Much More to it than Meets the Eye
(which one makes you feel safer?)
For myself, I have tried to be careful not to say too much about the pending (November 8th) UA elections. I have thoughts on what I see happening, have picked my own “favorite” and (as always) place great faith in the electorate. We voters tend to figure things out despite the shenanigans of a bumbling, biased and inept media.
It is difficult to bite one’s tongue, though in view of the circus that has become Canada’s federal government. Better not throw stones when one lives in a glass house.
Thinking about immigration, there is great commonality between Canada and the United States of America. Both nations are built upon successive generations of immigrants.
The undercurrent of Current Immigration Failures
I have spent enough time in major USA cities on business and pleasure trips to recognize the similarities and the similar problems to major cities in Canada. It turns out that they are much more alike than different. They are most similar in their problems: gangs, drugs, guns, crime and moral demise/decline. There are presently portions of major cities in both countries that are unsafe – especially after dark.
Gangs In the USA
It came as no surprise that Donald Trump leaped at the opportunity to accept an invitation from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on August 31st 2016. I suspect that Donald Trump learned a great deal from the Mexican president as to how much the two countries share in common vis-à-vis unlawful migration into both countries. I have sufficient firsthand knowledge to acknowledge that Mexico is just as much a victim of criminal activity as the USA or Canada. Much of the drug, gun and criminal activities in each country share common roots.
I adjudicated hundreds of asylum cases relating to claimants from (especially) three countries that are virtually hot-beds of gang activity and more specifically youth gang activity: Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.cfr.org/transnational-crime/central-americas-violent-northern-triangle/p37286) to my thinking has always been a trustworthy and reliable source for understanding the situation in many countries.
As to how much Trump and Peña Nieto respective countries share in common, I suspect that Donald Trump is savvy enough to have entered his meeting with Mr. Peña Nieto to have grasped knowledge that Mexico (like USA and Canada) is very much a victim.
The Council on Foreign Relations as did the United States Department of State (DOS) country reports for many years have centered the three countries: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala as the “Dark Triangle” – nations where government and day to day civil activity has been under siege by extremely well organized and heavily armed street gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). The civilian death tolls in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala is outrageous. Fully 8% of the population in El Salvador is at risk of murder by street gang violence.
Where Trump, Trudeau’s and Peña Nieto’s nations share a glaring commonality is urban gang related violence in major cities. It is FACT that MS-13 has large, well organized gang presence in the following USA cities: in Northern California; the Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas of Fairfax County, Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Prince George’s County, Maryland; Long Island, New York; the Boston, Massachusetts area; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Houston, Texas.
There is also a very large presence of MS-13 type street gangs in Toronto, Windsor, Vancouver and Edmonton.
Mexico is not the source of gang problems nor is much more than a highway, though which criminal gang members infiltrate an often porous USA/Mexican border. Along with thousands of other “migrants” into USA from the south, a bustling human traffic industry moves people across Mexico and into the USA often at perilous risk to the migrants. Along with the influx of gang members are common masses of ordinary folks from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who flee gang violence in their own countries. They are joined in transit by large numbers of Central and South Americans that seek a better life in the USA. Collectively, these people place their fate in the hands of professional human smugglers known as “Coyotes” who demand fees of up to $1,000 (US dollars) per person. Sadly, many of their clients perish in transit.
Origin of the Central American Street Gangs
I was surprised to learn the shocking truth about exactly how these street gangs in Central American formed.
MS-13 originated in the USA!!!
“The Mara Salvatrucha gang originated in Los Angeles, set up in the 1980s by Salvadoran immigrants in the city’s Pico-Union neighborhood who immigrated to the United States after the Central American civil wars of the 1980s. Originally, the gang’s main purpose was to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other, more established gangs of Los Angeles, who were predominantly composed of Mexicans and African-Americans.
Many Mara Salvatrucha gang members from the Los Angeles area have been deported after being arrested. Namely, Jose Abrego, a high-ranking member, was deported four times. As a result of these deportations, members of MS-13 have recruited more members in their home countries. The Los Angeles Times contends that deportation policies have contributed to the size and influence of the gang both in the United States and in Central America. According to the 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment, “The gang is estimated to have 30,000 to 50,000 members and associate members worldwide, 8,000 to 10,000 of whom reside in the United States.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS-13).
It was during my time spent adjudicating asylum claims for persons originating from the “Dark Triangle” that I became aware that, in fact these gangs in places such as El Salvador were formed by hardened criminals such as Jose Abrego that received their gang training right in the UA prior to deportation. In USA cities such as Los Angles the Hispanic gangs formed largely as a “push back” against black street gangs such as the Crips and Bloods that were victimizing Hispanics in the ghettos and slum areas they shared in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Upon repatriation to El Salvador under leadership Jose Abrego and other and equipped with knowledge and access to modern automatic weapons, the MS gangs have festered into national crisis in the Dark Triangle and are at the heart of the majority of urban criminal activity in the USA and Canada. Their presence in Central America grew in the mid-1990s following large-scale deportations from the United States of undocumented immigrants with criminal records[i].
