Introduction: Gang Crackdown (01:57)
“Frontline” investigates the crackdown on dangerous street gangs and the young immigrants who are being swept up. Gangs have long been a problem on Long Island, but there has been a spike in related homicides in recent months.
Gang Problem (03:40)
Long Island has become a magnet for immigrant families from Central America—some legal, some undocumented. The area is also home to MS-13 which has claimed dozens of lives, including 15-year-old Javier Castillo.
Peer Pressure (06:45)
Michelle Brane discusses the violence in Central America that fuels the migration of unaccompanied minors. A pair of Huntington High School students escapes violence in their home countries, but are coerced by gangs on Long Island.
Climate of Fear (06:02)
Prosecutor Timothy Sini, detective John Oliva, and others discuss the gruesome murder of two teenage girls that took place on Sept. 13, 2016. Local immigrants do not trust police, making enlisting their help challenging; two members of MS-13 are eventually charged with the crime.
Machete Murders (04:42)
Sergio Argueta is critical of Police Commissioner Timothy Sini’s announcement following the arrest of two MS-13 members. FBI agent Geraldine Hart and others recall the quadruple homicide that claimed the lives of four teens, a month after Sini’s announcement.
Immigration Demagoguery (05:29)
President Donald Trump made MS-13 a key exhibit in support of his immigration agenda. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein elaborates on the administration’s focus on the Salvadorian gang. Elected officials and Long Island residents recall the U.S. Attorney General’s visit and related protests.
Student/Gang Association Criteria (04:55)
Bellport Middle School Assistant Principal Mariana Gil describes efforts to identify potential gang members including watching for bandanas, clothing emblazoned with Chicago Bulls logos, and other clues. Jesus Lopez is among students that were suspended for alleged gang ties.
Operation Matador (05:39)
Sini discusses the decision to partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which started a major operation targeting MS-13 on Long Island in 2017. Lopez’s lawyer says dubious evidence was used to falsely accuse his client of being a gang member.
Detention Policy (04:17)
Immigration Lawyer Dawn Pipek Guidone says she was not notified that her client, Junior, had been picked up, and he was held for months in a high security detention center without a hearing or ability to post bond. Phil Desgranges describes the larger pattern.
Immigration Court (02:46)
Junior was eventually transferred to the Children’s Village, a less restrictive facility in New York where he received a hearing. Guidone describes the unsubstantiated allegations contained in her client’s gang memo. Immigration judges cannot order defendant release.
Class Action Suit (02:42)
Julia Harumi Mass explains why she visited a teen detainee in California and sued the Trump Administration on behalf of unaccompanied minors. Rosenstein addresses accusations that kids are held for months based on flimsy evidence.
Teen Update (03:02)
Junior was among the 26 minors released as a result of the ACLU’s class action suit. He regrets spending nearly six months in detention for something he did not do. Lopez remained in detention and is ultimately deported.
Credits: Gang Crackdown (00:60)
Credits: Gang Crackdown
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