Are Immigrants The Source Of Gang-Related Crimes?

Writers Memo:

The first thing about the Op-Ed, for me, was to decide what to write about. At first, I was going to talk about the reasons that immigrants may come over to the United States. After telling my roommate about this topic, he gave me the idea to write about violence in the U.S. and whether it was caused by immigrants. He told me his stance on the issue and it made me want to research it more. Over the course of writing this paper I spent about thirty to forty-five minutes every other day for the assignment. Every other day I would add new information or take out any unnecessary information, then, the next day I would work on it to revise what I had written the previous day. If I did make any revisions I was sure to read over it after to make for sure it sounded better than what I had before.

One of the major revisions I made was the story about my friend Brandon. Although I had a small mention of it in the first version, I was sure to go way more in depth this time around. I told the whole story of him this time and was sure to add a personal element/ something that related to the topic. This personal element also helps me stress how much of a problem gang violence. This story also perfectly helped me move onto my next idea about child immigrants. When I went to class during class meetings we had the TA, Sam, was there and she was a great big help. She also told me to reword the beginning of sentences and don’t just say “these”, “they”, “it’s”. I used much stronger vocabulary on the second draft or I just removed the words to help the paper flow better. I especially did this in the third and fourth paragraphs.

One, of the things I am confident about in my paper is my voice. I have a very strange way of explaining things and usually must re-read what I have written a few times to make sure that it is understandable to everyone else. Another thing I am confident in is my transitions between paragraphs. I feel like I have used nice transition words and sentences to move from one idea to the next. One thing I am not so confident about is my sources and siting them in and out of text. I do not have much practice siting sources like this it is very new to me, but I understand that I need to learn it to do well in school. The most confusing part of the sources for me are just the in-text part, I am never sure what to put in the parentheses. Since I am so not confident in this part, the citations are the part I am most concerned about.

If I had more time to work on the essay I would obviously want to work more on citations. I would also want to focus on improving my word choice and voice. Although I am confident with my voice and it being unlike anyone else’s it could of course use some work. I think it would take about two or three more papers for me to help get these things down a lot better. The type of feedback I would like is if you understood my main points. I would also like to know what you think my strong suits and weak suits are. Compared to the rubric I believe my grade is about a solid B or a low A. I know I should be confident and say a but I do feel like I have flaws and I am not the greatest writer. Thank you so much for reading Mr. Galligan.


Gabriel Hank

Professor Galligan

UNIV 111


Are­­­­ Immigrants the Source of Gang-Related Crimes?

Inside of the United States there is a gang by the name of Mara Salvatrucha, also known as Ms-13. “Mara” is the Hispanic slang term for gang, and “Salvatrucha” comes from the guerilla fighters of the San Salvadorian Civil war. This gang has been affecting America for more than 30 years and have been a source of violence there and need to be put to a stop. MS-13 originated in Los Angeles California in the 1980’s. This gang was started by refugees of the San Salvadorian Civil war. This war began in 1980 and lasted for a full 12 years. It took over 75,000 lives and finally came to an end when the Chapultepec Peace Accords was signed by the Salvadorian government. The immigrants, refugees, and victims who lived through the war came to the US, so they could escape. Americans believe that these immigrants are the cause of gang violence in the United States. While gangs are made up of many immigrants, the source of the violence is the gangs, not the immigrants.

When I was in high school I had a friend by the name of Brandon. He was a great kid whose first language was Spanish and occasionally he struggled in school. He, like many kids from my school, was from El Salvador. One day I remember coming into class and he wasn’t there. I asked his friends where he was, and they had told me he was arrested, and we wouldn’t know when he was going to be released. Brandon was arrested for possession of a weapon and attempted robbery, this was not the Brandon I knew. I later found out he was a member of a gang local to my area. I later learned that he had joined the gang when he was in middle school after asking one of his closest friends. Ever since that day, I haven’t heard anything from him. That close friend said Brandon used to be very polite and didn’t have the ability to act the way that he does now. It seems crazy to me to think about how much a gang can change someone’s life. Gangs are not just tearing our country apart in violence, but also our younger generations.

Put yourself in the shoes of an immigrant coming from a war driven and unstable country. You have just arrived in the US. You must choose who you are to be associated with. So, you choose Americans because you are one now, or do you stick with your roots and stay with the people who speak your language and practice your culture. Some, not all, immigrants who come to America choose to stay with their own people. And there is nothing wrong with this. These immigrants will sometimes end up joining gangs. These gangs will often target minors, as they are easily influenced. MS-13 is almost predominately, if not completely, Hispanic, and welcomes more members and immigrants. The reason these gangs target minors is because they do not know any better. Gangs can give immigrants and minors a home away from home. It makes them feel wanted and give them a place to fit in while they might not find these feelings anywhere else. By having more members, gangs become more powerful.

