President Trump visited New York City last week to speak about his plans to crack down on gang violence.
“Together we’re going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities and we’re going to destroy the vile, criminal cartel MS-13 and many other gangs,” said Trump on Friday as he spoke to a crowd of state and local law enforcement agencies at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island.
Suffolk County has seen 17 brutal murders, allegedly committed by MS-13, since the beginning of 2016 – the most famous being a case in which two teenage girls were killed with baseball bats and machetes.
On Thursday, the NYPD announced that two MS-13 gang members – code names “Splinter” and “Smoker” – had been arrested and charged with the death of Fernando Gonzalez-Chavez, who was shot dead outside a convenience store on May 31st
During his speech, Trump repeatedly referred to gang members as “animals” and encouraged law enforcement to be physically rough during arrests. He blamed the gang for transforming Long Island’s “peaceful parks and beautiful quiet neighborhoods” into “blood-stained killing fields.”
“They don’t like shooting people because it’s too quick, it’s too fast,” continued Trump. “I was reading one of these animals was caught and explaining they like to knife ‘em and cut ‘em and let ‘em die slowly because that way it’s more painful.”
Trump then went on to speak about MS-13’s relationship with illegal immigration, blaming “weak borders and lax immigration enforcement” for the gang’s recent growth and asking Congress to fund 10,000 additional ICE agents and more judges to help speed up deportations. “We will find you, we will arrest you, we will jail you, and we will deport you,” he promised.
Democrats have criticized Trump for portraying the gang as made up entirely of illegal immigrants and for using it as justification for his harsh immigration policies. During a recent field hearing held by a House homeland security subcommittee, witnesses said teens and undocumented immigrants are most vulnerable to becoming victims of MS-13 – especially in cases where communities fail to welcome and support them.
Meanwhile, AG Jeff Sessions traveled to El Salvador to speak about MS-13 from that side of the border. On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that prosecutors in El Salvador had charged 113 MS-13 gang members.
Mara Salvatrucha (“MS-13”) is a particularly brutal street gang with known strongholds in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. In 2012, it became the first such group to be designated a “transnational criminal organization.”
MS-13 originated in Los Angeles in the 1980’s as Salvadorans fled en masse to the US to escape civil war. The Justice Department estimates there are currently 30,000 MS-13 members worldwide; more than 10,000 of them live in the US.
The gang’s motto is “kill, rape, control” and its members are famous for their use of machetes.
Editor’s note: This is one of the consequences of poor border security. MS-13 is a plague made more powerful by its presence in America. Thanks, Obama.