Fact Sheet: MS-13 Arrests by ICE: 2005-2014

By Jessica Vaughan November 2016

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For more than 10 years, ICE's Operation Community Shield has targeted transnational criminal organizations and criminal aliens involved in street gangs. One of the most notorious of these is MS-13, which was originally formed in Los Angeles by illegal alien thugs from El Salvador, but now operates across the United States and across international borders.

  • Over a 10-year period (2005-2014) ICE arrested approximately 4,000 MS-13 members, leaders, and associates. This represents about 13 percent of all gang members they arrested nationwide (31,000) during that period.

  • 92 percent of the MS-13 affiliated aliens arrested were illegal aliens. Of those, 16 percent had entered illegally at least twice.

  • Just over half of the MS-13 affiliated aliens ICE arrested were citizens of El Salvador. Among the others, 16 percent were Hondurans, 14 percent were Mexicans, and 8 percent were Guatemalans.

  • While MS-13 affiliated aliens made up 13 percent of all the arrests, they accounted for 35 percent of the murderers arrested by ICE.

Map: 2014 ICE Gang Arrests


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For more information on Operation Community Shield, see Jessica Vaughan and Jon Feere, "Taking Back the Streets", Center for Immigration Studies, September 2008.

Source: All figures are from ICE gang arrest reports covering 2005-2014, obtained through FOIA requests.