- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2018

President Trump is headed Wednesday to a Long Island, New York, town on the front lines of the battle against the MS-13 gang to highlight how what he calls immigration “loopholes” are fueling violent gangs, cartels and drug dealers.

He will be holding a roundtable discussion with victims of the brutal MS-13 gang and law enforcement officials at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage, New York, said the White House.

“These “catch-and-release” loopholes — including lax asylum standards, the pervasive entry of unaccompanied alien minors, and dangerous constraints on alien detention authority — allow hundreds of thousands of illegal and unauthorized aliens to gain entry and release in the United States,” said White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley. “These loopholes are easily exploited by violent gangs, cartels, and drug dealers to inflict grave damage on American communities.”

MS-13 is a notoriously ruthless and violent street gang that began in Los Angeles in the 1980s and has spread throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America. Many of the members hail from Central America, especially El Salvador.

Members favor machetes and knives over guns to inflict more pain in their brutal attacks, including initiation murders to gain full membership in the gang.

Mr. Gidley pointed to law enforcement’s “Operation Raging Bull” that targeting MS-13 gang members last year and resulted in the arrest of 214 individuals in the U.S — nearly one third of whom had entered the country as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).

The UAC status afforded them protection form deportation.

“Democrats in Congress have protected these deadly loopholes, enabling smuggling organizations to thrive at the expense of American public safety and national security. The roundtable will be a national call to action for legislative policy changes,” Mr. Gidley said.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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