Laws and Walls: A new study by the New Jersey Commission of Investigation proves that aggressive enforcement of all immigration laws along with local police cooperation with federal immigration officials prevented the spread of the dangerous MS-13 gang in the U.S.

Mass deportations of illegal aliens, which occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s, helped to substantially curb the expansion of the dangerous gang across the country, the study found.

The report noted:

In the 1990s and through the 2000s, law enforcement sought to counter MS-13’s growing influence by enlisting U.S. immigration authorities to deport tens of thousands of immigrants who had been convicted of crimes in the United States.

The strategy proved a stopgap solution. While it initially diminished MS-13 in California, it exported the gang’s culture to Central America, where deep poverty and corruptible law enforcement agencies allowed the gang to flourish.

That said, lax immigration enforcement and federal policies that essentially encouraged more illegal immigration reversed the early gains and contributed to the dramatic rise in MS-13 membership in the U.S., which now spans 40 states at least, and includes an estimated 10,000 members, the report noted.

“Migration, both within the United States and from Central America to the United States, contributed to the gang’s spread through the 1990s and 2000s,” the report said. “MS-13 established beachheads in Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Long Island, and Massachusetts. Numerous cliques are now entrenched in these strongholds, fed by the recruitment of teens and young men.”

The research also noted that there are additional deterrents to the spread of MS-13. Enhanced cooperation between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, along with anti-sanctuary policies, aid in the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment or deportation of violent MS-13 gang members.

“Visible MS-13 activity in New Jersey has waned considerably in the past three years, the result of aggressive prosecutions at the state and federal levels and a close partnership with ICE,” the report said. “Dozens of MS-13 members now sit in prison for crimes that include racketeering, conspiracy, and murder.”

Walls also help deter illegal immigration and, hence, the importation of MS-13 violence. In places where there is a substantial barrier, illegal immigration has been cut 95 percent, the Border Patrol says.

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