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DHS knew MS-13 gang members were placed into US communities: Whistleblower

May 26, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
DHS knew MS-13 gang members were placed into US communities: Whistleblower

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At least 16 self-admitted MS-13 gang members were transported out of federal custody and into community placement centers across the U.S. during a surge of unaccompanied children coming across the border from Central America in 2014, according to a new letter published by the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

It is not clear what happened to the members of MS-13, one of the most violent transnational criminal groups in the world, and that’s why Senator Ron Johnson wrote the Office of Refugee Resettlement on Tuesday needing answers, according to the Washington Times.

In 2014, President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis after tens of thousands of immigrants surged across the U.S. border. The dramatic influx of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras overwhelmed border patrol officials at the time.

Whistleblower claims DHS knowingly released MS-13 gang members into U.S. communities

Fox News reported that over a dozen teen gang members were detained during the surge. According to Johnson’s letter, the gang members “freely admitted” that they were “MS-13 gang members” and marked bathrooms inside of a placement center in Arizona with MS-13 symbols.

One teen gang member said he “was a drug dealer” and “would continue to do the same in the U.S. with his family.” Another acknowledged that he was part of the Surenos gang and had been “involved in robberies, assaults, and drug dealing” since he was only 15 years old.

“These appear to show that the government knowingly moved self-identified gang members from Nogales, Arizona to centers in communities across the country. As you know, it is common for unaccompanied children to be released from their placement center while awaiting court dates. It is unclear from these 2014 documents whether any of these self-identified UAC gang members were released,” Johnson stated in his message to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Did DHS knowingly released gang members into US communities? Senator demands answers

Johnson is now requesting a complete report of all UACs detained at the border who have identified themselves as gang members since 2010.

He also wants to know if any of the members were released into communities in Virginia, Washington, Texas, New York and Oklahoma. The requests come as the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs are holding hearings on the “The Rise of MS-13 and Other Transnational Criminal Organizations” this week.

A spokesperson for U.S Customs and Border Protection said that the agency is “required by law to turn unaccompanied children over to Health and Human Services. CBP protocols require agents to report gang affiliation of juveniles in the system for processing, and share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement within three hours of a request for the juvenile’s placement with HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement.”

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