Whistleblower: Obama knowingly let in MS-13 gang members…

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By Stephen Dinan

The Obama administration knowingly let in at least 16 admitted MS-13 gang members who arrived at the U.S. as illegal immigrant teenagers in 2014, a top senator said Wednesday, citing internal documents that showed the teens were shipped to juvenile homes throughout the country.

Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said a whistleblower turned over Customs and Border Protection documents from 2014 detailing the 16 persons who were caught crossing the border.

“CBP apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed and disbursed them into our communities,” Mr. Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said.

The gang members were part of the surge of UAC, or “unaccompanied alien children,” as the government labels them, who overwhelmed the Obama administration in 2014, leaving Homeland Security struggling to staunch the flow from Central America.

Officials at the time said the children should be treated as refugees fleeing horrific conditions back home — though security analysts said the children were prime recruiting territory for gangs already in the U.S.

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Mr. Johnson said the image of UAC as little children is misleading. Out of nearly 200,000 UAC apprehended between from 2012 to 2016, 68 percent were ages 15, 16 or 17 — meaning older teens. The majority were also male, making them targets for gang recruiting.

Mr. Johnson revealed the documents at a hearing on the dangers posed by MS-13.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said she wants to get rid of gangs, but criticized the release of the whistleblower documents, saying it may have hurt active investigations or otherwise dented efforts to get the gang members out of the country.

“I have concerns that these documents were released so quickly,” she said.

The UAC surge has long been suspected of providing a new pool of recruits for MS-13 and other gangs in the U.S., though the actual numbers are unclear.

There have been a series of anecdotal reports, however, of UAC who were placed into community schools and ended up taking part in violent gang activities.

Salvadoran Officials Warn: Mass Deportation Will Increase Violence In Our Country

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The government of El Salvador is reportedly concerned about stricter enforcement of immigration laws in the United States, claiming mass deportations will result in increased violence in El Salvador.

According to El Comercio, Salvadoran Defense Miniser David Munguia Payés told reporters, “we know that if there are massive deportations from the U.S., violence in [El Salvador] will increase” because such deportations will likely target the MS13 street gang.

Payés allegedly told reporters that if members of the MS13 street gang are deported en masse, they will cause tension among local gang members.

This appears to concur with a recent report from Crisis Group which suggested the Trump administration “refrain from instigating mass deportations or harder anti-immigrations measures” to prevent increased violence in Central American countries, including El Salvador.

Back to El Comercio, the outlet states that El Salvador’s government is contemplating combatting the increased risk of violence by requiring criminal deportees to check in with police monthly to prove they’re not involved in any illegal activities.

“On the other hand,” the outlet reports, “the [Defense Minister] did not rule out the possibility that gang members with criminal records [will also be] arrested on arrival in the country.”

News of El Salvador’s concern appears to have struck many as an example of exactly why the U.S. needs to clamp down on illegal immigration.

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MS13 gang members have made headlines as of late for violence carried out in the U.S.

In one particularly gruesome case, the dismembered bodies of four young men were discovered in Long Island.

According to NBC, those murders were linked to MS13, which the outlet states has been accused of carrying out 15 homicides in the last 16 months in one single New York county.

In response, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a speech slamming MS13 as “a symbol of this plague that has spread across our country and into our communities,” further describing them as “one of the gravest threats to American safety.”

Sessions also visited Long Island to discuss MS13 and the increase in crime the gang has brought to the United States.

Sources:
El Comercio
Crisis Group
NBC

Mexican Cartel Kills Activist Mom Searching for Mass Graves

by ILDEFONSO ORTIZ AND BRANDON DARBY12 May 2017

Cartel gunmen have murdered a woman who led the search for her daughter’s remains and other victims in northern Mexico. The gunmen killed her on the day Mexico celebrates Mother’s Day.

