Texas Moves to Curb Gang Crime; California Does Nothing

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

June 18, 2015

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, who led the 26-state coalition’s lawsuit against President Obama’s unilateral executive action amnesty, has taken another step toward curbing illegal immigration. Abbott’s move is bold, and one that California’s Jerry Brown should, but won’t, consider.

Police officers in South L.A.
Drought grabs headlines in California, but gang crime accelerating.

Described as “a sweeping, multimillion dollar border security bill,” Abbott’s measure hopes to stem transnational crime perpetrated by more 100,000 gang members throughout Texas. Abbott’s bill would allow for hiring and training up to an additional 250 National Guard troopers who would be permanently on duty. The new law would also stiffen penalties for human trafficking, and is the final piece in Texas’ broader security bill that has an estimated $800 million price tag.

Meanwhile, in California, Brown hasn’t lifted a finger, even as a token gesture, to stem crime. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the county and city of Los Angeles are the nation’s “gang capital,” with about 45,000 gang members. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers Los Angeles’ Sureño 18th Street Gang one of the most brutal, rapidly growing groups in the United States and links it to at least one daily assault or robbery, as well as to homicide, extortion, drug smuggling and grand theft auto.

In February, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck ordered extra officers deployed to South L.A. neighborhoods that have experienced a 25 percent surge in shootings and homicides, much of it gang-perpetrated.

The difference between Governors Abbott and Brown is that the former wants to protect Texas residents’ from violent crime, while the latter wants to safeguard his image with his Hispanic base. The drought dominates the state news, but gang crime encouraged in part by Brown’s indifference to illegal immigration is a growing problem that could be reduced if immigration laws were enforced.

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