Law enforcement official says unaccompanied minors program fueled gang activity, violence

by Edmund Kozak | Updated 09 May 2017 at 6:30 AM

The sheriff of a New York county hit particularly hard by brutal MS-13 violence blames former President Barack Obama for the rise in the gang’s activity.

Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco said Obama’s immigration policies are directly responsible for the violent group’s rise in America.

“A large portion of the MS-13 gang members are here illegally,” DeMarco told billionaire and radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday morning. “And they arrive in the country through the unaccompanied-minors program, which was really loosened up and formed under President Obama,” DeMarco continued.

“In the community of Brentwood, where there is a big El Salvadoran population, we have had over the last nine months or so 11 bodies turned [sic] up,” DeMarco said.

In March, more than a dozen MS-13 members were charged with the September 2016 murders of teenagers Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas in the region. In April of this year, four more bodies, suspected MS-13 victims, were discovered just a short drive from where Mickens and Cuevas had been discovered the previous autumn.

DeMarco is not the first public figure to lay blame for the rise in MS-13 violence at Obama’s feet.

“The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. [sic] allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!” President Trump tweeted in April.

Immigration enforcement advocates and experts on the subject also blame the unaccompanied minors program for contributing to a spike in gang activity.

“MS-13 is known to have taken advantage of the Obama administration’s catch-and-release policy for unaccompanied youths arriving illegally from Central America,” Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told LifeZette after Trump’s April tweet.

A November 2016 CIS investigation into the link between Obama migration policies and MS-13 crime in Brentwood found that the number of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) resettlements in Suffolk county more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.

“According to data from the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), since 2014, 3,709 UACs have been placed in Suffolk County, where Brentwood is located,” the CIS report noted.

“This figure makes the Long Island county the third highest placement site of UACs by ORR. [Consul for the government of El Salvador in New York, Pedro] Sanchez estimates that more than half of this 3,709 has settled in Brentwood,” the report said.

Although communities like Brentwood continue to suffer because of actions taken by the Obama administration, the Trump administration has promised to take action.

On April 28, just over a week ago, ICE agents arrested Hector Flamenco, a known MS-13 gang member, in Central Islip in Suffolk County. His arrest happened on the very same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Central Islip vowing to eradicate MS-13 in America.

"The MS-13 motto is kill, rape and control," Sessions said. "Our motto is justice for victims and consequences for criminals. That's how simple it is. Prosecute them, and after they've been convicted, if they're not here lawfully, they're going to be deported," he said.

"I have a message for the gangs that target our young people: We are targeting you," said Sessions. "We are coming after you."