(CNSNews.com) – It's up to the State Department to designate MS-13 as a terrorist organization. But regardless of whether that happens, “We’re going after them,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tuesday night.
Sessions said the nation’s top federal law enforcement officers held a meeting earlier on Tuesday to discuss ways of convicting and deporting those gang members who are in the U.S. illegally.
“We can devastate this gang. We’re going after them. We are not going to allow them to take over a block, a corner of our communities and terrorize people with this violence," Sessions said.
“They use machetes. They kill children. They put children in prostitution at age 12. This is one of the most violent gangs in the history of our country, no doubt about it.”
The attorney general said there are now some 10,000 members of the violent Salvadoran gang in 40 states.
“These are not geniuses,” Sessions said. “They are involved in the kind of activities that can be identified and they can be prosecuted.” He said with persistence, "we can devastate this organization, and that's going to be our goal.”
Sessions said many of the MS-13 members would not be in the country if the previous administration had been stricter about border security:
“We are going to build a wall. We are going to add more agents on the border. The numbers have already dropped dramatically,” he said, noting that the number of illegal aliens trying to enter the country last month was the lowest monthly total in 17 years.
“And that's Donald Trump's leadership," Sessions said. "He is determined to do that and end this lawlessness. We’re backing him up. The Homeland Security Department is really working hard, and we are going to continue on that. And so the numbers are down. So when fewer enter, our Border Patrol have a much better chance of catching those who do -- identifying those who are violent and deporting them."
President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday that his administration is removing MS-13 gang members “fast.”
Sessions said it's part of the administration's message to the world:
“What we want to say to the world is, please come lawfully. Wait your turn, make your application and it will be evaluated. And if you're accepted, come. But don't come illegally.
“That's what the American people have a right to expect their government to do. And in the process we can protect them from some of the violent criminals and terrorists that are coming in.”