Expert warns immigrant children could be easy recruits for gangs

HOUSTON (KHOU) – Some are concerned that the unaccompanied children crossing into the U.S. might become easy recruits for criminal gangs.

"It worries me a great deal," said Mike Knox, a former Houston police officer who helped start the department's first divisional gang unit. "They come to this country without parents or adult supervision, they will be ripe for someone to promise them to be like a ‘family' – one of the promises street gangs make."

Knox, who wrote a book on gang violence, believes a certain percentage of the children migrating to the U.S. might already have gang affiliations and could be desensitized to violence.

"It's going to impact our juvenile justice system, our adult justice system and it's going to impact the cost of doing business at schools," said Knox.

He's says school districts will have to provide children with more help and counseling to keep them from gang or criminal influence.

He also warns police departments to get ready for an increase in crime, especially from gangs like MS-13.

"They are going to compete with gangs that are already here, so existing gangs will step up the violence," Knox said.



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