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Combating Gangs - GAO Report to Congress

Combating Gangs - GAO Report to Congress

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Published by PRMurphy
* Law Enforcement: In 2005, ICE implemented Operation Community Shield--a nationwide initiative to arrest and remove criminal alien
gang members from the United States. ICE began the operation to target violent transnational street gangs through the use of ICE's broad law enforcement powers to identify, prosecute, and ultimately remove gang
members from the United States. Although initially focused on MS-13, ICE expanded Operation Community Shield to target all transnational criminal street gangs, prison gangs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
* Law Enforcement: In 2005, ICE implemented Operation Community Shield--a nationwide initiative to arrest and remove criminal alien
gang members from the United States. ICE began the operation to target violent transnational street gangs through the use of ICE's broad law enforcement powers to identify, prosecute, and ultimately remove gang
members from the United States. Although initially focused on MS-13, ICE expanded Operation Community Shield to target all transnational criminal street gangs, prison gangs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

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Published by: PRMurphy on Aug 23, 2011
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Combating Gangs: Report to Congress
 April 2010http://www.gao.gov/htext/d10395.htmlThis is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-10-395entitled 'Combating Gangs: Federal Agencies HaveImplemented a Central American Gang Strategy, but Could Strengthen Oversight and Measurementof Efforts' which was released on April 23, 2010.This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government AccountabilityOffice (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, aspart of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility.Every attempt has been made to maintain the structural and dataintegrity of the original printed product. Accessibility features,such as text descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotesplaced at the end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters,are provided but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or formatof the printed version. The portable document format (PDF) file is anexact electronic replica of the printed version. We welcome yourfeedback. Please E-mail your comments regarding the contents oraccessibility features of this document to Webmaster@gao.gov.This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyrightprotection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributedin its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from thecopyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce thismaterial separately.Report to Congressional Requesters:United States Government Accountability Office:GAO: April 2010:Combating Gangs:Federal Agencies Have Implemented a Central American Gang Strategy,but Could StrengthenOversight and Measurement of Efforts:GAO-10-395:GAO Highlights:Highlights of GAO-10-395, a report to congressional requesters.
 
Why GAO Did This Study:Thousands of gang members in the United States belong to gangs such asMS-13 and 18th Street thatare also active in Central Americancountries. Federal entities with responsibilities for addressingCentral American gangs include the National Security Council (NSC);the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DOJ), and State;and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). GAO wasasked to review federal efforts to combat transnational gangs. Thisreport addresses (1) the extent to which the federal government hasdeveloped a strategy to combat these gangs, and (2) how federalagencies have implemented the strategy and other programs to combatthese gangs, coordinated their actions, and assessed their results.GAO examined federal agencies’ antigang plans, resources, andmeasures; interviewed federal, state, and local officialsin sevenlocalities representing varying population sizes and geographicregions; and interviewed U.S. and foreign officials in El Salvador andGuatemala where U.S. agencies have implemented antigang programs. Theresults of these interviews are not generalizable.What GAO Found:The NSC, in conjunction with State, DOJ, DHS, and USAID, developed astrategy to combat gangs with connections to Central America; however,the strategy lacks an approach or framework to oversee implementationand performance goals and measures to assess progress. GAO previouslyreported that characteristics such as defining the problem to beaddressed as well as the scope and methodology of the strategy;describing agencies’ activities, roles, and responsibilities;providing an approach to oversee implementation; and establishingperformance measures, among other characteristics, can enhance astrategy’s effectiveness. While the antigang strategy contains some of these characteristics, such as identifying the problems and risksassociated with the gangs, describing the scope and purpose of thestrategy, and defining roles and responsibilities of federal agenciesas well as specific implementation activities, it lacks othercharacteristics such as an approach for overseeingimplementation andgoals and measures for assessing progress. For example, althoughagencies coordinate the strategy’s implementation through aninteragency task force, agency officials reported that this task forcedoes not oversee the strategy’s implementation and that no entityexercises oversight responsibility for the strategy’s implementation.Similarly, while State and USAID are developing measures to assess theoutcomes of their antigang programs, these measures do not encompassall programs under the strategy or track results of the strategy as awhole. Incorporating these characteristics could enhance theaccountability of agencies to implement the strategy and provide a
 
means for assessing progress.To carry out the strategy and combat transnational gangs, federalagencies have implemented programs and taken steps to coordinate theiractions and develop performance measures to assess results of individual programs; but, coordination could be strengthened in anantigang unit in El Salvador by reaching agreement on Immigration andCustoms Enforcement’s (ICE) role in the unit, the only such unitcurrently in Central America. Agencies use various interagency groupsto coordinate with each other, such as DOJ’s Anti-gang CoordinationCommittee. However,improved coordination at the FBI-initiatedantigang unit in El Salvador could enhance information sharing. Whilethe FBI requests information directly from Salvadoran police, ICErequests go to its country attaché, then to FBI agents at the unit whopass it on to Salvadoran police, as ICE does not have an agent at theunit. Prior GAO work has shown that agencies should facilitateinformation sharing and look for opportunities to leverage resources. Although FBI and ICE officials agree that the process couldbeimproved by posting an ICE agent at the unit and have been discussingthe possibility since 2008, they have not yet reached agreement onICE’s role. By reaching agreement, the FBI and ICE could strengthencoordination and information sharing. While agencies have establishedmeasures to assess programs, as some of the programs are juststarting, data collection for many measures is in the early stages.What GAO Recommends:GAO recommends that the NSC revise the antigang strategy to include anapproachfor oversight and performance measures and that DOJ and DHSreach agreement on the composition of an antigang unit in El Salvador.The NSC did not comment. DOJ and DHS agreed with our recommendation tothem. View [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-395] or keycomponents. For more information, contact Eileen Larence at (202) 512-8777 or larencee@gao.gov.[End of section]Contents:Letter:Background:The Interagency Antigang Strategy Clarifies Roles and Specifies Agency Activities, butLacks an Approach for Oversight and ComprehensiveMeasures to Assess Implementation Efforts:

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