H.R. 3249, the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, passes U.S. House of Representatives.
Richmond, VA – Today, H.R. 3249, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA – 10), passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act would direct additional federal funding towards regional gang task forces, such as the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.
“The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force works in many communities throughout our region by directly engaging in enforcement, prevention, and educational programs to keep our communities safe from gangs,” said Congresswoman Comstock. “The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act will help steer federal funding toward frontline regional gang task forces. There are an estimated 4,000 gang members from MS-13 and other gangs in the Washington Metropolitan/Northern Virginia region. The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act will provide vital resources to established regional gang task forces like the one we have here in Northern Virginia so that these brave men and women can get MS-13 off of our streets.”
MS-13 is a violent street gang that has taken over communities from the Washington, DC suburbs in Northern Virginia and Maryland to New York’s Long Island. They are the only gang designated by federal authorities as a transnational crime organization. The Washington Post has highlighted how the 2014 border surge contributed to the MS-13 problem, stating, “The violent street gang is on the rise in the United States, fueled, in part, by the surge in unaccompanied minors.” The unaccompanied minors, who often fled their native country to get away from violent gangs, arrive here only to find themselves targets by U.S. gang members who infiltrate our country via the same porous borders.
“I would like to thank Congresswoman Comstock for her unwavering support of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force,” said Jay Lanham, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. “She understands in detail the need for continued enforcement and intervention/prevention/education programs to combat the illicit gang activity in Northern Virginia. Her support is readily apparent in the introduction and passage of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, which will provide much needed financial support for the Task Force. This funding is sorely needed to bring intervention/prevention programs back to counter our youth joining dangerous street gangs, such as MS-13 and to support ongoing suppression efforts. Rep. Comstock has led the way in returning funding to the Task Force and her leadership is very much appreciated!”