Gang Migration: Patterns and Motives of Migration of Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Other Salvadoran Gangs into the United States

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August 2012
Alejandro A. Ferrer

The flow of illegal immigrants has been a topic of discussion among politicians and scholars over the last decade. It has been argued that immigrants increase criminal activities. This is a result of Hispanic immigrants being perceived as criminals and gang members; even though only a small percentage of these individuals belong to criminal organizations. The primary objective of this study is to examine the different reasons behind the migration of gang members, gang associates and non-gang members. The question that will be answered is whether gang members migrate in search of economical benefits and expansion of their criminal networks, while other groups migrate to the United States in search for opportunities or to separate themselves from the lifestyle they pursued in El Salvador.