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I’m not talking about the housing bubble here (or this man’s rather bubble-shaped stomach). I’m referring to a red bubble on page 25 of this month’s issue of The Atlantic. The page holds a graphic showing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests of MS-13 gang members in the United States from February 2005 to September 2007. The accompanying piece is entitled “How to Grow a Gang,” and it describes how MS-13 members deported from the U.S. are expanding their bases back in El Salvador, building their “coyote” immigrant transport businesses, and bringing more illegals back to the U.S. “Most ICE arrests have been for immigration related offenses, not criminal offenses. Suspected ‘associates’ are lumped in with gang members, which only reinforces gang ties,” writes author Matthew Quirk, who ultimately argues that the solution to this problem may be jailing MS-13 members here, not deporting them. (The article is not posted on the Atlantic‘s website yet.)

But back to the bubbles. The image next to Quirk’s piece shows that the D.C. region has, by far, the largest number of ICE MS-13 arrests. Baltimore has 129; Boston has 190; Our area has 261. (In contrast, Los Angeles has 53; New York City has 87; And Houston has 49.)

I’m not sure if I’ve just missed some of the more penetrating reporting on the effects of deportation. But in the last day, I’ve stumbled upon not only this fascinating piece, but this one as well from NPR about how El Salvador is coping with a dramatic increase of returning U.S. illegal immigrants. And here’s another story from the Post about illegal immigrants being housed in the Prince William County jail.