Archive for the ‘MS-13’ category

3800 Gang Members Charged in Transnational DOJ Operation

October 2, 2017

3800 Gang Members Charged in Transnational DOJ Operation, BreitbartJohn Binder, October 2, 2017

Susan Walsh/Associated Press

In February, President Trump issued the Enforcement Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking Executive Order to help crackdown on transnational gangs like MS-13.

Since signing that executive order, Sessions created a transnational network of law enforcement agencies to dismantle violent criminal cartels and gangs in the U.S. and Central America.

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A transnational operation led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions yielded charges against more than 3,800 gang members from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Sessions, along with law enforcement officials throughout Central America, announced that Operation Regional Shield resulted in charges against thousands of gang members from the violent El Salvadorian MS-13 and 18th Street gangs.

“MS-13 is one of the most violent and ruthless gangs in America today, endangering communities in more than 40 states,” Sessions said. “But under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is taking them off our streets.”

“Today, we are announcing that our partnership with law enforcement in Central America, has yielded charges against more than 3,800 gang members just in the last six months,” Sessions continued. “More than 70 of these defendants were living in the United States, from California to Ohio to Boston.”

“MS-13 coordinates across our borders to kill, rape and traffic drugs and underage girls; we’ve got to coordinate across our borders to stop them,” Session said. “That’s exactly what our courageous and professional DOJ agents and attorneys are doing. We will continue to maintain this steadfast policy and dismantle this gang.”

In March, Sessions promised to take on violent cartels and street gangs, traveling to Long Island, New York and southern California to warn MS-13 of the Department of Justice (DOJ) action that would be taken against them and their leaders.

The 3,800 gang members charged included:

  • More than 70 gang members living in the U.S., residing in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Virginia;
  • 248 gang members living in Guatemala, with six firearms seized;
  • 14 businesses and 11 luxury vehicles seized;
  • 12 money laundering MS-13 gang members; and
  • More than 1,400 gang members living in El Salvador.

Two specific cases in the operation were outlined by the DOJ:

One indictment unsealed yesterday in the District of Massachusetts charges Edwin Manica Flores aka Sugar, Chugar and Shugar, an MS-13 leader incarcerated for murder in El Salvador, with a RICO conspiracy for alleged criminal activity he directed in the United States as the leader of MS-13’s “East Coast Program.”

Charges filed in Long Island on July 19 against 17 MS-13 members for 12 murders, including the April 11 quadruple murder of four men in Central Islip; racketeering; attempted murders; assaults; obstruction of justice; arson; conspiracy to distribute marijuana; and firearms.

In February, President Trump issued the Enforcement Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking Executive Order to help crackdown on transnational gangs like MS-13.

Since signing that executive order, Sessions created a transnational network of law enforcement agencies to dismantle violent criminal cartels and gangs in the U.S. and Central America.

REPORT: ICE Planning Raids Against Illegal Alien Teen Gang Members

July 22, 2017

REPORT: ICE Planning Raids Against Illegal Alien Teen Gang Members, BreitbartBob Price, July 22, 2-17

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are planning a nationwide roundup of teenage gang members who entered the country illegally. Some of those being targeted include teens who entered as Unaccompanied Alien Children.

Calling the targeted enforcement action an expansion of  President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants, Reuters reported the action targets teenagers between the ages of 16- and 17-years-old.

Reuters cites an internal memo obtained from an unnamed source at ICE. The news service claims the move is an expansion of the deportation policy previously established under the Obama Administration where teens were only arrested for deportation if they had been convicted of a crime. The new action targets teens allegedly tied to criminal gangs.

The memo lists criteria for determining gang affiliation, Reuters stated. To be designated as a gang member the person must meet two of the following:

  • Having gang tattoos
  • Frequenting notorious gang locations
  • Wearing gang apparel

The targeted enforcement operation is scheduled to begin on Sunday, the memo states. While the agency does not officially comment on pending law enforcement actions, an unnamed official told Reuters the operation is still scheduled to begin Sunday but could be rescheduled.

