Tale of Two Cities: Sessions Praises Miami, Scorns Chicago

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

August 18, 2017
On his recent visit to Miami, Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised Mayor Carlos Giménez for “his commitment to the rule of law and tireless work to keep the people of Miami-Dade safe.” In January, Giménez announced that Miami would end its sanctuary city policy, one of the factors that Sessions cited as part of its sharp violent crime drop. In the 1980s, Miami-Dade County routinely reported about 500 murders annually; today, murders are less than a third of what they were when illegal immigrants had sanctuary protection. Sessions said that pursuant to a letter from the previous administration advising Miami and nine other cities that they were not complying with federal immigration laws, and risked losing Department of Justice funding, Giménez did an about face. 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Sanctuary
Sanctuary Cities Promote ‘Lawlessness.’

Today, Sessions said during his address at the Port of Miami, that the city is in full compliance. Sessions: “This is wonderful news for law enforcement and the citizens of Miami-Dade. It means more money for crime fighting. And it means we are partners in keeping everyone here safe.”
 


But in his next breath, Sessions lambasted Chicago for its refusal to cooperate with his office on detaining criminal aliens despite the obvious safety improvements working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement would bring. Chicago, which has sued DOJ and Sessions, has the same 2.7 million person population as Miami-Dade, but three times the murder rate. Since the year’s beginning, at least 433 have been killed in Chicago. During 2016, Sessions continued, Chicago’s 2.7 million residents experienced more murders than the 12.5 million people who live in New York and Los Angeles combined, and the Chicago Police Department reported more than 4,300 shooting victims.

Sessions offered two examples of the deadly consequences of Chicago’s refusal to cooperate. One case involved a twice-arrested, twice- released alien who eventually committed vehicular manslaughter; in the second incident, a freed alien resulted in a 15-year-old girl and her mother being shot and killed. Both times, Cook County refused to honor Immigration and Enforcement’s detainer requests.  “Senseless deaths,” Sessions called them.

In his concluding remarks, Sessions said: “Chicago’s leaders need to recommit to policies that punish criminals instead of protecting them. They need to protect their citizens and not the criminals.”

Substitute “California” for “Chicago,” and the same imperative remains. If California passes SB 54, its sanctuary state law, citizen and legal residents’ safety will be jeopardized. The California Assembly is on summer break until August 21, but will vote soon after it returns. Act now to block SB 54 which has Governor Jerry Brown’s full support. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your Assemblyman to reject SB 54.

Watch the related CAPS TV ad here, and read the accompanying press release here. Californians and non-Californians can also sign a petition here that will be delivered to the U.S. Senate and urge it to pass HR 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” that the House approved earlier this summer. 

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