President Trump calls for more police control to address MS-13

AJ Galassi, Contributing Writer

“We’re here to discuss the tremendous threat of MS-13, one of the most violent and vicious gangs anywhere in the world,” said President Donald Trump in the State of the Union Address.

Following a series of Central American civil wars during the 1980s, surges of immigrants flooded into the United States through the southern border.  Soon thereafter, a group of Salvadoran immigrants created a gang which came to be known as Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.  Fast forward several decades and what was once a small cell of Salvadoran criminals has turned into an international criminal organization with an estimated membership of 70,000 worldwide.  

Since its beginnings in Los Angeles, the gang has spread across the country, as close to home on Long Island as Hempstead, Central Islip, Freeport, Huntington Station, and Brentwood.  From Jan. 2016 to Apr. 2016 alone, the NYPD reported that members of MS-13 were responsible for 17 homicides on Long Island.  Recently, two local teenage girls from Brentwood, Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas, were brutally hacked to death by members of MS-13.  The motivation for these homicides, which was a disagreement online with a member of the gang, was simple, but the members behind the attack saw it as a show of personal disrespect and called for blood.  The two girls were so brutally murdered that they were nearly unidentifiable when the police found them.  In his State of the Union address, President Trump referenced this attack when discussing the need to crush MS-13.  For most, the close proximity of an organization whose motto—“mata, viola, controla”—translates to “kill, rape, control,” is extremely worrisome, and the recent MS-13 criminal activity on Long Island has many calling for immediate reform. 

Personally, the thought that gang activity is carried out so close to home is alarming, and the fact that innocent young lives are claimed at the expense of initiation rituals to belong to a criminal organization is deeply troubling.  If we continue to place immigrant children in environments where they are exposed to gang life, we will continue to see the metastasis and growth of MS-13. 

Since the beginnings of his campaign, President Donald Trump ran partially on a promise to cut illegal immigration from the Mexican-American Border.  Recently, in a video posted to Twitter, Trump specified his proposed actions to a few points, one of which was putting an end to the “loophole” which grants “unaccompanied alien children” at the border protection by the federal government. According to Trump, increasing the protection of immigrant children would increase MS-13 membership in the United States. 

At this point in time, President Trump’s administration seeks to secure the southern border with a wall and put an end to the acceptance of unaccompanied youth illegal immigrants.  Trump’s policy of increased police surveillance and improved law enforcement is meant to address MS-13 presence in the United States.  By preventing the future growth of MS-13, a future without this dangerous gang seems to be a possible reality.  Though not unthinkable, it is a heavy task to attempt to eliminate a gang from the inside out.  The next best option, according to Trump, is to prevent the enlargement of recruitment bases and toughen up on laws surrounding the gangs.