Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions to America: The Crime Fearmongering Will Continue Until Y'all Obey

The data don't match the attorney general's attacks on sanctuary cities.

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Sessions protesters
Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Newscom

Stats so far from 2017 show that violent crimes in America's major cities are generally dropping again after a brief, sharp uptick. Some individual cities are still in bad shape, but the broad trend is looking up.

But Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not land his job in President Donald Trump's administration by assuring the populace that the country is generally a safe place to live. And that's certainly not the narrative Trump used to get elected.

So Sessions is weaving a different story as he continues his attacks on sanctuary cities and criminal justice reform. Speaking before federal law enforcement officials in Portland, Oregon, this week, he refused to make even the slightest adjustments to his rhetoric:

After decreasing for over 20 years because of the hard but necessary work our country started in the 1980s, violent crime is back. The murder rate surged nearly 11 percent nationwide in 2015—the largest increase since 1968. Per capita homicide rates are up in 27 of our 35 largest cities.

And Portland is not immune to these problems. Between 2013 and 2015, the city saw an increase in homicides of more than 140 percent. In 2015, Portland Police received more than 180 calls related to gangs, including shootings, stabbings, and assaults—the highest number since they began recording that number nearly 20 years ago, and almost double the count from 2014.

Note that we're about three-quarters of the way through 2017, and he's still using numbers from 2015.

Also—speaking as someone who has done a lot of crime stat analysis over the years—consider it a red flag whenever you see seemingly outrageously high percentage changes showing either increases and declines. What that often means is that the flat numbers are actually very low, so when those changes are presented as percentages, they seem very large. If a city has two murders one year and then four murders the next year, that's a 100 percent increase in the murder rate. That does not, however, indicate a crime wave.

The actual numbers in Portland here don't support Sessions' fearmongering. In 2013, the city had its lowest number of homicides in decades: 16. That number doubled to 32 over the course of two years. That's certainly a cause for concern, but it's an increase in a number that was very low; presenting it as a percentage makes it seem much more alarming than it actually is. Even then, Sessions got the percentage wrong by calling it a 140 percent increase.

Also, as The Portland Mercury notes, homicides for 2016 dropped back down to 16, the same level they were back in 2013. The crime spike in 2015 looks more like an anomaly than a dangerous new trend.

But the fearmongering is necessary to sell the Sessions/Trump agenda of attacking sanctuary cities—such as Portland—for declining to help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detain and deport immigrants here illegally. Here's Sessions again:

When federal immigration authorities learn that this criminal alien is in a jurisdiction's custody, our ICE officers issue a detainer request accompanied by a civil arrest warrant and ask the city to either notify them before they release the criminal or to hold the criminal alien long enough to transfer him to federal custody in a safe setting.

But political leaders have directed state and local officers to refuse these requests. Cooperation has been a key element in informed crime fighting for decades.

The result is that police are forced to release the criminal alien back into the community without regard to the seriousness of his crimes or the length of his rap sheet. Think about that: Police may be forced to release pedophiles, rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and arsonists back into the communities where they had no right to be in the first place. They should according to law and common sense be processed and deported.

This is a tremendously misleading representation of what actually happens, and Sessions is leaning heavily on a couple of really bad cases to suggest that this is commonplace. In reality, sanctuary cities usually do cooperate with DHS in exactly these circumstances.

Sessions also urged Gov. Jerry Brown not to sign a bill essentially making California a "sanctuary state" where local police are forbidden from assisting DHS in deportations. But the bill specifically permits police to work with DHS to deport immigrants when the immigrants have been convicted of a whole host of crimes, including each and every crime Sessions lists above.

What Sessions really seems to want is for sanctuary cities to cooperate with detainer requests on demand, period, no questions asked. Yet local law enforcement officers are not federal immigration officials. Local police do not have the authority to simply detain people without warrants or arresting them, even if they suspect they're in the country illegally.

According to The Oregonian, Sessions apparently "refused to acknowledge" a federal magistrate's ruling in Oregon holding a county legally liable for continuing to detain an inmate past her release date as federal immigration officials investigated her citizenship status. When even the attorney general doesn't seem interested in grasping that local police simply do not have the authority to hold people for the feds on demand, we have a problem. It's hard enough to get the police themselves to understand that they cannot simply detain people.

Read Sessions' speech here.

