Members of the Hispanic gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) use deportation as a handy way to get back down to El Salvador and visit with family and recruit more gang members before heading north again with their new recruits.
Of the 70 passengers, at least four are members of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a gang formed two decades ago near MacArthur Park west of the Los Angeles skyline.For one of them, Melvin "Joker" Cruz-Mendoza, the trip is nothing new. This is his fourth deportation — the second this year.
Wiry with a shaved head, the 24-year-old pleaded guilty in separate felony robbery and drug cases in Los Angeles. "MS" covers his right forearm. Other tattoos are carved into the skin above his eyebrows.
In the last 12 years, U.S. immigration authorities have logged more than 50,000 deportations of immigrants with criminal records to Central America, including untold numbers of gang members like Cruz-Mendoza.
There's something obviously wrong and highly fixable with this picture.
"I think most of the police departments will agree that you're just getting them off the street for a couple of months," said FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker, who is coordinating investigations across North America, where the gang operates in a loose network of cells.
Deportations have helped create an "unending chain" of gang members moving between the U.S. and Central America, said Rodrigo Avila, El Salvador's vice minister of security.
How about trying felons for violating the law? Get deported as a felon. Come back the United States. Get caught. Go to jail for 5 years. Second time? 10 years. Third time? Longer still. This is not rocket science. It is basic law enforcement. Punish people for breaking the law. In fact, the law already exists for doing this:
After serving little more than a year in jail, Cruz-Mendoza was deported for a third time in January, records and interviews show.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested him in Arizona a month later. At that point, he could have been charged with a felony for reentering the country after deportation, which could have landed him in federal prison for as long as 20 years.
Law enforcement is a strong point with conservatives. The Bush Administration's failure to properly enforce immigration law even against felons is yet another piece of evidence that Bush is a faux conservative.
MS-13 members deported to El Salvador use their visits there to recruit more gang members and bring the gang members back north into the United States with them. So weak US border control and weak enforcement of immigration laws against repeat illegal entrants combined with deportations are together supporting the MS-13 membership recruitment operation.
The deportation revolving door is helping to feed the MS-13 franchise expansion operation into areas of the United States that do not have MS-13 cells. Your taxpayer dollars at work:
The move to the East Coast came after members met to work out which U.S. regions would be open to the new Salvadoran groups. With Southern California already claimed by existing cells, members agreed that Salvadoran branches could move to other parts of the U.S., according to gang members and U.S. law enforcement officials.
The article claims that the Washington DC area has 5000 MS-13 members. The franchise expansion is obviously proceeding apace while the Bush Administration and members of the US Senate continue to look for ways to pass a new immigration amnesty. Read the whole article. It is disgusting that the governing elites of the United States of America are letting this happen.
Update: An article by Al Valdez, an investigator for the Orange County District Attorney's office provides many details about Mara Salvatrucha.
Most of the Salvadorian refugees settled in the established Hispanic neighborhoods of the "Rampart" area of Los Angeles. However, Salvadorians were not readily accepted into the Los Angeles Hispanic community, and were frequently targeted by local Hispanic gangs. As a result, in the late 1980s, some refugees and refugee members of La Mara and FMNL formed what is now known as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) street gang in Los Angeles. Like many other street gangs, MS initially formed for protection, but quickly developed a reputation for being organized and extremely violent. MS membership continues to be fed by refugees from groups like FMNL.
Since its inception in California and Washington, DC, Mara Salvatrucha has expanded into Oregon, Alaska, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Canada, and Mexico. MS is unique in that, unlike traditional U.S. street gangs, it maintains active ties with MS members and factions in El Salvador. Mara Salvatrucha is truly an international gang.
Valdez says the MS-13 people send M-16s from El Salvador (where the rifles are cheaper) to the United States (where the rifles are more expensive). They also ship hand guns from the US to El Salvador because hand guns are harder to get there. So MS-13 are international traders who look for arbitrage opportunities and who try to make markets more efficient.
Looked at in this light the movement of MS-13 members into the US to spread out into every corner of America is an attempt to make criminal labor markets more efficient. Criminals are underutilized in El Salvador because there is not enough to steal and not enough people to brutalize and defraud. Libertarian Open Borders advocates should reflect upon some of the undesirable consequences of unfettered labor markets.
Until recently, MS-13 wasn’t that big a player in East Coast gang culture. The reason for its weak position in the East Coast crime world was obvious: It wasn’t very well organized. MS-13 was comprised of a group of cliques that operated independently of each other.
No more. Law enforcement officials now report that gang members from across the country have come together to unite affiliated groups up and down the East Coast. The leadership for these cliques is now coming from as far away as California and even from El Salvador.
Robert Hart, senior agent in charge with the FBI, says that when individual groups of MS-13 unite, the results can be devastating. “The cliques, instead of operating independently of each other, are beginning to come together,” Hart explains. “The difference is by doing that, obviously you have a much tighter organization, much stronger structures and, instead of having various cliques doing whatever they want, wherever they want, there is one individual who is the leader and is able to control the payment of dues and the criminal acts they engage in. The result is very, very similar to what you would see in what we refer to as traditional organized criminal families.”
I know a guy who thinks Hispanic immigration is like Italian immigration and therefore fairly benign. Well, El Salvadoran immigration is looking more and more like Sicilian immigration.
Honduran President Ricardo Maduro still has bitter memories of how his own son was kidnapped and killed by gang members in 1997, and has ordered a "zero tolerance" crackdown on gangs in his country. A law passed by the Honduran legislature makes illicit association a crime -- in other words, anyone looking like a gang member is arrested as a suspect.
El Salvador has a similar law, called the "Mano Dura," or Firm Hand, and now the "Super Mano Dura." But some human rights activists and even a former Honduran police commissioner, Maria Luisa Borjas, criticize the crackdown tactics as extreme and repressive.
But let the Hispanic gang problem get big enough and the populace of the United States will increasingly demand reinterpretations of the US Constitution to make harsher law enforcement tactics legal. The public will sacrifice freedom for safety. Open Border libertarians advocate a policy that will lead to conditions that will cause the American populace to put safety ahead of freedom.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2005 October 31 07:39 PM Immigration Crime|