Importing El Salvador’s Carnage

flag of El SalvadorSecurity is heavy at an Alexandria, Virginia, courtroom where seven El Salvador-based MS-13 gang members are on trial for a series of grisly murders in suburban Virginia. In one case, gang enforcers beheaded a member who had run afoul of the group and buried his body. The incident took place in a public park next to a middle school that is located five miles from the White House.

More than 242,000 Unaccompanied Alien Minors (UAMs) have waltzed across the border since 2009, some of whom are helping to fuel the rise in Central American gang activity. The well-intentioned Wilberforce anti-trafficking law makes it difficult to repatriate UAMs to countries other than Mexico.or Canada. UAMs from countries that do not border the United States are handed a Notice to Appear before a judge, however, these notices are dismissed as “permisos” by the immigrants, who consider them to be permission slips allowing them to remain in the country, which further erodes respect for our laws. After the Border Patrol passes the UAMs to the Department of Health and Human Services, the vast majority of UAMs skip their hearing and the government has no idea where they are.

Around 98 percent of UAMs are from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Knowing that parts of Central America are under siege by gangs, federal officials abet illegal activity by letting migrants cross the border in the first place and then failing to ensure that they appear before the courts.

So far, most of the perpetrators and victims of MS-13 killings hail from El Salvador. Allowing this situation to deteriorate ruins the lives of young children who have no family members in this country and continue to fall prey to the gangs they are trying to escape. And any other American can fall victim to an act of violence as some UAMs have been released to gang members or other criminals by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Not only are gangs slipping made members into this country, but kids who come here to avoid gang activity can easily be pressured to join, since their families back home are subject to retaliation.

Gang members begin recruiting new members and committing crimes as soon as they cross the border. MS-13 and another syndicate, the 18th Street Gang, have turned the Border Patrol processing center in Nogales, Arizona, into their recruiting headquarters. Children as young as ten years old have been targeted for recruitment, according to law enforcement officials.

The trial in Virginia illustrates the degree to which MS-13 has invaded the suburbs of our nation’s capital. In one high-profile incident, a UAM gunned down a 17-year-old while the victim walked to school, allegedly on orders from an MS-13 chieftain located in El Salvador. Two other UAMs accused of abetting the crime by hiding the gun had skipped their immigration hearings, scheduled just days before the murder, and blended into society until their apprehension on the accessory to murder charge.

As gangsters take advantage of our lax enforcement of immigration laws, the time to exert greater vigilance at our borders has never been more critical. Though heartening that Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently arrested 1,133 MS-13 gang members in a five-week operation, it is a pity that the expenditure of resources to track them down could have been avoided altogether with more vigorous border interdiction policies.

More depressing, even if Homeland Security deported all the foreign violent criminals that can be caught, they will just march right back over our porous southern border to replicate the vortex of Central American gang violence that is beginning to plague new cities, suburbs and rural outposts across the United States.

The federal government has paid lip service to securing the border since the mid-1980s, but has done little to achieve that goal. Several bills to change the problematic provisions in the Wilberforce anti-trafficking law have been introduced in Congress, but none have gained traction. And, the new catch and release policy instituted by ICE must be changed to better protect the American people.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar


    Not Politically Correct please go ahead and give more money to FAIR

    why not you should be free to do that…another privilege you got you never earned my ancestry gave you.

  2. avatar

    Use bigger font in your posts. They will very likely be read much more often, and Tweeted much more often too.

  3. avatar

    Obviously we need e-verify for every job in this country. But that is not sufficient for a problem like this. All we hear is that we need amnesty because people “living in the shadows” will come forward and we will know who is here. These criminals have no interest in any kind of legalization, or cooperating with authorities, and all the other b.s. stories advocates put forward.

    As pointed out, any that are deported can quickly come back over our porous southern border. It’s too bad that anyone who supports a fortified border is cast as a right wing racist, but it’s just common sense. Our government is allowing an invasion of our country by these gangs, and a compliant media and most politicians go along with it.

    • avatar

      E-verify needs to be expanded, as well.
      I long for the day when I can use e-verify to validate that the guy who wants to mow my lawn has the legal right to work in this country. As it is, I make a point of asking them directly. Those who are obviously American whip out a Soc-Sec card and a driver’s license. Those I suspect are illegal hem and haw and leave rather quickly.
      E-verify, if mandated for day laborers, would do much to end our immigration problem.

      • avatar

        I fully agree. E-verify is a must. But it will not help with the drug gangs because those people don’t want jobs or anything but to be criminals. Only a fortified fence/wall backed by agents/soldiers is going to stop them. I refuse to believe that we can be the world’s policeman but we can’t control our border. This is an area where Trump needs to be specific. For instance he could spell out how many members of MS-13 are operating in this country.

          • avatar

            I said: “E-verify is a must. But it will not help with the drug gangs because those people don’t want jobs or to be anything but criminals. Only a fence/wall backed by agents/soldiers is going to stop them.” You’re playing your usual pretend game that I didn’t already clearly address that.

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            No Leland I asked you a question based on your writings…and the article above…”games” you understand what you read an what you write?

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            I’ve clearly stated, three times now, that e-verify will not help with these gangs because they are not interested in working and that’s why we need a secure border as well. But trolls like you aren’t interested in an honest discussion.

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            Leland what is interested here is that now you start the name calling……trolls like me and my family are the ones who gave you this land you did noting and contribute zero to it……….

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            Not Politically Correct on

            “No Change”. People like you make me want to contribute more to this organization and others like it. My pockets get deeper every time I read one of your silly comments.

          • avatar

            Not Politically Correct please go ahed and I’ve more money to FAIR….nothing wrong with that and good and great for FAIR….I am glad the land you are standing on makes you tick somehow…..otherwise my ancestors effort and mine would be in vain. Cheers!!!

          • avatar

            But since you side with Leland on calling me names for no reason to exercise my right to express myself, you and Leland are the loyalist that back in time were against the birth of our country………