On January 20, 2017, when President-elect Donald Trump takes his oath of office, California officials should present him a delayed holiday present: The gift of our state database of 150,000 known gang members and their affiliates.

Although the California State Auditor has found dozens of instances of inaccurate and questionable information in the Gang database, state officials can give Trump only the names of those that have been verified as undocumented gang members and who have committed deportable crimes.

I lived the majority of my life in an immigrant-dominant community of Los Angeles. To the west of us was MS-13, while to the east was 18th Street. Many in our community would have given their right arm to rid our neighborhood of these two plagues that corrupted our children, preyed on families, controlled our streets and were responsible for drive-by and other senseless killings of innocents.

If Trump is going to deport anyone, let him deport these criminals well known by the State of California.

Throughout Los Angeles, thousands small business owners, food truck chefs and street vendors live in fear, required to pay “rent” and “protection” money to gang members.

“‘This is really the core crime of 18th Street and MS-13,’ said Deputy City Atty. Bruce Riordan, director of the office’s anti-gang operation. ‘When I started this job 15 years ago, the first day, the detectives took me out and said the No. 1 crime among these gangs is extortion, but said, ‘it’s just so hard to prove.’”

In 2013, says the Los Angeles Times, “The 20 defendants — including four women — named in indictments returned Jan. 28 are allegedly tied to Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. The individuals, charged with extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion, are all being held on bail ranging from $2 million to just more than $3 million.”

Acting on orders of the Mexican Mafia, gang members in Southern California were charged with exterminating blacks.

“’There’s absolutely no motive absent the color of their skin,’ adds former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Michael Camacho. Before he became a judge, in 2003, Camacho successfully prosecuted a Latino gang member for the random shootings of three black men in Pomona, California.”

“’They generally don’t like African Americans,’ Pomona gang unit officer Marcus Perez testified in that case. ‘If an African American enters their neighborhood, they’re likely to be injured or killed.’’

And a few months ago: “Seven Latino gang members have been charged with firebombing the homes of black families living in a Boyle Heights housing project, an attack that federal prosecutors allege was designed to drive African Americans out of the neighborhood.”

While these problems and issues seem so far removed from our suit-wearing politicians, it is a reality faced by millions of law-abiding and hard-working immigrants who are simply trying to make a better life for themselves and their families, much the same way my parents did for me.

To our California state leaders, do us a favor and give Trump the state’s Gang Database. If you like, why don’t you start with those whose stories I quoted above.

* * *

Some Light Reading to Give You a Dose of Reality:

MS-13 Extortion





Latino Gangs Targeting Blacks




Hector Barajas is a partner at Merino, Barajas & Allen, a California strategic communications and public affairs firm. As a nationally recognized expert on Latino politics and public policy issues, he serves as an on-air political analyst for Univision and Telemundo. You can follow Hector on Facebook: /BarajasMedia and Twitter: @HectorMBarajas