Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence is baffled by Donald Trump’s reference to the infamous MS-13 gang, apparently unaware of the brutal death toll it’s taken on communities across the country.
The Democrat chided the president following his first State of the Union Address on Tuesday for his focus on “M-16,” and alleged he “spoke nothing about crime in America.”
“I talked to a dreamer today, came here when she was six months old, she’s a college student,” Lawrence told CSPAN2. “And you’re minimizing that.
“And then to be so focused on this M-16, or this illegal immigrant gang that he speaks of, spoke nothing about crime in America, about his commitment to America first,” she said. “What about fighting the crime that’s in our streets? It’s not by immigrants!”
The victims of violence at the hands of MS-13 members, including some Trump described during his speech, would undoubtedly disagree with the distinguished lawmaker from Southfield.
Trump told the story of 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas and her friend Nisa Mickens, 15, who were murdered next to an elementary school – bludgeoned with baseball bats and hacked with machetes – in Brentwood, Long Island. The alleged murderers pledge allegiance to MS-13.
“These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown,” Trump said.
The president recognized the girls’ parents – Evelyn Rodrigues, Freddy Cuevas, Elisabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens – during his speech and promised to address issues in the current immigration system that allows violent criminals to slip into the country.
“Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country,” Trump said. “We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.”
The president also acknowledged Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Celestino Martinez, who would also undoubtedly dispute Lawrence’s assertion that Trump’s misguided for focusing on MS-13.
“CJ served 15 years in the Air Force before becoming an ICE agent and spending the last 15 years fighting gang violence and getting dangerous criminals off our streets. At one point, MS-13 leaders ordered CJ’s murder,” Trump said. “But he did not cave to threats or fear. Last May, he commanded an operation to track down gang members on Long Island. His team has arrested nearly 400, including more than 220 from MS-13.”
Democrats booed Trump throughout his comments about immigration issues.
Regardless, MS-13 continues to terrorize communities across the country, with an apparent focus on suburbs surrounding New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities, where members have been linked to brutal killings, extortion, drug dealing, and many other crimes despite significant progress over the last year in removing gang members in the country illegally, Fox News reports.
Trump thanked CJ for his “great work” removing MS-13 members from the streets, and said “now let us get the Congress to send you some reinforcements.”