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Joe Guzzardi: Despite Increased MS-13 Violence, Feds Can’t Deport Most Gang Members

The academic school year’s first few days are often associated with students readjusting to campus life, rekindling friendships and participating in football pep rallies.

But at suburban Brentwood (N.Y.) High School on the southern shore of Suffolk County, Long Island, September began with the discovery of four bodies, all teenage students, the suspected victims of gang violence.

According to The Associated Press, the victims were Nisa Mickens and her lifelong friend, Kayla Cuevas. The 16-year-old girls were found beaten to death.

A few days later, law enforcement officers discovered the skeletal remains of 19-year-old Oscar Acosta and 15-year-old Miguel Garcia-Moran in a remote industrial area. Acosta had been missing since May, and Garcia-Moran vanished in February.

Although the police have not made any arrests, it’s believed the murders are the work of the notoriously brutal Salvadoran-based Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13.

In 2012, the Treasury Department officially designated MS-13 as a fearsome transnational gang whose members are mostly illegal immigrants.

Because of the four high school murders, Brentwood students are guarding against more violence. Many told reporters that they are afraid to walk the local streets for fear that, as one student put it, “Like, who else is going to be next, you know?”

Little wonder the students and other community members are apprehensive. Long Island, like many once safe suburban neighborhoods, is now a home to some of the most savage street gangs.

Since 2010, MS-13 gang members have been responsible for at least 30 Long Island killings, including the murder of a young mother and her infant son. The mother allegedly disrespected the gang, and her son was killed simply because he was next to her. Four MS-13 members were convicted of the double homicide.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement data shows that 85 percent of MS-13 members in the United States are aliens, about 10 percent have some form of legal status and 5 percent are citizens. In other words, nearly all MS-13 members are subject to removal, assuming that the federal government had the interest to deport them.

But because of the federal government’s lax immigration policies, ICE is often one step behind MS-13.

As Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Mexicans and occasionally Peruvians, Cubans and Dominicans enter the United States unlawfully, they set out for neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations so they can blend in, and recruit new members.

ICE rarely interferes in Hispanic enclaves. Sometimes, MS-13 aliens marry U.S. citizens to acquire legal status. Or the Obama administration’s across-the-board prosecutorial discretion program ludicrously protects MS-13 from deportation.

Regardless of how MS-13 eludes ICE, most in the gang remain in the United States to deal drugs, sell guns, perpetrate sex offenses and kill innocent people.

MS-13’s motto says it all: “Mata, roba, viola, controla.” This translates to “Kill, steal, rape and control.”

Advocates often describe illegal immigration as a victimless crime, clearly not the case with MS-13. The Offices of the U.S. Attorneys Annual Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2010 included this insightful sentence: “Illegal immigration provides the initial foothold which criminal elements, including organized crime syndicates, use to engage in a myriad of illicit activities ranging from immigration document fraud and migrant smuggling to human trafficking.”

The U.S. Attorneys’ report was issued at the beginning of President Barack Obama’s administration, and its findings are completely ignored. Hundreds of victims’ families like those of Mickens, Cuevas, Acosta and Garcia-Moran can attest to the deadly consequences of unchecked illegal immigration.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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