Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gangs and Illegal Aliens

An editorial in The Washington Post discussed the alarming growth of the violent MS-13 gang in Washington, D.C. and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs. Details of how MS-13 gang members live and operate can be found in an earlier Washington Post report.

The vast majority of members of MS-13 are illegal aliens from El Salvador, other Central American countries, and Mexico. That's a highly relevant fact that goes a long way toward explaining how and why branches of this brutal gang have recently materialized in areas such as Washington, Los Angeles, and New York.

However, there was no mention in either the editorial or the earlier report that most of the gang members are illegal aliens. Not a word. Why? Because the leftist view, too often represented by The Washington Post, is that illegal immigration isn't such a bad thing. In this view, they're poor people just trying to support their families back home, they do jobs we need done, and the conditions in their countries are probably our fault anyway.

An account of the contribution of illegal immigration to the presence of these brutal thugs among us and their suspected links to al Qaeda can be found in a recent Washington Times editorial. In a discussion of federal efforts to apprehend these criminals, the editorial said:

Almost all of these gangs consist of illegal aliens from Central and Latin America.... Of the 1,000 gang members who have been arrested this year, 90 percent have been illegal aliens....

Immigration enthusiasts often argue that the majority of illegal aliens come to this country to find honest work. The problem is that while most are not associated with criminal organizations like MS-13, many are indebted to them. The influence of such gangs begins in Central and Latin America, where the strongest control the migration routes north to the United States. Honest immigrants often must cooperate with them to enter the country; young illegals who can't find work often turn to their violent benefactors. Many of Monday's suspects had prior arrests or had already been deported.

As...reported last fall in this paper, a top al Qaeda lieutenant is believed to have met with MS-13 officials to seek help infiltrating the U.S.-Mexico border. In February, former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James Loy suggested to a Senate committee that al Qaeda may have targeted the MS-13's smuggling operations to gain entry to this country.

While admitting the need for better law enforcement efforts against MS-13, the Post is concerned that there isn't more "outreach to Hispanic teenagers." According to the Post, we need more Hispanic police officers, community programs, after-school activities, and involvement by community leaders. What this means, in effect, is throwing federal money at the problem and financing the careers of more professional agitators. We've seen how well that worked in the past. The flawed rationale is the same: Let's be more understanding, let's have more counseling, let's have more ethnic celebrations, let's have some midnight basketball, and maybe these criminal thugs won't kill us. Some people never learn.

The fact is that illegal immigration is a significant contributor to the growth of violent gangs in the U.S., and it facilitates the infiltration of other kinds of terrorists. Despite those obvious facts, neither the Bush Administration nor its liberal opponents are willing to do anything serious to secure our borders. Their reasons are different, but the effect is the same.

Border security is a fundamental responsibility of government. We must control our borders and deal with illegal aliens as the criminals they are. Until we do, our country will be less secure than it should be, and the war on terror will be seriously compromised.


Anonymous Schmedlap said...

The most important point in that post article was that many of those arrested had already been deported. There was an article in the most recent Foreign Affairs about supergangs, and it focused largely on MS-13. It explained how mass deportations of hispanic gang members back to their countries of origin was a catalyst for the rise of MS-13. With our porous borders and the relative ease with which people can move around this planet, deportation should rarely, if ever, be resorted to. Deportation is no better than simply releasing a criminal back out into our society - that is where he will eventually end up, once again.

7:15 AM, August 10, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

It seems to me that focusing on the illegal resident status of these individuals as a causitive factor is niave at best. And if it's not a major causitive factor then, by definition, it's not going to be a major preventative factor.

How many members of the Irish gangs of the late 19th and early 20th century were illegal residents?

How many Italians in the Mofia thru out the 20th century were illegal residents?

How many Bloods or Crips are illegal residents?

How many Jamaican gangbangers are illegal residents?

The listing can go on and on. Russian syndicates... Armenian Mafia... Japanese Yakuza... Chinese Triad... etc.

There are common threads between gang activity in the United States and these various gangs. But, whether any of their members are here legally or not isn't even close to being a dominant one.

4:50 PM, August 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Texas is a strong conservative and republican state whose elected officials don't do or say a thing about the illegal immigration into their state. Why? Becasue it is the source of cheap labor to the Republican big business contributors. The cheap labor keeps labor wages for legals and American citizens down and business profit margins up. The Republicans in Texas, now the ruling body in Washington aren't doing a thing to protect American jobs or their lives. You're safer as an American living abroad spouting your rah rah Republican attitude than living here like most other veterans tolerating the decay of America's way of life by the greedy Republican party and supporters.

