United States Customs and Border Protection say they have arrested at least two more members of the notorious MS-13 gang, and two convicted — and previously deported — sex offenders trying to cross the United States-Mexico border.
The Daily Mail reports that CBP apprehended the four men in four separate incidents ranging across the southern border from Arizona to Texas. All four had had previous run-ins with border patrol.
“On Wednesday, agents arrested a 46-year-old Mexican national, after he illegally entered the U.S. near Lukeville,” the Mail reported. “During processing, agents discovered he was convicted in 2002 of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Mesa, Arizona.”
“Then on Thursday evening, Nogales Station agents arrested a 24-year-old national of El Salvador,” the report continued. “During processing, agents conducting records checks learned that he is a member of MS-13, a violent trans-national criminal organization operating in many parts of the U.S.”
Specific details weren’t available on the other two men, but CBP did report that one was a member of MS-13 and the other had been previously convicted of a sexual crime and deported back to his home country. All four appear to have been booted from the United States between 2012 and 2013 and returned, recently, with the influx of asylum-seeking migrants.
This isn’t the first time that MS-13 has been caught hiding among asylum seekers. Back in November, border patrol agents intercepted a member of MS-13 who had been hiding himself in the so-called “migrant caravan.”
“Jose Villalobos-Jobel, 29, was arrested Saturday evening near the Calexico Port of Entry by agents who suspected he’d made it into California illegally, US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement,” the New York Post reported in late November.
Villalobos-Jobel admitted to being a member of MS-13 and was deported back to his home country of Honduras.
Arrests of MS-13 members are rare; the libertarian Cato Institute estimates that around 0.1% of “asylum seekers” intercepted at the border belong to the dangerous, multinational gang. But even a single arrest seems to prove the Trump administration’s early point on immigration: that the looser immigration enforcement is, the more likely that dangerous immigrants will flow in with crowds of immigrants seeking refuge.
This news comes as President Donald Trump and Democrats are warring over a $5 billion appropriation designed to fund President Trump’s signature anti-illegal immigration measure, a border wall. The government is now in a partial shutdown until after the holidays over Democrats’ refusal to accede to Republicans’ request, even in the context of a budget that runs into the tens of billions of dollars.
The House approved the $5.7 billion appropriation late last week. The Senate advanced the bill to the floor, but ultimately a deal could not be reached in time to avoid a partial shutdown. Congress is expected to take the issue up for a second time after they return from Christmas break late this week. They will have only a few days to work on the project before Congress goes back into recess.