WASHINGTON, D.C. Federal immigration officials and local police have tightened the net on violent gangs, making 2,388 arrests in the past year, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Friday.
Through the year-old Operation Community Shield, authorities said they're now deporting suspects they can't jail. If gang members evade criminal charges, officials can slap them with immigration offenses if they're in the country illegally, giving authorities a two-pronged approach to rid communities of troublemakers.
The operation compiled "wanted" lists using information from local authorities and immigration databases to identify gang members with outstanding warrants or past criminal or immigration violations. Of those arrested, 533 were charged with crimes, and the remaining 1,855 - almost 80 percent - were picked up on immigration charges.