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Violent Transnational Gangs Capitalize on Southern Border Crisis

Members from the notoriously violent transnational gangs MS-13 and 18th Street are reportedly taking advantage of the migrant surge at the southern border to cross into the United States.

Five gang members were arrested within one week by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Laredo Sector, including an #ms13 and two 18th Street gang members, according to a tweet by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak last week.

“They attempt to evade arrest by exploiting the influx of migrants attempting to enter our country,” Hudak continued.

In March, there were 172,331 migrant apprehensions at the southwest land border including 227 unaccompanied minors, according to CBP.

This is an increase of nearly 100,000 migrant apprehensions since January, posing a serious risk to U.S. national security.

“Gangs see a wide-open border and a Biden Administration who not only won’t remove them but has promised them everything from government benefits to a U.S. passport,” said senior advisor for Government Relations at The Heritage Foundation Mike Howell to The Foreign Desk.

MS-13’s motto is “kill, rape, control,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with the gang’s tactics being described as “brutal and purposeful” by InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies.

“MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang are savage organizations who are indiscriminate and medieval with their violence. They terrorize communities and require significant law enforcement attention. The U.S. is markedly less safe because they are here,” said Howell.

“The Biden administration must undo the damage it has caused and reinstate the Trump era border security measures.”

This comes as President Biden announced Monday that the annual refugee admissions cap would be increased four-fold from the Trump era.

"This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America's values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees. The new admissions cap will also reinforce efforts that are already under way to expand the United States' capacity to admit refugees, so that we can reach the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions that I intend to set for the coming fiscal year," President Biden said.

Two weeks prior, the White House had announced that they’d keep the cap at the previous 15,000, which prompted outcry from some Congressional Democrats.   

As the border crisis continues to escalate, the U.S. Department of Defense officially announced Friday that military funding being used to build the border wall will be reallocated to other projects.

This decision follows Biden’s proclamation in January terminating the national emergency on the southern border first declared by Trump in 2019.

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