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Rep. Zeldin to Travel with President Trump to Suffolk County Tomorrow to Address Urgent Need to Eradicate Gang Violence

July 27, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) released the following statement today after the White House’s announcement that President Donald Trump will be traveling to Long Island to discuss the effort to eradicate the MS-13 gang nationwide. Tomorrow, Congressman Zeldin will be traveling with the President from Washington, DC, to Suffolk County, New York.

“The rise in gang violence, which is ruining lives, wreaking havoc, and causing irreparable and devastating harm to families, is hitting home in the most personal and tragic way in Suffolk County, where we’ve seen ongoing violence perpetrated by MS-13 and other Central American gangs taking innocent lives and threatening the safety of our schools. I thank President Trump for making it a priority to travel to Long Island tomorrow to address the administration's determined efforts to eradicate this violent street gang. 

This past April, the murder of four young men by MS-13 took place on Long Island. Two of the victims, Justin Llivicura, of East Patchogue, New York, and Jorge Tigre, of Bellport, New York, were residents of the First Congressional District. Justin, Jorge and two others were senselessly and tragically murdered by MS-13, using machetes. This is unfortunately just one of the many recent incidents in our community. The crimes of MS-13 have also included gang rape, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and so many other terrible crimes.

The rise in gang violence on Long Island and throughout our country must come to an end. This effort must be an all hands on deck mission from all levels of government: from the enforcement of our immigration laws, international efforts to combat various related criminal activity, to local efforts to educate and rehabilitate as necessary and appropriate. It's also imperative that all levels of government work together with local law enforcement, schools, churches, and other community groups, to help tackle this massive challenge. Children are being targeted for recruitment into gangs early in grade school.

It is greatly unfortunate that some people plan to line the streets in opposition to the President’s visit, shamefully alleging that the President’s motive is to ‘attack immigrants’ and ‘hard working American families’. Nothing could be further from the truth. President Trump and his administration are taking a no nonsense approach at eradicating violent gangs that are murdering innocent Long Islanders and tearing apart families and communities. We should all be working together to eliminate the threats posed by MS-13 and other gang activity. That is of mutual interest for all of us. 

Failure is not an option. We must always take action to make our neighborhoods safer and improve our quality of life.”