New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D.) announced on Wednesday $7.5 million in new initiatives to combat MS-13 gang violence.
"With these investments, New York is sending a message loud and clear that gang activity has no place in our communities," Cuomo said."By taking a holistic approach to the task of combatting gangs on Long Island, we can help protect our neighborhoods and provide opportunities to at-risk youth that will break the cycle of gang violence once and for all."
The new funding will include money to help youth with job training, after school programs and nonprofits who serve at risk kids according to North Folk Patch, a local New York newspaper.
Including in the funding will be $3 million to bolster youth job training and divert at-risk youth; the New York State Department of Labor is issuing a $3 million request for proposals to help connect young men and women on Long Island to job training and career opportunities. The funding will be available to local organizations that focus on work readiness training and employment for those at risk of falling into the trap of joining gangs like MS-13.
Back in April, Cuomo announced $18.5 million in the 2019 budget to fight MS-13, an international criminal gang with members primarily of Central American origin.
"New York will not tolerate the monstrous acts and fear that MS-13 has brought to our communities, and by focusing on educating and protecting our young residents, we are furthering our efforts to drive out these violent criminals," Cuomo said.
President Donald Trump frequently talks about the violence MS-13 commits. During a speech at the 37th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service, Trump said the government will take back the streets from MS-13.
"Recently, MS-13 gang members called for the assassination of New York City police officers so the gang could ‘take back the streets.’ They got it wrong. We are the ones who are taking back the streets," Trump said.
Cuomo added that many migrants who are minors are unaccompanied, and therefore, easy targets for gang recruitment.
"They fled from Central America, 8,600 came to Long Island, many of them unaccompanied–no support services, no language, no help–and they were easy prey for the gangs. You have no family, you have no job, you have no alternative, and now the gang spots them at a very young age and literally attacks them and recruits them," Cuomo said. "We have to attack that end of the problem also. We have to stop the recruitment pipeline."