Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued his campaign against the vicious MS-13 gang on Fox News’s Tucker Tuesday evening, telling host Tucker Carlson that the group may qualify as a terrorist organization.
“The government of El Salvador has designated MS-13 a terrorist organization. Would it be helpful for our government to do the same?” Carlson asked. “I think so, perhaps. It could qualify for that,” was Sessions’s response.
Designating MS-13 a “foreign terrorist organization” would make providing any material support for the group, here or abroad, a felony, and compel U.S. financial institutions to freeze any assets they reasonably believe belong to the group. The determination is made by the State Department and not AG Sessions’s Justice Department, but Sessions’s willingness to support such a designation speaks to how seriously he takes the threat from the gang.
“This is one of the most violent gangs in the history of our country,” Sessions said of MS-13. He cited the group’s use of machetes and willingness to kill and prostitute children, as they have done across the United States.
The Attorney General laid out a plan to attack MS-13, whose 10,000+ estimated members in the United States operate across 40 states, according to a DOJ fact-sheet on the group. Tough use of immigration laws will be central to Sessions’s strategy for breaking the brutal gang, many of whose members are illegal aliens from Central America. The group originally sprouted up among Salvadorans in Los Angeles in 1980s after thousands of them fled there from political atrocities in their war-torn homeland.
“So many of these people are illegally here,” Sessions said, lashing out at the lax immigration enforcement of prior administrations that, in his view, have contributed to the blossoming of MS-13. “With a good lawful border, many of them of would not be here. They sent some of the most violent people.”
Sessions mocked the perverse use of Obama administration policies on “unaccompanied minor” illegal aliens by MS-13 leaders to get their people exactly where they were needed in America. “They were directed how to enter. If they came and claimed themselves as, you know, a minor, the Obama administration let ’em come into the country, and took them to their destination city, and turned them over to some ‘relative,’” he told Tucker.
Sessions sent a hopeful message about efforts to combat MS-13, calling the destruction of the gang “hard, but not impossible.” “As we have cases and we work them hard, pursue convictions, and we deport people who are here unlawfully, we can devastate this gang,” he said.