tv Washington Journal Hector Silva Avalos CSPAN June 1, 2018 5:57pm-6:28pm EDT
try legislation, and a doctor will join us to talk about how right to try will allow terminally ill patients access to drug treatments not fully approved by the fda. t in how the carrier plan indiana is faring. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern saturday morning. join the discussion. on -- joining us washington journal is hector silva avalos, the inside -- inside crime project manager at the american university center for american and latino studies. joining us this morning to talk about the transnational gang, particular, we are
looking at the in-depth project and report you were involved in, .s-13 in the americas how the gang resists destruction. what is ms-13? how did they get started? guest: it is a criminal organization, a big criminal organization that has been around for decades, that has plagued the northern triangle of region inerica, the under a -- in hunt doris -- in honduras. they do drug trafficking at local levels. they are very violent. america,l american --
they are known for, let's say the quality of their violence. in these countries, it is a challenge to the state, but mostly, territory control that these states exercise. lates formed back in the 80's in the west coast of the united states, mainly by central escaping fromnts civil war's happening in central america in those years. a lot of the founding members had military background or had some point font with the -- fought with the guerrilas. that helps explain the violent nature of it. in the americas, how
the world's most notorious gang defies logic, resists instruction, the lead photograph on that has the authorities arresting or detaining an apparent ms-13 gang member. here.s about his tattoo what do they mean and why did it become ms-13? words.two was related to a negative meeting before ms-13 existed. it is the colloquial word in el salvador, to talk about a group of friends or a crowd. it did not have a negative meaning, but the central americans that came to l.a. in to referused that word
to themselves as the group of people that were joining that particular organization. the second word has two meanings. it is a reference to sell the dorians, a colloquial reference but also the last portion of --t word would also have reference to el salvador yens -- , a colloquials reference but also the last portion of that word would also -- host: our guest, hector silva avalos here to talk about ms-13. we welcome your phone calls and comments. eastern and central callers, use (202)-748-8000. mountain and pacific, (202)-748-8001. we welcome your tweets. what can you tell us about ms-13 's presence in the u.s.? what are its strongholds and
what are the biggest members? guest: there is an -- there is not a lot of clarity on the numbers. spent three years working with and talking to him -- a number of people, including gang members, active and nonactive as well as law enforcement all over the country, especially in l.a. and the washington metropolitan area. they did not have an agreement on the numbers but after talking to them, looking to some studies, you could say that there are around 10,000 members along the united states. the strongholds are mainly in the west coast. ms-13 has its own dynamic on the west coast. it is not the most important gang there. ,s-13 exists among other gangs both latinos and african american, white gangs.
it is a part of the more complicated gang map in that part of the united states. in the east coast, ms-13 migrated to the east coast mainly to the washington metropolitan area. ist happened because there an enormous central american community in this area. some suburbs, some counties such as montgomery county in maryland , became and have been at different points, strongholds of the gang. you have important places, such island andlong houston, texas. those are the cities in which ms-13 has -- has been rooted for a decade. host: we are having this conversation largely because the american awareness of ms-13 has been raised in recent years if not at least the past year or
so. president trump addressed the issue of ms-13 at a rally in nashville. i wanted to get your reaction to his take on their threat. here is president trump. trump: i visited a place where i essentially grew up, right next door, to discuss the menace of ms-13. this vicious gang has transformed once peaceful it a full communities -- beautiful communities into bloodstained killing fields, savagely murdering, raping and mutilating their victims. they don't even want to do it with a gun. they want to do it with knives. they want to cut people up because it is more painful. than i have to listen to pelosi and these people saying we have to respect them. they are human beings. they are not human beings.
this is why we call the bloodthirsty ms-13 gang members exactly the name that i used last week. what was the word i used? animals. ms-13 takes advantage of glaringly -- glaring loopholes in our immigration laws to infiltrate our country. that is what they do. we are bringing them out by the thousands but they come in. we are bringing them out by the thousands. address specifically his claim that they are taking advantage of the immigration loopholes. guest: it is important to say that ms-13 has been in the u.s. as far as irrative can remember, probably the clinton administration but mostly in the bush administration. the bush administration, george w. bush, the massive
deportations to central america and that brought the problem to central america. the obama administration also dealt with it, but it was not a central point of its narrative. it has become a central point of the trump administration. become a way in which the trump administration, not just the president but some of his officials like attorney general tosions have equated ms-13 both migration and the latino community. that in thess report, that is really dangerous because the words that we just heard, i understand part of those words not to be true. for, that mainly and foremost, ms-13 has strengthened itself
because of loose loopholes in immigration. ms-13 has been strong in some areas of the united states for decades now. membership, and we found that out during these three years of research. a lot of that membership is formed by u.s. citizens. they are not migrants. most of the leadership of ms-13 iques formed anywhere from 10 to 50 members, most of the -- the in the east coast west coast are u.s. born citizens. they did not just come from central america. recent flaws in immigration, especially that of
the population that has been called unaccompanied minors, which are minors that are precisely fleeing from risk of becoming gang members in central america, come to the united states without documents and they end up in communities in which ms-13 is strong. throughto broken homes the same conditions of marginalization that they have known in central america. those kids are prey for the kids -- for the gangs. those of the kids of the gangs prey upon. report,ated in the ms-13 does not have the footprint within the communities tother here nor there provoke migration. it is at a family level.
