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Don't Deport Immigrants Even Those That Commit Violent Crimes

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Message Imani Beckett

Currently most Americans support offering amnesty to most undocumented immigrants with the one exception, immigrants who have committed violent crimes. Even politicians like Trump realize this political situation and when he is trying to fear monger about immigrants he tends to only focus on those who commit violent crime.

It's not just Trump; most Democratic politicians agree with deporting criminals. This isn't a surprise. Politicians want to support policies that will help them get elected and undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes aren't all too sympathetic. And from an emotional standpoint it makes sense why someone should want to deport undocumented criminals.

However, no matter how emotionally attractive deporting violent criminals is, actual evidence has shown that doing so isn't in the best interest of the United States.

Whenever he tries to call for stricter immigration policy President Trump brings up the gang MS-13. Trump notably said that "[MS-13 members] are animals, and we're taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before."

While Trump is right about MS-13 being a violent gang with international reach, he seems to miss the irony that the policy he advocates for deporting violent criminals helped create gangs like MS-13 and actually creates more refugees.

I feel it's important to quickly mention the conditions many of these refugees come from. Central America is currently one of the most dangerous regions in the world, a person in an area surrounded by crime is significantly more likely to be a criminals. Sending people who have committed crimes back to dangerous areas will only make them more violent.

Think about it. If we have a violent gang member in the United States, sending them back to a crime-ridden area will just give them the opportunity to expand their crime network. This is exactly what happen with MS-13. Under the Clinton administration, the US deported 50,000 immigrants to Central America with the purpose of getting rid of dangerous gangs. Somehow these brilliant policymakers couldn't see the potential ramifications of sending a bunch of violent criminals back to already unstable areas.

Instead of breaking up the gang, we ended up giving them the opportunity to grow their numbers and spread their influence throughout Central America and the United States. MS-13 is now much stronger then they were before, mostly due to deportations.

It isn't just MS-13. Sending criminals back to their countries of origin will just make things worse. As much as we want to get rid of violent criminals, relocating them will just give them the opportunity to spread their criminal network even farther and make already unstable countries even more dangerous, causing more people to flee.

As emotionally appealing as "sending dangerous criminals" out of the country is, exporting the problem to another location isn't the solution. it would be more beneficial to the United States to just keep criminals hear and rehabilitate them in our prisons.

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I am a member of the DSA-LA immigration justice committee and contribute to the code pink blog.
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