Gangland USA

CNN, Tai Kopan

CNN, Tai Kopan

Zion Watson, Staff Reporter

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President Donald Trump on Thursday made a sweeping assertion that the MS-13 gang has “literally taken over” US cities. Trump has been recently targeting Central American gang Mara Salvatrucha or infamously “MS-13” over claims of them destroying American cities. Trump has called them “MS-13, likewise, a horrible, horrible large group of gangs that have been let into country over a fairly short period of time are being decimated by the Border Patrol and by ICE and by our incredible local police forces and they are getting out of our country or in some cases, going directly into prisons throughout our country.” Providing little to no actual facts even though the gang is only a fraction of the of the overall gang problem in the US, according to statistics of the FBI gang list. MS-13 has been participating in the smuggling of immigrants across the borders of Mexico from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The departments of Justice and Homeland Security have been unable to provide reporters with any estimates of how many MS-13 members nationwide came into the US illegally — and how many members joined the gang after coming to the US. The gang actively recruits in immigrant communities in the US and often victimizes undocumented immigrants, who are vulnerable to extortion because they fear law enforcement will discover their status.  The Department of Justice says it has found in recent investigations that gang leaders in El Salvador are directing US cliques to become more violent. It also believes that these leaders have been sending emissaries into the US illegally to connect with local cliques.