live in Maryland.
Unfortunately, rather than shutting down this program, the administration is requesting from Congress another $2.7 billion for HHS to continue completing the criminal conspiracy to help illegal aliens smuggle volatile Central American teens into the country and have them be treated like legal permanent residents.
MS-13 is endemic to El Salvador, and now roughly 22 percent of El Salvador’s population is in the United States.
Tragically, an endless number of illegal aliens as well as Americas will die as a result of this perfect storm. Yet, there will likely be very few body counts publicized of those killed by MS-13 members resettled as family units or UACs, though there are accounts of those who die of dehydration and illness in ICE custody resulting from making the dangerous trip north. Sadly, our political leaders don’t need to go to the border to see the effect of their policies. They can step right outside their offices in the D.C. area.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.