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Nationwide ICE sweep arrests DREAMers, MS-13 gang members

Members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), are held in the Criminal Center of Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel in El Salvador. A recent ICE sweep captured more than 100 members of the MS-13 gang members in the United States. (Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images file photo)

An operation by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement resulted in the largest arrest of suspected gang members by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to date, including some illegal immigrants who had previously been recipients of "Dream Act" deportation deferrals.

The ICE social media account lauded the anti-gang results Thursday with a link to a statement about the operation.

The six-week operation ran from March 26 to May 6, and nabbed 1,378 suspected gang members, including more than 100 members of the MS-13 gang, the crime organization specifically targeted by the Department of Justice. Of those, 8 had reportedly crossed the border illegally as minors.

"Of the 1,378 total arrested," the statement read, "1,098 were arrested on federal and/or state criminal charges, including 21 individuals arrested on murder related charges and seven for rape and sexual assault charges. The remaining 280 were arrested on administrative immigration violations.

"Of the total arrested," it read, "933 were U.S. citizens and 445 were foreign nationals from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

"Three individuals arrested during this operation previously had deferred action under DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals]," ICE said. "Aliens granted DACA who are found to pose a threat to national security or public safety may have their deferred action terminated at any time and the Department of Homeland Security may seek their removal from the United States. Since the start of DACA in 2012, DHS has terminated deferred action for approximately 1,500 recipients due to criminality or gang affiliation concerns."

ICE reported that 1,095 of those arrested were confirmed gang members or affiliates.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that it was a mission of the Trump administration to hunt down dangerous gang members and deport them if they are illegally in the United States.

“When we talk about MS-13 and the cartels, what do we mean?” Sessions asked in a speech in April. “We mean international criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into war-zones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders. Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings.”

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