Mexican authorities have confirmed the murder of Miriam Elizabeth Rodriguez Martinez, on the night of May 10 in the city of San Fernando, Tamaulipas. As Breitbart Texas reported, San Fernando has a long history of being a stronghold of Los Zetas Cartel, one of the most ruthless criminal organizations in Mexico. Two former Tamaulipas governors are wanted by the U.S. Department of Justice on money laundering charges for their roles as surrogates of the Los Zetas. One of those politicians is also wanted on multiple drug trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Los Zetas have been behind the execution of 72 Central American immigrants who were murdered in San Fernando in an apparent show of force. The same criminal organization has been singled out as being behind the disappearance of hundreds of victims from San Fernando. In 2011, close to 200 victims were discovered in shallow graves in rural areas near San Fernando. At the time, authorities revealed that the victims may have been kidnapped off passenger buses or may have been motorists traveling one of the state’s main highways near the city.

In 2012, cartel gunmen kidnapped the daughter of Miriam Elizabeth Rodriguez Martinez. Despite the lack of cooperation from the Mexican federal government, the activist formed a support group that focused on pressuring the government and helping locate missing victims. Rodriguez Martinez was able to locate the mass grave where the gunmen buried her daughter’s body. Through her work, Martinez was able to contribute to the arrest of nine Los Zetas gunmen directly responsible for her daughter’s kidnapping.

According to the Tamaulipas government, Rodriguez Martinez requested government protection after learning that Enrique Yoel Rubio, the main suspect behind her daughter’s murder, was named among the dozens of inmates who broke out of a state prison earlier this year. As Breitbart Texas reported in May, at least 29 members of Los Zetas used a tunnel to break out of the state prison in Ciudad Victoria. The breakout came after the cartel was undergoing an internal fight for territorial control.

While federal authorities ignored Rodriguez’s cry for help, state authorities provided her with a series of police checkups at her home. Information provided to Breitbart Texas by Tamaulipas authorities revealed that Rubio had been arrested shortly after the breakout and has remained behind bars since.

Despite state cops checking in on Rodriguez, unknown cartel gunmen were able to carry out the assassination earlier this week. State officials issued a strong condemnation and claimed they would not let the murder go unsolved.

ACLU: AVOID LONE STAR STATE…

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The ACLU is advising travelers to avoid Texas after the state passed SB4, a new law that allows police officers to investigate a person’s immigration status during a routine traffic stop.

The group says that the law will lead to “widespread racial profiling baseless scrutiny, and illegal arrests of citizens and non-citizens alike.” The travel alert applies to both U.S. citizens and those who might be considering a trip to Texas from abroad.

“We plan to fight this racist and wrongheaded law in the courts and in the streets. Until we defeat it, everyone traveling in or to Texas needs to be aware of what’s in store for them,” Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement. “The Lone Star State will become a ‘show me your papers’ state, where every interaction with law enforcement can become a citizenship interrogation and potentially an illegal arrest.”

SB4 goes into effect on September 1, 2017. We recently profiled the ACLU and how it’s leading the fight against discriminatory laws during the Trump administration.

Illegal immigration across southwest border down 70 percent under Trump

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By Stephen Dinan and Andrea Noble

Illegal immigration across the southwest border dropped yet again in April, with the number of illegal immigrant children fallen below 1,000 for the first time in recent records, Homeland Security announced Tuesday.

The numbers are part of a stunning drop since the beginning of the Trump administration. Border Patrol apprehensions alone are down a shocking 70 percent compared to last year under President Obama.

And the administration appears to have solved the surge of illegal immigrant children and families from Central America that bedeviled Mr. Obama.

Authorities attributed the continued drop to the administration’s changes in border enforcement policies.

“A lot of the discussion about changes in our enforcement policy and the way we are going about doing business, we believe that has deterred people,” said Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan in a briefing at Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters Tuesday. “When you get here it is likely you are going to get caught, you are going to be returned to your country.”

Immigration enforcement in the interior of the United States and greater border scrutiny are countering the notion that if immigrants can just make it into the United States, they will be fine, Mr. Lapan said.

“It’s causing people to have second thoughts about making those attempts to enter the country illegally,” he said.

Authorities expect a seasonal uptick in border apprehensions in May and June of this year, but are waiting to see the degree of any seasonal surge.

The tough talk on illegal immigration and drug cartels does not, however, appear to be having an impact on drug smuggling across the border.

Mr. Lapan said interdiction of hard drugs including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine at the border are up while marijuana seizures have decreased.

