Asked by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson on Tuesday whether he thinks the designation would be helpful, Sessions replied, “I think so, perhaps. I believe it could qualify for that.”
“There are rules that I guess the State Department does to establish that,” he added. El Salvador has already designated MS-13 a terrorist group.
Sessions called the gang “one of the most violent gangs in the history of our country.”
“We can devastate this gang. We’re going after them,” he said. “We’re not going to allow them to take over a block, a corner of our communities and terrorize people with this violence.”
Speaking to a meeting of the Organized Crime Council on Tuesday, Sessions blamed open borders and lax immigration enforcement for the growth of the crime gang, which was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s by Central American immigrants mostly from El Salvador.
He said his Justice Department would have “zero tolerance” for the gang violence.
“We cannot allow this to continue. We will secure our border, expand immigration enforcement and choke off supply lines,” said Sessions.
Members of MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, are known for their violent methods and fierce gang loyalty. According to the National Gang Intelligence Center, MS-13 has more than 10,000 members in the United States, and more than 30,000 worldwide.
Early Tuesday, President Trump blamed former President Obama’s immigration policies for the formation of MS-13, a gang the FBI has been closely tracking since at least 2004.