President Trump took a trip to Long Island Friday afternoon to deliver a speech about gang violence. Of course, for this President, staying on message proved challenging. While he veered from the topic he went to Long Island to discuss, he managed to deliver one heck of a message.
President Trump went to Long Island to speak to law enforcement officers about administration’s policies regarding the gang MS-13. MS-13 is a gang associated with Central American Immigrant communities. MS-13 is a Salvadoran gang though members are not all recent immigrants from El Salvador.
In his speech, President Trump talked about his campaign, Obamacare, and his popularity. He eventually included some discussion about the gang topic that he was there to address. He described the suburbs of Long Island as completely out of control and similar to Cambodia or Iraq.
Disturbingly, the topic veered off again, and President Trump endorsed police brutality saying, “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please, don’t be too nice.’ ” This statement was so bad the Suffolk County Police Department had to release a statement after the event emphasizing its “strict rules and procedures” and made clear that “we do not and will not tolerate ‘rough(ing)’ up prisoners.”
This statement was so offensive the Suffolk County Police Department had to release a statement after the event emphasizing its “strict rules and procedures” and made clear that “we do not and will not tolerate ‘rough(ing)’ up prisoners.”
When he finally got around to talking about MS-13, he said: “We’ve started nipping it in the bud.” He then went on to reminisce about the comments he made while announcing his run for President when he called Mexicans drug dealers and rapists.
He failed to offer any plan to address the concerns faced by communities dealing with MS-13. The only solution he offered was deportation.
Despite his rambling and trips down memory lane, the President did succeed in delivering what likely his intended message was. His speech was not about addressing the threat of MS-13. His intention was to equate undocumented immigrants with crime and to demonize and dehumanize them.
This message is necessary to justify his harsh and inhumane deportation policies. The President said the MS-13 problem was created because “we let them in here over a relatively short period of time.”
That is entirely untrue and contradicts the Department of Justice fact sheet on the gang. That sheet says in part, “The MS-13 has been functioning since at least the 1980s.” Just because the President learned about MS-13 last month does not mean MS-13 started last month.
The President’s attempts to dehumanize and deport immigrants from the country has not proven to help stem the tide of violence from MS-13. Quite the contrary, recent CNN reporting found that Trump’s policies have benefited the gang.
The group often targets Central American immigrant communities. Now, with undocumented immigrants under constant threat of deportation, many MS-13 victims will no longer report crimes to the authorities.