Press Releases

Goodlatte Applauds House Passage of Bill to Help Local Law Enforcement Combat Gang Violence

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Washington, June 6, 2018 | Beth Breeding (2022255431) | comments
As gangs have infiltrated our neighborhoods, we must ensure local law enforcement officers have the tools needed to prevent and combat gang activity.
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The House of Representatives today approved by a vote of 394-13 the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act (H.R. 3249) to curb the rise in gang activity and violence in the United States. This bill, introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and approved by the House Judiciary Committee last year and passed by the House in March, establishes a grant program to provide resources to state and local law enforcement agencies to combat gang activity in their communities, authorizing $50 million annually for Fiscal Year 2019 through Fiscal Year 2021. The bill, recently approved by the Senate, now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Street gang activity in the United States is on the rise. Gangs are actively recruiting middle and high school aged children across the country. Specifically, the FBI has pointed to transnational gangs, such as MS-13, as becoming an increasingly troublesome problem. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded today’s House approval of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act in the statement below.

Goodlatte: “Gang violence affects too many communities across the United States, and the Commonwealth of Virginia has been particularly hard-hit by this problem. Last year, Raymond Wood was killed by suspected members of MS-13 in the congressional district that I represent. As gangs have infiltrated our neighborhoods, we must ensure local law enforcement officers have the tools needed to prevent and combat gang activity. The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act provides much needed resources for state and local law enforcement agencies to address gang activity within their communities. I thank Congresswoman Comstock for her dedication to eradicating this public safety crisis and look forward to this bill being signed into law by President Trump.”

Additional Background:
• In September 2017, the House of Representatives approved the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act (H.R. 3697). This bill, introduced by Comstock, Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.), Congressman Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), and Goodlatte combats gang violence by criminal aliens and enhances public safety.
• In order to protect Americans from these violent gangs, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act ensures that alien gang members are kept off our streets by barring them from coming to the United States and detaining and removing them if they are criminal gang members or participate in gang activity. Additionally, the bill ensures that criminal alien gang members are not eligible for immigration benefits, such as asylum, special immigrant juvenile status, and temporary protected status, which are reserved for those around the world most in need of protection.
• Goodlatte and Congresswoman Comstock have also called on the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to combat MS-13 gang activity in Virginia.
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