Trump labeled MS-13 as an “Alien Threat” (Drier). While these gangs are made up of mostly Hispanic immigrants, the aliens are not the threat. The gangs themselves are the threat. It is possible to have immigrants living peacefully inside the US. We do have immigrants here who live perfectly peaceful and lovely lives here. It is the gangs that are the real source of violence. The word gang is almost always linked to violence, drugs, abuse, and everything in between. Sadly, that negative connotation that comes along with the word “gang” has also started to be associated with the word “immigrant”. Gang violence is the real problem here not the aliens. In 2012 the estimated number of gang members in the US was roughly 850,000. This number of has increased every year. These numbers are on the rise because more and more people come to the US every year, regardless of whether it be legal or not. These gangs let in more and more people and continue to grow. If we deal with the gangs now we can deal with the real threat, gang violence rather than immigrant violence.

One way to deal with these gangs is to find their leaders. It is important to find a significant number of members from these gangs, arrest them, and persecute them for their crimes. If this is done to an increasing number of members, they will begin to get the message. The message is not that we don’t want immigrants in the US, it is that we do not want gangs in the US. Gangs will then become smaller and therefore, have a smaller effect on others. When gangs are large they spread and can get to more people. If we lessen the number of gang members, they will not have as big of an affect on us.

Another way to deal with gangs (especially immigrants who might join them) is to have a better support system for the immigrants. I am not saying that we need to have an entire state for immigrants. I am saying that if they are going to be crossing over, regardless of the laws against it, we might as well show them a little support. One possibility is making shelters for these immigrants, especially the children. Shelters can provide a home, they can get kids and other immigrants away from gangs. Gangs then will not be able to reach these people and its population will cease to grow. It would give the children a haven away from crime and violence.

Overall, gang violence is not the largest problem in the United States. However, if we don’t prevent it now, it could become just that. Gang populations and the number of immigrants in the US are constantly growing. Gangs are not good for the US and need to be removed to keep this country safe. The real source of crime and violence in America is gangs, not immigrants.










Works Cited:

Dreier, Hannah. “I’ve Been Reporting on MS-13 for a Year. Here Are the 5 Things Trump Gets Most Wrong.” ProPublica, 5 June 2018, 5 am,

Vaughan, Jessica M. “MS-13 Resurgence: Immigration Enforcement Needed to Take Back Our Streets.”, 21 Feb. 2018,

Scott, Katherine L. “Statement of Ed Gillespie on Recent MS-13 Violence in the Commonwealth – Ed Gillespie.” Ed Gillespie, 18 Oct. 2017,












Source Analysis:

The very first source I used was an article by Hannah Dreier. The article is full of events and actions of President Trump that he has gotten wrong. She explains five different things that Trump has said but they are completely biased and incorrect. One of the examples she mentions trump gets wrong is that trump claims that MS-13 is posing as fake families at the border. Trump believes that the members of MS-13 pose as parents of kids crossing the border to help get them across the border easier. Trump has this completely wrong, if there were gang members at border they would be searching for new members and NOT children. Another example of the five things that trump has wrong in the article is that MS-13 is trying to foil immigration laws. This also a biased point from trump because there is no evidence of this. Gangs just want to work within the U.S. not mess with the laws between the borders.

Overall, I found this article very helpful and factual. Hannah Dreier was very informative on her information and quotes from President Trump. I also found her title very appealing and it really made me want to read more.

The second source I used was from Center Of Immigration Studies, it was about MS-13 resurging as a problem in the United States. The article is by Jessica Vaughan. The article has mentions of MS-13 and how they are tking over the streets. Vaughan says that we need to retake the streets of the U.S. because we are losing them not to just MS-13 but gangs in general. She mentions that all gangs are a danger to public safety and that we should always be cautious. She also gives facts about MS-13 and lists crimes they have committed. The crimes by the gangs are not just small but range from murder to drug or sex trafficking and everything inbetween.

This source was very helpful to show me crimes committed by MS-13. It gave a lot of hard facts and statistics. It gave many examples of the dangers of all gangs in the United States and was very helpful.

The Final source I used was an article titled “Statement Of Ed Gillespie on Recent MS-13 Violenec In The Commonwealth”. This article is a statement from Ed Gillespie about gang violence and crimes here in Virginia. He mentions how dangerous MS-13 is to the commonwealth and how much of a problem they have become over the past few years. He also mentions how he plans to stop gangs. He mentions how some people seek refuge in cities from these gangs.

The article was helpful to an extent. It helped me connect my life to these problems that we are facing in the United States. The article also helped me relate and understand that these problems are everywhere in the U.S. It explains that no one can just hide from the gangs and violence in America, so we are forced to be extremely careful in everything we do.