05:15 GMT19 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – American families face increased danger from criminal gang members sneaking across the Mexican border, nearly 500 of whom have been caught since 1 October 2018, Republicans on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee warned in a press release on Friday.

    "So far this fiscal year, 481 gang members have been apprehended trying to cross our border illegally", the statement read. "This crisis is endangering the safety of American families".

    READ MORE: DoD: US Army Engineers Issue $789Mln Contract for Mexico Border Wall Replacement

    The gang members are crossing with up to 1 million migrants from three Central American countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – who are expected to enter the US illegally this year in a bid for political asylum, according to US officials.

    El Salvador is the base for the notorious MS-13 gang, which operates in major US cities. The nation is also reportedly a source of illegal migrants, who leave for the United States to escape crime and poverty.

    The MS-13 gang — previously known as La Mara Salvatrucha — reportedly emerged in 2012 as transnational criminal organization.

    The Trump administration has claimed that MS-13 had more than 10,000 members, mostly immigrants or the children of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

    READ MORE: US Arrests 20 MS-13 Gang Members in California — Justice Department

    In March, US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and requested $32.5 billion in funds for border security in fiscal year 2020, including $8.6 billion for building a border wall. Trump insisted that the wall is needed to prevent criminals and terrorists from crossing into the United States.

    Related:

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    DoD: US Army Engineers Issue $789Mln Contract for Mexico Border Wall Replacement
    First Contracts for US-Mexican Border Wall May Be Awarded This Week - Reports
    The Wall: Cracks Deepening in US Admin. Over Trump's Tough Border Policy – Prof.
    Tags:
    border wall, arrests, migration, MS-13 gang, US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, United States
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