Last night President Trump used the threat of MS-13 to call for severely curtailing legal immigration and increase funding for deportations and detentions of immigrants. There is just one problem: most MS-13 members currently being arrested by ICE are not immigrants, they are American citizens.
WOLA – Advocacy For Human Rights In America recently put out an illuminating report on MS-13 in the United States, below please find some facts pulled from their report
In The United States Most MS-13 Members Are American Citizens Or Legal Residents
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently carried out two large-scale operations targeting many gangs, including MS-13 and others, such as the Bloods.
- According to May 12 reports, ICE arrested 1,378 individuals, of which 933 were U.S. citizens and just over 1,000 were confirmed to be a gang member or gang-affiliated.
- A March 2016 operation of similar size netted 1,133 individuals, of which 894 were U.S. citizens. This means that out of some 2,500 individuals caught in these two major operations, 1,800, or 70 percent, were U.S. Citizens.
Central American Youth Are Not Gang Members They Are Fleeing Violence Caused by MS-13
- Today many children in Central America are given the choice to join the gang or be killed.
- With little confidence that the police or other institutions can protect them, children and families who feel threatened flee their communities, often heading for the safety of the United States.
- Of all unaccompanied minors apprehended at the southwest border since 2011, 0.02 percent were either suspected or confirmed to have ties to gangs in their home country, according to U.S. Border Patrol Acting Chief Carla Provost.
The MS-13’s Membership Makes Up Less Than 1% Of All Active Gang Members In America
- There is no indication that there has been an increase in membership of MS-13 in recent years. In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed the MS-13 has increased significantly, asserting that the gang in the U.S. had more than 10,000 members.
- But this number is roughly the same estimate that the FBI has been using since 2006. According to the FBI, there are an estimated 1.4 million gang members in the United States.
- That means the group accounts for less than 1 percent (0.71 percent) of all U.S. gang membership, if using the 10,000 member estimate.