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42 responses to “Jeff Sessions to America: The Crime Fearmongering Will Continue Until Y'all Obey

  1. Everything in this is true. You know what else is at historic lows, too, though? Rapes and hate crimes.The Dems use those bullshit statistics to take away our rights and scare people into supporting their policie as much as the Republicans use bullshit statistics about immigration and crime.

    It is so hard to convince my friends on all sides that the world is better than ever, and improving. Any decent knowledge of the history of this country, and the world, makes this clear.

    1. Add child abductions to this list of things that basically don’t happen anymore, as well.

  2. This is a tremendously misleading representation of what actually happens, and Sessions is leaning heavily on a couple of really bad cases to suggest that this is commonplace. In reality, sanctuary cities usually do cooperate with DHS in exactly these circumstances.

    Really? How do they cooperate? And what exactly does “usually” mean? Since you didn’t bother to look, let’s go to that right-wing rag known as the NYT for some help.

    Policies limiting cooperation with immigration detainers are typically in place at the county and state level, Ms. Graber said. In cities, sanctuary policies often mean local officials do not ask about a person’s immigration status, but there is no universal definition for a sanctuary city.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interac…..ities.html

    Looks to me like this is exactly what they do. What the hell does sanctuary mean if not “we don’t ask anyone about their immigration status and don’t turn them over the ICE”?

    1. I don’t mean this sarcastically, but I’m confused. Does not being proactive mean they aren’t being cooperative? Are they telling ICE or DHS “No” when they come ask for help?

      I find the two sentences above very different on the topic of “cooperation” and what it means.

      1. It is Shackford being mendacious. He says “cooperate” like it means something. All it means is that if ICE shows up with a detainer on someone, they will turn them over. Well, so what? That is not the issue. The issue is whether the police will report a criminal alien to ICE so that once they finish their sentence they are deported. And they can’t do that if they refuse to check anyone’s immigration status. So saying they “cooperate with” is totally meaningless and irrelevant to the debate at hand. I leave it to you to decide if Shackford is too dumb to know that or to dishonest to admit it.

  3. I would also point out that ICE has an entire section devoted to finding and deporting illegal aliens who are in state prisons. Remember, your sentence has to be at least a year in most states to go to prison instead of a county jail. So if “sanctuary” doesn’t really mean that states and cities don’t turn over serious criminal aliens names over to ICE, why are there so many aliens sitting in state prison that ICE doesn’t know about?

      1. If you want to respond to my comments, do me a favor and try and understand them. Or if you can’t, at least try and be funny. Nonsense responses that make up for it by not being funny, really don’t cut it.

        Come on Crusty, I expect better from you. That is Tony level trolling there.

        1. It’s nice to see you haven’t changed, you tedious goon.

          1. If you don’t like my opinion and think it is wrong, say why. I am always curious to hear. But if you don’t like it and can’t explain why; fuck off. Just shut up and move along to a thread that you do understand. Or at least say something funny.

            You are right, I have not changed. I don’t, never have and never will have any patience or sympathy for stupid people or people too dumb or dishonest to understand the argument. If you don’t like that, get smarter.

                1. Haha, it would be super funny if you two kissed right now. Haha. Yeah. Soooo funny. So do it.

                  1. BUCS wasn’t kidding about being into some kinky shit.

    1. Re: John,

      […] why are there so many aliens sitting in state prison that ICE doesn’t know about?

      If you know about them then ICE knows about them. I don’t think you are privvy to special knowledge. It’s more probable that ICE prefers to go after the mop-wielding Salvadoran cleaning lady than hardened criminals, or that they are generally lazy.

      1. ICE find out about them by going to the prisons. If the state and locals were “cooperating” with ICE the way Shackford claims, they wouldn’t need to do that. They would know about them because the state and locals told them. Clearly, they are not being told and the state and locals are not cooperating as Shackford claims.

        1. Perhaps, but you’re assuming ICE is being kept in the dark on purpose which requires a whole lot of coordination, instead of assuming the simpler answer that ICE is populated by incompetent fools. I tend to believe the layyer.

          1. It doesn’t require coordinating. It requires deciding that you are not going to check anyone’s immigration status. If you don’t check, there is no information to pass to ICE.

            There are two ways of doing things, you either check the status and inform ICE when you have a criminal who is an alien or you don’t check and there is nothing to tell ICE even if they ask. It is really that simple.

