Articles on MS-13

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A man hugs his family before leaving for the U.S. border with a migrant caravan from San Salvador, El Salvador, Jan. 16, 2019. AP/Salvador Melendez

Migrants’ stories: Why they flee

Thousands of Central American migrants are trying to cross the U.S. southern border. One scholar followed their paths to find out why they make the dangerous, sometimes deadly, journey.
Inmates, members of MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs, wait upon arrival at the maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca, 65 kilometres east of San Salvador, on August 9, 2017. Marvin RECINOS / AFP

What gangs tell us about the world we live in

Imaginaries of gangs as inherent forms of brutal anarchy promote particular political agendas and obscure the ways gangs can reveal the underlying dynamics of the contexts within which they emerge.
Migrants from Honduras, part of the Central American caravan, trying to reach the United States in Tijuana, Mexico, in December 2018. Reuters/Mohammed Salem

Is there a crisis at the US-Mexico border? 6 essential reads

Immigration experts explain who's really trying to cross the US-Mexico border, what they want — and why immigration, even undocumented immigration, actually benefits the country.
Screenshot from Republican John Rose’s campaign ad ‘Build the Wall,’ which equates all immigration with the Salvadoran gang MS-13. John Rose For Tennessee via YouTube

Republican ads feature MS-13, hoping fear will motivate voters

MS-13 is not the biggest or most violent gang in the US. But its grisly murders and Latino membership inflame Americans' anxiety about immigration. GOP campaign ads stoke those fears to attack Democrats.
Trail of Tears, a painting of a scene in Golconda, illinois. First Nations were forcefully displaced in huge numbers throughout America. Kevin Schraer

In Trump’s America, immigrants are modern-day ‘savage Indians’

The leader of the United States has made immigrants the new face of a threatening “Other,” a primitive savage who has many of the features of the "Indians" of the American frontier myth.
The MS-13 gang operates in Central America, Mexico and the U.S. But so far its efforts to get into the drug business have failed. Jose Cabezas/Reuters

MS-13 is a street gang, not a drug cartel – and the difference matters

Trump justice officials portray the Salvadoran gang MS-13 as a powerful drug cartel staffed with criminal undocumented immigrants. That's a dangerous mistake if you actually want to prevent violence.
President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

3 key quotes from Trump’s first State of the Union, explained

Trump touted his administration's economic successes and laid out his immigration plan in an 80-minute speech to Congress. Our experts weigh in.
Arrests aside, until the politicians who collude with gangs are stopped, crime in Central America will likely continue unchecked. Reuters/Jose Cabezas

In Central America, gangs like MS-13 are bad – but corrupt politicians may be worse

Corruption, not gang warfare, is the root cause of the record violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Until public officials stop shielding criminal groups like MS-13, lawlessness will reign.

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