U.S. Deportations Resulting In Better Organized Gangs

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Image from El Periodico

With the excellent pro-migrant round-ups that symsess has been providing lately it's become increasingly difficult to come up with original information.  For inspiration, I've gone back to reading Guatemalan newspapers everyday, something that I used to love to do when I had the time. 

Today, El Periodico brings us news from a conference in Los Angeles on the transnational criminal youth gangs that have been choking the Northern Hemisphere since the U.S. started increasing the deportations of criminal migrants in the 1990s. 
At the conference Guillermo Valdes, a "subdirector" of Criminal Investigation for the Guatemalan National Civil Police (PNC) confirmed that deported gang members are "giving ideas" to other gang members:

Lately there have been strongly increasing deportations [to Guatemala].  Among the deportees are gang members with strong criminal records that take their experience with them and integrate with the gangs [in Guatemala], giving them new ideas. (translated)
Guillermo Valdes - Policia Nacional Civil

Another authority figure confirming consequences that few U.S. officials care about, but result in more migrants leaving their countries for the U.S.

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4 Comments

yave begnet said:

So the full picture of this story, at least going back to the '80s, goes like this, right?: leftist movements in Central America rise in the 1970s and early 1980s, fueled by decades/centuries of European/U.S.-sponsored oppression through local elites, U.S. gets nervous and arms and funds said government elites as well as nominally unaffiliated death squads to slaughter and terrorize the local population in hopes of "draining the swamp," these policies create societal turmoil and lead to massive migration northward in the 1980s and early 1990s, the kids of these migrants grow up in urban poverty, join gangs for protection in a country flush with small arms and a society that fetishizes gun violence, they get into trouble in an interlocking immigration/criminal justice system basically designed to sweep up young men of color, the U.S. government deports them en masse back to their fractured home countries, which are also flooded by U.S.-sourced weapons, they bring with them the socialization and international ties needed to form truly formidable international criminal enterprises, which in turn make Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador unlivable, creating new migrants who come to the U.S. and start the cycle anew.

Phew! Does that sound about right? In short, it's about the U.S. shooting itself in the foot again and again and blaming it on outsiders. Now, these international criminal syndicates are certainly not populated by angels, but the approach adopted thus far by the U.S. is just plain dumb.

I'm a little hesitant to push the meme of "deporting Central Americans makes the gangs stronger" since the easily grasped solution seems to be simply to stop migration flows either way. While its true that increasing international movement of people, goods, and ideas can and does often have negative consequences, this being a major one, I think the answer is better international cooperation to prevent at the outset these destructive cycles from occurring, not an unrealistic ziplock approach to migration flows.

And yes, few U.S. officials even seem to realize what's happening, much less care.

Publius said:

The title Pro-Immigrant Roundup is so appropos, and the term Roundup alone, so ironically sweet.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

I don't usually knock people's typos but if you're going to use a fancy word like apropos, spell it correctly. I have to say though this comment did sting a little. Never really thought of it in that light. You might have actually inspired me to change the name.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

Exactly yave. Better cooperation is the solution that we have to come to on what is a complicated cycle. But we also have to consider the systemic happenings here. Even with the best international cooperation still your going to have the hardest and most honest workers staying in the U.S. and all the rif-raf being sent back. That's why when I initially came to this debate I actually believed in guest worker programs because it would force good honest workers to come back to Central America. Now I believe we just have to create a movement whereby the Central American diaspora wants to return and assist the countries from which they come from.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on March 11, 2008 1:59 PM.

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