Exporting Violence: A Vicious Cycle

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(Photo/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Though President Trump represents a staunch turn for the United States toward restrictionist and draconian policies, deporting immigrants has been standard practice for the past several decades.

Recently published research from Christian Ambrosius of the Free University of Berlin and David Leblang of the University of Virginia found that despite the United States’s efforts to deport criminals, this practice actually generates a vicious cycle that creates more violence.

As the Washington Post writes:

Many flee Central America’s so-called Northern Triangle — Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — which are among the most violent places on Earth, with homicide rates approaching that of the world’s most deadly war zones…Once violence increases, more people flee. Deportation policies thus don’t merely affect deportees’ countries of origin. It also creates a vicious migration cycle by pushing more people away from their homes.

Deporting criminals back to their home countries exacerbates the conditions that make many migrants flee to begin with. This prompts us to re-examine how we tackle transnational crime and immigration policy. It is not merely enough to regard the United States as a separate entity and wall ourselves off. But, the exact answer to this cycle of violence is unclear.

However, we can be certain that helping immigrant youth who have arrived in the United States can help alleviate the problem and build a stronger and more integrated community. Many of those fleeing are young people trying to escape a bloody death or being forced into a gang. And many of them have sought refuge, right here on Long Island, for better opportunities.

If we neglect our youth and make them turn away from schools and our society at-large, that is precisely when gangs might have more influence and could potentially draw them in.

Just this Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $8.35 million grant to help fight MS-13 on Long Island by implementing job training and placement and after-school programs. With the funds going to various community-based organizations and school districts, our immigrant youth can be uplifted, supported, and ultimately become a part of the Long Island community.

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