Immigration lawyer David Leopold of Ulmer & Berne told Reuters they are concerned that innocent teens could be arrested during the operations.

“In many cases, children don’t freely decide to join a gang. They are threatened by older gang members and forced to get a gang tattoo if they live in a certain neighborhood,” he told the news service.

The memo states the operation will also target parents who crossed the border illegally with their children and who are the subject of an order of removal from an immigration judge, along with people who originally crossed the border illegally as children without their guardian and have since turned 18.

Enforcement and Removal Operations officers have been directed to identify people in their specific areas of operation who meet the above criteria.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have made the targeting of criminal gang members a priority. In April, Breitbart Texas reported Sessions sent a warning to MS-13 gang members, saying, “We are targeting you.”

“The MS-13 motto is kill, rape, and control,” Sessions said during a speech at the U.S. Courthouse in Central Islip, New York. “I have a message to the gangs that are targeting our young people: We are targeting you. We are coming after you.”

In June, an FBI official testified before the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and called MS-13 the most violent and most organized criminal gang in America.

“MS-13 is not the largest street gang in the United States; it is increasingly the most violent and well-organized,” FBI Assistant Director for New York told the representatives.

On June 10, Breitbart Texas reported that the numbers of unaccompanied minors (UACs) being apprehended at our southern border with Mexico, particularly from El Salvador, was once again on the rise. Although there had been a six-month downtrend, 8,005 UACs from El Salvador have been apprehended after crossing the border illegally since October 1, 2016. There were 1,493 apprehended in May alone — nearly a fifty percent increase from the previous month.

MS-13 members frequently recruit children who are illegal immigrants. The FBI assistant director from New York told members of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence that MS-13 members are “typically much younger than those connected to other street gangs.” They take “cues from the gang instead of relying on a productive family structure. Also, those emigrating from El Salvador to the United States are known to be exposed and desensitized to extreme violence at an early age.”

America’s Gang Crisis: Congressional Hearings Focus on MS-13

June 28, 2017

America’s Gang Crisis: Congressional Hearings Focus on MS-13, Front Page Magazine, Michael Cutler, June 28, 2017

As with international terrorists, transnational gangs exploit immigration failures.

Failures of the immigration system are, once again, behind headline-making news reports. Last week two Congressional hearings were conducted into what has become America’s most pernicious and violent transnational gang, MS-13 that now operates in some 40 states.

I am very familiar with MS-13, I began investigating them nearly 25 years ago early into my assignment at the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force following my promotion to INS Senior Special Agent.

Back then the number of the members of MS-13 in New York was small, consequently and the impact they had was also relatively small.

The immigration policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations certainly did not help law enforcement.  However, the greatest influx of MS-13 gang members is directly related to the flood of Unaccompanied Minors from Central America during the latter part of the Obama administration.

On April 28, 2017 Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at the federal building in Central Islip where the Congressional field hearing would be held nearly two months later.  His speech, and his message, was reported by CBS news, Attorney General Sessions To Gangs: ‘We Are Targeting You.’

Yet the enforcement of our immigration laws by the Trump administration and by Attorney General Sessions has been frequently attacked by the media and by politicians, especially the “leaders” of Sanctuary Cities.

On June 20, 2017 the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence conducted a filed hearing on Long Island in Central Islip, New York, on the topic,  Combating Gang Violence On Long Island: Shutting Down The MS-13 Pipeline.

That “pipeline” crosses the U.S./Mexican border and is operated by members of drug cartels and transnational gangs.

It is important to read the prepared testimony of Subcommittee Chairman Peter King who focused on how the flood of unaccompanied minors from Central America flooded America with young and violent gang members who are now recruiting more gang members in our schools.

Here is the brief description of that hearing, and its predication, as posted on the official Congressional website:

This field hearing will examine the threat posed by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), particularly Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) and the extent to which this violent gang is able to circumvent border security measures to gain entry into the U.S.  Since January 2016, there have been 17 murders linked to MS-13 in Suffolk County alone. The hearing will feature testimony from the stakeholders related to the interaction and cooperation between Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to combat MS-13. Additionally, testimony will be provided by community members directly impacted by these TCOs. The two panels reflect the broad cross section of the community required to respond to the threat posed by MS-13 and other TCOs on Long Island and across the nation.

