Immigrant advocates say MS-13 crackdown could be law enforcement overreach

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More than three dozen Long Islanders were busted in a massive federal MS-13 crackdown, but now there's concern the roundup was an overreach.

The federal government is calling Operation Raging Bull a major victory in the fight against MS-13.

The nationwide law enforcement initiative over the past two months resulted in the arrests of nearly 300 alleged members of MS-13, with 38 of them on Long Island.

In a news conference yesterday, the Department of Justice said Operation Raging Bull represents the department's ongoing commitment to using every legal tool available to bring down MS-13. But some see Operation Raging Bull, and similar operations, as an overreach by law enforcement. 
 
Walter Barrientos, Long Island coordinator of Make the Road New York, says the evidence in many of these cases is faulty, flimsy and often not shared with the defendants.

“Many of the cases we have seen are young people who have been accused of being gang members because they're wearing the wrong color T-shirt, the wrong color hat,” says Barrientos.

Barrientos says about 300 Long Islanders, including the 38 people arrested during Operation Raging Bull, have been arrested in the past year and charged with belonging to MS-13. Barrientos says most of them are still in federal deportation facilities but are not being given due process.

“When many of these immigrants end up being accused of these things, that is enough for them to get deported - whether it's true or not,” says Barrientos.

For starters, Barrientos says everybody arrested during these operations needs to be shown the evidence against them. Failing to do so, he says, is an injustice not just to those who continue to be held, but to all Americans who value the rule of law.

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