- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2023

The teen accused of killing a 20-year-old autistic woman in Maryland last summer was an illegal immigrant and member of MS-13 who had been caught then released into the U.S. as part of the government’s leniency toward illegal immigrant children, according to a new report.

The 17-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, stands charged with first-degree homicide in the death of Kayla Hamilton. He also faces rape and robbery charges.

Authorities said he is from El Salvador, was in the country illegally and was a member of Mara Salvatrucha 13, the violent street gang that stretches from Central America to U.S. streets.



The Center for Immigration Studies reported last weekend that the boy had come to the U.S. just months before, and was caught then released because he was deemed an unaccompanied alien child, or UAC. That’s a designation for juvenile migrants who show up at the border without parents.

“The case raises a number of questions, and Congress must obtain a full accounting from the Biden administration officials running the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), now that is known that both departments played a role in the release of this dangerous individual,” wrote John Feere, the center’s director of investigations and a former chief of staff at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Police in Aberdeen, Maryland, said Hamilton, 20, was found strangled.

Authorities said the juvenile was a person of interest from early in the case, and they have now linked him through DNA found at the scene.

The 17-year-old was arrested on Jan. 15.

The Trump administration had been expelling UACs at the border under its Title 42 pandemic border expulsion policy, but the Biden administration reversed that policy, calling it cruel to children.

The result has been a massive run on the border by juveniles — and those purporting to be juveniles.

From April to December of 2020, the time under the Trump administration when the child expulsions were in effect, the border averaged fewer than 3,000 UACs a month. The Biden administration issued an exemption for children in March 2021, and the numbers immediately soared, averaging more than 15,000 a month over the ensuing nine months.

The numbers have dropped a bit in recent months, to an average of about 12,000 each month.

Still, over the 24 months Mr. Biden has been in office, more than 314,000 UACs have been caught at the southern border, and the vast majority have been released into the U.S.

Experts say they create a recruiting pool for MS-13 — and some are already members of the gang when they cross and get released.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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