the conditions of immigration facilitate the recruitment of young migrants to ms-13. host: let's hear from callers. rebecca is in utah. good morning. caller: good morning. question. a ms-13 being in the united states , especially reports regarding long island where president trump has been talking about. i'm asking if it is possible be removed from the united states. , athat at all possible president trump's urge to remove them?
host: and what are the reasons for a gang member, they actually have to commit a crime, if they were to be removed from the united states if they were not citizens. guest: that is the point. it is a complex membership. part of them are migrants. part of them are undocumented migrants and a good portion are not migrants, they are u.s. citizens. they were born here. you cannot remove a u.s. citizen from the u.s. to possible is it for them be removed? if they are migrants, the u.s. has shown the strength to deport criminals. so it is possible. the real question i think is how you get to them.
how you detect who they are. how do you get them to prison and that brings the question of what is the most effective way to deal with it. but youdeport them all, are not necessarily going to be deporting the ones that are really harming communities. the most successful models of how to do that are the local policing in some counties, for intance here, just nearby fairfax or montgomery. those police departments have worked against ms-13 for a couple decades now and a lot of the work has to do with engaging with the latino community in order for the community to facilitate detecting them and help build cases that in court can be sustained. host: on the issue of deportation, you reported
looking at the deportation rate between 2001 and 2010, by country. 129,000 from central america in honduras,pecifically 40,000. 37,000 from guatemala. did you find largely those convicts who were deported were gang members? guest: not necessarily. men that havet of been deported and have records but don't have anything to do with the gangs. and offenses or domestic violence or all of the kinds of felonies. the portion of gang members that are deported has grown in the last years, but it is not the main portion of the whole universe of convicts or former convicts that are deported. host: we will go to new york.
lee. understand the media defines kill and rape but they don't really talk about control. they approach illegals from this country and say if you don't pay as protection money every month or week, we are going to report you. the second thing is, i have heard that they are encouraging new members not to get tattoos so they can remain anonymous. interesting questions. let's start with the tattoos. that is a trend that started some years ago, in which ms-13 members and ms-13 leadership both in the u.s. cities and towns and in central america directed their membership not to
get tattooed as a way to lay low. that was important. it was important in the united states because there are essential differences between the u.s. and central america. this workse is better in the united states. police control of the gang is way better than it is in central america. for the gangs to be -- to have a low profile is better for them, to escape or go under the radar from the police. that has been happening. in the other part, extortion. our caller talked about the capacity that these gangs have to control territories and how that control allows them to somet people, to charge sort of tax, a criminal tax.
that is the main criminal activity of ms-13 in central america. that is because in central america, in great portions of el , evenor and honduras above the presence of agents. actually, they are the law and that allows them to impose themselves and charge for extortion. seen that extent or degree in the united states. we asked about this and we actually went and messaged some places. i spent a lot of time in maryland. they do extort people, but mainly they extort businesses, latino businesses or businesses
within the latino community. those businesses themselves are illegal. they don't have permits to sell alcohol for example. those businesses that are already fragile, the gang extorts. it is the capacity that ms-13 has in maryland neighborhoods or virginia neighborhoods to extort a supermarket. we have not seen that a lot. host: our guest, hector silva avalos 40 -- former deputy chief of mission for the el salvador embassy in the united states. 20 years experience as a journalist and now a research leader at american university. thanks for waiting, tom. caller: good morning. the problem is not only ms-13 years. entire last 18
in los angeles currently, we aliens4 million illegal living in southern california in ventura county, los angeles county. the impact on the community just for los angeles and these are last years statistics, $600 million a year to educate kids who are not here legally. the city of los angeles for social services, it is $900 million. that is $1.5 billion that comes out of the l.a. taxpayers pocket for people from another country that are here illegally. is 50 to 60nty jail -- 50% to 60% hispanic. last month, they were 80 people pulled out of the jail for having gang-related systems within the jail.
