By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, spoke in support of HR3697, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act, and said that Congress’ first priority must be to keep Americans safe.
HR3697 combats criminal alien gang violence by amending existing law to make a person’s history of involvement in a criminal gang grounds for inadmissibility into the United States and allow law enforcement agents to automatically detain and deport anyone found to be a criminal alien gang member.
“Gangs of criminal aliens are terrorizing American communities, and it is our responsibility to do something about it,” Roby said on the House floor Wednesday. “Our first priority must be to keep Americans safe. Our laws and policies should reflect our commitment to this responsibility.”
“I want to thank Chairman Goodlatte and my fellow Judiciary Committee colleagues for prioritizing cracking down on illegal immigration on the Committee this year,” Roby said. “All the time I hear from constituents who are frustrated by this country’s unwillingness to address our illegal immigration problem. They are also fed up with hearing politicians promise to do something about it, only to offer excuses later.”
“I believe this Congress and this Administration have shown over the last nine months that we are willing to do something about illegal immigration, and this legislation is a great example of our commitment to addressing this problem,” Roby said. “When it comes to cracking down on illegal immigration, I believe most of us agree that we should start by targeting the dangerous criminals who put Americans at risk.”
“HR3697 is a commonsense measure that does just that by amending existing law to combat gang violence by criminal aliens,” Roby said. “Many Americans may hear this and wonder, ‘what gang violence?’ The most notorious Latin American gang is known as MS-13, which began in the 1980s and has grown to an estimated 8,000 members in the United States. They have a violent history of organized crime in the areas of drug trafficking, kidnapping, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder, assassinations, blackmail, and extortion.”
“To give you an idea of just how violent MS-13 is, the English translation of their motto is ‘Kill, Steal, Rape, Control,'” Roby said. “Gangs of criminal aliens are terrorizing American communities, and it is our responsibility to do something about it. HR3697 will amend the law to finally make a person’s history of involvement in a criminal gang grounds for inadmissibility into this country. That means involvement in drugs, sex trafficking, kidnapping, murder, or any of the other awful crimes spelled out in the law. This bill would also allow law enforcement agents to automatically detain and deport anyone found to be a criminal alien gang member.
“Our first priority must be to keep Americans safe. Our laws and policies should reflect our commitment to this responsibility. HR3697 makes it crystal clear that criminal alien gang members are not welcome in this country, and if they should find themselves here, we are dedicated to getting them off the street.”
Roby is an attorney and serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which this year has prioritized working with the Trump Administration to crack down on illegal immigration. The House has previously passed measures to defund sanctuary cities, increase penalties for illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes, and begin construction of a border wall.
“In April, three students and a visiting cousin were macheted to death in the woods of suburban Long Island,” Speaker of House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. “What were they guilty of? What caused someone to murder them in such an inhumane way? These kids all actively avoided gangs. That was their crime to MS-13, a violent gang, which originated in California but has spread dramatically to states across the country, from Texas to Virginia to New York.”
“Following the April murders, Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to Long Island and vowed to crack down on MS-13,” Ryan said. “President Trump visited in June and said the government would dismantle, decimate, and eradicate MS-13 and other gangs. Law enforcement has done a fantastic job going after these gangs and locking members up. But they need more tools. This week, Congress is joining the president in the fight to protect our young people with the introduction of HR3697, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act. Under current law, membership in a criminal street gang does not make an immigrant inadmissible or deportable. This bill changes that and makes membership in a criminal street gang a deportable offense. This includes felony drug offenses, crimes of violence, and various offenses involving trafficking, identify theft, slavery, and intimidation.
“We will not cower in the face of this brutal violence. We will work with the Trump administration to fight back and protect American youth. It’s time to stand up for our children and end violence in our neighborhoods, once and for all.”
HR3697 passed the House 233-175. Only one Republican voted against the bill. Eleven Democrats broke with their party and voted for the legislation.