The deportation and investigation activities of the new Trump administration seem to converge on a full-scale MS-13 deportation project. Newly labeled as a bona fide terrorist organization, MS-13 is the only adversary which the administration can tackle with a true chance of repeated wins.
No other domestic avenue for short-term success is visible. Too many key domestic battles are going nowhere. The travel ban is still halted. Tax reforms have been postponed. The all-important health care reform has been substantially delayed. There is no short-term perspective of financing of the border wall. Eager of easy wins, the Trump administration now is turning against MS-13 which could open the way for a bigger battle against sanctuary cities.
Statements about MS-13 have abounded recently by both the AG Jeff Sessions and the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.
Jeff Session has publicly stated the purpose of completely devastating the gang which now counts well over 6,000 members in the US.
Indeed we have seen a steep increase in the number of arrests and prosecutions related to Ms-13.
A New Chance for Blaming MS-13 on the Previous Administration
The White House has joined in the chorus against MS-13 by blaming the Obama administration.
Targeting MS-13 offers multiple benefits to the new Administration. In the first place, it is a rightful target. The actions of these gang members are so horrible that no politician is really venturing to defend them. It is also an indirect way of tackling the Mexican cartels without a direct confrontation. MS-13 members often operate as foot soldiers for the cartels and their arrest can contain Mexican criminal activity in the US. While a more direct confrontation with the cartels could further worsen an already bad relationship with Mexican politicians.
It is easier to label MS-13 as a terror organization rather than labeling the cartels as such. It is, therefore, a step in the right direction, although it doesn’t really solve the root of the problem. Focusing on MS-13 will also allow the Trump administration to avoid, for the time being, more delicate immigration matters like the status of Dreamers or the refugee crisis.