Sessions Rising: AG Hits Stride In War On Gangs, Sanctuary Cities

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions will continue his attack on organized crime syndicates during a Thursday speech in North Carolina, keeping with a theme that increasingly defines his administration of the Department of Justice.

Sessions will give remarks at a symposium on gang violence in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he will reiterate the Justice Department’s commitment to countering the rising tide of violent crime. While the overall crime rate remains at historically low levels, instances of violent crime have ticked upward in recent years, particularly those associated with brutal gangs.

“Whether it is MS-13, the Bloods, or Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs, gangs are targeting our youth and law-abiding citizens. But I have news for these vicious criminals: WE ARE TARGETING YOU,” Sessions will say, according to an advance copy of his speech that was provided to reporters.

“We will not let up. We will combat this threat, take the fight to them, and devastate these criminal enterprises. I refuse to cede one more block, one more street corner, one more inch to these gangs,” he added. “It will not be easy, but I have complete faith in our prosecutors and our law enforcement at every level.”

The remarks come one day after Sessions delivered a blistering speech at the Port of Miami in Florida, where he hailed Miami-Dade as a model for local cooperation with immigration enforcement.

“Miami-Dade is an example of what is possible through hard work and a rededication to the rule of law,” Sessions said. “It is proof that the entire nation can do better.”

The attorney general contrasted the situation in Miami to that of Chicago, which continues to struggle with public safety. There were eight murders in the city on Sunday alone. Sessions argues Chicago’s status as a sanctuary jurisdiction significantly contributes to the deteriorating security situation, though critics contest those assertions.

“These lawless policies do more than shield individual criminal aliens — they also shelter and protect lethal gangs and transnational criminal organizations like the Latin Kings, the Bloods, and MS-13,” he said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, weak and embattled just one year ago, has reemerged as a national figure given his defiant refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. On his orders, the city is suing the Justice Department to prevent enforcement of a directive that withholds certain forms of federal aid to sanctuary cities.

“By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department, in community policing, I think it’s a false choice, and it undermines our actual safety agenda,” the mayor said of the order.

Sessions has made combatting gang violence a hallmark of his tenure as attorney general. In recent months he has visited a community on Long Island, N.Y., ravaged by MS-13, convened a summit on transnational gang violence in Latin America, and created an interagency Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.

White House officials have praised Sessions’ aggressive posture, signaling a thaw in the once icy relationship between the attorney general and President Donald Trump.

“The more that people talk about this, the more cities around the country are going to get in compliance with the policy,” one White House aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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