- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2018

President Trump on Wednesday called on Capitol Hill Democrats to help him in the battle against the vicious MS-13 gang by dropping their lockstep opposition to tightening immigration laws.

“Democrats have to abandon their resistance to border security,” he said at a roundtable in a Long Island, New York, town that has been under siege from MS-13.

The gang is responsible for rapes and brutal murders that are often carried out with machetes and knives.

Mr. Trump said that the blind opposition to his immigration agenda was exposed when Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, criticized him for referring to MS-13 gang members as “animals.”

“They are coming to the defense of MS-13. That was the end of them,” the president said.

Every aspect of Mr. Trump’s agenda on immigration, from a border wall to closing loopholes and creating a merit-based system for legal immigration, has met stiff resistance from Democrats.

The president called on lawmakers to close loopholes in immigration laws that allow gang members into the U.S. He said that what he called “catch and release” policies and the Unaccompanied Alien Children law that protects young illegal immigrants from deportation were fueling the gang problem.

“They look innocent. They are not innocent,” Mr. Trump said of the young illegal immigrants who are gang members or ripe for MS-13 recruitment.

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.

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

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