Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said Sunday that she would support deporting immigrants convicted of gang violence, but warned that law enforcement officials must be “careful” not to scare off possible victims or witnesses from cooperating with authorities for fear of deportation.
Singas, in a radio interview on “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM, lauded last month’s indictment of 41 alleged MS-13 gang members in Nassau County that stemmed from a four-year probe. It resulted in an 85-count indictment against the suspected perpetrators of dozens of shootings, stabbings and other violent acts.
“For the people who are committing violent crimes against innocent members of our community, deportation is certainly something that we would support,” Singas said, responding to a question by host John Catsimatidis. “We just have to be careful. Because we don’t want the message to be that if you’re a victim of these crimes, and you’re illegal, or a witness, you don’t come forward to law enforcement, because ultimately that makes us all less safe.”
In June, Singas and Nassau County police officials announced that a grand jury had indicted 41 alleged MS-13 members in connection with 32 violent acts since early 2013 that included eight attempted murders, along with other shootings and slashings. The alleged gang members range in age from 15 to 30. Several in the group came to the United States as unaccompanied minors.
Singas called the indictment “a significant blow to MS-13 operations here in Nassau County,” and described the gang, which has a reputation for using machetes in its attacks, as “ruthless.”
“They use machetes as their weapon of choice, so you can imagine what those scenes look like when they use those machetes, they’re just very ruthless,” Singas said.
Singas said Nassau authorities are “doing everything we can, whether it’s partnering with our neighbors in Suffolk County or partnering with the federal authorities,” to hold gang members “accountable” for their crimes.