The very next day, on June 21, 2017 the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The MS-13 Problem: Investigating Gang Membership, its Nexus to Illegal Immigration, and Federal Efforts to End the Threat.

It is important to read the Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley’s statement for that hearing and watch the video.

Here is an excerpt from Chairman Grassley’s statement:

This organization has been dubbed the world’s “most dangerous gang,” and some say it could be a terrorist organization. But, you wouldn’t expect anything less from a group whose motto is “kill, rape, and control.”

Unfortunately, over the past two years, this terrifying motto has become a vicious reality for many communities across our nation. So far this year, the gang has been publicly linked to dozens of high-profile killings, rapes, and assaults across the country, from the Washington D.C. metro area to Houston, Texas.

Undoubtedly, there are many more that simply haven’t been reported.

The mainstream media that reported on these hearings all but avoided mentioning that multiple failures of the immigration system have enabled these violent criminals to enter the United States and that Border Security Is National Security.

The “journalists” also blithely ignore that Sanctuary Cities: Where Hypocrisy Rules, often harbor and shield criminal aliens from detection by immigration law enforcement personnel.

In point of fact, Opponents of Border Security and Immigration Law Enforcement Aid Human Traffickers.  The most effective way to attack the human smugglers, who facilitate the entry of transnational gang members such as MS-13 is to have ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents work closely with local police and other law enforcement agencies to gain access to smuggled aliens who could then provide actionable intelligence to enable ICE and the Border Patrol to identify, locate and ultimately arrest human traffickers and dismantle their operations.

Shielding illegal aliens from detection by ICE also shields gang members and smugglers.  It is nearly impossible to identify human traffickers without interviewing the aliens whom they smuggled into the United States.

Illegal aliens who cooperate with law enforcement authorities can be granted visas that enable them to remain in the United States and legally work- to encourage such individuals to come forward without fear.

As an INS special agent my law enforcement colleagues, on the local, state of federal level, often told me that the granting of such visas to illegal aliens provided far more important intelligence that could any other incentive.

If mayors of Sanctuary Cities were truly concerned about doing what is compassionate, they should issue public service announcements, urging illegal aliens to come forward if they have significant information that could aid ICE agents in identifying and ultimately arresting criminals including human traffickers living in their communities to safeguard those who live in those ethnic immigrant communities, where these transnational criminals live and ply their “trades.”

This would simply be an extension of “If you see something, say something.”  (If you know something say something!)

Those mayors should require their respective police departments to work closely with ICE agents rather than prevent them from working with those agents.

Yet this fact is utterly ignored by the media and by many politicians.  In fact the media often portray mayors of “Sanctuary Cities” as heroes who shield illegal aliens from immigration agents who, according to the narrative, are the “bad guys.”

There is an additional price to be paid for this false and dangerous narrative, as reported on June 19, 2017, Citing Uptick in Attacks, Senators Request Better Protection for ICE Officers.

Here is an excerpt from that report that appeared in Government Executive:

According to ICE, there have been 19 recorded assaults on ICE personnel in 2017 through May 22, compared to 24 incidents in all of 2016. (Senators) Johnson and McCaskill also requested data since 2010, what DHS and ICE have done already to protect employees, and whether assailants have been prosecuted.

Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director, at a congressional hearing last week blamed the media and immigrant groups for putting officers at risk by promoting false or misleading reports about the nature of their jobs. His employees, Homan said, have been “unfairly vilified for simply trying to do their jobs.”

“People have the right to protest, but ICE officers also have rights,” Homan told a House Appropriations Committee panel. “They have a right to enforce the law safely and return to their families at the end of the day.”

Homan promoted the controversial practice of making immigration arrests at courthouses, noting it helped with safety for his officers because they could be certain the detainees did not have any weapons on them. He decried as untrue any reports that ICE employees were making arrests at schools or hospitals. ICE officers, he said, should be celebrated for keeping communities safe rather than depicted as inhumane or callous.

