American-Grown Gangs Fuel Immigration Crisis from Central America

Erik Ortiz, NBC News, July 25, 2014

Academic researcher Al Valdez was in El Salvador’s capital city two years ago watching bewildered deportees from America step onto the tarmac. The plane was full of undocumented immigrants sent back because of their criminal records, he said, including some gang members. A nun gave each one a banana or an aspirin, and told them they were free to leave.

There was no one offering to help rehabilitate them into Salvadoran society.

“I was disturbed. They were simply repatriated back into their country,” said Valdez, the author of books on Southern California gangs and a former supervisor with the Orange County District Attorney’s gang unit.

The lack of oversight has allowed gang members to assert control in El Salvador and neighboring countries, where tens of thousands–including unaccompanied children–have made dangerous journeys to the U.S. border in recent months. In addition, Valdez said, the United States’ own policy has been an unintended driver of the pile-up on America’s doorstep.

U.S. immigration policy was tightened in 1996, resulting in more undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes being deported to their home countries. That included expelling criminals familiar with gang culture in Los Angeles and other cities to their native El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras–now among the most dangerous countries in the world.

“This American style of gangsterism was imported like a catalyst” and became mixed with the local gangs into a violent and murderous mash-up, Valdez said. “It took off like a wildfire, like a virus out of control.”

The most high-profile are rivals MS-13, formally known as “Mara Salvatrucha,” and the 18th Street gang, or M-18, both of which have roots in the U.S. It was in Los Angeles where Mexican immigrants formed the 18th Street gang, and then began recruiting Central American immigrants in the 1980s. MS-13 was made up of mostly Salvadoran immigrants who were trying to protect themselves from other gangs, Valdez said.

They effectively assimilated into the American gang lifestyle, getting tattoos, wearing certain clothes and learning how to recruit. But when the U.S. decided to clamp down on undocumented immigrants with rap sheets, they were sent back to Central America armed with what they learned in the U.S., said Magdaleno Rose-Avila, a Seattle immigration activist who has studied gangs in El Salvador.


There have been reports of gang members in Central America threatening children, even killing them, when they refuse to join their ranks as foot soldiers. Kidnappings, stabbings and attacks on public transportation by gang members routinely grab local headlines.


President Barack Obama met with the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras on Friday to discuss the border crisis and acknowledged that they have a shared responsibility to fix the problem. He suggested the possibility for a limited refugee program although that wouldn’t be enough to stem the tide of undocumented immigrants from Central America.

“We created the economic and political conditions there,” Rose-Avila said. “All these kids that came back and are disrupting the communities with gangs–we created that.”

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  • Black Plague

    I’m not so sure America helped create these gangs. Those Central & South American gangs have been around for many many decades in their own countries.

    • TruthBeTold

      This BS theory has been going around for years. Apparently in their home country, they’re sweet and innocent young boys. But once they cross our border, they turn into violent thugs.

      For their own protection, we should keep them out in the first place.

  • TruthBeTold

    I brought this issue up last week.

    I remember reading about this maybe 10 years ago; that the gang violence in South America was caused by us deporting criminal gang members.

    They come here and we turn them into violent gang members. We deport them and they spread their violent gangs.

    It’s always our fault.

    If we really want to prevent this, we need strong border security to keep them out in the first place so they won’t be influenced by our gang culture; you know, for their own good.

    • Zaporizhian Sich

      Summarily shooting these violent illegal aliens who form gangs would be a win-win for us, AND their hellhole nations.

      • UncleSham

        Logical solutions are not on the table in the feminized West.

    • DonReynolds

      Simply not true. There are many people who can remember when there were no black or hispanic gangbangers. We can remember when our major cities were the envy of the world, violent crime was rare, and turf wars over the drug trade were virtually unknown.
      All of this has happened since 1980 and it spread east from California. There were no gangbangers or shootouts or street violence in the South, west to Texas. In 1980, I spent some time in Albuquerque, New Mexico…..yes, it was there already….then I went to San Antonio and Dallas, Texas. There was none.

  • Adolf Verloc

    I am a merciful person, and oppose any idea to execute gangbangers out of hand. Send them back to their home countries kneecapped in both legs. Win-win.

    • DonReynolds

      I have always thought blinding would be appropriate for certain crimes.
      It is an old punishment, but it still has merit.

