House passes bill targeting gang members for deportation

Handcuffed inmates members of MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs are made to wait upon arrival at the maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca 65 km east of San Salvador El Salvador on Aug. 30 2017

House passes bill targeting gang members for deportation

Specifically, this legislation defines a criminal gang as a group of five or more individuals whose primary objective is to commit one or more of the following offenses: a felony drug offense, importing or harboring aliens, a crime of violence, obstruction of justice, fraud, or conspiracy to commit an offense.

The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act passed by a vote of 233-175, largely along party lines.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Republican from Wisconsin, speaks during his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, on May 25.

"President Donald J. Trump applauds Congress for taking steps to strengthen our Nation's immigration laws with H.R. 3697, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act", the statement said. No need to wait for the person to commit a crime -just being a gang member is enough.

Supporters describe the measure as a tool that law enforcement can use to remove members of the violent street gang MS-13. According to the Department of Justice, MS-13, a transnational gang that is notoriously violent and comprised of members mostly from Central America, has 10,000 members inside the United States and 40,000 members worldwide. The gang was formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s before spreading to El Salvador and other American cities.

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The president is now working on a deal that would protect a program for young immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally by their parents from being deported. The bill prohibits aliens who have been associated with a criminal gang from entering the country and establishes that an alien in the United States who is associated with a criminal gang is deportable.

"The bill broadly overreaches and puts Americans and immigrants at risk of being unjustly profiled", Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

"It will ensure that when ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] positively identifies a known alien gang member, they may act immediately", said Comstock.

"It would shred due process protections and would allow deportations of innocent immigrants based on the flimsiest of evidence", said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. They also called out the bill because the GOP didn't allow any amendments or changes to the way it was written.

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