With immigration remaining front and center in Washington, D.C., a prominent Florida Republican is pushing for Congress to pass his bill removing illegal aliens who are part of gangs.
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., a senior Republican on the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, noted that there are reports of MS-13 gang members targeting police officers, saying it underscores why Congress needs to pass his “Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act.”
Buchanan’s office showcased the bill which “would allow the immediate deportation of any member of a gang engaged in crimes of violence or felony drug offenses, even if they have been legally admitted to the country.” The bill also “disqualifies these dangerous individuals from immigration benefits including receiving asylum protections or temporary protected status.”
Under current law, being part of a gang does not lead to automatic deportation.
“We can’t allow vicious gangs like MS-13 to enter or live in the United States,” Buchanan said. “My bill would help ensure these criminals don’t slip through the cracks and threaten the lives of law enforcement and ordinary citizens.”
“When these violent gang members brazenly plot to assassinate law enforcement officers, I have one response – deport them immediately!” Buchanan added. “Strengthening our laws and securing our southern border is necessary – there should be nothing controversial about that. America is a nation of immigrants but also a nation of laws.”
Buchanan introduced the bill at the start of January when it was sent to the U.S. House Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee. So far, he has not reeled in any cosponsors for the bill. Nor do things long any better on the other side of Capitol Hill with no version of the bill filed yet over in the U.S. Senate.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.