Federal agents are using immigration violations to arrest and deport scores of gang members, USA Today reports. In a three-month push that began June 1, federal agents working with local police in 23 cities arrested 1,313 gang members, their associates and other illegal residents, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. Gang member arrests have increased 73 percent over 2006, from 2,294 people to 3,974. ICE has arrested 7,655 people from more than 700 gangs on immigration and criminal violations since the program began in 2005.
A week-long operation in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area last month netted 34 people from Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Somalia with ties to street gangs. Five people are charged with state crimes, nine face federal charges for re-entering the U.S. after previous deportations, and four are permanent U.S. residents who have previous criminal convictions. Some people say the raids go too far. On Long Island, Nassau County officials said ICE did not check its targets against the county’s gang intelligence before raids Sept. 24 and 26. Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi accused the agency of “misconduct and malfeasance” for “tactical actions which cross the lines of legality and law enforcement best practices.”