Amid the rash of school shootings in this country, we are engaged in a national discussion over combatting violence among our youth. Is there really a reason to import hundreds of thousands of young males from the most dangerous countries with the strongest gang culture when we already have our own problems? Is this what the American people voted for? Well, that is exactly what is happening, as we continue to resettle self-trafficked illegal alien teens from Central America, many of whom join gangs.
Last week, I reported that three MS-13 members who were arrested in Maryland for stabbing a rival gangster and burning the body were resettled as refugees under the false pretenses of being brought to this country as “unaccompanied minors.” This week, six MS-13 gangsters were indicted on charges of conspiring to commit two murders in Long Island. In the first case, Kevin Zuniga, Jose J. Portillo, and Kevin Mejia Sandoval allegedly planned to murder a fellow gang member who was actually cooperating with law enforcement. In the second case, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini, these individuals conspired to work with Gerver A. Chinchilla Perez, Emerson Hernandez Escobar, and Rafael Hernandez Elias to murder a rival gang member “by shooting him with a firearm they planned on purchasing, butchering him with a machete, or by burning him to death.”
Three of the suspects were identified by law enforcement as “homeboys,” which means they are designated leaders in the U.S. taking orders from gang leaders in El Salvador. That is what has happened to our country. We have now opened our gates to transnational gangs to operate freely in our country, often treating them as refugees!
Long Island and Maryland became hot spots for MS-13 activity during the surge of Central American teens in 2014. The current surge is making that one look like child’s play, with record numbers of teens coming in, both individually and with families. Aside from the numerous teens being given de facto amnesty who will likely join gangs when they are settled in our country, as we saw from the 2014 wave, there are numerous known gang members coming in while Border Patrol is tied up with what is essentially social work. According to Border Patrol, 800 gang members were apprehended so far this year, a 50 percent increase from last year. And it’s very likely, given that most resources are now diverted to processing the invasion rather than deterring it, most gang members who strategically enter far from points of entry are never apprehended. Consider the fact that Border Patrol has had to shut down all its secondary checkpoints in New Mexico to deal with the processing of amnesty for Central Americans.
It’s truly frightening to consider the harm to Americans and our public safety that will result in the months and years to come from this wave that has not yet crested. Anyone who is settled as a UAC is treated as a refugee and cannot be deported until they actually commit a crime. We have needlessly brought in countless tens of thousands of ticking time bombs in our schools and communities.
Mark Morgan, who was chief of Border Patrol during the end of the Obama administration, explained the concern as follows: “As a police officer working in South Central Los Angeles, and years later, as an FBI supervisor of a MS-13 Gang Task Force, I saw firsthand the transition of countless young kids into the world of gang membership. The reasons why are varied but have remained consistent: status, recognition, protection, intimidation, brotherhood, and profit through criminal activity. The young immigrant population is increasingly susceptible and vulnerable to all the pull factors and drivers. They are often uneducated, unskilled, and lack a sense of belonging and purpose. This makes them a perfect target for gang recruitment.”
Yet to this day, the Senate has refused to clarify that refugee status doesn’t apply to those who are self-trafficked by illegal alien families already here. Nor has the administration even asserted that this is the proper interpretation of the statute. The American people, through Congress, have never voted to let these people in. The statute was designed to protect victims of gangs who are kidnapped across our border, not those who are part of the gangs gaming out our system with the help of other illegal relatives, who themselves should be deported.
In 2013, Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas accused Obama’s DHS of “successfully complet[ing]” the “goal of the conspiracy” of drug smugglers to smuggle people over the border on behalf of parents “at significant expense” to taxpayers. What the Trump administration continues to do because one district judge said so, Hanen actually said is illegal. A private citizen would be prosecuted for delivering teens smuggled in to illegal alien family members:
Hanen went on to say that the Flores agreement expired after five years, and even under Flores, it is inconceivable that government would be forced to complete a criminal conspiracy and deliver teens to illegal aliens who paid for the trafficking.
Now, after months of listening to a California judge who says the opposite, potentially tens of thousands of volatile and troubled youth from Central America will be flooding our schools in the coming months. It’s a recipe for disaster, for more gangs and drug trafficking. Thomas Homan, who was director of ICE during the original 2014 UAC crisis, says, “Many of the gang members ICE has arrested the past few years entered the US at the southern border as part of a family unit or as an unaccompanied alien child UAC. As a matter of fact, a gang operation in NY last year entitled Operation Matador, which targeted MS-13 gang members, showed that approximately 40 percent of those arrested illegally entered the U.S. as part of a family unit or as a UAC. Many that entered the U.S. were already gang members or soon became gang members after arriving in the U.S.”
Mark Morgan, who after years of serving in communities with existing MS-13 populations later became chief of Border Patrol several years into the UAC crisis, saw this ticking time bomb at the front end, before they were released:
“As chief of the Border Patrol, I would tour the detention facilities filled to capacity with unaccompanied minors, 17 years of age or younger, who had illegally entered the country. Alone and without any parents or guardians. As I looked as these groups, I saw both hardened young men as well as vulnerable and lost youth. With every encounter, I walked away wondering how many would be lured into joining a gang. The odds were not in their favor, as they were released into a city somewhere in the U.S., never to be heard from again.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.