On This, Sessions and Trump Agree: MS-13 Must Go

By Joe Guzzardi
July 31, 2017
 
Here’s some relationship counseling for President Donald Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the estranged odd couple: mend fences by focusing on your mutual commitment to arrest and remove MS-13 gangbangers.
 
Last week, Sessions made an unannounced trip to San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital and incubator for MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha. The savage gang began in Los Angeles when Salvadoran refugees organized, then quickly spread across the United States. Membership in the U.S. is in the tens of thousands, spans 40 states and has perpetrated some of the most grisly murders in American crime history.
 
Among the recent blood curdling incidents are 17 slaughtered in Long Island since January, two mutilated beyond recognition in Virginia, and two more murders in Texas. MS-13 carries out its savagery through what it calls La Programma, a twisted duty to rape, torture and murder anyone who challenges or betrays it.
 
During his two-day visit to San Salvador, Sessions toured the jails, met with its president as well as Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan attorneys general, and proclaimed that the Central American countries had made significant progress in curbing the MS-13 scourge. The Department of Justice announced that El Salvador initiated a sweep that resulted in charges against nearly 600 MS-13 gang bangers.
 
Sessions’ trip to El Salvador coincided with President Trump’s visit to embattled Long Island where he re-enforced his and Sessions’ message that a crackdown against MS-13 violence would be stepped up: “We cannot accept this violence one day more.” President Trump also took the opportunity to justifiably criticize “weak political leadership,” a reference to sanctuary city mayors, and some police chiefs that coddle criminal aliens. The still-smarting president made no reference to Sessions’ progress toward ending the MS-13 threat.
 
Although President Trump has berated Sessions for his recusal from the Russia investigation, a decision the AG stands by, and his failure to move forward with investigations into Hillary Clinton and other Democrats’ suspected criminal behavior as well as White House leaks, the AG is doing an A+ job on escalating the war against MS-13.
 
Sessions’ record represents a dramatic improvement over the Eric Holder/Loretta Lynch era when Customs and Border Protection, as part of the Obama administration’s guidelines, admitted MS-13 members during the 2014 surge of illegal unaccompanied minors into the U.S. The DOJ is considering listing MS-13 as a foreign terrorist organization which could lead to commercial banks freezing assets to help cripple it.
 
Sessions has done more to fulfill President Trump’s campaign vows than the president has. Candidate Trump ran on stricter immigration enforcement which Sessions has worked to make a reality. But Trump also vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare, bring about tax reform, build a wall, and end deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). Little if any progress has been made on those presidential promises.
 
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), surprised at President Trump’s attacks on Sessions, offered the attorney general this sage advice. Ride it out. The U.S. needs a DOJ head that enforces immigration law, and carries out President Trump’s agenda. Sessions told the Associated Press that he hopes that their mutual dedication to bringing down MS-13 will lead to an improved relationship with the president, and allow him to continue his valuable work. Restored good will between President Trump and Attorney General Sessions is in the nation’s best interests, and vital in the fight against MS-13.
 

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Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org. Follow him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

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