Two of the three suspects in the MS-13 gang-related assault of a Long Island teenager exploited the unaccompanied minor loophole after crossing the border illegally in South Texas, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told Breitbart News. The two unaccompanied minors were transported to the New York area where they later allegedly carried out a vicious attack on a group of Huntington High School teens.
“Two of the suspects entered into the country illegally through the unaccompanied alien child loophole in the Rio Grande Valley,” a DHS official told Breitbart News on Saturday morning. Police identified all three of the MS-13 gang members suspected of carrying out the attack as having entered the U.S. illegally, Breitbart News’ Michelle Moons reported on Friday.
Later on Saturday, DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman expanded on the reported loophole for unaccompanied minors.
“One of the loopholes we are imploring Congress to close could have prevented this gruesome attack,” Waldman stated. “Not only are the alleged assailants MS-13 gang members, but they entered the country illegally as unaccompanied alien children from the Northern Triangle.”
“The Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorization Act incentivizes unaccompanied alien children to entry the country illegally with little to no chance of ever being removed,” she explained. “This loophole is exploited by MS-13 to gain additional recruits.”
Breitbart News reported in April 2017 about the connection between the loopholes allowing virtually unrestricted admission of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) into the U.S.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and DPS Director Steve McCraw responded to a Breitbart Texas question at that time regarding the connection between the surge of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) from El Salvador since 2014 and the recent spike in MS-13 related crime in Houston and across the nation.
“Some of the MS-13 gang members are here illegally,” Abbott said. “Some of them did come here as unaccompanied children.”
McCraw went further, explaining, “MS-13 will press children as young as 13 into the gangs in El Salvador.” He sais a high percentage of the MS-13 gang members are illegal aliens.
Later that year, a federal government report confirmed that one-third of MS-13 gang members enter the U.S. as unaccompanied minors. During FY 2017, more than 40,000 UACs were resettled across the country.
Fox News quoted immigration experts who said that even if the UACs did not come to the U.S. as members of MS-13, they become targets of the gangs and must join or face the consequences. Fox News cited a case in Islip, New York, where UACs were tied to a violent homicide carried out by MS-13.
DHS officials provided the following about MS-13 gang members:
- For the past five (5) fiscal years, MS-13 remained the highest number of gang-affiliated apprehensions by the U.S. Border Patrol.
- MS-13 arrests are up 16 percent over FY17 (2,000)
- MS-13 removals are up nearly 24 percent over FY17 (1,332)
In the Long Island murder case, a group of high school teens visited a Burger King at Huntington Station Wednesday afternoon with a group of gang members were staring at them “in a menacing way,” the Suffolk County, New York, district attorney reported.
The gang members allegedly followed the teens out of the Burger King and attacked them with baseball bats and knives. One of the gang members, 19-year-old Ramon Arevalo Lopez, allegedly stabbed a 16-year-old boy in the back during the attack. Officials transported the boy to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Fox5 reported.
During the first three months of Fiscal Year 2019, more than 19,000 children crossed the border without parents, DHS officials told Breitbart News. It is not clear how many minors in total crossed the border during this period, but in the first two months of the new fiscal year, nearly 60,000 crossed as unaccompanied minors or family units, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s November Southwest Border Migration Report.
“This humanitarian crisis is driven by court rulings and poorly written laws that incentivize the smuggling of illegal immigrants under the age of 18. Funding the border wall, amending the TVPRA, and ending the Flores Settlement Agreement will put smugglers and traffickers out of business and protect vulnerable populations,” DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a written statement to Breitbart News earlier this month.
“As a result, in just a few years, CBP has seen a sizeable increase in the number of UACs illegally entering the country,” DHS officials reported. “In 2010, Border Patrol apprehended 18,622 UACs. In 2018, Border Patrol apprehended 50,036 UACs—i.e. an increase of 169% in just 8 years.”
“This loophole encourages parents to send their children alone on a dangerous journey to the United States, often at the hands of unscrupulous human traffickers,” officials explained.
In December, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, “Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders.”
“Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north,” she explained.
“As a result of bad judicial rulings from activist judges and inaction by Congress, we are seeing a flood of family units and unaccompanied alien children,” Nielsen concluded. “The unprecedented number of families and unaccompanied children at the border must not be ignored. I once again ask – beg – parents to not place their children at risk by taking a dangerous journey north. Vulnerable populations – including family units and unaccompanied alien children should seek asylum at the first possible opportunity, including Mexico.”
“To those in Congress who continue to refuse to take action to address the loopholes that cause a flood of humanity to travel north and place children at risk, I once again call on you to do your job, protect vulnerable populations, secure our borders, and provide the men and women of DHS the authorities and resources we need to address this crisis,” the secretary said.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional information from the Department of Homeland Security.