Democrats are going to be forced to explain to their constituents why they want gangs ravaging American cities.
Republicans in the House of Representatives voted yesterday to pass an act offering Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents additional tools to find and deport illegal immigrants who are members of criminal street gangs, reports The Washington Examiner. The bill reverses protections offered under the Obama administration and allows law enforcement to deport illegal alien gang members before they harm innocent Americans.
The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act passed in the House by a 233-175 margin. The Act received widespread support from House Republicans, with most Democrats objecting to the increase in police powers. President Trump will likely sign the Act into law.
Earlier this week the White House released a statement of support for the legislation. “The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 3697, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act. Consistent with President Donald J. Trump’s priorities, the bill strengthens law enforcement’s ability to fight transnational criminal gangs, such as MS-13, and counter the violence these dangerous groups bring to communities and neighborhoods across the Nation,” the White House wrote in a statement.
“The Administration is committed to strengthening the Nation’s immigration laws in order to improve domestic security, support law enforcement, and restore public safety. This legislation is an important part of these efforts,” the statement concluded.
The Gang Member Removal Act will require local police to detain illegal immigrants who are identified as members of a criminal gang. Additionally, all illegal immigrant gang members will be blocked from special government programs and will be unable to receive immigration benefits, asylum, special juvenile status, or protected status.
The bill was introduced by US Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), whose congressional district in northern Virginia is home to many members of the MS-13 street gang. MS-13 has murdered at least eight people in Rep. Comstock’s district this year alone. On Long Island, MS-13 is believed to be responsible for a number of brutal murders, including two young teen girls who were attacked with baseball bats and machetes.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a warning to MS-13 gang members. “I have a message for the gangs that target our young people: We are targeting you, we are coming after you,” Sessions declared. According to The New York Times, MS-13 has over 30,000 members worldwide with at least 10,000 operating in the United States. “The MS-13 motto is kill, rape and control,” Sessions explained.
A majority of Democrats opposed the tough-on-gangs legislation, arguing that it grants police too much authority in determining who should be considered a gang member. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), opposed the bill, arguing that it could have unintended consequence for groups harboring illegal immigrants.
ICE agents are getting additional tools to find and deport illegal immigrants who are members of criminal street gangs. Should we deport these thugs?
She worried that the legislation would lump open border activists in with gang members. “In one fell swoop, this could turn nuns into gang members,” Lofgren contended.
However, according to Rep. Comstock, the bill “will provide additional tools to law enforcement that will ensure that when ICE positively identifies a known alien gang member, they may act immediately,” the Republican representative said from the House floor.
“We don’t have to wait until these brutal killers wield their machetes or leave another body on a children’s playground.”