House bill targets gangs for deportation
WASHINGTON » The House on Thursday backed legislation that would make membership in a criminal gang grounds for deportation as Republicans warned of the dangers of the violent street gang MS-13.
The measure passed on a largely party-line vote of 233-175. The White House has endorsed the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, but it faces uncertain prospects in the Senate.
MS-13 has been blamed for 21 deaths in the suburbs east of New York City in the past 21 months. The killings, many of which have involved teenagers, have caught the attention of both President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, both of whom have visited Long Island in recent months to promise federal action to stem the violence.
Proponents of the House measure described it as a critical tool for law enforcement as the bill gives the Department of Homeland Security the power to designate a group of five or more people as a criminal gang. Those immigrants determined to have participated in the gang or have furthered its illegal activity can be detained and deported.