WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - President Trump wants to stamp out a satanic gang infiltrating the United States. At a law enforcement roundtable on Tuesday, he addressed the threat of the MS-13 gang, violent criminals who operate throughout North and South America.
MS-13's home base is Latin America's so-called "Northern Triangle" — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The gang began in Southern California in the 1980s among immigrants from those countries.
The gang smuggles drugs and people northward through Central America and across the U.S. and Mexican border. The gang is known for brutally murdering rival gang members, supposed "snitches" and even random civilians, and has ties to satanism. Their motto is "Kill. Rape. Control."
First to speak to the president at the roundtable was Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen from the Department of Homeland Security. She spoke of various loopholes in the law that MS-13 exploits. A major problem, she argued, was the fact that their gang membership per se does not bar someone legally from crossing the U.S. southwest border.
The need to close immigration policy loopholes was a common theme during the televised meeting.
Satanism and paganism have been associated with drug cartel culture. In March 2017, Church Militant reported on a 15-year-old girl who was brutally murdered by two MS-13 members in Texas. They killed her because she destroyed their shrine to Satan, and they felt killing her would appease the devil.
During Tuesday's roundtable, Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan called MS-13 "one of the most ruthless and violent gangs" in the Americas. "Dismantling vicious gangs — and especially MS-13 — is a top priority for the Department of Justice," he added.
Trump interjected several times, speaking about the need to protect national borders: "This isn't politics, this isn't Republican and Democrat. This is common sense."
At another point, Trump said, "We need cooperation from the Democrats."
Later on, the president went so far as to threaten another government shutdown if the Democrats do not cooperate, saying, "I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get these things taken care of."
Angel Melendez from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said of law enforcement's pursuit of MS-13, "This is a war."
Near the roundtable's close, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) gave a passionate speech about the immigration loopholes exploited by gangs like MS-13. She said:
Daily, people's lives are in danger, as you're out there, going after these guys. But we've got to stop them where I live at the border. And that includes the border security and closing these ridiculous loopholes that [are] in our legislation. So, we're going to tirelessly work with you, Mr. President, to get this done. Thank you.
Washington D.C. Attorney General Jesse Liu described the problem of MS-13 in the nation's capital.
The Sheriff of Loudoun County, Virginia, and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) both spoke about illegal immigrants committing crimes and getting arrested in Northern Virginia.
Comstock also pushed back against Trump's shutdown threat, saying, "We don't need a government shutdown."
Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) said the worst fear of U.S. law enforcement was a terrorist using immigration loopholes, then "getting into the United States and killing citizens."
McCaul described how teenage boys are lured into MS-13 by peer pressure and a need for family life. "Their home becomes MS-13," he said, adding, "It becomes their family."
Representative Peter King (R-NY) complained about "local so-called immigration advocates" in his district who "fight the police" in the name of defending illegal immigrants.
Similarly, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) described "massive overcrowding in local schools" and illegal immigrants living for months on end at hotels and motels in Suffolk County, New York.