BOSTON (CN) – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised law enforcement in Massachusetts for recent arrests while calling for more cooperation in the fight against MS13, a transnational gang he said has been wreaking havoc in major cities.
Sessions appeared at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston to address transnational gangs and crime he says is committed by undocumented immigrants.
“We are coming for you,” said Sessions. “We will hunt you down, we will find you and we will bring you to justice.”
According to Sessions, MS13 regularly recruits new immigrants, particular young ones, to build its army of violent criminals.
“MS13 is probably the most violent and ruthless gang on our streets today. It is made a habit of inflicting gruesome violence upon the community,” Sessions said. “Their motto is kill, rape and control.”
The attorney general repeatedly referenced machetes when citing acts of violence by members of MS13.
Sessions praised a recent arrest sweep that captured almost 60 suspected members of MS13. The arrest sweep was performed with a cooperative effort of numerous law enforcement agencies on the state and municipal levels.
“It is precisely this sort of law enforcement cooperation that is absolutely necessary,” said Sessions. “Charge them with whatever crime they commit and stay flexible and nimble to ensure that we keep them off the streets, in jail and out of the country.”
He noted the FBI is expected to release its 2016 crime stats on Sept. 25.
“Tragically, they will show violent crime rose again across the board,” he said. “We cannot accept this as a new norm. One of the president’s executive orders was to reduce crime in America. That is going to be our goal.”
Although Sessions never specifically said the phrase “sanctuary city” – which would accurately describe several of Massachusetts’s cities – he made it a point to praise cooperation between agencies in capturing undocumented immigrants, particular those he said were involved with violent crime.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who has been an outspoken critic of sanctuary cities applauded Sessions’ speech.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts organized a small protest outside of the courthouse. About four or five dozen people picketed holding brightly colored signs with pro-immigration slogans.
“When we heard that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was coming to Boston we thought it was important to speak out against his xenophobic, counter-productive policies,” the group’s executive director Carol Rose said. “The indiscriminate targeting of immigrants is cruel and unconstitutional, and it undermines community and police relations.”