House Bill Would Make Gang Membership Grounds For Deportation

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Congress moved forward Thursday on a bill that would make membership in a criminal street gang such as MS-13 a deportable offense.

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced the vote for HR 3697, known as the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act.

Under current law, membership in a criminal street gang does not make an immigrant inadmissible or deportable.

Introduced by Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, HR 3697 would apply to a variety of criminal gang activity, including felony drug offenses, trafficking, identify theft, slavery, and intimidation.

“We will not cower in the face of this brutal violence, Ryan said in a statement. “We will work with the Trump administration to fight back and protect American youth. It’s time to stand up for our children and end violence in our neighborhoods, once and for all.”

Several Southern California lawmakers voted against the bill, including Reps. Ted Lieu, Maxine Waters, Brad Sherman and Tony Cárdenas.

The vote comes after President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders talked Wednesday night over dinner about what to do with the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced they’d reached an agreement with Trump that does not include wall funding. But the White House says that’s premature.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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