As to the supposedly “controversial practice of making immigration arrests in courthouses,” arrest operations are inherently dangerous.  Individuals, especially those who face severe consequences for their crimes, can become extremely violent in an effort to evade law enforcement.  Sociopathic criminals including those who are addicted to narcotics, may react irrationally when confronted by law enforcement.

Generally everyone entering a courthouse is carefully screened for weapons.

A courthouse is often the best place to take a defendant into custody.  I speak from many years of experience.

It is particularly ironic and, indeed, vexing that there are judges and lawyers (who are “officers of the court”) who oppose federal law enforcement officers executing lawfully issued warrants in a building dedicated to the Constitution and to the principles of the rule of law and justice.

Furthermore, when an arrest goes badly on the street or a building, and a gunfight ensues, innocent civilians as well as agents and the defendant, are placed in extreme mortal danger.

No rational, reasonable or compassionate person would rather risk innocent lives rather than facilitate the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws that have absolutely nothing to do with race, religion, ethnicity, but have everything to do with public safety, national security and the well being of America and Americans.

Considering the foregoing, I am compelled to remind you that the ENLIST Act (H.R. 60) would undermine national security and public safety, providing gang members with access to military training and military bases.  When “Compassion” Endangers National SecurityThe landmines of illegal aliens entering military service.

Salvadoran Officials Overwhelmed by Returning Deported Gang Members

May 29, 2017

Salvadoran Officials Overwhelmed by Returning Deported Gang Members, Breitbart, Ryan Saavedra, May 28, 2017

Officials in El Salvador held emergency meetings after seeing a sharp increase in the number of violent gang members being deported back to the country from the United States under the Trump administration.

Salvadoran authorities have held emergency meetings and proposed new legislation to monitor returning criminals and gang members that are returning to El Salvador after deportation, according to the Washington Post.

The move by Salvadoran officials comes as a direct result of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration and efforts to deport more criminal illegal aliens from the U.S.

This year the U.S. has already deported 398 gang members back to El Salvador – compared to only 534 for all of 2016.

It is due to this rapid increase in deportations that Salvadoran officials like Héctor Antonio Rodríguez, the director of the country’s immigration agency, are worried about the impact the returning gang members will have in the country.

“This clearly affects El Salvador. We already have a climate of violence in the country that we are combating,” Rodríguez said. “If gang members return, of course this worries us.”

Many of the returning gang members belong to MS-13, a notoriously violent street gang that has plagued communities throughout the U.S. with horrific acts of violence. Although MS-13 started out in Salvadoran communities in Los Angeles sometime during the 1980’s, lax immigration policies and weak border security helped the gang explode in size as MS-13 originated from illegal immigrants, Breitbart Texas reported.

The recent murders of four teens in New York City have put MS-13 in the national spotlight with Attorney General Jeff Sessions declaring that U.S. authorities are going after the gang.

“The MS-13 motto is kill, rape, and control,” Sessions said. “I have a message to the gangs that are targeting our young people: We are targeting you. We are coming after you.”

Speaking at a rally in April, President Trump highlighted the importance of removing illegal alien MS-13 gang members from the U.S.:

At the heart of my administration’s efforts to restore the rule of law has been a nationwide crackdown on criminal gangs, and that means taking the fight to the sanctuary cities that shield these dangerous criminals from removal. The last very weak administration allowed thousands and thousands of gang members to cross our borders and enter into our communities, where they wreaked havoc on our citizens. The bloodthirsty cartel known as MS-13 has infiltrated our schools, threatening innocent children.

We have seen the horrible assaults and many killings all along Long Island where I grew up. We are seeing the vicious spread of transnational gangs into all 50 states and the human suffering they bring with them. I have been with the parents. It is devastation. A very respected General recently told me that MS-13 are the equivalent in their meanness to Al Qaeda. My administration will not rest until we have dismantled these violent gangs, and we are doing it rapidly, and we are sending them the hell out of our country.

