In-Depth: Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to prohibit gang members from entering the U.S. and allow for their deportation if they're already in the country.
Last Congress, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) introduced this bill to prevent foreign nationals who are members of gangs like MS-13 from entering the U.S. and ensure that they’re deported if they continue those activities after illegally entering the country:
“In Northern Virginia there have been at least eight brutal murders tied to the transnational MS-13 gang since last November. That is unacceptable, and this legislation will help get these violent gang members off our streets. MS-13 preys upon and intimidates those who have come to our country to seek a better life. The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act will give important tools to law enforcement like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force so that they can effectively do their jobs to deport alien gang members.”
In the previous Congress, the White House expressed that it "strongly supports" this bill, and that if it were presented to the president in this form he would sign it into law.
The Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition opposed this bill in the previous Congress, writing:
"[This bill] gives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the power to designate as a “criminal gang” any five or more associated people, who violate the law for conduct relating to certain offenses, anywhere in the world, any time in the last five years. [It] stigmatizes immigrants and places people of color at an increased risk of being racially profiled as gang members. We have witnessed firsthand the paltry evidence DHS will provide to assert that someone is a gang member---in one case, the sole evidence was Facebook photos of the person wearing Nike Cortez shoes, because in his country of origin, those shoes are associated with the MS-13. Here, those shoes are known as the shoes Forrest Gump wore. Not all immigrants have criminal history. Not all immigrants are gang members. And DHS and the Congress should remember that non-citizens--including those with criminal history and gang members--have a right to due process."
In the previous Congress, House Judiciary Democrats, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition opposed this bill.
This bill has no cosponsors in the current Congress. In the 115th Congress, it passed the House by a 233-175 vote with the support of six Republican cosponsors.
Of Note: MS-13 is a criminal organization that operates in Central America, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. with a particularly heavy presence in California, Texas, and the Washington D.C. metro area. It was the first criminal gang to be classified by the FBI as a transnational criminal organization, and has between 6,000 and 10,000 members in the U.S. and another 30,000 members internationally.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: FBI / Public Domain)