Three MS-13 gang members were charged with attempted murder in Westbury last week. The incident comes hot on the heels of the discovery of four bodies in Central Islip last month. The victims were believed to have been killed by MS-13 assailants—a story that prompted national attention and a visit from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
During his visit, Sessions said, “I have a message for the gangs that target our young people: We are targeting you. We are coming after you.”
MS-13, and all violent gangs, should be eradicated. Law enforcement should be given the tools to protect citizens by hunting down these gang members and either jailing them for their crimes or simply wiping them off the face of the planet. MS-13 has been allowed to proliferate on the Island for far too long, with both lax laws or a shortage of resources enabling gangs to gain in strength and numbers while building an arsenal rivaling anything carried by local police.
The three gang members involved in the Westbury attack came into this country illegally. And while violent illegal immigrants have no place in this country, painting all immigrants with a broad stroke of gang violence over simplifies the problem at hand and vilifies people who desperately came to this country as a last resort, often escaping similar gang violence in their home country.
It is entirely possible to hold two schools of thought in your head at once. Just like you can approve of both ketchup and mustard on your hot dog this Memorial Day, you are also capable of calling for the eradication of violent gang members while at the same time believing in compassion for those who perilously crossed our borders for many of the same reasons our ancestors crossed oceans generations ago.