On Wednesday, Breitbart Texas reported that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said recently obtained documents from a whistleblower show that the Obama administration knowingly admitted 16 MS-13 gang members in 2014.

MS-13 Extorting Sanctuary City Businesses, Say Police

May 26, 2017

MS-13 Extorting Sanctuary City Businesses, Say Police, BreitbartBob Price, May 25, 2017

File Photo: Photos by Michael Williamson/Getty Images

According to Suffolk County New York Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini, “They are recruiting young people in our communities. They are recruiting recent immigrants because oftentimes, they pray on people’s fears.” The police commissioner told the committee examining the MS-13 gang, “Recent immigrants may not feel comfortable in coming to law enforcement.”

Sini added, “They are recruiting also very young.” He said there was one instance in Suffolk County where MS-13 gang members recruited a ten-year-old.

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MS-13 is now using their growing power to threaten and extort immigrants and their businesses in America.

The hyperviolent MS-13 gang is known for beheadings, machete attacks, scalping, and gang rapes. Now they are extorting businesses by threatening immigrants’ families in their native countries if they do not give money.

“The homicides related to MS-13, it’s just because we can, and we will and because of the fear that instills,” Montgomery County Maryland Chief Thomas Manger was also reported by The Washington Times to say.

The information came during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The committee probed “The Rise of MS-13 and Other Transnational Criminal Organizations.”

The gang’s extortion system in their native El Salvador is well-entrenched, a police detective in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Scott Michael Conley, told the committee. Moreover, while their foundation is entrenched on the west coast, they are progressing on the east coast. “Once they establish that leadership base you’ll start to see a more sophisticated gang,” Detective Conley said.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), said to those at the hearing:

“During the Committee’s examination of America’s unsecure borders we have learned how transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels exploit American policies and our lack of border security to advance their criminal agenda. Today we continue that important work by discussing how the street gang Mara Salvatrucha, commonly known as MS-13, and other Central American gangs affect communities throughout the United States.”

According to Suffolk County New York Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini, “They are recruiting young people in our communities. They are recruiting recent immigrants because oftentimes, they pray on people’s fears.” The police commissioner told the committee examining the MS-13 gang, “Recent immigrants may not feel comfortable in coming to law enforcement.”

Sini added, “They are recruiting also very young.” He said there was one instance in Suffolk County where MS-13 gang members recruited a ten-year-old.

Police Chief Manger told the committee, “The gangs surf the internet, building dossiers on potential recruits,” the Times also reported.

Chairman Johnson said that out of this flood of almost 200,000 unaccompanied children (UACs) taken into custody during 2012 to 2016 – 68 percent were males between the ages of 15 – 17.

Breitbart Texas obtained leaked images of UACs in June 2014 which showed not only the conditions of U.S. Border Patrol’s processing centers but also the deluge border patrol agents were facing.

President Obama called the wave of unaccompanied children an “urgent humanitarian situation” and his administration officials pictured these children as fleeing violence and poor economies reported The Washington Post at the time.

Breitbart Texas covered the press conference on April 11 of this year in Houston when Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the expansion of the Texas Anti-Gang Task Force (TAG) and the creation of a technical operations center. Houston is one of the five cities that the FBI has identified to have a large MS-13 presence. In March, two MS-13 gang members appeared in a Harris County courtroom laughing and waving at news cameras after being charged with the kidnapping and rape of one 14-year-old girl, and the kidnapping, rape, and murder of another young girl in Jersey Village, a city within the Houston metropolitan area. The murdered girl was allegedly killed as part of a satanic ritual.

In late April, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said while visiting Long Island, “The MS-13 motto is kill, rape, and control.” “I have a message to the gangs that are targeting our young people: We are targeting you. We are coming after you.”

Bad Hombre Crackdown: Sessions Ramps War on Drug Traffickers

May 13, 2017

Bad Hombre Crackdown: Sessions Ramps War on Drug Traffickers, Breitbart, Ryan Saavedra, May 12, 2017

AFP

“We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple,” Sessions said. “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”

Sessions made clear that the criminals he is referring to are not low-level offenders but rather major players in America’s war on drugs.

