Olson Acts to Protect Our Communities from Gang Violence
Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today acted to combat gang violence that is hurting communities across America by voting to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to stop it by deporting violent gang members in the U.S. illegally. Olson voted for H.R. 3697, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, which denies foreign-born national gang members entrance to the U.S. and detains and removes them if they are criminal gang members or participate in gang activity. It also bars them from receiving immigration benefits like asylum, special immigrant juvenile status and temporary protected status. This bill passed the House by a vote of 233 - 175.
“The federal government has a duty to keep the American people safe,” Rep. Pete Olson said. “We cannot allow dangerous gang members to take advantage of our immigration laws in order to cause harm to innocent people in our communities. I’m proud to see my House colleagues vote to put the safety of Americans first and make it clear that these criminals are not tolerated. I urge my Senate colleagues to act quickly as well.”
Currently, gang members cannot be deported until they are convicted of an independent crime. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), violent transnational gang membership is largely comprised of foreign-born nationals. The Department of Justice estimates that MS-13, an extremely violent transnational gang active in at least 40 states, has 10,000 members within the United States and 40,000 members worldwide.
Media Contact: Melissa Kelly