New U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the recent rise in violent crime is a “dangerous, permanent trend” which threatens the country.
“We have a crime problem,” Sessions said at his White House swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. “I wish the rise in crime we’re seeing in America today [was] some sort of aberration or a blip. My best judgment, having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years, is that this is a dangerous, permanent trend that places the health and safety of the American people at risk.”
“We will deploy the talents and abilities of the Department of Justice in the most effective way possible to confront this rise in crime and to protect the people of our country,” he added.
After the ceremony, he traveled to the Department of Justice where he was welcomed by many employees.
Crime has risen since late 2014, when President Barack Obama launched his “stigmatize-and-federalize” campaign against local and state law enforcement. The rise in crime since then has killed some 1,500 Americans. FBI reports revealed murders leaped 10.8 percent in 2015, the largest increase in a single year since 1971.
“We have [had] an increased threat, since I was a United States attorney, from terrorism,” Sessions continued. “We’re going to respond effectively to the threat of terrorism, and you can count on your Department of Justice to do so in an effective way.”
Sessions also emphasized the public needs a “lawful system of immigration, one that serves the interests of the people of the United States.” A policy that helps Americans, he said:
That’s not wrong. That’s not immoral. That’s not indecent. We admit a million people a year plus, lawfully, and we need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety and pulls down wages of working Americans.
As Attorney General, Sessions can lead investigations into abusive visa practices, work with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure illegal aliens are deported after serving their sentences, stop federal grants from the Justice Department from going to sanctuary cities, issue directives concerning which foreigners can apply for asylum in the U.S., and more.
His strong stand against lenient policies for convicted criminals, particularly drug traffickers, indicates Sessions will use the Justice Department’s resources to crack down on illegal immigration fueling the drug trade and will advocate for longer sentences for drug traffickers. Sessions played a critical role in halting a sentencing reduction bill that would have dramatically slashed mandatory minimum sentences for drug
Sessions played a critical role in halting a sentencing reduction bill that would have dramatically slashed mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers and has passionately spoken against the opioid epidemic claiming tens of thousands of lives.
“We need to enforce our laws and we have to make the consequences of drug trafficking a deterrent,” Sessions said in a Mar. 7 speech. “Law enforcement plays a critical role in it. This means supporting, not blocking the efforts of law enforcement to do their jobs and giving them the tools to arrest drug traffickers and be effective at the border, putting them in jail, not giving them early release so they can commit more crimes.”
“We have to stop people from becoming addicts in the first place, and we can’t let the fact that we have a heroin abuse epidemic cause us to forget that we have a drug trafficking epidemic too. Law enforcement is prevention,” he added.
Sessions, in an April letter authored with three other Republican senators, rejected the characterization of drug dealing as a harmless activity unconnected to anything larger: “Drug trafficking can in no way be considered a ‘non-violent’ crime. It is an industry built on an entire edifice of violence, stretching from the narco-terrorist organizations in South America to the drug deal enforcers that afflict too many U.S. communities.”
Driving down crime rates is a must to improve the lives of Americans, Sessions said in a May press conference, and the fewer people exposed to deadly and illicit narcotics, the better.
“Imagine how better this country is with a murder rate half what it was in 1980 already,” he said. “Imagine how much better it is that we have considerably fewer people destroying their lives with addictive drugs.”