“These are not low-level drug offenders we, in the federal courts, are focusing on,” Sessions said. “These are drug dealers, and you drug dealers are going to prison.”

Breitbart Texas reported on Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security had concluded a six-week nationwide crackdown on gangs which led to the arrests of over 1,000 confirmed gang members.

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United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe penalties for defendants with the most serious and provable crimes.

Sessions instructed federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” in an eight-paragraph memorandum sent to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys across the country on Thursday.

In a speech on Friday, Sessions highlighted the rapidly increasing crime rates in U.S. cities and pointed to drugs as the main cause.

“The murder rate has surged 10 percent nationwide. The largest increase in murder since 1968 and we know that drugs and crime go hand-in-hand, they just do, the facts prove that so,” Sessions said. “Drug trafficking is an inherently dangerous and violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t file a lawsuit in court. You collect it with the barrel of a gun.”

The memo sent by Sessions also rescinded the policies of former attorney general Eric Holder Jr., effectively immediately.

“We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple,” Sessions said. “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”

Sessions made clear that the criminals he is referring to are not low-level offenders but rather major players in America’s war on drugs.

“These are not low-level drug offenders we, in the federal courts, are focusing on,” Sessions said. “These are drug dealers, and you drug dealers are going to prison.”

Sessions said that under the Trump Administration, the Department of Justice (DOJ) would stand behind law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

“We will do all that we can to keep you safe and promote public support for honorable officers in your dangerous work,” Sessions said.

Sessions encouraged all Americans to find a way to show their gratitude for law enforcement as he pointed out that those working in the field do so to help keep America safe.

“Bring a home cooked meal to your local precinct. Go to a national memorial service or simply shake the hand of a police officer and say thank you for your service,” Sessions said.

The move by Sessions against drug traffickers comes after he announced on April 28 that the DOJ was going to start targeting the notoriously violent MS-13 street gang, Breitbart Texas reported.

Results can already be seen across the country as federal agencies look to rid America’s streets of crime.

Breitbart Texas reported on Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security had concluded a six-week nationwide crackdown on gangs which led to the arrests of over 1,000 confirmed gang members.

New Sheriff in Town: The First 100 Days at the Sessions DOJ

April 27, 2017

New Sheriff in Town: The First 100 Days at the Sessions DOJ, BreitbartIan Mason, April 27, 2017

(It’s still a work in progress.  He — like President Trump — can’t do everything first, particularly with the “deep state” swamp still in need of drastic draining. — DM)

Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Wednesday saw the first of Attorney General Sessions’ Senate-confirmed subordinates take office: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Over the coming weeks, it is expected that serious progress will be made on nominating and confirming permanent occupants for the dozens of political positions at the Department of Justice, including the over 90 U.S. Attorneys who lead federal criminal prosecutions. The key victories of the first 100 days were accomplished by the Attorney General without any of them in place. As his team assembles around him, Attorney General Sessions looks to be better able to direct the legal policy of the United States government to restore his vision of law and order.

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Under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the first 100 days at the Department of Justice have seen perhaps the most straightforward and earnest efforts to bring the promises of the Trump movement to fruition.

Stepping into leadership at a DOJ managed for eight years by Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, Sessions has had an uphill battle to implement the key tenets of law and order that so many Americans have long craved and which President Donald Trump promised as a candidate: an end of the lawless hypocrisy on the southern border and in the internal enforcement of our immigration laws, especially in state a jurisdictions that openly flaunt federal law and proclaim themselves “sanctuaries;” a firm commitment to get a handle on rising violent crime, especially in our most dangerous inner cities; and steadfast support of our law enforcement officers at a time when they face danger and disparagement from inside the government and without.

Hitting the Ground Running:

Attorney General Sessions was confirmed by the Senate on February 9, 2017, three weeks into the new administration. One of the very first national politicians to endorse candidate Trump, he was the fifth cabinet member to take his seat, but not before a smooth yet contentious confirmation process yielded one of the most awkwardly worded and forced political slogans of recent memory.

