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To most people, it’s a scary prospect: gang leaders in El Salvador sending recruits into the United States to spread violence.
In his State of the Union in January, President Donald Trump called out the gang – known as MS-13 – for importing violence into the country and introduced the parents of two teen girls killed by MS-13 members on New York’s Long Island in 2016.
Suspected members of the MS-13 gang are escorted to their arraignment in Mineola, N.Y., on Jan. 11. The gang has been especially active in a few cities along the East Coast. (AP file photo/Seth Wenig)
The violence in El Salvador is alarming, confirms the FBI, which says the country has a homicide rate not seen since the 1979-92 civil war. And MS-13 and its archrivals, the 18th Street gang, have gained footholds in numerous U.S. cities, the agency reports.
But some experts say Trump and the news media are overstating the threat of MS-13.
Among those experts is a new faculty member at Cal State Fullerton. Lidia Nuño, assistant professor of criminal justice, is one of a handful of researchers across the country studying MS-13. At a symposium on campus in February, Nuño and her former research colleagues from Arizona State University put into perspective the rhetoric that has been swirling around the gang’s presence in the United States, particularly in Los Angeles.
Lidia Nuño, a Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of criminal justice, is one of a handful of researchers across the country studying the MS-13 gang’s presence in the United States and Central America. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)
“There’s no real solid evidence of transnational capacity of MS-13, and I think we keep seeing that,” Nuño told a group that included many law enforcement officials. “Perhaps we need to spend our resources in a different way.”
The prevalence of MS-13 in Los Angeles County is low, she said, even though Los Angeles – not El Salvador – is the birthplace of the gang, which was founded in the 1980s by children of Salvadoran immigrants who had fled a brutal civil war.
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After being arrested during that decade’s gang crackdown, they …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics