The MS-13 gang has struck fear into communities as they have brutally killed people. In addition, people state that the only way to get out of the MS-13 is feet first, which does not seem to be entirely true. Rob Mickens who attended the State of the Union Address last month with three other living victims of the MS-13, victimized to suffer a lifelong pain of losing two teenagers to violence in the Brentwood community on Long Island. It is important to expose the truth about the MS-13 and even though there is good reporting, the reporting is far from complete.
The community has really failed in lots of ways, including schools, churches, organizations, police, elected officials, and more. The Republicans who had more men in positions of power failed almost two decades ago and the Democrats who have replaced them have failed. There are some success stories as gang members have been successfully tried and convicted and others have left the gang, but there is much more to absorb.
The recent PBS broadcast of the MS-13 and how the community continues to live in fear as Donald Trump and his team embolden youth who are being recruited by other gang members and the news falls short of what must be known. But we must enter this discussion today seeking great solutions from the White House and the presidential appointees, a White House severely diminished by numerous scandals and incompetence. The rhetoric surrounding the Trump State of the Union speech and even preceding comments by Donald Trump to wipe out the MS-13 do not seem to be happening. There is no parade in the streets of America attesting to that fact, even though Trump is seeking a military parade in our nation’s capital.
Donald Trump has done great harm to the Salvadoran community recently by not extending the Temporary Protected Status to its people again. Salvadorans have been able to work and drive automobiles under the TPS and I believe that our judicial system will eventually decide that Trump’s decision went too far. Taking away the livelihood of protected people and their wealth does remind me of the early attack on Jews in Germany under Hitler, where Jews were not allowed to work in certain fields and they lost huge amounts of wealth under law. This should not happen to anyone under the American flag, but Trump has set this in motion in the United States.
We can go back to the early 2000s to see what was taking place in Brentwood. A Salvadoran festival brought out much opposition, largely because it was poorly planned and people from various ethnic groups protested. The Salvadoran community had the wrong leadership as the confrontation was taking place. There was growing resentment among community people as the MS-13 was causing trouble and Salvadorans correctly pointed out that the gang problem was less than one percent of the entire population.
The Salvadoran people have built up the restaurant business on Long Island and add something dynamic to the economy. What the African-American is to the N.B.A., the Salvadoran is to that important business which is constantly growing. There was an attempt to win control of the school board in Brentwood as incendiary remarks were made by a Caucasian member. That attempt failed. Then there was Steve Levy who was elected county executive, a Democrat at first, but he switched party affiliation.
Outside the Consulate of El Salvador , I opened a van door to get inside and there was Steve Levy about to be driven to the festival by a vice-consul of El Salvador. Isn’t it ironic? Sitting next to him was Richard Ianucci of the NY State Teacher’s Association. I told Levy that the people in Suffolk County needed to be educated, focusing on the Salvadoran people. I had to step up my activities to try to persuade the people of Suffolk County that these immigrants and others had rights that had to be respected as many people were always quick to point out that they came here illegally and were therefore illegal. This was almost entirely false as those immigrants had lots of rights. True they did not have the right to work unless they had TPS status, but all undocumented immigrants had the right to start a business as some or many did. In other words, you cannot easily take away that right and other rights. Steve Levy became one of the most detested elected officials in our nation as he fought against these immigrants. And today there are lots of Republicans and I am sure even some Democrats that follow his in footsteps, but perhaps with a smaller shoe.
Then there were offers of help that were either rejected or not activated.
Appointed vice-chairman of Operation SNUG which spells GUNS backwards. The person appointed chairman did not care to help youth with their high school equivalency.
The evening program at Brentwood High School rejected my help for adults who needed a high school equivalency.
At a meeting with the F.B.I. and Congressman Israel, I was told that my help was needed, but nothing happened.
Eighteen friends of a Salvadoran youth dropped out of high school and nobody did anything about it.
After a killing in Central Islip, the next town over from Brentwood, the deputy police commissioner rejected my offer of help.
The failures went on and on and on. If there is a solid reason why the MS-13 exists and continues to exist in my community, much of the blame must be placed on the community.
We have just seen another violent situation in our nation’s school in Florida. Donald Trump cannot admit that guns are impacting. He says the problem is a mental health problem, but he refuses to call the MS-13 and its violence a mental health problem. And he singles out machetes and knives that are being used to kill people, including Kayla Cuevas and Nika Mickens. Has anyone on the news even picked up this point that I am sharing with you? In addition, Jonathan Blitzer who was interviewed on PBS, pointed out that linking the MS-13 to the attack on illegal immigration is wrong. What Trump is talking about, be it MS-13 or the gangs of Chicago, is zero tolerance for crime or something that he really has no control over. The Trumps in every community talk a good game, but the violence continues. Prevention hardly exists and most of the time we find out about things when it is too late. It was too late for Kayla and Nika.
California and New York are two key MS-13 states and there are almost nine million adults in those two states who have never graduated from high school. Almost all members of MS-13 are probably among those statistics. I would have cleaned up the problem years ago. Starting with an article in 2004 in Central Islip in Spanish and repeatedly writing and speaking about the gangs and the raping of teenage girls in clubs, I have failed to garner support. Now Trump comes on the scene and people pay attention to him even though he has little to offer. Even Lou Dobbs, a great supporter of Donald Trump and television commentator, spoke about providing programs for gang members that he has long forgotten about. This is just further proof that people do a lot of talking and produce little or nothing.
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