“Nevertheless, she persisted,” the much-touted line goes, a reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) explanation of his use of Senate rules to prevent Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reading a 30-year old letter from Coretta Scott King to imply racist motives to then Senator Sessions. The use was later criticized by Ms. King’s niece.

The fireworks on the Senate floor were quickly followed up in the White House. On his first day as Attorney General, Sessions stood by President Trump’s side as he signed no fewer than four executive orders pertaining to the Justice Department.

A “New Era” on the Border

Without doubt, cracking down on illegal aliens and the resultant lawlessness on the border and in our immigration system has been the greatest focus of Sessions’ attentions in his tenure at DOJ. Merely the signal of will from the new administration has already brought extraordinary results. March of 2017 saw the lowest number of illegals caught on the border in 17 years, a 72 percent reduction in apprehensions from the last month of the Obama administration.

Rhetoric was repeatedly backed up with action on the Attorney General’s part. In early March, the DOJ shifted 50 immigration judges to detention center along the border and in illegal alien heavy cities. The were set to work in twelve-hour shifts to help clear the massive backlog of deportation cases. This proved to be merely a prelude to much more substantial reform.

On the morning of April 11, 2017, the Attorney General toured the southern border with officers of U.S Customs and Border Protection. Addressing them and the nation, he proclaimed, “For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: This is a new era. This is the Trump era.”

“The catch and release practices of old are over,” Sessions continued, announced that 125 additional immigration judges would be hired on expedited basis. They would be needed because from this point on all adults apprehended at the border were to be detained by federal authorities.

A new set of guidelines was sent to every federal prosecutor in the country. Those who illegally enter the United States a second time will now face felony prosecution as a matter of course, as well those who illegal enter after having been deported, and transporting or harboring three or more illegal aliens. Charges of aggravated identity theft are to be levied on those caught with fraudulent documentation.

These measures are designed to work in tandem with a similar ramping up at the Department of Homeland Security, where 10,000 additional ICE officers have been authorized and are in the process of being hired. Attorney General Sessions made a point of making joint appearances with DHS Secretary John Kelley, presenting a united front to bring order to the border. The two cabinet officials noted increased arrests, more deportations of criminals, and other operations contributing to the apparent decrease in illegal border crossings.

While President Trump has, so far, not seen it fit to reverse Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals executive order, granting amnesty to those who came illegal as children and register with the federal government, the Attorney General has made it clear that the law remains the law. Asked by Fox News in April about the deportation of certain so-called DREAMer (after the never enacted DREAM act), Sessions was unequivocal, “The policy is that if people are here unlawfully, they’re subject to being deported. Our priority is clear. Our priority is to end the lawlessness at the border.”

No Sanction for “Sanctuaries”

From the very beginning of his tenure, Attorney General Sessions has tried to bring jurisdictions who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement back to legal normality, even if it means cutting their federal funds to convince them to do so. Sessions has done this in the face of steadfast refusal to cooperate by some of nation’s most powerful local leaders. For example, Chicago, under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, went so far as to issue a new type of identification available to illegal alien without the city keeping records in response to fears the administration might be able to force the “sanctuary” to give up information on immigration status. Sessions made a point of calling out a California prosecutor who appears to, as a matter of policy, be reducing charges to avoid triggering “violent felon” deportation requirements.

The most troubling resistance, however, came this final week of the first 100 days, as a federal court in San Francisco blocked enforcement of President Trump’s executive order commanding Sessions to cut off federal funds from recalcitrant jurisdictions. At the moment, as the administration has released no comprehensive plan as to what funds are subject to suspension, it is unclear what effect this temporary order will have. It will, however, prevent the use of that executive order’s authority while a lawsuit from a number of California sanctuary jurisdictions makes its way through the courts.

Sessions has not taken this tactic to continue flaunting federal immigration law lightly. In a statement Wednesday, the Attorney General was very clear as to how he saw the lawsuit:

At the heart of this immigration debate is disagreement over whether illegally entering this country is a crime.  Our duly enacted laws answer that question.

