WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement in response to the passage of H.R. 3697, the Criminal Gang Removal Act. If the bill becomes law, it would allow the Department of Homeland Security to deny admission or remove persons, including legal permanent residents, on the mere suspicion of gang affiliation. In addition, the law broadens the definition of “criminal gang” to include persons accused of harboring undocumented immigrants and committing identity fraud, a clear targeting of undocumented immigrants. The bill would also mean that religious workers or family members sheltering loved ones could be classified as gang members.
“Less than 10 days after the President’s heartless decision to rescind DACA, Congressional Republicans have double-downed on their anti-immigrant agenda with the passage of the Criminal Gang Removal Act,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Not only does this bill further demonize immigrant communities, but it completely ignores due process rights by allowing DHS to remove persons on the mere suspicion of gang affiliation. This bill is no more than an extension of mass-deportation efforts by broadening the definition of ‘criminal gangs’ to include as many immigrants as possible. The mere fact that religious workers and family members sheltering loved ones could be classified as gang members reflects how egregious this bill truly is.
“Unfortunately, this is what life is like for immigrants in Trump’s America – one where they have to be constantly looking over their shoulders out of fear of being stripped away from their families, jobs, and livelihoods. It’s time to restore dignity to our broken immigration system – not continue to instill fear into vulnerable populations. Speaker Ryan can begin to do this by bringing a clean DREAM Act to the House floor for a vote.”