Vox and ProPublica take aim at President Trump’s heightened concern for gangs in the United States in a recently published video, claiming his harsh characterizations of MS-13 are unfair.
The gang, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, numbers in the tens of thousands and is composed primarily of outlaws from El Salvador, Honduras, and other Central American countries. Trump’s hardline stance on crime and border security has made MS-13 a more widely recognized public menace. But instead of acknowledging the rising violent threat that MS-13 poses to the American people, progressive media outlets like Vox and ProPublica are casting the Trump Administration’s actions with regard to illegal immigration and law enforcement as irresponsible, dangerous, and factually unsound.
The video — candidly titled, “Why the street gang MS-13 is an American problem” — opens by framing MS-13 as a uniquely American issue. It’s true the gang was founded in the United States during the early 1980s, but the roots of MS-13 are distinctly un-American.
Let’s review: Beginning in 1979, El Salvador was gripped by a nasty and brutal civil war between the established military junta and a newly-formed coalition of Marxist insurgents. Around a million people were displaced by the 12-year conflict and many sought asylum in the United States. The refugees, mainly anti-government sympathizers who resented American intervention in the war, illegally crossed the border and settled in southern California, mostly in Los Angeles’ Pico-Union neighborhood. Unsurprisingly, the young men from these impoverished alien communities started street gangs for personal and financial security. By 1984, they called themselves “Mara Salvatrucha” as a designation of their ties to the Salvadoran rebels.
This context is wholly absent from Vox’s presentation. The video succinctly describes the origins of MS-13 as “a group of teenagers, hanging out, smoking pot, listening to rock music” who eventually became “juvenile delinquents involved in street crimes who were stuffed into American jails.” (Read more from “To Counter Trump, Vox Defends MS-13 as Nice Kids Who Ride Bikes, Work After-School Jobs” HERE)