it is basically a mexican mafia. thego to lapd, they have 200 most wanted people, 80% of those are hispanic surnames. we have a problem that everyone seems to be ignoring. ms-13 came here from el salvador many years ago. they blossomed and spread across the united states. it is an immigration problem. we have not been dealing with it. i know it is harsh on the kids that came here. the parents brought them here. the parents have broken the law. we are ignoring the laws and we need more of a mass deportation to get rid of the green cards and cut them out. we have to solve a problem. host: we appreciate your points. guest: that is precisely the
that this administration has been putting out. i see a number of problems with it. camehing he said was ms-13 from el salvador. no, migrants came from el salvador and the gang was formed in l.a. in the context of a wider criminal scenario that existed. it did not have to do just with latinos. it did not have anything to do with central america. the gang map in l.a. back in those days had to do with african-american gangs with the crack of -- crack epidemics, with the year -- years old mexican mafia that had established themselves. it is not just an immigration problem. the gang map in the u.s. is a
wider criminal problem. the problem now is this political narrative is doing this, equating the gang problem to immigration and that is not the point, even with ms-13. immigration is a part of the whole picture, but it is not the entire picture. if you do that, if you equate migration to ms-13 or ms-13 to isentire community, it essentially equating an african-american gang to the entire african-american community or equating a white shooter to the entire white community. it is incorrect. if you equate the latino community to ms-13, you make this mistake and you start talking about problems that just aren't related to migration but not necessarily to the criminal enterprise of ms-13, problems schools attend
migrant kids, how the security networks in the united states deals with the migrants. how the migrants contribute to the economy. that is another discussion. host: we will try to get one more call but first a couple takes on ms-13 from breitbart. the headline says a majority of black americans working class view ms-13 gang violence as a serious threat. on twitter, vic saying he thinks this ms-13 issue is nothing more than race baiting, a tool used to justify the mass incarceration of people of color and latino descent. bob on the line. caller: a couple comments. gang, theyhy of the
came to l.a. and started it. were they members of the salvador ian -- salvadorian military or were they business class or were they primarily the revolutionaries that were fighting? is thisd comment undocumented immigration is a 50 year problem that has been overlooked. one of the things we are overlooking is there is a legal path to work in the u.s. and to refugee andizen or that path -- and it is not just the people, it is the businesses themselves -- host: i apologize, we let you go early. his question about the hierarchy of ms-13.
as you talk about that, i will point -- point our viewers to the report on the visual structure of ms-13. structureis a complex and basically, the historical was formed by former military by the guerrillas. youngsters that lived in crime-ridden communities in l.a.. they became leaders of ms-13 back in those days, not because of their background as military but because of the capacity they had to engage in crime and violence. generally speaking, the leadership of ms-13 both in the u.s. and central america are that had demonstrated
themselves as more capable of engaging in crime and violence. i think that is a way you can define that. host: let's wrap up with the policy recommendations you make in your report. you suggest to make it a multiparty solution, give youth a choice, don't isolate gang riddled communities, focus on the most violent offenders. address prison reform and stop making the gang political actors. specifically on gang >> i think apart from the fact that all the communities we visited and started, we found a couple examples that have been successful in a manner of speaking to deal with ms 13. those are -- have their own models.
the montgomery county model in maryland. what those guys did, they put a lot of research into law enforcement. and a lot of research into addressing the needs of the migrant latino communities. that way, they made the the best an ally and way to deal with something in the community is make that community and ally. there is a reason why, if you look at montgomery county, which same -- as long island. host: the president was talking about. guest: montgomery county has dealt with it. they have dealt successfully with it because they have understood you cannot isolate the community and another important thing, they have not
made a mess 13 a political actor at the local level of government. you see that in a diverse -- in a latino community that has a problem. host: that report available at insightc >> sunday night, a syndicated columnist with a book, "suicide of the west," arguing that tribalism and nationalism are threatening american democracy. book, you posit that western civilization as we understand it or contemporary american western democratic civilization is unnatural. what you mean by that?
>> if you took humans and cleared of all of our civilizational education and put them in their natural environment, we would not be having conversations about books. teaming up into little bands and troops, defending ourselves against other animals and bands and troops. that is what our actual nature is. the lordthe point of " of the flies." the kids were the typical of the western civilization at the time, from a british boarding school, and almost instantaneously, they go all tribal, becoming superstitious, start attacking each other. that is humanity. erwords" sunday night at a clock -- 9:00 p.m. eastern. us. reporter joins