Sessions defends Trump's immigration priorities in Austin
U.S. attorney general delivers speech to law enforcement
AUSTIN, Texas – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the Trump administration's immigration priorities to a group of law enforcement leaders Friday in Austin.
"For decades, the American people have been begging and pleading with our elected officials for an immigration system that is lawful and that serves our national interest. Now we have a president who leads," Sessions said.
Sessions praised the end of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which granted relief to thousands of young undocumented immigrants.
"DACA encouraged potentially tens of thousands of vulnerable children to make the dangerous journey north. That had terrible humanitarian consequences, and Texans know that firsthand," he said.
Sessions also applauded Texas for fighting back in court and enacting a new law banning so-called Sanctuary cities.
"I am well aware that this law has its critics. And I am more than familiar with their line of criticism. But the facts of the case are clearly on Texas' side," Sessions said. "Earlier this month, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief in this case. We believe that the outcome is important, not just to the state of Texas, but to the national interest."
Sessions said he stands behind the plan to build a border wall.
"This will make it harder for illegal aliens to break into this country. But more importantly, the wall will send a message to the world that we enforce our laws," he said.
Outside the building where Sessions spoke, a crowd opposed his visit.
"For our local lawmakers, I would just encourage them to stand strong. We know that the state and federal governments are standing very strong against us," said Claudia Munoz, a protestor. "Elections are coming up soon, and one way or another, we will unite to either fight local policies or to get them out of office."
Sessions also said that some elected officials are undermining the safety of law enforcement officers.
"These jurisdictions that knowingly, willfully, and purposefully release criminal aliens back into their communities are sacrificing the lives and safety of American citizens in the pursuit of an extreme open borders policy," Sessions said.
He said the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security will stop rewarding sanctuary cities with taxpayer dollars that don't comply with the law.
Copyright 2017 by KSAT - All rights reserved.