      • Wholly Unconvinced

        Hahaha, I read that initially as binding, and wondered which appendage we were going to be binding, thinking the neck might be best, but a leg, or both feet could be more fun, then said blinding, which is okay too I guess…

        (To clarify, when thinking of binding, I was imagining when you tie string around something so tightly it cuts off circulation, leading the limb or appendage to eventually suffer tissue necrosis, and literally wither away and die. Sort of a slow-motion garrotte.)

      • The problem with that approach is that police and prosecutors often over-charge suspects. This is called “hanging paper”. What happens when someone that has been blinded later turns out to have been innocent? If all you have done is wrongfully incarcerate him, the state can pay him a few million dollars and let him go, but a new set of eyes is a bit more problematical.

        • DonReynolds

          I take it therefore that you are opposed to the death penalty.
          My own compromise would be exile (another old punishment)….they just cannot stay in this country. Where they go does not matter, they just cannot come back here. It would be a good way to empty out most of the prisons in this country without making US streets any more unsafe than they are now. You may like that exile is actually reversible, if they are later proven innocent.

  • Alexandra1973

    Better there than here.

  • MekongDelta69

    Of course Rose Avila blames the U.S. for their problems.

    I’ve got news for you Magdaleno – those three Central American countries have been totally out of control since the early 80s.

    It is YOUR fault, NOT ours.

    As for the rest of the sob-story… “Boo hoo…”

    • TruthBeTold

      If Rose Avila actually believed what she says, she would be demanding these people don’t come here to learn to become gang members.

      She knows it’s a lie. Just another way to blame the White man.

  • dd121

    These guys aren’t gang bangers. They’re the future of America. Mr Obama told us so.

    • The GOP says they’re natural born conservatives. lol

      • dd121

        It’s a shame that neither party represents the interests of the historic American population.

      • Their “family values” don’t stop at the Rio Grande. These are just “good-hearted” Hispanics selling the drugs Americans won’t sell, committing the torture-beheading-murders that Americans won’t commit, and bankrupting the hospitals that Americans won’t bankrupt anymore. Also, Mexico is a “friendly trading partner” because it is willing to give us all the illiterate Guatemalans and Salvadorians that President Orangutan wants – for free!

    • DonReynolds

      The only future they have in America is decorating the side of the Interstate Highway System. The smell will go away after a while.

  • Adolf Verloc

    Perhaps apprenticeships with street gangs here could be considered as education under the DREAM act.

  • Proganda 101 from NBC. Blame whitey. It’s always the same message–it’s whitey’s fault.

    Anyone foolish enough or stupid enough to believe this hot steaming pile of nonsense is either a lefty or a brainwashed college student. I’ve heard it from the Messican president of the big public university in San Antonio, Ricardo Romo. Whitey oppresses these poor younsters and so they form gangs to develop a sense of belonging. Brown-skin Romo’s book emphasized that message. In fact, it was the message–the only message.

    And we pay these clowns a half million bucks a year to propagandize the young adults who go to college. The academic in this article, Al Vadez, is an even bigger clown than the ones I had the misfortune to work for. Whitey’s oppression causes the youths of other countries to turn murderer?

    Can old Al really be that self deluded or is it a defense mechanism.

    Al must know that his people are vicious and mean by nature. It’s genetic with them. When whitey is long since extinct, they’ll still be gangbanging each other to death. And blaming whitey.

  • Caucasoid88

    Whenever I think of “gangs” I always think of “instinctual tribal monkey business.” Does that make me a racist?

  • jayvbellis

    conservative Hispanic Whites in El Salvadore fought these types in the 1980s. Yeah. Our side used “death squads”, also too, a rather ough line with Liberation a Theology Cstholic priests, nuns and even one bishop.

    Check out Oliver Stone’s movie Salvadore.

    • DonReynolds

      Don’t laugh too loud. This country is about a half baby-step away from having our own death squads. It was the only way to stop the Leftist takeover of their country.

      I do not think of them as “death squads”…..more like “patriots who meet after hours for civic improvement projects”.

      • jayvbellis

        At least “White Hispanics” real White Hispanics did fight these brown Marxist terrorists, now turned brutal gang members. we white Anglos have only talked and complained and…..

        Fought, killed the Serbs, Germans, Italians, Dutch and French volunteers

  • JohnEngelman

    Whites in the United States cannot be blamed for the criminal behavior of races that are innately criminal. The closer a race is in number of generations to a paleolithic way of life the higher its crime rate is.

    Street gangs are an instinctive recreation of paleolithic hunting bands.

