This is an exaggeration.
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested hundreds of MS-13 members in recent months, but the president did not present evidence to show that any particular towns had been liberated from the gang.
MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, was founded in Los Angeles by Salvadoran refugees fleeing a civil war in the 1980s. It is believed to have more than 10,000 members in the United States, according to the Justice Department — similar to an estimate the F.B.I. made more than a decade ago.
It was unclear which towns Mr. Trump was referring to, and neither the White House nor ICE immediately responded to requests for clarification on Saturday. MS-13 members in the United States are mostly concentrated in or around Los Angeles, Washington and Long Island in New York.
ICE provided data to The New York Times showing that 796 members of MS-13 were arrested in the fiscal year that ended in September, and 405 were arrested in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
Members of the gang have committed brutal rapes and grisly murders, mostly targeting members of immigrant communities. The Justice Department has made fighting MS-13 a top priority under Mr. Trump, and the White House website refers to gang members as “animals.”
Critics of the administration’s immigration policies say the president uses MS-13 to stoke unfounded fears about immigrants.
was posted after some critics of the administration said the agency should be shut down.
The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen. I have watched ICE liberate towns from the grasp of MS-13 & clean out the toughest of situations. They are great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2018
“The Democrats are making a strong push to abolish ICE, one of the smartest, toughest and most spirited law enforcement groups of men and women that I have ever seen,” he wrote.
Abolishing ICE has not been embraced as part of the Democratic Party platform. But calls to shut down the agency are coming from progressive Democratic House candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Deb Haaland in New Mexico and Matt Haggman in Florida.
, Mr. Trump said: “To the great and brave men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit. You are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements.”
To the great and brave men and women of ICE, do not worry or lose your spirit. You are doing a fantastic job of keeping us safe by eradicating the worst criminal elements. So brave! The radical left Dems want you out. Next it will be all police. Zero chance, It will never happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2018
The tweets were posted on Saturday morning, just as thousands of people across the United States gathered to march in protest over immigration policies that have led to the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents.
Mr. Trump signed an order meant to end the separations last week, and a federal judge ordered on Tuesday that all separated families should be reunited within 30 days.
The Trump administration has often pointed to a “crisis of illegal immigration” at the United States border. But government data show that monthly crossings along the border with Mexico are much lower than they were years ago, even though there has been a significant increase in border crossings in the past few months when compared with the same period last year.
He asserted that Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, “wants to protect” MS-13 — something she has not said. And he has said that the number of MS-13 members who have been deported is in the “thousands,” which is not possible.