When Immigrants Get Too Close
By Jon E. Dougherty
|Jon E. Dougherty|
If our nation's capital were within 50 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, I guarantee there would be no immigration crisis in America. Here's an example of what I'm talking about.
The Los Angeles Times published a lengthy story in Sunday editions detailing the brutality of a Honduras-influenced international gang. According to the report, the L.A.-based branch of Mara Salvatrucha, "a street gang formed 20 years ago in the immigrant neighborhoods west of the downtown skyline," is responsible for a series of grisly murders "that spanned much of the North American continent."
Included in those murders: 28 people (six of them children), gunned down by machine gun fire on a bus in a crowded slum in Honduras; a 21-year-old man shot in the head near Dallas, his remains eaten by animals and his pants pulled down, suggesting he was sodomized; and a 17-year-old pregnant informant "hacked to death" near a river in Virginia.
Based on the Times' report, it was that last murder – and others nearby – which finally garnered the attention of Washington's bureaucrats.
"In recent months, the departments of Justice and Homeland Security have launched a series of initiatives to confront the threat posed by the gang, also known as MS-13, which has between 30,000 and 50,000 members in half a dozen countries, including up to 10,000 members in the U.S., according to federal law enforcement estimates," the paper reported. "The FBI's creation of an MS-13 task force, the first nationwide effort targeting a single street gang, was ordered by Director Robert Mueller after several high-profile murders blamed on MS-13 in the suburbs of Washington. [Last Tuesday], Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] agency for the first time placed an MS-13 member on its most-wanted fugitive list."
Lesson: Until immigrant-related criminal activity pierces the protective bubble of Washington, D.C., don't expect homeland security and immigration officials to do much about it. Only when the bureaucrats feel threatened is there any real response to a threat that ordinary Americans around the country – and especially in the southwestern border states – have been enduring for years.
I detailed a number of these crimes in my book, Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border. They range from murder and assault, to theft, breaking and entering and destruction of private property. In one case, illegals from across the border were stealing entire freight train cars.
Besides threatening the lives of American citizens, such immigrant criminals have also posed an increasing threat to the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs Service – our front-line troops, so to speak, who are charged with apprehending them. These agents never find themselves overmatched because they are too well-trained. But they are often outnumbered and outgunned.
Yet, federal authorities have watched these problems grow and fester for years, but only acted decisively and on an appropriate scale when such crimes began to "hit home." That is exactly what happened with the MS-13 gang, and while it is good the government is taking this threat seriously, it's shameful that ordinary citizens, local police and state officials have been on their own for so long.
I don't know how many times I've heard residents of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas say if only the immigration problems they deal with on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis found their way to Washington, how dramatically and quickly things would change.
These folks aren't just dealing with harmless illegal aliens looking for a job. They're faced with drug runners, gun smugglers and, on occasion, Mexican troops traversing our borders and their property with impunity.
This new immigrant gang initiative proves what these residents have been saying for years – when immigrant-related problems reach the nation's capital, the bureaucrats will react.
As for the remainder of immigrant-related crime, I'm guessing residents of border states will just have to just sit tight until D.C. suburbanites are forced to deal with waves of immigrants wading ashore along the Potomac. Sad but true.
May 17, 2005
~ About the Author ~
Jon E. Dougherty is author of Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border, and editor of the Web site Voices Magazine.
The Dougherty Archive on The Federal Observer
, and editor of the Web site Voices Magazine.