Dubbed the most notorious transnational gang in the Western hemisphere, MS-13' s takedown has become a central priority of the Trump Administration-- and an pertinent part of Trump's 'tough on crime' promise.
AG Jeff Sessions described the gang as "one of the most violent gangs in the history of our country," in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News.
MS-13, comprised of predominantly Hispanics from the Northern Triangle (El-Savador, Honduras, and Guatemala) and Mexico, the gang started with El Salvadorans in Los Angeles and has spread to the east side of the country, terrorizing many areas, most notably New York, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. The gang is becoming notorious now for recruiting youth from schools, especially in the Maryland-Northern Virginia area. The group is reported to have 6,000 members around the U.S., and 30,000 internationally.
The State Department and Treasury declared the gang a "transnational criminal organization" in Oct. 2012, making MS-13 the first gang to be given this designation in the U.S., and still the only one to receive it. Now, Sessions may support moving the declaration a step further.
Citing the fact that El Salvador had formally declared MS-13 a terrorist organization, Carlson asked Sessions if that move could be mimicked in the United States.
In response to Carlson's question asking if the designation would be helpful, Sessions said, "I think so, perhaps. I believe it could qualify for that."
"We’re going after them," Sessions continued. "We’re not going to allow them to take over a block, a corner of our communities and terrorize people with this violence.”
President Trump has tweeted commending Sessions' work and stressing administration's commitment to rid the streets of MS-13 bullying and killing.
AG Sessions is doing a fantastic job: announced today new steps to dismantle violent gangs like MS-13. I promised to get tough and we are!— President Trump (@POTUS) April 18, 2017
Trump also blamed the increased power of the MS-13 on his predecessor's administration.
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 (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017