Three Republican senators Wednesday unveiled their legislation to increase jail times for gang crimes and create a database for criminal gang activity with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
In addition, their bill mandates that any illegal immigrant convicted of gang activity would be referred to the Department of Homeland Security for deportation.
“We must not only work to prevent the formation of gangs, but also to track their members and hold them accountable for their vile actions so we can end the violence and keep the American people safe,” she added.
President Donald Trump has been cracking down on gangs like MS-13 since taking office, and on July 15 his administration announced the arrest of key MS-13 leadership.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds said there has been a recent escalation of gang violence that is plaguing the nation, saying, “America is in a gang crisis.”
“For years, studies have told us that gang membership in the U.S. exceeds well over 1 million, with gangs responsible for the vast majority of the crimes that spread fear, devastate victims, and decimate our communities the most. Without a doubt, gangs, which honor no jurisdictional boundaries, pose the greatest threat to public safety befalling this nation,” Reynolds said in a statement.
MS-13 is one of the most notorious gangs, composed mainly of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador. Branches of MS-13, one of the largest street gangs in the United States, operate throughout the country.
“Transnational gangs like MS-13 spread violence across our borders and traffic drugs into our communities and schools,” said Blackburn. “Only tough prison sentences and the threat of deportation will send a strong message of zero tolerance to these sophisticated and hardened criminals.”
The GOP legislation requires the creation of a federal street gang database that would help local, state, and federal officials communicate and track criminal activities by gangs. According to the provision, local officials would have to provide information for the database on gang activity in their jurisdiction to receive certain federal grants.
“Criminal gangs prey upon the most vulnerable members of our society, and we should make it easier to take them down,” said Cotton. “Our bill will help law enforcement agencies track gang activity while also empowering prosecutors to bring individual gang members to justice—including the eventual deportation of criminal aliens.”
Jimmy Callaway, City of Morrow chief of police and president of the Georgia Gang Investigators Association welcomed the new legislation.
“By sponsoring a new law that will confront the gang crisis that has terrorized the United States for years, Senator Loeffler has risen above politics and shown that she is willing to put the public safety of Americans—all of them—first,” Callaway said.