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Trump told law enforcement officials in Long Island he plans to 'decimate' the MS-13 gang

Trump asked Congress for 10,000 more ICE officers in his push to eradicate MS-13

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Updated July 28, 2017 02:59 PM EDT

During his speech to law enforcement officers on Long Island Friday, President Trump announced his request for Congress to fund 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and hundreds more federal judges and prosecutors to help in his administration's promise to eliminate MS-13 Gang members.

"It is the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13," Trump said.

And in the wake of Trump's criticism towards U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump called U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly one of our "real stars," as apprehensions at the border have decreased compared to the same time last year.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protest ion statistics, apprehensions at the border in June were down 53 percent compared to the number of apprehensions in June 2016.

The President also offered his support to law enforcement officers.

"You are saving American lives ever day, and we have your backs 100 percent," he said.

But in his first public appearance since the Senate's failure to repeal Obamacare, he did not miss the opportunity to comment on the healthcare bill.

"They should have approved healthcare last night, but you can't have everything," Trump said.

President Donald Trump speaks to law enforcement officials Friday on Long Island about the administration's commitment to crackdown on the gang MS-13.

His trip comes after the announcement of at least 16 suspected gang members arrested for multiple murders on Long Island. An indictment unsealed earlier this month found four more names were recently added for the murders of four young men on April 11.

Since January 2016, police said they have attributed 17 murders on Long Island to the gang, The New York Times reported.

MS-13 was started in the 1980s by Central American immigrants, primarily by El Salvadoreans, in Los Angeles. The gang has been in New York for over 20 years, and today has over 10,000 members around the country.

Last month, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations New York launched Operation Matador as an effort to combat MS-13 in New York City and Long Island. Since then, 39 people affiliated with MS-13 have been arrested.

And just this week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions traveled to El Salvador to speak with the country's Attorney General Douglas Melendez and other law enforcement officials to discuss efforts to take down the gang.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Hucakbee Sanders told reporters the administration is continuing their efforts to work with the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and state and local law enforcement to aggressively fight MS-13. She also announced the Department of Justice has requested funding for 300 more federal prosecutors to focus on enforcement.

ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan also addressed the administration's plan to eradicate the gang during the briefing, telling reporters since May they have netted more than 100 gang members, the majority from MS-13, in New York alone.

"President Trump made it a priority to get these criminals off our streets and, when possible, out of our country. And that's exactly what the men and women of ICE are going to do every single day to help keep America safe," Homan said.

Leading up to his speech at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood Campus, Trump Tweeted, "Big progress being made in ridding our country of MS-13 gang members and gang members in general.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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