- Associated Press - Friday, May 5, 2017

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Leaders in El Salvador held a top-level security cabinet meeting to discuss what to do if massive numbers of street gang members are deported back from the United States.

Deportations to El Salvador are down so far this year, but U.S. authorities have vowed to crack down on immigrants who belong to gangs.

There has been some anecdotal evidence that returning gang members are forming new groups in El Salvador.

Defense Minister Gen. David Munguia told local media Friday that the meeting discussed various possibilities, including tracking gang members deported back to El Salvador and even locking them up.

The leader of El Salvador’s congress, Guillermo Gallegos, has proposed locking up deported gang members when they arrive.

“If these people are already considered a threat to the United States, with all the security systems they have, they are even more of a serious threat our country, given how much we lack,” Gallegos said.

Deportations are down 22.9 percent the first four months of 2017 compared to same period in 2016.

But attorney general Douglas Melendez said there is evidence that some newly-formed street gang cells, known as “clicas,” bore names of U.S. streets or areas, suggesting they had been formed or named by recent deportees.

In late April, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked about cracking down on the MS-13 street gang in a speech to law enforcement officials on Long Island, New York, where several killings are believed linked to the gang. El Salvador’s other major gang is Barrio 18.

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