The controversy is not in mentioning MS-13, but in denying it is a real threat
Jennifer G. Hickey
During his first State of the Union, President Trump committed a cardinal sin in the eyes of those who deify the class of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as minors – he mentioned MS-13.“For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives,” said the president in highlighting victims of the brutal El Savadoran criminal syndicate.After urging Congress to close the “deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country,” he rolled out his plan to give amnesty to 1.8 million illegal immigrants.But for the amnesty-only crowd (aka, the Democratic Party) a call to secure the borders had now become a racist attack on immigrants.Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), for example, asked his Twitter followers “why is that whenever the President speaks of immigration it always seems to be in the context of gang members and murderers?”Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who knows as a former prosecutor the violent nature of criminal gangs, told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that “to equate Dreamers with MS-13 and criminal gangs was completely irresponsible.”The responses from open border lawmakers and special interests demonstrate that rhetoric has replaced logic.No one has said all illegal immigrants were gang members any more than it is assumed all Italians are members of the Mafia. And recent law enforcement operations expose the fact MS-13 members are gaining entry to the U.S. along with other illegal immigrants.As part of stepped up efforts to dismantle MS-13, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 267 alleged MS-13 members in the U.S. and El Salvador.Of the gang members arrested in the U.S. during “Operation Raging Bull,” 198 were foreign nationals, including 193 illegal aliens 64 of whom entered as unaccompanied alien minors (UAMs), according to the FBI.Cries of racism and emotional defenses of these illegal aliens makes good TV, but is not good for public safety, particularly for those who live in the same immigrant communities from which MS-13 recruits.According to the Justice Department, they actively recruit members, including middle- and high-school students, from communities with a large number of immigrants from El Salvador.They also tend to be the victims too.In early January, an MS-13 member pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 15-year-old boy. And, in December, another MS-13 member pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 15-year-old boy in East Boston.Despite the gains made by the Trump administration through increased enforcement operations, the violence along the East Coast spiked in 2017.In Virginia, MS-13 gang-related murder rose 166 percent last year, while in New York, a directive sent from MS-13 leaders in El Salvador spurred an incidents of violence, including at schools where the gang likes to recruit.