Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) says he hopes to invite President Donald Trump to Brentwood to see the impact of gang violence after MS-13 members were indicted in three killings there.
During a telephone town hall he held Wednesday night, a Brentwood woman identified as Rose Kelty said the community had suffered for years from gang violence and that Trump should meet parents of those killed.
“I’ll definitely mention it to him, talk to him about it, and, if it’s OK with the police department and county executive, I will try to convince the President to come out,” King replied.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said the department wants to eliminate MS-13, “and if the president can help us achieve that objective, I will facilitate making that happen.”
Sini, who was appointed by Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, said, “when you have the opportunity to engage the most powerful person in the world on an issue of concern, you should seriously think about taking advantage of that.”
More than a dozen MS-13 members were indicted March 2 for crimes including the killings of two teenage Brentwood girls, Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, and Jose Peña-Hernandez. Four defendants who were charged publicly in the Cuevas and Mickens killings have pleaded not guilty.
Of those indicted in the murders, 10 were residents who came into the country illegally, two were U.S. citizens and one was a green card holder, said Robert Capers, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District.
King said he would check with local law enforcement, political leaders, clergy and community groups before issuing a “formal invitation” to Trump. “I do not want to create unnecessary friction.”
Trump has drawn criticism from immigrant rights advocates over his executive orders to build a wall along the Mexican border and expand offenses that could trigger deportations for those in the country illegally.
Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) declined to comment on the possibility of a Trump visit, calling it “hypothetical.”
Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator for Make the Road New York, a nonprofit immigrant rights organization, said a Trump visit would divide the community and do little to bring “real solutions” to the problems of gang violence.
In an interview published in Time magazine in December, Trump referred to a Newsday front page featuring coverage of then-unsolved murders in Brentwood.