Illegal aliens contribute significantly to the problem of gang violence in Virginia.  By reducing the number of illegal aliens in the Commonwealth, we will significantly reduce the problem of gang violence.

  • 25-50% of all gangsters arrested in northern and western Virginia are estimated to be deportable aliens.  Gang investigators estimate that 90% of the members of MS-13, the most notorious immigrant gang, are illegal aliens.

  • More MS-13 members have been nabbed in Virginia than any other ICE jurisdiction in the country (261 arrests out of an estimated population of 2,000 in the state).  Nearly 80% of the 341 ICE gang arrests in Virginia were members of MS-13.  The remainder belonged to 28 other gangs. 

  • Immigrant gangsters are responsible for serious and often violent crimes in Virginia.  Nine of those arrested by ICE in the last three years were murderers, and six were sex offenders.  Their most common crimes were assault and robbery/larceny. 

  • Gangsters tend to work by day in construction, landscaping, farming, and day labor, and at night are involved in organized crime including drug dealing, prostitution rings, theft, and extortion. 

  • 62% of alien gangsters arrested in Virginia by ICE were from El Salvador, 12% were from Mexico, and 10% from Honduras.

  • Immigration law provides powerful investigative authorities not available to local or even other federal LEAs.  In addition, federal immigration law provides special measures to encourage cooperation of witnesses and informants, and to protect victims of crime. 

  • Researchers found no “chilling effect” on the reporting of crime as a result of partnerships with ICE.  Immigrant community leaders do have an important role to play in reinforcing the message that crime victims and witnesses are not targets of immigration law enforcement. 

  • Immigrant gangs are multiplying and spreading out across the state, and both ICE and state and local LEAs believe they would benefit greatly from receiving more formal training in immigration law, documentation and related issues that apply to criminal aliens.

Source: Center for Immigration Studies, January 2008.

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