“We are still seeing a lot of illicit drugs come into the country,” he said.

*(From the sanctuary city of Chicago and the Mexican street gangs) – Mass shooting at Brighton Park memorial claims lives of brother and sister

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By Jeremy Gorner and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas

Adriana Williams and her brother Michael stopped at a makeshift memorial on Sunday afternoon for a friend gunned down hours earlier on a street in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood.

On Monday, a new memorial went up — this one for the two Williams siblings after they were killed and eight others wounded when two gunmen armed with rifles stepped from an alley and opened fire at mourners at the friend’s memorial.

The group had been celebrating the life of 26-year-old Daniel Cordova, who was shot and killed about 13 hours earlier, when the shots rang out.

“They were just coming to pay their respects,” said Willie Glover Jr., an older brother of Adriana, 27, and Michael, 24. “You expect people to respect that.”

Chicago’s worst mass shooting in almost four years comes amid conflict by as many as four Mexican gangs battling over turf in Brighton Park and neighboring Back of the Yards and less than a week after two plainclothes Chicago police officers — mistaken for rival gang members — were shot and wounded. Of particular concern to police is that in recent months the gangs have increasingly been using military-style weapons, including in the shooting of the two officers.

According to a law enforcement source, Chicago police are looking into whether rival gangs are trying to take advantage of the department’s crackdown on the La Raza street gang because of its involvement in the officers’ shooting. Police believe a rival gang, the Almighty Saints, was responsible for both shootings Sunday, the source said. Both Cordova and Michael Williams were affiliated with the Satan Disciples, police said.

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Police are concerned about further bloodshed. In an alert broadcast Monday over police radio channels, officers were told to “use caution in Satan Disciple areas.” With the shooting of multiple gang members, “a heightened level of activity from Satan Disciples is expected,” the police alert warned.

The shootings led Ald. Raymond Lopez, whose 15th Ward covers Back of the Yards and Brighton Park, to pronounce Sunday that “no innocent lives were lost” in the afternoon shooting that killed the Williams siblings and wounded the eight others near 46th Place and Rockwell Street.

“If you are hanging out with people who are recruiting 12- and 13-year-olds to join gangs and sell drugs, then you are part of the problem in this community,” Lopez told a Tribune reporter. “We need to stop beating around the bush on this, and we need the people who live here to stand up and help us stop what’s going on.”

By Monday, police were providing the alderman a security detail after he had received death threats, according to the law enforcement source.

Lopez declined to comment on the report, telling the Tribune, “I was elected to defend my residents and will continue to do so.”

On Monday, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, which offers after-school programs, violence prevention outreach and advocacy for immigration rights for the blue-collar, Latino neighborhood, sought to comfort students with the help of officials at Shields Elementary School and Shields Middle School, both located a few blocks from Sunday’s shootings.

“The kids are afraid,” said Patrick Brosnan, the council’s executive director. “They feel nervous to go outside. They are scared in their own neighborhoods.”

Just before 3 a.m. Sunday, with music blaring, Cordova posted a video to his Facebook page threatening the “opp” — short for opposition — and bragging about how he stays out on the street “day and night.” He taunted that he was sitting in a parked car alone, according to the video.

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About an hour and a half later, police found his body between two parked cars at 46th Place and Rockwell Street. He had been shot in the chest.

Word of Cordova’s shooting spread on Facebook, and Lisa Vargas, who roomed with Adriana Williams, said Adriana was “freaking out” over the death.

“She was just like, ‘Nah, it wasn’t him. It can’t be him,'” Vargas said. “And I said, ‘Yeah, it was him.'”

As friends gathered at the memorial near where Cordova had been shot, police warned them they could be the targets of more gang gunfire. It wasn’t long afterward that the gunmen appeared.

Michael Williams died at the scene, and Adriana died at Stroger Hospital, officials said.

According to a Tribune analysis of its shooting database, the killing of two and wounding of eight others, including two women, marked the single worst shooting incident in Chicago since September 2013, when 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy, were shot in Cornell Square Park near 51st and Wood streets in Back of the Yards by two gunmen, one armed with an AK-47-style rifle.

