Can America win a war with Mexican cartels?
The crisis at the border is costing us more than just money — it is costing us lives every day across the country, from New York to Virginia to California.
Since the 1990s, the criminal enterprise of Mara Salvatrucha, colloquially known as MS-13, has ruled with fear and extreme brutality. It was bad enough that the FBI created a criminal task force in 1994.
And yet, too many Americans are blithely unaware of the danger lurking on their streets and in their neighborhoods.
MS-13 is a Salvadoran street gang, primarily made up of immigrants who entered the U.S. and created a new community based on mottos like "mata, viola, controla," which means "kill, rape, control."
Using the signature machetes of their homeland to hack victims, they reign with fear, demanding undying loyalty — even if it means death. Members must show loyalty to the gang by enforcing respect, whether attacking a rival gang member or a random victim on the street.
There is no doubt that crime is on the rise. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports that in 2021 alone, there were 2,138 cases of illegal drug possession and trafficking and 336 cases of illegal weapons possession, transport, and trafficking. More alarmingly, there were 6,160 cases of unlawful entry or re-entry, showing just how busy our borders have become. It is terrifying to think of how many other individuals sneak past when Border Patrol is preoccupied with arrests.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) has been the Department of Justice's solution. Still, there is no denying that numbers have skyrocketed in just one year, no doubt the result of lax policy and an indifferent president. Biden's lax immigration policies and Harris's gaping absence at the border work to aid a gang looking for any way to gain leverage and add to its body count.
Trump was the first president to take MS-13 seriously, making it the centerpiece of his immigration policy and finally bringing to light the horrific atrocities MS-13 commits each day. Despite his faults perceived by some, Trump recognized the severe risk that MS-13 and other immigrant-based gangs pose to our peaceful society. He vowed to take a stand and backed it up, passing sweeping measures to tighten our border.
Twenty nineteen brought a wave of crimes against police specifically. The threat was so fierce that the New York Police Department issued warnings to its officers who were facing threats of random shootings. MS-13 had put the word out to "hit" off-duty police officers at their homes, a misguided way to boost the gang's reputation and instill fear in public.
"Whenever a law enforcement officer is being threatened, especially by an organization like MS-13, which we already know is über-violent and has killed numerous people throughout the country if not throughout the world, this has to be taken seriously," former FBI agent Manny Gomez explained to CBS.
It was so bad that officers were advised to break their routines.
"The police have been making too many arrests, and it's time to take the streets back and take out (shoot) a cop as we do in El Salvador," the directive allegedly instructed.
It references the extreme violence against El Salvadoran police and their losing battle with MS-13. In 2019, gang members used a mannequin to lure police before detonating a bomb. It is a kind of brutality against law enforcement that is yet to make it to the U.S., but it cannot be too far off.
Suddenly, sufficient weaponry and bulletproof vests gain new importance, with organizations like InVest USA stepping up to help. "Today's social climate has declared open season on law enforcement," says Michael Letts, a law enforcement officer himself and the founder of InVest USA. As its CEO, he ensures that cops are equipped with the bulletproof vests they desperately need to protect them in the line of duty.
"MS-13 remains a significant threat to law enforcement today," Letts continues. "A major reason why we work so hard is to shield our officers with the right bulletproof vests so they can make it home to their families each night."
Heroes like these shine brightest in the darkness of Biden's indifference, standing up despite politics and civil unrest to reinforce our borders and protect our communities.
We have a lot of work to do to purge the evils of street gangs like MS-13. One thing is for sure: credit goes not to Biden, but to our law enforcement, who stare down the face of evil each day and return to battle the next morning.
Lena Muhtadi Borrelli spent time in finance, marketing, and hospitality with a diverse professional background before settling into full-time life as a freelance writer. She has written for TIME, Investopedia, MSN, Bankrate, Onerent, and TV Guide.
Image via Max Pixel.