Nevertheless, actions that have always been understood to be squarely within the powers of the President, regardless of the Administration, have now been enjoined.  The Department of Justice cannot accept such a result, and as the President has made clear, we will continue to litigate this case to vindicate the rule of law.

Separate from the wider pledge to cut the flow of federal funds to sanctuary jurisdictions, Sessions has used his independent authority to bring pressure to bear. After weeks of threatening action, the Department of Justice sent letters to nine of the states and cities who most vigorously stifle immigration enforcement, demanding they show compliance by June 30 or forfeit their DOJ Bryne Grants for law enforcement. As these grants already have requirements to follow federal law attached to them, these letters may be unaffected by the ongoing court fracas over President Trump’s executive order.

Zero Tolerance:

The mayhem of our inner cities in the waning years of the Obama administration was no less troubling than the chaos on the border. On the day Sessions took office, an executive order established a task force for tackling the violent crime increase seen in certain cities. Sessions has spoken on numerous occasions on his support for a return to “broken windows” policing and taking local law enforcement’s side in their effort to wrestle their crime rates back down to the historic lows seen only a few years ago.

Some of the violence is fueled by what the justice department calls “transnational criminal organizations,” brutal gangs like MS-13 and wide-reaching networks like the Mexican drug cartels. At a meeting of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council, Sessions made clear his department would have “zero tolerence” for gang violence as it brings an executive order targeting these organizations for deportation and dismantling into reality.

On several occasions, Sessions has highlighted his continued support for the type of rigorous policing that came under intense fire in the last administration.

Supporting Law Enforcement:

To many Americans, the Holder-Lynch DOJ’s failure to keep crime in check and the border under control was compounded by the perceived failure to adequately support law enforcement officers and their in this trying time. Black Lives Matter and other left-wing groups brought anti-police rhetoric to the forefront of the public discourse and politicized violence against the police made headlines throughout 2014, 2015 and 2016. The Justice Department responded by launching investigations into police brutality, bias, and misconduct, making it anything but clear that American law enforcement had their unequivocal support.

Spearheaded by Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta’s Civil Rights Division, the Obama administration responded to riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland by launching federal investigations into those cities’, and others like murder-capital Chicago’s, police departments. The results were predictable. A “Ferguson Effect,” where officers were reluctant to make the routine stops necessary to keep crime under control for fear of being sanctioned for misconduct contributed to a shocking rise in violent crime in the very communities supposedly protected by federal oversight of police. Initially dismissed as a right-wing conspiracy theory, the Ferguson Effect has since been supported by a survey of police officers and by a National Institute of Justice study funded by the Obama DOJ.

When Attorney General Sessions took the reigns at DOJ, there was an immediate shift in tone. “Please know that you have the full support of our Department,” Sessisons told a meeting of police chiefs in April. He went on to call out the former administration’s treatment of police:

In recent years, as you know, law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the crimes and unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors. Amid this intense criticism, morale has gone down, while the number of officers killed in the line of duty has gone up.

Attorney General Sessions has done what is in his power to try and reverse the damage done to Law Enforcement relations. He ordered a complete review of all Obama-era investigations into local law enforcement. He has even sought to scale back the consent decree reached to install federal monitoring of Baltimore’s Police Department in the waning days of the Obama administration. When the federal judge in the case refused to reopen the issue, Sessions issued a public statement criticizing the whole endeavor, saying, “There are clear departures from many proven principles of good policing that we fear will result in more crime.”

Looking Forward:

Wednesday saw the first of Attorney General Sessions’ Senate-confirmed subordinates take office: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Over the coming weeks, it is expected that serious progress will be made on nominating and confirming permanent occupants for the dozens of political positions at the Department of Justice, including the over 90 U.S. Attorneys who lead federal criminal prosecutions. The key victories of the first 100 days were accomplished by the Attorney General without any of them in place. As his team assembles around him, Attorney General Sessions looks to be better able to direct the legal policy of the United States government to restore his vision of law and order.