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Leap Weighs In on Trump’s Portrayal of MS-13

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap spoke to HuffPost about President Trump’s characterization of the street gang MS-13. Trump has portrayed the gang as an imminent threat in the United States, but “the truth of the matter is it is less of a problem now than it ever was,” Leap said. While law enforcement and youth gang prevention have helped combat MS-13 in the U.S., the gang founded by Salvadoran immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s has become a far bigger menace in Central America. “It is indescribable what goes on there,” said Leap, who is also executive director of the UCLA Health and Social Justice Partnership.  “I don’t think we can grasp where the real terror is and how fear and intimidation rule the day for individuals, for their families, because of the grip of this gang” in Central America, she said.