GOP Rep Introduces Legislation to Revoke Citizenship From MS-13 Gang Members

Lee Zeldin
Lee Zeldin / Getty Images
February 20, 2018

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to revoke the citizenship of naturalized immigrants who are involved in gang-related crimes.

The Protecting Our Communities from Gang Violence Act would allow the U.S. government to revoke the citizenship of individuals who came to the country as immigrants and got involved in gang activity either prior to or within 10 years of becoming a naturalized citizen. The act seems to be the direct result of an increase in the numbers of crimes being committed by MS-13 gang members in Zeldin's congressional district and the state of New York as a whole.

"From the vicious machete attack of four young men in Central Islip, to the childhood best friends brutally murdered by MS-13 in Brentwood, our community has witnessed the indiscriminate brutality of gang violence firsthand," Zeldin said in a statement. "Every level of government has a role to play in combating the rise of MS-13 and other gangs, and we must crack down on the aspects of our nation’s broken immigration system and other policies that have allowed MS-13 and other gangs to take hold in our communities and stay there."

MS-13 is one of the largest and most violent street gangs operating on Long Island. Since 2010, the office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York has obtained indictments charging members of MS-13 with over 40 murders. In June of 2017, immigration authorities in cooperation with local New York law enforcement arrested 39 MS-13 gang members as part of a larger anti-gang effort called Operation Matador. On Thursday, three MS-13 gang members were sentenced to prison for the execution-style murder of a fellow 19-year-old gang member. The three men will face deportation after serving their sentences.

"United States naturalization is a privilege not a right, and those who have had this privilege bestowed upon them must respect and uphold the laws of our land," Zeldin added.