President Trump is slated to make a major law enforcement and immigration policy speech in Long Island, N.Y., on Friday, laying out the administration’s plan to defeat the MS-13 gang.
The speech will center on an appeal to legislators and an offer of support to law enforcement officials at every level, according to a senior administration official speaking on background.
Trump is also expected to take a hard line on the link between immigration enforcement and the rise of gang-related crime, the official said.
“Migration is the principal factor that is responsible for MS-13,” the official said, adding that Trump chose Long Island to “demonstrate humanitarian consequences of failing to enforce immigration laws.”
Last week, law enforcement officials announced the arrest of 15 MS-13 members linked to four murders on Long Island in April. Authorities have linked 17 murders on Long Island to the gang since January 2016, The New York Times reported.
By cracking down on illegal immigration and more heavily policing legal immigration, the official said, the gang’s primary source of new recruits will be eliminated.
To execute the crackdown, the administration will ask for 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, a “substantial amount” of immigration judges, legislation to expedite removal of undocumented Central Americans, passage of the so-called Kate’s Law and a bill against sanctuary cities, and construction of Trump’s proposed border wall.
The official added that immigration enforcement has already changed substantially from the policies of the Obama administration, as evidenced by the quick removal of foreigners suspected of gang membership, regardless of their actual criminal record.
“If you are a gang member you are a priority for removal. Full stop,” said the official, later calling the policy “politically incorrect but law enforcement-wise very correct.”
The administration on Thursday zeroed in on MS-13.
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan spoke during a White House press briefing about his agency’s role in fighting the gang while Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited El Salvador, where he met with Attorney General Douglas Meléndez.
MS-13 was started by Central American immigrants in 1990s Los Angeles and grew primarily in El Salvador as some members were deported to back to Central America.