Protests Planned As Trump Prepares To Speak In Brentwood, Long Island

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump will be on Long Island Friday to address the MS-13 gang violence that has plagued the area.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, protesters will greet the president as he arrives at the Suffolk County College Brentwood campus.

“We are saddened and outraged to see President Trump seek to use local tragedies for political gain, to fuel his hateful, anti-immigrant agenda,” said Walter Barrientos of the group Make the Road.

“Instead of blaming our community, and using our tragedies as an opportunity for your campaigns, why don’t we look at what’s really causing this?” said Bianca Villanueva of the Alliance for Quality Education of New York. “You can’t talk about Brentwood without talking about the severe underfunding of our public schools and the lack of access to programs.”

The event that Trump will be attending is not public – only law enforcement personnel will be attending.

College spokesman Drew Biondo told WCBS 880’s Hall the theater seats more than 460 people and the White House audio equipment, and security will be understandably very, very tight.

“Folks will only be able to enter the campus with college or employee ID,” Biondo said. “Parking lots and parking will be restricted.”

The president has referred to MS-13 as “bad people” and vowed to crack down on the violent gang.

MS-13 is allegedly responsible for at least 17 homicides in Suffolk County since January 2016, including the murders of 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas and 15-year-old Nisa Mickens whose bodies were found not far from their Brentwood school in September.

Last week, Acting U.S. attorney Bridget Rohde announced 10 people have been charged with the “vicious killing of four young men in a Central Islip park in April, including six juveniles.”

The new arrests and indictments are part of the Long Island Gang Task Force’s aggressive crackdown on the gang. Last month, at least 40 alleged members of the gang were arrested on a range of charges including conspiracy and assault.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with local, state and federal law enforcement in Central Islip and vowed to prosecute gang members who commit crimes “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Trump has reportedly spoken with advisers about firing Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation. The president has also been pressuring Sessions on Twitter in recent days.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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