Strengthening the Bill to Combat Alien Gangs

By Dan Cadman on September 12, 2017

My colleagues Andrew Arthur and Jessica Vaughan recently posted on a bill introduced into the House of Representatives, the "Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act", HR 3697.

Passage of such a bill would certainly be welcome, although prior immigration enforcement-related bills, notably the Davis-Oliver Act (which had parallel versions introduced in both the House and Senate), have contained similar provisions and gone nowhere.

One thing I noticed in reviewing the predicate crimes that allow the government to designate such transnational gangs that are heavily oriented toward recruiting young illegal aliens is that there are several federal offenses that don't seem to have been incorporated into the bill. These include:

  • 18 U.S.C. Section 911, which criminalizes false claims to U.S. citizenship. Young gang members often fraudulently make such claims to officials, including state and local police, when they fear that there may be deportation consequences to arrests, whether for major or minor offenses.
  • 18 U.S.C. Section 922, which details various federal weapons offenses, including specifically possession of firearms by illegal aliens.
  • 18 U.S.C. Sections 1541 through 1546, which are statutes in the federal criminal code relating to various passport and visa fraud offenses. Section 1546 is particularly useful in that it also includes prohibitions not just against use of fraudulent visas, but also immigration permits and other identity documents. It also covers perjury and false statements made in seeking immigration benefits — particularly useful as gang members mature and, for example, seek to legalize their status by engaging in fraudulent marriages.

The ultimate future of this bill is uncertain; there has been a marked inability on the part of Congress in recent years, most notably in the Senate, to pass any immigration enforcement measures and send them to a president for signature.

But if this were to occur — an unlikely miracle to those of a cynical disposition; cites Skopos Labs as giving it a 1 percent chance of enactment — it would be helpful if additional predicate crimes such as those I've outlined were added into the bill as a part of the amendments process.

Topics: Gangs