Sessions slams Chicago sanctuary policies
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[August 17, 2017]
By Dan Levine
(Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff
Sessions on Wednesday strongly criticized the city of Chicago's
political leadership, citing its so-called sanctuary policies as an
example of the breakdown of law and order in the country.
Sessions has begun imposing new restrictions on some law enforcement
grants to cities that decline to use municipal resources to enforce
federal immigration laws. Chicago, along with the state of California
and city of San Francisco, sued this month over those conditions.
President Donald Trump frequently criticizes Chicago and its high murder
rate, and cracking down on illegal immigration was a theme of his 2016
presidential campaign. Democratic city and state leaders argue that
sanctuary policies build trust between immigrant communities and law
enforcement, which helps deter crime.
In a speech in Miami, Sessions praised leaders of Miami-Dade County for
complying with requirements that allow federal immigration authorities
access to detainees in local jails. Chicago's refusal to do the same has
made it a haven for predators and drug dealers, Sessions said.
"Respect for the rule of law has broken down," Sessions said. "In
Chicago, I suggest, the so-called 'sanctuary' policies are just one sad
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement the city "will not cave"
to federal officials.
"In a week in which the Trump administration is being forced to answer
questions about neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK," Emanuel
said, "they could not have picked a worse time to resume their attack on
the immigrants who see America as a beacon of hope."
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on the growing trend of
violent crime in sanctuary cities during an event on the Port of
Miami in Miami, Florida, U.S., August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Sessions said Miami-Dade County's homicide count is barely a third
of what it was in the 1980s, and this year Chicago has more than
three times as many as Miami-Dade does. The county includes the city
of Miami and surrounding areas, and is similar in population size to
Immigration advocates say there is no correlation between
immigration and violent crime. Los Angeles, which also has embraced
sanctuary city policies, has seen a sharp drop in homicides since
they reached a high in the early 1990s.
In 1992, 1,094 people were killed in the city, according to the
FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting statistics. In 2016, the Los Angeles
Police Department reported 294 homicides.
Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement that
shootings are down 16 percent this year, and that undocumented
immigrants are not driving violence in the city.
(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Tom Brown)
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