            1. It almost sounds like you are agreeing with him. You’re both claiming the same thing at that point, that it’s done out of laziness rather than part of a conspiracy.

  4. Read Sessions’ speech here.

    No thanks. I just ate lunch, and I’m not a bulimic.

  5. I don’t really give a fuck about crime stats or anything Sessions has to say. Sanctuary cities have to go. They pulled this shit where I live too. I dearly wish that the DoJ would come in and haul the five commies on the city council here who voted for that shit.

    1. Re: Elias Fakame,

      Sanctuary cities have to go.

      Why?

      1. Why should someone who committed a crime who is here illegally be allowed to stay? Mostly they are going to commit crimes that victimize immigrants since immigrants tend to live in the same communities. Why do you want that? Do you just hate immigrants and like seeing them victimized by crime?

        1. “Why should someone who committed a crime who is here illegally be allowed to stay?”

          Why should a native born person who committed a crime be allowed to stay?

          /Open Borders Reasonoid

          1. This is genius. Deport all violent criminals to Venezuela. Especially that bitch who wanted to go to Harvard but couldn’t because she beat to death her four year old son.

          2. Because each country needs to deal with its own shit. Mexico and Guatemala would rightly object if we solved our crime and poverty problems by exporting our criminals and poor to their soil. Our criminal citizens are our problem to deal with, Central American nations’ criminal citizens should be theirs.

    2. I agree about getting rid of sanctuary cities. I’m not sure about the best way to go about it though. Congress could tie federal funding to cooperation with ICE but that’s going to be tough to get through Congress. I’m not a fan of the executive branch trying to make that a condition on their own though.

  6. RE: Jeff Sessions to America: The Crime Fearmongering Will Continue Until Y’all Obey

    I thought the concept of “obey” was only when Obama was in the White House.
    I stand corrected.

  7. Did you write “Y’all” to mock the fact that he’s southern?

    1. I grew up in Florida and say y’all a lot.

      https://reason.com/search?q=shackford+y‘all

      1. Good. It’s a great pronoun.

  8. Also?speaking as someone who has done a lot of crime stat analysis over the years?consider it a red flag whenever you see seemingly outrageously high percentage changes showing either increases and declines. What that often means is that the flat numbers are actually very low, so when those changes are presented as percentages, they seem very large. If a city has two murders one year and then four murders the next year, that’s a 100 percent increase in the murder rate. That does not, however, indicate a crime wave.
    Best and most accurate thing you have said all year Shackford.

    1. Statistics have a nasty capability of being accurate and misleading if the presenter is careless or dishonest.

      1. 100% of those surveyed agree with that.
        (OK, 100% of those currently sitting at my computer.)

  9. Yeah. Police cannot detain people indefinitely without warrants and charges. Only doctors have the authority to do that.

  10. Our current AG seems to be firmly stuck in the era of Jim Crow, viewing marijuana as a gateway drug, even for people with painful conditions or who are undergoing cancer treatment. He is fine with opiod addiction which studies have shown leads to heroin use but smoke a joint and he wants to put you in jail for years. He is very big on detentions, even for people who have served their sentences. Someone jailed for not paying parking tickets is to him a violent criminal, who should have his/her immigration status checked before release. Never mind that a county could be sued for keeping a person incarcerated beyond the release date and that ICE is dangerously understaffed and cannot complete these checks in a timely manner. He is fine with increasing the prison population even though the crime rate is dropping in most big cities and has been for many years, with a few uptick outliers. He positively loves mandatory sentencing as if crime were a baseball game- 3 strikes and you’re in jail forever. He is worried about everyone’s safety, seeing drug addicts under every bed particularly if said addict isn’t white. This man should never have been confirmed., He lied to Congress and now he wants to present himself as a model of virtue which he clearly isn’t.

    1. “…particularly if said addict isn’t white.”

      Care to explain how you find him to be rayciss? The case usually cited, where he worked to challenge the election of a black man, was brought by another black man. Or do you just assume that because he’s from the south, and works for Trump, it must be so?

      “He is fine with increasing the prison population even though the crime rate is dropping in most big cities and has been for many years…”

      It always surprises me when idiots point to increasing prison rates and decreasing crime rates and not only fail to see a clear causal relationship, but declare that falling crime rates mean we need to imprison fewer criminals.

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