Amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the Southern border, members of various gangs, including the violent criminal gang MS-13, are crossing into the U.S. illegally in migrant caravans.
On Friday, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Chief Matthew Hudak said border officials apprehended five gang members in Laredo, Texas.
“5 gang members in 7 days! #Laredo Sector #USBP agents arrested a total of 5 gang members in the last week, including an #ms13 & two 18th Street gang members,” he tweeted. “They attempt to evade arrest by exploiting the influx of migrants attempting to enter our country. #bordersecurity.”
5 gang members in 7 days! #Laredo Sector #USBP agents arrested a total of 5 gang members in the last week, including an #ms13 & two 18th Street gang members. They attempt to evade arrest by exploiting the influx of migrants attempting to enter our country. #bordersecurity pic.twitter.com/y5vVJQO50K
— Acting Chief Patrol Agent Carl E. Landrum (@USBPChiefLRT) April 30, 2021
One of the individuals arrested is a member of MS-13, and two others are members of the 18th Street gang, a criminal drug trafficking group with as many as 50,000 members in Mexico and Central America.
A month ago, California Border Patrol agents arrested an MS-13 gang member from El Salvador. The 28-year-old crossed the border illegally with five other men. An MS-13 gang member received a life sentence without parole in Texas on Monday for the murder of a 16-year-old in 2016.
172,000 migrants crossed the border in March and 5,700 unaccompanied minors were found in Border Patrol stations at the height of the surge in March. Vice President Kamala Harris announced in April that the U.S. will send an additional $310 million to Central America, as migrants continually flood the border.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed Biden for the surge, noting that the president is incentivizing migrants with immigration policies.
“Expectations were created that with the government of President Biden there would be a better treatment of migrants. And this has caused Central American migrants, and also from our country, wanting to cross the border thinking that it is easier to do so,” Obrador said at a press conference.
Obrador’s characterization is contrary to that of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who blamed the Trump administration for the surge after Biden repealed Trump’s Remain in Mexico.
James Carafano, a national security expert at The Heritage Foundation, told The Federalist that criminals will look for every way possible to exploit Biden’s open border policies.
“There is a synergistic relationship between the cartels and the transnational gangs who often cooperate collaborate on a range of criminal activity. Gang presence in the U.S is particularly important as gangs build a network of nodes that facilitate criminal activity throughout the U.S. and Canada,” he said. “Illegal immigrants are often the target victim of gang activity, making the open border policies of the administration a double human rights catastrophe.”
Partnered with American University, the Department of Justice released a report in October 2020 outlining its efforts to root out MS-13 gang members. The DOJ noted that it has prosecuted over 700 members.
Given the Biden administration’s lack of border protection, it remains to be seen how many more will need to be brought to justice after crossing the border.