Editor’s note: The mixture of illegal immigration and violent crime in Josh Siegel’s profile of the transnational gang MS-13, and his separate interview with the leader of  a police task force fighting MS-13 in suburban Maryland, sparked blunt and passionate response from readers. Here’s a sample.—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: It is long past the time we should have been doing exactly what Attorney General Jeff Sessions proposes in targeting MS-13 (“Trump Has Vowed to Eradicate MS-13. What You Need To Know About the Gang”).

The members of these gangs are dangerous criminals who need to be removed from the streets. If they are not legal citizens, they should be deported immediately upon release from prison. If they are caught illegally re-entering the United States, that action should be classified as a felony and carry an automatic 10-year prison term with no possibility of parole.

MS-13 is only one of the violent gangs composed primarily of illegal immigrants. All such gangs should be dealt with harshly, as should the sponsors of “sanctuary cities” that aid and abet these criminals.—Jerry Zacny


With the new administration in Washington willing to do something, unlike the old administration that was looking at illegals only as votes, we will be back on track as to who comes into our country (“Trump Has Vowed to Eradicate MS-13. What You Need To Know About the Gang”).

As the saying goes, “Elections have consequences.” Illegal immigrants and other lawbreakers will find out exactly what that means. Follow the philosophy of an eye for an eye and that issue will be resolved real quick.

The last eight years was not about common sense, it was about not wanting to punish future voters. But now there is a new sheriff in town and he will deal with the problem as swiftly as possible.

We as citizens can help if we vote out the slackers and elect people who will help President Trump solve this issue. Let our voices be heard loud and clear, and make sure we get out the vote. We can make a difference and it is up to us to determine our future.William J. Perry

In 1996 we became aware that Central American governments did not have the funds or the facilities to house the MS-13 criminals we were deporting. The Clinton administration tried to help them, but was frustrated by the corruption and incompetence in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

President Bill Clinton and the Democrats in our Congress favored the socialist rebels in Central America and pulled the rug out from under the contra administration of Violeta Chamorro in Nicaragua.

The resulting guerilla activity facilitated the growth of the gangs in Central America and, of course, in Los Angeles. In the late 1990s, this violent gang, MS-13, spread across the country and was able to hide in the undocumented population that they preyed on.

This criminal mob activity is not new to the United States. The Cosa Nostra used the same methods and tactics in the early 20th century.

We know how to handle them; we just lack the willingness to confront them with the violence they will understand. We need to bring back the death penalty. Deportation will not provide an adequate solution.—Bill Tanksley

We cannot solve the illegal immigration problem until we understand and enforce our own laws. The following paragraph is the most disturbing to me in Josh Siegel’s whole article:

‘People tend to talk about MS-13 as a gang of illegals, and it sort of is, but a lot of them now were born here, so they are second generation,’ said Wes McBride, the executive director of the California Gang Investigators Association. ‘This is a long-term problem without a simple solution.’

McBride’s statement implies that second-generation gang members are citizens simply because they were born on U.S. soil. The federal court that created so-called anchor babies erred greatly in that decision, and it needs to be overturned ASAP.

That court granted U.S. citizenship based on jus soli, i.e., the place of the child’s birth and not the citizenship of the parents. Jus soli was not and is not how one becomes a citizen of the United States. The court also used the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to justify that decision.

But read the Congressional Record of the debates on the 14th Amendment. The two senators who authored it were lawyers. They made it clear on the Senate floor that in no way did the amendment grant citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil whose parents were not “under the jurisdiction” of the United States and no other country.

The phrase “under the jurisdiction thereof” meant total, 100 percent under the jurisdiction of the United States. Illegal immigrants are not totally under the jurisdiction of the U.S., because they owe allegiance to a foreign government. Therefore, any of their children born on U.S. soil is a citizen of the same country as the parents and not a U.S. citizen.Susan Puryear


The intent of the 14th Amendment authors and the Congress who passed was not jus soli. I’ve been pounding that drum for years. In fact, the United States is one of the very last countries that has jus soli.Mary Lynn Skinner


So the illegal immigrants won’t assist in removing the gangs because they are afraid of being deported and Capt. Paul Liquorie of the Montgomery County Police Department “won’t go there” in his discussion with The Daily Signal’s Josh Siegel (“How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating the MS-13 Gang”)?

You have several problems that need to be addressed. Most importantly is the MS-13 gang, next comes the illegals, and then comes the police officers, sworn to protect the public, who are reluctant to participate in protecting our nation from illegals. First things first: Get rid of the gangs. However, you need then to enforce our immigration laws or get another line of work.—Bennie Sprouse 


Time to declare war on MS-13 and arrest any member on sight (“How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating the MS-13 Gang”). Anyone affiliated with this dangerous gang is part of a criminal enterprise. Gang leaders ought to be on wanted posters in every police department. Time to get organized and focused on eliminating this gang. —Stephen Purdy


When you have half of the U.S. demanding that we not deport illegal immigrants, who also attempt to hide them and show them how to get government social services, it becomes a very difficult task (“How This Maryland Police Department Is Combating the MS-13 Gang”). What, in the end, must be done is to create laws against aiding and abetting illegals.