  • IstvanIN

    It isn’t American behavior, it is HISPANIC behavior. Send all of them back, even if they were born here, they will do nothing more than recreate what they or there parents left behind. It isn’t our problem, other than the problem of them destroying our country.

    • JohnEngelman

      And Negro behavior.

  • That is why we should simply deport them so their OWN armies and police departments can shoot them. Once these creeps are back home, they simply are not our problem.

    • Zaporizhian Sich

      Good point, the bullets will be needed elsewhere.

  • Who Me?

    “All these kids that came back and are disrupting the communities with gangs–we created that.”

    Wrong, lady. WE did not create that, YOU did when you sent these savage, feral, unaccompanied “children” up here in the first place. You dumped them on our doorstep to feed and educate at our expense. We did. Now you don’t like what they learned. Too damn bad.

  • DonReynolds

    Fine. If they do not want gangbangers deported back to their own country, we have two simple choices…..1) do not let them come here in the first place…..or 2) get rid of them. They are no different from mad dogs….just be done with them. They are low-life vermin and nobody wants them in their country. Maybe we can build a wall with their oily carcasses….along the border with Mexico.

  • libertarian1234

    What nonsense.

    He wants us to believe the freeloaders are fleeing Central America, because we sent back trained gang members and they can’t live with them in their society?

    Well since the crime and chaos is even worse here, does he think they will enjoy the same environment more in this country?

    Another Hispanic activist grasping at excuses in order to justify a mass migration of free loaders, because they part of “his people.”

    • DonReynolds

      It is difficult to follow the logic of the LARAZA staffers around Obama these days. Somehow the solution to crime and violence in Central America is to airlift these same violent people to the USA and give them the ability to vote in upcoming elections.

  • Ella

    Many Latinos gangs in America started in prison so if they followed our laws here, they would not be violent gang members with long rap sheets. USA is not a “dumping ground” for your rejected, underachieving citizens.

  • Wholly Unconvinced

    Wow… I get a paragraph in and realize they’re literally trying to blame Whitey for Hispanic gangs….in Hispanic countries… I mean, seriously… this is one of those jaw dropping insanity moments where you wonder if you’re having a nightmare.

    And they really believe this crap, don’t they? These little pieces of brown filth brought their gangs HERE, not the other way around! I mean come on?!

    Jose the rocket surgeon sneaks across the border, wanting only to share his brilliant inventions and family values with us. But alas… shortly after he arrives, he’s kidnapped by evil white gangsters, who liposuction all Jose’s brilliant ideas out of his head, then train him to be an incompetent thug, laughing madly at their evil frankenburrito, they turn him loose in the streets of L.A. where he bands together with his other ex rocket surgeon homies, becoming feral monsters in their quest to survive…


    • Interestingly, I lived in New South Wales, Australia for 15 months and while it was originally established as a British penal colony, the whites there do not appear to have brought their original crime problem with them. Sydney in fact is a beautiful city, and was quite safe until the cultural Marxists began filling it up with imported Third, Fourth and Fifth World trash.

      • journey

        All in the genes.

  • Dale McNamee

    I’ve read the rules for non-citizens (in this case US) of El Salvador,Honduras,Guatemala, & Mexico… There are job & income requirements, no voting rights, can’t work for the government,etc.

    And no governmental welfare,financial,food,housing aid available… Even to their native born citizens !

    So, failure to re-integrate these “re-pats” is “on their heads”… Not the US !

    I have a couple of solutions… Execute them and ship the bodies back… It’s the only thing these thugs understand ! Or drop them from several thousand feet into these countries… Either way, a solution for both the US & these countries !

  • SoCal88

    Suppose the U.S. passes a law that imposes an automatic 15 year sentence for anyone in the U.S. without proper documents. All the criminal invaders are then put on a big boat and “outsourced” to China or other countries with a big ocean between us. The “Incarcerating Authority” is responsible for the care and feeding of these invaders for the duration of their sentences. They can put them to work in fields or factories, or on the Moon, if the need arises. They can also “retrain” them on the concept of being a law abiding citizen. If they survive this, they would qualify for an interview and an I.Q. test. If they pass, their name gets put on a list, and every year 10 people on the list get a chance to become US citizens, if they are willing to swear on a stack of Bibles that they aren’t Muslims.

  • journey

    “We created the economic and political conditions there,” Rose-Avila said. The only “we” are the Hispanics themselves. Solution: Mandatory birth control to stop the endless supply of useless parasites.