“It hits hard,” said Vargas, noting one of her daughters was really close to Adriana Williams. “I was sitting here telling my daughter, ‘You could have been right there with her.’ Because she goes with her everywhere. She was always with her.”

As she talked Monday, friends set up a makeshift memorial for the Williamses in front of the two-story brick home in Little Village where Adriana lived. That’s where their friends tied yellow smiley-faced balloons on a wrought-iron fence across the sidewalk from the home.

They passed around a black marker and took turns scrawling messages on the balloons. “We Love You” and “R.I.P. Adriana.” They lit religious candles near a small pot of roses.

Glover, the Williams’ brother and the oldest of six siblings, said that he had moved out of Chicago about 15 years ago and that he and his siblings grew apart the way family sometimes does when everyone is grown and spread out.

He knew his family members lived in a tough neighborhood where gang violence was prevalent. But he didn’t believe his siblings were in a gang, though he acknowledged, “I know they live around a lot of gangs.”

Still, Glover never expected that two of his siblings would be gunned down, especially at a makeshift memorial for another homicide victim.

“The (guy) that got killed is close friends with my brother and sister,” he said. “You know, it wasn’t about who they are. It was more like just targeting anybody that was out there to gather for him. They trying to pay their respects, and they get murdered. That’s crazy.”

“They was real good people. They was very loved people. A lot of people really loved them,” he said.

Glover said his sister was a small woman whose size belied her strength and huge personality. She left behind three kids, who have recently been in the custody of the state, he said. She was trying to get her kids back, he said.

His brother showed aptitude for math and reading and made good grades in school, said Glover, who said Michael had two kids of his own.

“Michael, he was just always a good kid. He liked to play basketball. He liked to dress in real nice clothes,” Glover said. “When he was younger, I never thought him to be the type to be around this type of environment. He was just trying to be a good father to his kids.”

Police said both shootings Sunday were carried out by suspects armed with rifles.

In February, the Tribune reported that four Hispanic gangs in Brighton Park and Back of the Yards on the South Side were increasingly using rifles. Police said this area was the only one in the city where rifles styled after AR-15s and AK-47s were regularly used, a menacing new development in the gang fights.

At the time, more than 30 shootings believed to have been tied to semi-automatic rifles occurred in the two neighborhoods over the previous nine months. At least 46 people were shot in those attacks, 13 fatally.

As of Monday evening, no one was reported in custody for the Sunday shootings, but Deputy Police Chief Kevin Ryan told reporters Sunday night that investigators “have a fairly good idea who we’re looking for, we have a fairly good idea of the conflict involved and right now we’re trying to saturate the area.”

Vargas, the friend of both Williamses, said she found out about their killings when someone posted a video from the crime scene on Facebook Live.

“She’s on the ground, and they’re screaming, ‘Help her! Help her!'” she recalled.

Vargas said the last time she saw Michael Williams, who worked in a cookie factory, was earlier Sunday when he was at a Cinco de Mayo parade along Cermak Road in Little Village.

Another friend, Roselee Lopez, spoke of Michael Williams’ sense of humor.

“He loved to joke around,” said Lopez, clutching a bouquet of roses, tears streaming down her face. “Whether you had a good or bad day, he always tried to make you smile.”

Lopez said she, too, learned about the shooting from a Facebook Live video. She hopped on a CTA bus to head to the shooting scene.

“I kept on saying, ‘No, it’s not him. It’s not him. It can’t be him,'” she said. “I was just with him in the parade.

“But when I went over there and they uncovered him, that’s when I really knew.”

Chicago Tribune’s Tony Briscoe, John Byrne and Rosemary Regina Sobol contributed.

*(From the Sanctuary city of Chicago and the Mexican street gangs) – CPD orders security for Southwest Side alderman after gang threat

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By Frank Main and Jordan Owen

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) was placed under guard Monday by the Chicago Police Department after a street gang made a “credible threat” against him, sources said.

Over the past week, Lopez has angrily voiced his opposition to the street gangs suspected of several high-profile shootings in his Southwest Side ward, including two officers who were wounded last week and 11 people shot — three fatally — on Sunday.

Lopez’s home and office are being watched by officers because of a threat attributed to the Satan Disciples, sources said. Members of the gang were the targets of Sunday’s shootings in the Brighton Park neighborhood, according to police.

