In a speech to police U.S. President Donald Trump touts what he says are the administration's gains in the fight against gang violence, particularly those connected to the Central American linked MS-13, and asks Congress for greater resources. Rough Cut in the (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday painted a vivid and brutal portrait of American communities he said had been ravaged by gang violence as he pressed Congress to help him stop illegal immigration and boost deportations. Speaking to law enforcement officers in Brentwood, New York, on Long Island, Trump highlighted his push to crack down on members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, better known as MS-13, whose existence the White House blames on lax enforcement of illegal immigration from Central America. "They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields. They're animals," Trump said, flanked on stage by about 100 uniformed officers. Trump urged Congress to appropriate more money for immigration agents and judges, and to give them more authority to quickly deport people from Central America who cross the border illegally. "It's essential that congress fund another 10,000 ICE officers, and we're asking for that, so that we can eliminate MS-13 and root out the criminal cartels from our country," he said. The MS-13 gang first took root in the United States in Los Angeles in the 1980s in neighborhoods populated with immigrants from El Salvador who had fled its civil war. The Justice Department has said MS-13 has more than 10,000 members across the United States. In Brentwood, about 30 miles (50 km) east of New York City, MS-13 was behind the murders of two teenage girls last September and four young men in a park in April, authorities said. There have been 17 murders on Long Island tied to the gang since January 2016, according to the Suffolk County Police Department. Trump said that his promise to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico was partly motivated by the desire to keep out drug gangs. And he laid the blame for the growth of the group on the administration of his predecessor, former president Barack Obama. "The previous administration enacted an open door policy to illegal immigrants from central America. 'Welcome in, come in please. Please' As a result MS-13 surged into the country and scoured and just absolutely destroyed so much in front of it," he said. Under Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has targeted the gang, deporting more than 2,700 criminal gang members in fiscal 2017, up from 2,057 in the entire previous fiscal year, the White House has said.