1:35 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Schmedlap, you're advocating that we just give up and accept the fact that we can't secure our borders. I can't accept that.

Come on, Kevin, you know enough about the history of the periods you're talking about to understand the differences. MS-13 has literally exploded onto the scene in the U.S. in the past few years, and that's primarily because they were able to so easily waltz across our borders. Use some logic: Since about 90 percent of MS-13 are illegal aliens, largely having arrived recently, effective border control would have kept them out of the U.S. That doesn't seem like a complicated point.

Anonymous, I agree that the Republicans don't seem willing to do anything about illegal immigration, just like the Democrats. As far as my "rah rah Republican attitude" is concerned, you might try reading a little more of what I've written. I know, a little knowledge makes it harder to throw stones around, but give it a try.

4:16 PM, August 11, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

The Jamaican gangs explodedly violently on the scene too... at least on the East Coast. The Irish gangs rose up in a very short time frame too.

The fact of the matter is that resident status isn't a dominant common thread amongst the various violent gangs to have infested America.

It makes no sense at all to focus on a demonstrably minor thread as a serious preventative measure.

We could turn this country into a literal fortress with massive walls on all sides and ports teaming with officials armed to the teeth. We could prevent any more M13 members who don't have a legal right to be here from reaching our soil.

What then? Does that end gang violence in America? Do no more innocent Americans die violent deaths at the hands of gangs at that point?

It seems pretty evident to me that focusing on immigrant status does more to keep brown-skinned people out of America than it does to keep Americans safe from gang violence.

10:33 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, the only real argument that can be made about the link between illegal immigration and the rapid growth of MS-13 is the extent to which it could have been prevented by effective border security. Given that 90 percent of MS-13 members are illegal aliens, it strains logic to argue that keeping them out of the country in the first place wouldn't have significantly limited its growth.

I'm disappointed to see you make the standard leftist argument that opposition to illegal immigration is, in effect, racist and evidence of prejudice against "brown-skinned people." As I've written repeatedly, I strongly favor an effectively administered guest worker program, and I have a lot of sympathy for people willing to make the sacrifice to go north to better their lot in life. However, I'll never accept the idea that we should just ignore our borders and let illegal aliens enter at will. MS-13 is but one outcome of that kind of attitude.

2:51 AM, August 12, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I've never argued that we should just ignore our borders. In fact I've long agreed with conservatives about the need to exert better, more effective control over who enters our nation and under what circumstances.

My sole point here is that exerting border control would at best limit M13 while doing next to nothing about the larger issue of violent gang activity in America.

Obviously M13 is made up of brown-skinned people.

Obviously residency status is not a strong thread running thru violent gang activity in America.

Pinning the "Leftist" label on me for pointing out the obvious doesn't really change the objective facts.

10:15 AM, August 12, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, we're talking past each other. This is about MS-13. Effective border control would have kept most of them out of the country. Too late for that now. They should be rounded up and deported at this point, as ICE is trying to do, apparently.

The broader issue of violent gangs in general is another subject.

11:34 AM, August 12, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Hmmm... this line in your original post seemed to me to argue otherwise

The fact is that illegal immigration is a significant contributor to the growth of violent gangs in the U.S...

I don't believe that is anything close to a fact, which I think I've demonstrated amply with earlier comments in this thread.

I fully agree with your larger point about the need for border control. And I agree that it would... or should theoretically improve our security. But, it's far from the significant factor that you make it out to be. IMHO, of course.

12:25 PM, August 12, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, I yield that point. The line should have been more specific, consistent with the rest of the post.

12:58 PM, August 12, 2005  
Blogger Bill O. Writes said...

Locally illegals were involved in two major crimes. The first were where $80,000 in crack cocaine was being sold near a school. When the police arrived. The criminals fired twice at an officer among women and children. The only thing that saved the officer was the fact that the bullets charge didn't ignite.

The second involved passing $100 bills perfect down to the ribbon, watermark, threads, and print. The only difference was the numbers were the same. Still feel secure? Still think UNDOCUMENT persons are not involved in crimes.

Nine undocumented workers were found at Dugway, a top secret research facility for studies against Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Men crossed the Canadian border, lived in America as undocumented immigrants, then attacked the World Trade Center on 9-11.

Is your concern security, or cheaper grapes at the store?

Anonymous (August 11 @ 1:35) look at my blog with quotes from and Washington Week. It will make what you say look tame, especially what the mayor of Los Angelos says.

11:56 AM, April 06, 2006  

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