Lopez declined to comment on the threat before speaking at a community rally with police officials and community organizers on Monday evening at the corner of 46th Place and Rockwell, where Sunday’s shooting happened.

“Nothing that people throw my direction can compare to what my residents face on a daily basis,” he said.

The rookie alderman has maintained a high profile since he was elected in 2015.

He went toe-to-toe with Mayor Rahm Emanuel in calling for every penny of unclaimed property-tax rebate money be used to fight crime, but later backed off of that demand.

On Sunday, he told reporters he was “thankful today that no innocent lives were lost” in the Brighton Park shootings, a slap in the face of the Satan Disciples whose members were killed.

Two people who identified themselves as relatives of the people shot dead on Sunday afternoon began shouting over Lopez as he spoke at the close of Monday’s rally, which drew more than 100 neighborhood residents.

“They’re not animals!” a woman yelled. “They were people. They mattered and you’re talking about them like s—!”

“That could’ve been my baby!” another woman yelled at her.

“That was my family! They mattered!” the first woman retorted before walking away from the rally.

 

Police said they suspect the Latin Saints street gang was responsible for Sunday’s mass shooting in an attempt to reclaim lost gang territory.

At about 5:15 p.m., masked gunmen armed with assault rifles opened fire at 46th Place and Rockwell, shooting 10 people and killing two of them, a man and a woman.

The victims had been gathered on the street at a makeshift memorial for a 26-year-old man who was killed earlier on Sunday just down the block.

Police knew the memorial could attract more gang violence and officers had driven past it shortly before the mass shooting, said one police source, calling it “brazen.”

The shootings involved assault rifles, police said.

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Police are now watching for the Satan Disciples to retaliate for Sunday’s shootings. People lighted candles on Monday night in memorials along a row house near the shooting scene.

“This won’t ever end,” a 21-year-old man named Rigo said after the rally. “I had a memorial for my two brothers killed last month. Just a matter of time till the next one.”

Arturo Rodriguez, who has raised three sons with his wife in Brighton Park for 25 years, said he heard the gunfire from Sunday’s shooting.

“It’s really scary. I don’t even like my wife walking far down the block to her car now,” he said.

Concern over the gang conflicts in Lopez’s ward rose to a new level on May 2 when two plainclothes tactical officers were shot at 43rd and Ashland in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

Earlier that day, a La Raza member was shot by rivals near 20th and Halsted while riding in a black Nissan, police say. After the victim was taken to the hospital, police let the men in the Nissan drive away. But tactical officers followed them in an unmarked van.

Police supervisors called off the surveillance, but the gang members in the Nissan apparently knew the van was tailing them. They alerted fellow gang members, who shot at the van with a .223-caliber high-powered rifle, authorities say.

One officer was struck in the back and another — the son of a deputy chief — was hit in the arm and hip, police said. The officers were treated at Stroger Hospital and released.

On Monday, Angel Gomez, 18, a reputed La Raza member, was ordered held without bail on charges of attempted murder and attempted battery in the officers’ shootings. Police said they think the gang members thought the officers were members of a rival gang — and not cops.

Sources said gangs in Back of the Yards and Brighton Park know La Raza will come under intense scrutiny from the Chicago Police Department for the rest of the year because of the shooting of the two officers. That’s expected to create a power vacuum in those neighborhoods and in other parts of the city, which La Raza’s rivals will try to exploit.

Police officers have been on high alert in Back of the Yards and Brighton Park in recent months because many of the gang shootings in those neighborhoods have involved assault rifles that are capable of piercing officers’ body armor.

In Back of the Yards, 35 people have been shot in 2017 — six of them this past weekend alone. In Brighton Park, 36 people have been shot this year, including the 11 shot on Sunday at 46th Place and Rockwell.

Despite all of that violence, shootings and killings were down in the Deering and Chicago Lawn police districts through the end of April, compared with the first four months of 2016. The Latin Saints, Latin Souls, Satan Disciples, La Raza, Almighty Saints and Latin Kings are among the gangs that have been driving the violence there.

Citywide, 1,093 people have been shot in 2017, according to Sun-Times records.