US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that they have arrested 14,800 gang members, criminals and associates nationwide as part of Operation Community Shield, a six-month, 89 city initiative aimed at getting criminals off the streets and disrupting gang activity. Over a third of these apprehensions, or 5,829 of the arrested gang members or gang associates had a violent criminal history. Also, 180 of those arrested were gang leaders, and 2,572 were MS-13 gang members or associates.
To date, of those arrested, 6,030 have been charged criminally, and 8,852 have been charged with immigration violations and processed for removal.
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ICE worked in conjunction with State, Federal and local authorities to pull off the operation, which is the largest of its kind in the agency’s history. Still, it is estimated that there are at least 30,000 gangs and 800,000 + gang members active across the USA. Hispanics accounted for 47% of all gang members, Blacks 34%, Whites 13%, and Asians 7%.
Nationwide there are only 800,000+ sworn laws enforcement officers in the US and they are outgunned by the gang members. This may explain why it took 1,200 State, Local and Federal officers to arrest 80 Avenue Street gang bangers in Los Angeles on September 22nd. They aren’t taking any chances nor should they.
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ICE has announced that its major focus under the Obama Administration is to target criminal illegal aliens and not those who are just here in US illegally. The is a very controversial change in tactics as last year 135,389 illegal aliens were arrested under the 287G program with civilian law enforcement partners. ICE could accomplish this goal quite effectively by declaring war on gangs on a grander scale and working to dismantle their US operations. This however could prove to be a major undertaking the likes of which the agency has never seen before. It could also turn into a full-scale war.
For now, this guerilla gang strategy may work but unless and until the Federal government makes gangs a total and complete priority, we will see continued violence, drug smuggling and illegal entry into the US at epidemic proportions.
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