Migrant Crime Turning America’s Cities Into War Zones

Gang members recruit migrants from shelters and as they come off buses from Texas, putting them to work in retail theft rings or worse.

AP/Marco Ugarte, file
Migrants watch a train go past as they wait along the train tracks hoping to board a freight train heading north at Huehuetoca, Mexico. AP/Marco Ugarte, file

Criminals posing as asylum seekers are turning American cities into war zones. 

The Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua, feared for how it tortures its victims, is setting up business at New York City, police sources divulge. 

Gang members recruit migrants from shelters and as they come off buses from Texas, putting them to work in retail theft rings or on mopeds, grabbing phones and handbags, and roughing up pedestrians. 

“This is organized crime. It’s just like the Mafia,” the president of the NYC Detectives’ Endowment Association, Paul DiGiacomo, says. 

Commissioner Edward Caban of the NYPD warns of a “wave of migrant crime.” Democratic politicians deny it. Governor Hochul says migrants “are looking for a better life.” True for many, not all.

Comptroller Brad Lander accuses Mr. Caban of “fear mongering” and using a “Republican talking point.”

Believe the cops, not the politicians. 

Migrants in moped gangs and retail theft rings, some carrying guns, are terrorizing the Big Apple, Yonkers, and New Jersey. 

Two-man teams snatch pedestrians’ phones and deliver them to Tren de Aragua stash houses, where professional hackers make fraudulent banking transactions and drain cash from all accounts. Then the phones are wiped clean and shipped to South America for resale.

A 62-year-old woman was brutally dragged down a Brooklyn street by one of these moped thieves who made off with her purse. When you see mopeds, step back from the curb and hug the building — advice usually needed at a third-world city, not New York. 

A shopper at JD Sports near Times Square was shot in the leg by a baby-faced, 15-year-old migrant, Jesus Alejandro Rivas-Figueroa, when a security guard tried to stop him from robbing the store on February 8. Mr. Figueroa whipped out a .45-caliber handgun and shot into the crowd. He has since been apprehended by police. 

The next job is to track down the ringleaders who armed him and sent him into the store. The teen had been living at the Stratford Hotel, which is a city shelter, with his mother and attending school. He is also a suspect in a January 25 incident at Midtown and a January 27 robbery at the Bronx. After his first run-in with cops, the shelter system should have been notified and Mr. Figueroa should have been evicted. 

Chicago is also being terrorized. There, professional criminals enlist migrants from the shelters to raid luxury stores at the suburban Oakbrook Center shopping mall, 5 miles west of the city. These migrants wouldn’t have a clue where Oak Brook, an upscale suburb, is, or how to get there without the criminal masterminds.

South American gangs are turning suburban malls into danger zones, explains the retired Riverside, Illinois, police chief, Tom Weitzel. “You’re at one of the suburban malls … pushing your kids in a stroller” and you can get caught in the violence, he said in an interview with Fox News.

“A lot more crossing the border are criminals or have criminal intent than is being publicly said,” Mr. Weitzel added. 

A retired inspector of the NYPD, Paul Mauro, agrees. The claim that Venezuela is emptying its prisons is accurate, he suggested in a separate interview with Fox News.

Blame President Biden’s open borders, but also the soft-on-crime Democrats in New York and Illinois, whose policies almost guarantee that migrant criminals can rob and assault without ever going to jail. 

Ms. Hochul sweetens the attraction by guaranteeing asylum seekers cash welfare benefits — something the federal government bars so state and local taxpayers have to foot the entire bill. 

On top of that, New York City is court-mandated to guarantee shelter to all, something Mayor Adams should seek to overturn. Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny observed that “the network of thieves” lives mostly in the shelter system.

That includes the migrants who beat up two cops at Times Square on January 27. They had a string of previous arrests but were still living in shelters, courtesy of New York taxpayers. 

Mr. Adams is imposing an 11 p.m. curfew at some shelters. That’s window dressing. 

Providing room and board to the same people who rob and threaten us makes no sense. Once migrants get in trouble with the law, the shelter system should be notified and they should be evicted. The only shelter they get should be at Rikers. 

The Statue of Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor.” It doesn’t say your lawbreakers, brutes, and gang leaders. 

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