On May 23, President Donald Trump announced that he was formulating a plan which would reduce aid to countries that fail to block MS-13 gang members from illegally entering the United States.
“We’re looking at our whole aid structure. It’s going to be changed very radically,” Trump said. The Mara Salvatrucha gang, also known as MS-13, is a widespread criminal organization whose members Trump has repeatedly called “animals.” Trump doubled down on that label at the roundtable discussion, saying: “I called them ‘animals’ the other day and I was met with rebuke,” and “They said: ‘They are people.’ They’re not people. These are animals.”
He also took a moment to praise Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for her efforts. While, he said, her task was “not easy,” he told her that she was nevertheless “doing a really great job.”
Trump was relatively reticent about the specifics of his plan to penalize countries that allow MS-13 gang members to slip into the U.S., only saying that “We’re going to work out something where every time someone comes in from a certain country, we are going to deduct a rather large sum of money.”
So far, the Trump administration has had mixed success in deterring illegal immigration. While last April saw numbers hit a record low at 15,700 apprehended, they have once more spiked to 50,900 in the same month this year — higher than the previous administration. Whether or not the President’s plan to deter them will be effective in keeping those numbers minimal remains to be seen.