United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday urged a gathering of district attorneys from across the country to work with President Trump's administration to get tougher on illegal immigration, drugs, gun crimes and gangs.
"We have a multi-front battle in front of us right now, an increase in violent crime, a rise in vicious gangs, an opioid epidemic, threats from terrorism, and human traffickers, combined with a culture in which family and discipline seems to be eroding further," said Sessions, who was in Minneapolis for a speech to the National District Attorneys Association.
He said the rise in violent crime is connected to gang activity. "We can never cede a single neighborhood or a block or a street corner to gangs and thugs. Poor people, minority citizens deserve the same protection and public safety as everyone else in this country."
Sessions firmly declared that immigration, a hallmark of Trump's tenure so far, would remain a focus. He invited state prosecutors to join the effort.
"Our goal is not to reduce illegal immigration but to end illegal immigration. Let's end it. We admit 1.1 million people every year to permanent legal residency in the United States. We are a very generous nation. But we have every right to say what the rules are and to enforce those rules, and it's not unkind to do so."
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, the new president of the National District Attorneys Association, said his analysis of crime statistics shows a blip, not a huge increase. He added that it's not up to local or state prosecutors to focus on immigration laws.
"If you check the state laws that we are bound to enforce they don't say much about immigration," said Freeman. "We have plenty to do in the tasks we have and the crimes we try to work on."