Gang Crackdowns Increase Deportations
July 17, 2018
For immigrants with suspected gang affiliations, the risk of deportation has been increasing. According to a report published by the New York Immigrant Coalition and the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic at the CUNY School of Law, law enforcement’s efforts to crack down on gangs have resulted in a significant increase in the arrest, detention, and deportation of young immigrants in New York.
The investigative report, Swept up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers, describes the arbitrary methods used by law enforcement to racially profile immigrant youth by establishing gang affiliations. New York law enforcement has made concerted efforts to identify and crack down on members of the MS-13 gang. The MS-13 gang has roots in the United States and Central America. The Trump Administration believes the group is using loopholes in U.S. immigration law to bring large amounts of Central American immigrants into the New York area for gang-related activity.
One arbitrary method of identifying suspected gang affiliations is the photographing of individuals at gang-related locations. Critics of these methods highlight that many gang-related locations are also community spaces, such as public parks or local bodegas that residents frequently visit. Other unreliable evidence that has been used by law enforcement to allege suspected gang affiliation includes social media postings, the type of clothing an individual wears, and drawings in a youth’s school notebooks.
According to the report, 78 percent of survey respondents reported at least one interaction with law enforcement where the police have alleged gang-related affiliations or otherwise implied a suspicion of gang association. The report implies that there has been a significant increase in law enforcement’s patrolling, policing, and arresting of immigrant youth based on unsupported suspicions of gang affiliation. In 2017, Immigration and Custom Enforcement began its Operation Raging Bull, with a goal of targeting violent gang members and their associates.
Operation Raging Bull has resulted in increased law enforcement collaboration with Immigration and Custom Enforcement. When law enforcement establishes a suspected gang affiliation, the immigrant could be added to gang databases, which could affect an individual’s immigration status. The report indicates that individuals who are listed in gang databases based on a suspected gang affiliation have a smaller chance of obtaining legal permanent residency.
As the gang databases have minimal inclusion criteria, this can result in many immigrant youths being added to the databases with no substantial evidence to support allegations of gang affiliation. The report also states that there has been a significant correlation between the allegations of gang affiliation and eventual arrests on immigration charges.
Even when an immigrant youth has no record of proven criminal activity, they could be added to one of these gang databases based on racial profiling and stereotyping. Immigration and Custom Enforcement will often use the information in court to deny bond requests and force immigrants into detention centers while they wait for their immigration cases to be heard. The Department of Human Services has used suspicion of gang affiliation to deny public benefits, which are greatly needed by many immigrants.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Assist Immigrants Facing Deportation
If you or a loved one is facing deportation, the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. can assist you. Our dedicated team handles a wide variety of immigration matters, including those related to deportation, naturalization, visa approvals, green cards, asylum, and other citizenship issues. Call us today to schedule a confidential initial consultation at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. We are in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients throughout the tri-state area.