One thousand one hundred and thirty-three individuals were arrested across the U.S. during Project Shadowfire, a 5-week operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that ended March 18. The operation targeted transnational criminal gangs and others associated with transnational criminal activity, like drug trafficking, human smuggling and sex trafficking, murder and racketeering.
Gang-related activity does not trigger automatic immigration bars to obtaining immigration status. Such findings will be considered a negative factor in any discretionary decision (such as DACA), however. This is particularly true for allegations of gang-related activity since targeting noncitizen gangs is a high priority of DHS. Many juveniles have been subject to secure detention pending removal proceedings because of alleged gang activity and affiliations, and for violent offenses.