The Corner

The Gangs of (Brentwood) New York

The flow of illegal-alien teenagers from Central America represents a negation of immigration law of a kind similar to (albeit smaller in scale than) what Angela Merkel has wrought in Germany. Using as its rationale a law designed to protect unaccompanied minors who’ve been trafficked (forcibly brought here), the Obama administration has admitted as de facto permanent residents scores of thousands of teenagers who were neither trafficked nor unaccompanied (and not even checked to see if they’re actually minors). What’s worse, Obama has effectively acted as a subcontractor to the smuggling cartels by delivering the illegal-alien teens to their illegal-alien families in the U.S. Tens of thousands more are acting on Obama’s invitation and heading north.

That would all be bad enough if the illegal-alien teens were models of lawful behavior otherwise. Unfortunately, the Obama-generated flow of “unaccompanied” “minors” from Central America has breathed new life into a weakened MS-13 transnational gang, notable for its extreme brutality. From 2005 to 2014 (when the surge in Central American teens really began), ICE arrested 4,000 MS-13 gang members and associates, 92 percent of whom were illegal. (A mark of the gang’s savagery is that MS-13 accounted for 13 percent of ICE gang arrests during that time, but 35 percent of the murderers.) As a result, “MS-13 was nearly eradicated in a lot of places,” as my colleague Jessica Vaughan said in a recent teleconference.

Since then, 120,000 Central American teens have been waved into the U.S. by Obama, some of them pretending to be unaccompanied, others coming with adults, for whom they are the ticket of admission to the U.S.

Suffolk County, N.Y. – the eastern half of Long Island – has been one of the main recipients of these teens, sent there by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Most have gone to the Hispanic-majority community of Brentwood.

Once there, many of the teens – who are described in our press as “refugees” from gang violence – join the very gangs they’re supposedly fleeing. As Joseph Kolb, executive director of the Southwest Gang Information Center, writes, “bolstered by the infusion of new recruits courtesy of the ORR resettlement program, MS-13 is now the dominant gang in Brentwood and they are making their control abundantly clear.”

The resulting surge in crime has shocked the locals. Carlos Sanchez, director for school safety for the Brentwood School District, told Kolb, “the level of violence we have, we have never seen before.” Lenny Tucker, President of the Brentwood Association of Concerned Citizens, told the teleconference, “I’ve had more bad things happen to myself and my family since I moved to Brentwood than when I lived in the inner city.”

As if that’s not bad enough, Kolb said, regarding ORR’s “self-proclaimed diligence in screening these children and then screening the sponsors”: “That’s the same procedure that ORR said they’re going to use for Syrian children.”

It’s not clear whether immigrants as a whole are more likely or less likely to engage in crime; the data is inconclusive and often deliberately withheld (leading to lawsuits like one brought last week). But there’s no question that Obama’s invitation to Central America to move here has supercharged gang violence.

And Hillary thinks Obama has been too severe in enforcing immigration law.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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