On Friday, Donald Trump stood before a crowd of law enforcement officials in Long Island, NY and declared his administration was going to eradicate the transnational gang MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha). It is a claim he has made time and again since being elected president and plays really well to white people in communities that have seen the effects of the brutal gang. But, like everything else he touches, Trump is fucking this up too.
The immigrant community has been one of Trump’s favorite punching bags. He has been beating on these people from the moment he announced his candidacy for the White House and has not let up at all in the six months since his inauguration. And if you are one of those,”THEY NEED TO DO IT THE RIGHT WAY!” people, then you probably cheer every time you hear about an immigrant with no criminal record being deported. However, for immigrants in America, he has created an atmosphere of fear that has allowed gangs like MS-13 to flourish as the very people who can help weed these assholes out of their communities, are now afraid to call the police and report them for fear of deportation.
Two gang members, Alex and David (they did not give their real names) told CNN that Trump is, without a doubt, helping MS-13:
They [MS-13] feel like they can do whatever they want, ’cause Trump himself has made everybody fear,” Alex said. “He’s helping them.
Margarita (also not a real name), the mother of a teenager who is recovering from a machete attack by gang members, agrees with this sentiment. She claimed that although she witnessed a previous attack on her son, carried out with a baseball bat, she was too afraid to call the police because of deportation concerns. “It’s not like before, where … they (the gang) were more hidden,” said Margarita, adding that a decade after fleeing violence in El Salvador she has never felt more afraid. “People can get deported, so they don’t call the police. So they (MS-13) feel more free.”
From Trump’s inauguration in January through April, more than 41,000 people were arrested on civil immigration charges (i.e. non-criminal offenses), according to a Department of Homeland Security statement after Trump’s first one hundred days:
In the 100 days since President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Orders (EOs) regarding immigration enforcement priorities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested more than 41,000 individuals who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally. This reflects an increase of 37.6 percent over the same period in 2016.
When asked about whether or not the administration’s immigration policies are hindering their ability to root out MS-13 members, the Nassau County District Attorney’s office said calls to their Immigrant Affairs Tips Hotline have decreased dramatically in 2017. Silvia Finkelstein, the office’s director of immigrant affairs, said:
Because immigrants are scared to call law enforcement, crimes are going unreported, victims are not getting justice, criminals are going unpunished and we are all less safe.
When Trump said he was going to go after MS-13, it was the only time in his presidency that I thought,”Finally, he is picking up where President Obama left off and doing something productive.” Unlike his supporters, who look at this gang as another reason to hate immigrants, I have seen what happens when they are able to go unchecked. My husband is from El Salvador and his family still lives there. The gang, that BEGAN in the UNITED STATES as a result of our shitty foreign policy and spread throughout Central America, has caused unspeakable destruction in El Salvador. It’s so bad that my mother-in-law was unable to get to work at one point because the gang had caused nearly all the buses in the country to shut down after they were targeted by the Salvadoran government. At one point, the country, which is the size of Virginia, experienced more than 600 murders in one month. Clearly, this is not something that we want to see happen in the U.S., so supporting this one policy made complete sense.
Unfortunately, like every other policy this administration has attempted to implement, Trump’s own ignorance has screwed it up. If he really wanted to punish MS-13, he would have created an environment where immigrants feel safe enough to report crimes, instead, he’s done the complete opposite. In doing so, he has managed to prove, once again, that he has no business sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. For six months he has done nothing more than hurt our country at every turn. And he will, without a doubt, go down in history as the most inept president ever.
Although President Trump is a deplorable human being who doesn’t want to help immigrants feel safe, it’s important to note that there are paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (and their families) who aid in a police investigation. If you, or someone you love, has suffered substantial physical or mental injury as a result of a crime and you help officials, you may qualify for a U-Visa. So, please, do not feel like you have to live in fear, please call the police if someone hurts you.