The Trump administration has made counteracting criminal organizations a priority. One of the White House's first goals on this front has been to squash the dangerous street gang known as MS-13.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to El Salvador this week and engaged with the Salvadoran government on ways to counteract the gang whose roots are found in the Central American country.
Sessions' trip to El Salvador followed up on Trump's April promise in which he said he would get rid of the gang in America.
The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1492508365.0
During his visit, Sessions planned to meet with Attorney General Douglas Meléndez and former MS-13 gang members, who can provide additional insight into the organization's inner workings.
After learning that MS-13 relies heavily on the illegal immigrant population, the Trump administration announced plans to further their crack down on sanctuary cities. The effort to deport these illegal illegal immigrant gang members has created concern in countries like El Salvador. Every gang member who is deported from the U.S. returns to his home country — in this case, many would be sent back to El Salvador.
When dealing with gang members in the United States, Thomas Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, reminded the American people that members of local law enforcement are the gang members' first point of contact.
During the deportation process, it's important for agencies at the state, local and federal level to work with one another to complete necessary procedures.
"Cooperation is critical. It is often state and local law enforcement, not ICE, that first come into contact with transnational criminal organizations,” Homan told the media at the White House daily briefing Thursday, the Washington Times reported.
During Sessions' visit alone, more than 700 MS-13 members have been charged with criminal activities, Townhall reported Thursday.
Earlier this year, a branch of the gang organization in El Salvador "allegedly committed several high profile murders including the killings of three victims from the LGBT community who were believed to have committed extortions without authorization from MS-13," the Department of Justice said in a news release Thursday.
"The alleged shooter in these high profile murders fled to the United States and is now in ICE custody pending immigration proceedings," the statement said. "ICE agents in El Salvador are coordinating with their counterparts in the United States to ensure that he is quickly removed and brought back to El Salvador to face charges."
Although this branch of the gang is being handled by El Salvadorian prosecutors, they are receiving substantial support from the FBI, State Department, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law advisers, Justice Department embedded Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training prosecutors, and police officers from the HIT Team. The FBI and OPDAT teams are also prepared to send essential witnesses back to El Salvador so they can testify about the murders.