A "dangerous side effect" of America's failure to control the Southwest border and the nation's tolerance for high levels of illegal immigration has resulted in the spread of violent transnational gangs across the United States, including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, a report says.
A report written for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) says the gangs represent a "significant menace to the public," with about 80 percent of the members involved in serious crimes in addition to immigration violations and another 40 percent having committed violent crimes.
"The recent emergence and spread of several Hispanic street gangs, most notably MS-13 and 18th Street, has attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies and political leaders nationwide," said Jessica M. Vaughan, an author of the report, which was made public Tuesday. "Many gangs are made up of small-time troublemakers, but others have a reputation for grisly violence.
"They are responsible for virtually the entire spectrum of criminal activity, from nuisance crimes like graffiti to murder. Some are becoming increasingly well-organized and operating as sophisticated crime syndicates across national borders," she said. [Spread of gangs tied to border-control Failure, By Jerry Seper, Washington Times, October 3, 2008]
A nice PDF version of CIS' report is available: Taking Back the Streets: ICE and Local Law Enforcement Target Immigrant Gangs.
Immigrant gang members rarely make a living as gangsters. They typically work by day in construction, auto repair, farming, landscaping, and other low-skill occupations where employers are less vigilant checking status, often using false documents.