Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement last week to nine self-described sanctuary cities, ordering them to certify compliance with federal immigration law. Sessions in particular cited gang-related crime in these cities, and, in reference to New York, remarked, “New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance.”
Those words prompted outrage from New York mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD commissioner James O’Neill. The mayor called Sessions’s statement “outrageous” and “an insult” to law enforcement. “Month after month crime has gone down,” de Blasio said. “That seems to have reached everywhere but Washington, D.C.” Commissioner O’Neill said that his “blood began to boil” when he heard the attorney general’s claims. “To say we’re soft on crime is absolutely ludicrous.” Other elected officials took to Twitter to denounce Sessions. City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is planning a massive legislative effort to block municipal cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement, called Sessions’s remarks “Ridiculous & surely illegal.” Some reporters chimed in on the mayor’s behalf, editorializing, for instance, that “# are unequivocally on BDB’s side.”
But Sessions didn’t claim that crime is rising in New York City, as it is in Chicago and other major cities. He said that New York is plagued by gang-related homicide, and that the city has gone “soft” on enforcement. Are these statements true?
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