The Trump administration’s push to deport more Central American gang members has alarmed officials here who fear that the returning gangsters could exacerbate violence in one of the deadliest countries in the hemisphere.This year the U.S. government has deported 398 gang members to this country, compared with 534 in all of 2016, according to Salvadoran government statistics.This sharp increase in the rate of gang deportations — and the prospect of more gang roundups in the United States — has prompted Salvadoran authorities to hold emergency meetings and propose new legislation to monitor suspected criminals who are being sent home.“This clearly affects El Salvador. We already have a climate of violence in the country that we are combating,” said Héctor Antonio Rodríguez, the director of the country’s immigration agency. “If gang members return, of course this worries us.”In tweets and speeches, President Trump has made MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, the leading symbol of the dangers of illegal immigration and the need for more and faster deportations. He has compared the gang’s “meanness” with that of al-Qaeda. He promised last week that the organization will be “gone from our streets very soon, believe me.” Recent high-profile killings, such as that of a 15-year-old Salvadoran girl in Springfield, Va., and a string of slayings on Long Island, have fueled concerns of an MS-13 resurgence in the United States.
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