- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2017

Three illegal immigrant Dreamers approved under President Barack Obama’s 2012 amnesty have been snared in a new nationwide anti-gang operation targeting traffickers and violent criminals, federal authorities announced Thursday.

Another 10 of those nabbed came as part of the surge of unaccompanied alien children, or UAC, who streamed into the U.S. in recent years, taking advantage of lax enforcement policies to gain a foothold here.

Eight of those 10 were confirmed as members of MS-13, the violent street gang that has been identified as one of the biggest threats to American community safety, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which led the operation.

It was unclear whether the children were recruited to the gangs inside the U.S. or already were gang members when they snuck into the country, but officials said gangs were targeting them as a subset of overall recruitment.

“They prey on the vulnerable members of our communities, and, unfortunately, many of the times, those are minors,” said Derek Benner, deputy executive associate director at ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The arrests were part of a nationwide operation that caught 1,378 people, including nearly 1,100 persons confirmed as members or affiliates with criminal gangs.

ICE said 137 of those were affiliated with the Bloods gang, 118 were identified as Surenos, 104 were MS-13, and 104 were Crips.

Agents seized 238 firearms, nearly $500,000 in currency and hundreds of pounds of drugs.

In the Washington, D.C., region, authorities said they apprehended 11 MS-13 members in a “stash house” in Falls Church, Virginia, late last month. Authorities were tracking the house as part of an anti-sex trafficking operation.

Of the 1,378 people snared in the operation, 445 were noncitizens from 21 countries. ICE did not say how many of those were in the country without authorization.

The Dreamers and UAC were particularly noteworthy, as they have become the focal point for the immigration debate.

Activist groups rallied earlier this year to defend a Dreamer in Washington state who was caught in an immigration raid during the early weeks of the Trump administration.

ICE accused the man of gang ties, though his lawyers have disputed that and won his release from custody while his case winds its way through the immigration system.

ICE said that since Mr. Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program began in 2012, some 1,500 people have had their DACA status revoked because of criminal or gang issues. About 750,000 Dreamers have been approved for the amnesty during that time, working out to a known rate of serious criminality of well less than 1 percent.

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