President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that targets transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels and street gangs like MS-13, which is directed by its leaders in El Salvador.
An affidavit from an FBI special agent last year highlighted the transnational nature of MS-13. “MS-13’s primary functioning principles center on violence, including murder, and a strict military structure of communication and command, headquartered in El Salvador and spread throughout various ‘programs’ and ‘cliques’ in the United States,” FBI special agent Jeffery Wood wrote.
The gang, known for its brutal violence, has been recruiting young illegal immigrants in the U.S. from the Salvadorian community. Lou Gentile, a former officer with the organized crime unit of the Pennsylvania State Police, told Fox Latino that MS-13 “functions like all immigrant organized crime groups,” and targets “their own community.” (RELATED: Bodies Found In Quiet Long Island Town Probably Tied To MS-13)
Trump’s executive order aims to go after organizations just like this. “Transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including transnational drug cartels, have spread throughout the nation, threatening the safety of the United States and its citizens,” the executive order states.
It broadly orders federal law enforcement agencies to focus enforcement on these groups and increase intelligence sharing and cooperation. Some of the specific portions of the order will target groups like MS-13, which are primarily made up of illegal immigrants.
It orders federal law enforcement agencies to devote sufficient resources to the deportation of immigrants in transnational criminal organizations, increased prosecutions of immigration and visa fraud, and a review of whether existing immigration law should be amended to prohibit members of these organizations from entering the U.S. “Unlike during the last eight years, these criminals are finally going to go home,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday.
Similarly to Trump’s executive order calling for a quarterly report on the effects of illegal alien crime, the Department of Justice will now issue quarterly reports “detailing convictions in the United States relating to transnational criminal organizations and their subsidiaries.”