Attorney General Sessions made the comments from San Salvador, where he met El Salvador’s president to discuss the transnational gang known as MS-13. Sessions’s trip came as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ICE, said it’s carrying out raids targeting undocumented teenagers it accuses of being members of MS-13 and other gangs. The criteria ICE is using to assess gang affiliation reportedly includes whether teenagers have tattoos, wear clothing typical to a gang or even spend time in an area that’s known to have gangs. During a news conference at the White House Thursday, acting ICE Director Thomas Homan spoke in front of a series of images of young brown men with tattoos, saying his agency was now deporting undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for a crime—even if they haven’t been found guilty.
Thomas Homan: “For those that—criminal aliens that get booked in a county jail, on the prior administration they needed a conviction before we can put a detainer on them and put them in our custody. That’s not necessary anymore. If you’ve been arrested for a serious crime and you’re in a county jail, we’re going to drop a detainer, we’re going to take the person into custody.”