Being kind and offering help is nice and wonderful, when it’s an instance as Christ told. But when these persons come here to steal from us and take funds that should be used for the American poor, then these persons are criminals. Yes, libs, criminals. And they should be treated as such. —Rex Whitmer

Hearing liberals  mouth off as they defend gang members, even the illegal immigrants among the gangs, is becoming hard to understand. Neither being illegally in our country or being a member of a criminal “gang” should be defended or allowed.—Tom Schwander


Excellent and very well-written article by Josh Siegel (“Trump Has Vowed to Eradicate MS-13. What You Need to Know About the Gang”). Learned everything I wanted to know. Good job. I sure hope President Trump can defeat them soon.—Jeannie Tuttle Hill


We shouldn’t prosecute and deport. We should prosecute and throw them in prison for a very long time.—Ken Marx


I think putting MS-13 members to work building the border wall might be worth considering. Free prison labor!—Fredrick Rehders

Put them to work at hard labor building their own prison in Death Valley.—Marcella Ann Dellaposta


Elected officials of sanctuary cities are just as guilty of a capital crime as the MS-13 perpetrators are. They also need to be put in prison for a very long time.—Don Cauley


For cases like this there is only one kind of deportation that works: the death penalty, speedily and legally applied. El Salvador doesn’t need these monsters back, nor do we need to feed and house them in our revolving-door prisons. For the capital crimes they commit, deportation to the nether regions is both just and a guarantee that they will not be back to inflict more mayhem on innocent victims.—Michael Martin


Capital punishment goes a long way to deter repeat offenders.—Michael Rhodes Autry


There are solutions, but Democrats are too soft to use them. They would rather see our youth slaughtered in the streets than enforce laws that would stop this insanity.—Tom Prendergast


When a member of any gang commits a crime, it is committed with the leader’s permission. If a law is passed to punish the gang leader with the same punishment a member is given, it will greatly upset the leadership of the gangs and their internal protection.—John R. Murphy

We definitely need to keep members of MS-13 off our streets. And we don’t want gang members recruiting others while in prison. Perhaps mandatory solitary confinement for the duration of their sentences for illegal aliens, and deport them when their sentences are up. Also, more severe sentences for repeat illegal alien offenders.—Jeffrey Moore


These gangs have access to a lot of money and support from big-time drug smugglers who will protect their supplier sources. This probably includes bribing or threatening anyone in law enforcement or politics that they need to minimize prosecutions. Crime is a very real big business economy in this country. Cutting crime by 30 percent actually may cripple the economy.—Ross Toney


Simply put: gangs = drugs = money = murder and bloodshed.—James A. Bussell


Every person who has membership or dealings with MS-13 needs to be put out of this country. Waiting only brings death or hurt to someone.—William Sasman


Why do liberal Americans think the United States should be worldwide babysitters? Other countries don’t let people come in illegally and mooch off taxpayers. Other countries expect you to play by their rules. Believe me, I know: I lived overseas for five years during the 1980s, and I knew that I would have to live by their rules, not America’s.

The United States is a country of immigrants and should remain so for those who come legally and want to work and be a constructive part of their adopted community.

To those who want to come legally: Work, pay taxes, and be a productive part of a community. Come, that is what built America. As for those who want to come in any other way or for any other reason, we should stop them at the border. If they are already here, they need to be shipped back.

We as citizens don’t need to deal with any other criminals or lazy bums. We have enough of our own, thanks. As for our full prisons and lifelong welfare cases, we need to get tougher on those, too.—Ellspeth Nadel

Someone Has to Pay Costs of Regulations

Dear Daily Signal: Thanks for Fred Lucas’ reporting on the European countries and the Paris climate change agreement (“Possible Reasons Big Corporations Are So Eager  for Trump to Break His Promise on Paris Climate Deal”). Even Pope Francis has joined the climate change bandwagon. Yet, the encyclical he wrote on the environment, “Our Common Home,” has no references for the climate change section.

A university here in Illinois teaches in environmental studies that, while global warming is real, it is not an immediate threat. My hypothesis is that President Barack Obama preferred to focus on climate change rather than the greater priority, ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism. His deflection raised the awareness of climate change and gave him an international venue to do what he likes to do—make speeches.

Obama gives good speeches, but he doesn’t have a good track record on being truthful. I believe we all agree on the importance of having clean air and water, and being attentive to caring for our earth. This is an area of common ground.

Yet, the Trump administration focuses on doing things in the private sector, rather than through crippling legislation and regulation that increases costs and ultimately the prices of consumer goods and services. Someone has to pay for the costs of the regulations. That tends to be the consumer—in paying more for purchases.

I prefer the private sector approach, whereby we can gain buy-in and voluntary agreement and collaboration to reduce pollution and enhance environmentally friendly choices.—Kathleen Goryl

How Are We Doing?

Dear Daily Signal: I love your articles. I have learned so much. Great writers! I share many of your articles with my home school community.

I live in upstate New York, with a low-income surrounding area. Sadly, many of the Christians are all in and for the government handouts, but say they are conservative. Your articles help me share in a compassionate way. Many of them are for President Trump, but stuck in that low-skill position in an area where there are not many jobs.

My daughter has done very well being home schooled and is very aware of the false stats and news. She has used The Heritage Foundation as a resource in her debate class and in her ethics class. Thank you for all you do.—Deborah Rochet 

I appreciate very much The Daily Signal because, among other reasons, it stays away from the moment-to-moment sensationalizing. Good work.—Richard Paquette

I am really tired of the same three things “trending” for months at a time, especially when it is the same articles.—Kay Depoy

Kudos. You’re one of the best.—Robert Kroning

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