President Trump blamed the immigration policies of his predecessor, Barack Obama, on Tuesday for the presence of MS-13 gang members in America, asserting his administration is taking action on the issue.
"The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S.," Trump wrote in a Tuesday morning tweet. "We are removing them fast!"
The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2017
MS-13 (or La Mara Salvatrucha), a gang primarily based in Central America, was formed in the 1980s and is today one of the largest criminal organizations in the United States. A reported 6,000 members operate within at least 46 states and the District of Columbia domestically, and more than 30,000 operate internationally. The FBI created a task force on MS-13 in 2004 to "investigate this violent international street gang."
RELATED: A look at the MS-13 gang
The bodies of four young people were found in Long Island, New York last Friday, in a murder suspected to be the act of MS-13 -- just weeks after more than a dozen MS-13 members were indicted in seven Long Island killings over a three-year span.
The president has taken a hardline stance on immigration since the 2016 campaign trail, advocating for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and saying at one point of undocumented immigrants, "We have some bad hombres and we're going to get them out."
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Since taking office, Trump has used the power of his attorney general, former Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, to crack down on sanctuary cities and order a DOJ review of local police reform agreements. Trump's commitment to national border security was also evidenced when internal Department of Homeland Security documents showed the federal agency has identified some 33,000 more detention beds in which to house undocumented immigrants.
The morning tweet came as a "Fox & Friends" interview between Trump and co-anchor Ainsley Earhardt aired on Tuesday morning, featuring a discussion around illegal immigration.
"I'm talking about illegal immigrants that were here that caused tremendous crime that have murdered people, raped people; horrible things have happened. They are getting the hell out, or they are going to prison," Trump said to Earhardt. "It is a serious problem and we never did anything about it, and now we're doing something about it."