Senator Lankford Discusses Transnational Criminal Organizations and Coordination Efforts

CLICK HERE to view Sen. Lankford’s Q&A

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing about US border security, specifically the rise of MS-13 and other transnational criminal organizations. Lankford examined the need for US law enforcement agencies to continue to coordinate with Central America law enforcement to ensure border security. 

Yesterday, Lankford participated in a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations hearing about United States Assistance for Central America. 

Excerpts from Senator Lankford’s Q&A

Lankford: …All three of you mentioned the interaction between MS-13 and what’s happening in Central America. Several of you mentioned specifically the coordination efforts between Central America and law enforcement here, both federal and their law enforcement…what can we do to help facilitate greater cooperation, whether that be finger print sharing, identity, background information between individuals being deported here back there, as they’re trying to receive gang members back, but also individuals that are moving this direction. What coordination is missing? Because MS-13 is obviously a strong Central American, Salvadoran, especially, presence there. What can we do?   

Mr. Manger: …you touched on a couple of things we need to do. First, our ability to remove identified MS-13 gang members that have been arrested or convicted of crimes, often times we not only have in Central America but other nations… that will not accept their residence back and we need to remove them from our country; and, so if we can work on that issue it would be very helpful. As I stated in my testimony…the truce that was in place between gangs in El Salvador and their government, really did impact things in our country. When that truce broke down it had a very, it created a spike in violence in our country. 

Lankford: What you’re saying is the gang truce broken down in El Salvador and it affected the violence directly here in the United States?

Mr. Manger: Yes, sir.

Lankford: Mr. Chairman, just a quick comment on this. This is something that the Appropriations team has already started on. In fact, yesterday had a hearing on State and Foreign Ops Appropriations about Central America specifically, and some of the investments and the way that we’re targeting. How we’re spending money in our foreign aid, and how we need to be able to target this, specifically dealing with violence in those areas because it has an exact connection to what’s happening here. I would encourage cooperation between those two committees and whatever we can do with the FBI to be able to help them finish out this database.