Gangs in Central America
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The 110th Congress maintains a keen interest in the effects of crime and gang violence in Central America and its spillover effects on the United States. Since February 2005, more than 1,758 alleged members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha MS-13 gang have been arrested in cities across the United States. These arrests have raised concerns about the transnational activities of Central American gangs, and governments throughout the region are struggling to find the right combination of suppressive and preventive policies to deal with them. Some analysts assert that increasing U.S. deportations of individuals with criminal records to Central American countries may be contributing to the gang problem. Several U.S. agencies have been actively engaged on both the law enforcement and preventive side of dealing with Central American gangs. An inter-agency committee worked together to develop a U.S. Strategy to Combat Criminal Gangs from Central America and Mexico, announced at a July 2007 U.S.-Central American Integration System SICA summit on security issues. The strategy, which is now being implemented, states that the U.S. government will pursue coordinated antigang activities through five broad areas diplomacy, repatriation, law enforcement, capacity enhancement, and prevention.
- Sociology and Law