Central American Teenagers Break Record!
By: Harlan York
June 4, 2014

The volume of Central American Teenagers traveling to the US without adults increased by five times the number in 2011. On June 2, the President requested that Congress allocate $1.4 billion to deal with this issue. Reportedly, more than 47,000 minors were stopped by Customs and Border Protection since October 1, 2013. Many are Mexican and those kids are often sent back. But the Central American teenagers tell a harrowing story.

Congress asks why so many Central American teenagers are coming here. Any immigration attorney accustomed to assisting refugees can tell you.


  • Start with Mara Salvatrucha, also called the Mara or MS-13.
  • This Salvadoran gang started in California, decades ago.
  • They are now in many parts of North America.
  • But with the increase in deportations that began with Obama, the Mara has grown to as many as 70,000 members.
  • Its presence in El Salvador is very heavy.
  • The same is true in Honduras and Guatemala.

I did a one hour lecture two years ago on the topic of Political Asylum and Gang Activity.  My course was viewed by attorneys, law students, and interested parties all over the US.  It is still available online at Lawline.com.

  1. MS-13 and its rival 18th Street gang (which also originated in California) have taken over communities.
  2. Heavily armed, these gangs threaten Central American teenagers to pay extortion money.
  3. The organizations also use force to recruit members.

The violence is at an all-time high:

“Murders in El Salvador shot up in May . . . pushing the president to claim criminal groups were trying to destabilize the government.  The number of murders in May more than doubled from the same month last year, when homicides had fallen back from one of the world’s highest murder rates, with 81 people killed just over the last weekend.  With 356 homicides so far in May compared with 174 in the same month last year, the murder rate has surpassed the highs seen in early 2012 before a truce between the country’s powerful street gangs.”

Is it any surprise that the US has experienced a new level of Central American teenagers seeking political asylum here?

About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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