Reality check: What Trump gets wrong about MS-13

Two police officers frisking a suspected MS-13 gang member who is wearing a blue and white striped shirt and is in handcuffs
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

President Trump often brings up the violent gang activity of MS-13 in defense of his hardline immigration policies, saying of Democrats on Saturday, "our issue is strong borders, no crime. Their issue is open borders; let MS-13 all over our country."

Bottom line: MS-13 is an extraordinarily violent gang made up of around 10,000 members, mostly from Central America. But they're not growing, they're likely not involved in an extensive drug trade and most immigrants crossing the border are not trying to join them, according to ProPublica's Hannah Dreier, who has followed the gang for over a year.