Tactics employed in the Dark Triangle have no bounds. Members of MS distinguish themselves by tattoos covering the body and also often the face, as well as the use of their own sign language. They are notorious for their use of violence and a subcultural moral code that predominantly consists of merciless revenge and cruel retributions. This cruelty of the distinguished members of the “Maras” or “Mareros” have earned sufficient international reputation to have been solicited for affiliation with Al Qaeda. In 2005, Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez and the President of El Salvador raised alarm by claiming that Muslim terrorist organization Al-Qaeda was meeting with Mara Salvatrucha and other Central American gangs to help them infiltrate the United States.
What These Gangs Do
Aside from street crime the Central American gangs are heavily engaged in extortion. As insurance against their violence, they provide the muscle behind trans-border drug shipments of cocaine into the USA, are largely involved in collecting fees from individuals attempting to flee their violence by escape to Mexico. “Nearly 10 percent of the Northern Triangle countries’ thirty million residents have left, mostly for the United States.” Inside their own countries, extortion is a large source of funds for these gangs that in July 2015 following an investigation by Honduran newspaper La Prensa it was found that Salvadorans and Hondurans pay an estimated $390 million and $200 million, respectively, in annual extortion fees to organized crime groups; meanwhile, Guatemalan authorities said in 2014 that citizens pay an estimated $61 million a year in extortion fees. Extortionists primarily target public transportation operators, small businesses, and residents of poor neighborhoods, according to the report, and attacks on people who do not pay contributes to the violence. Guatemala’s transportation sector has been hit especially hard: In 2014, more than four hundred transportation workers were killed, and authorities linked most of those cases to extortion.
Still think that a wall is draconian?
The Trump Plan
There is merit and logic to Donald Trump’s immigration plan. Such a plan places the best interest of USA citizens as a beginning point. Yesterday’s detailed speech in Arizona, provided the ten (10) point frame work for something that seems almost too logical.
- The Wall– “We will build a great wall along the southern border,” “And Mexico will pay for the wall. They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for the wall.” ““We will use the best technology,” “including above and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance, to supplement the wall.”
- End Catch & Release– “Anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are moved out of our country,” “and back to the country from which they came.”
- Zero tolerance for criminal aliens– “Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone,”
- Block funding for ‘sanctuary cities’– “They won’t receive taxpayer dollars,”
- Cancel Obama executive orders on immigration– “And how about all the millions who are waiting in line going through the process legally?” “So unfair.”
- Suspend visas from certain countries with inadequate screenings– “extreme vetting”” stop issuing visas to any countries where adequate screening cannot occur.”
- Ensure countries take back immigrants the United States deports– ” despite the existence of a law that commands the Secretary of State to stop issuing visas to these countries.Secretary Hillary Clinton ignored this law and refused to use this powerful tool to bring nations into compliance.”
- Complete the biometric entry-exit visa tracking system– “We must send a message that visa expiration dates will be strongly enforced,”
- Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet– “We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and we will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country.”
- Reform legal immigration– “We’re going to bring our jobs back home. And if companies want to leave Arizona and if they want to leave other states, there’s going to be a lot of trouble for them.
I suspect that there are an overwhelming nmber of Canadians that woudl feel at lot more secure IF our “great” leader would place top interest in putting the best interests of all Canadians first and political correctness a bit further down the list of prioriries.
I would submit that an 11th point should include re-doubling cooperation between law enforcement agencies in USA, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to wage war on gang activity in each of those countries.
Moreover, the flow of drug money back into these other nations needs to be chocked off by American authorities. Those funds are the life blood for street gangs.
Although Mexicans, Salvadorians, Hondurans and Guatemalans all speak Spanish, I suspect that yesterday’s visit with Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto opened eyes and assisted Trump’s understanding of a common problem faced by both Mexico and the USA. It is perplexing to hear the alternative which is little more than a variation of “maintain the status quo”. Perhaps candidate Clinton would be wise to invest the time and learn from Enrique Peña Nieto.
Perhaps she could take Canadian PM Trudeau with her on such a junket. Like Clinton, Trudeau is missing a key part of policy. A head of state MUST put the best interests of all his/her constituents ahead of political correctness, personal political opportunity and social dogma.
Follow Lloyd’s articles on Twitter @LloydFournier1
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2016
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[i] Central America’s Violent Northern Triangle, Danielle Renwick, January 19, 2016 (http://www.cfr.org/transnational-crime/central-americas-violent-northern-triangle/p37286)