BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Boston Thursday afternoon to talk to law enforcement officials about transnational organized crime, and was met by a small crowd of ACLU pro-immigration protesters.
Sessions gave his remarks at the U.S. attorney’s office in the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse.
There was extra security outside court, where an ACLU protest billed as an “Unwelcome Party” for Sessions was set to coincide with the Attorney General’s speech.
About 50 peaceful protesters loudly chanted “Racist, sexist, anti-gay/Jeff Sessions go away” and other messages.
The ACLU cited as a reason for the protest efforts struck down by a federal judge to pull back law enforcement funds from cities like Cambridge and Somerville that consider themselves sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.
“For them to come into Massachusetts and think that the people of Massachusetts will silently stand by is just wrong,” said Carol Rose, ACLU of Massachusetts executive director. “We’re here to stand up for civil rights and civil liberties, because that’s what Massachusetts is all about.”
Sessions told law enforcement that officials must continue working to dismantle MS-13, a violent street gang known for its gruesome tactics.
The street gang started in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s. Authorities say it has more than 30,000 members worldwide and more than 10,000 in the U.S.
Sessions says gang members are exploiting the unaccompanied minor program to come to the U.S. as “wolves in sheep clothing.”
He says the country cannot let gangs prey on communities. He says, “We will hunt you down.”
Sessions has said that lax immigration policies are exacerbating the gang threat.
Federal authorities last year charged more than 50 members of the gang in and around Boston with racketeering, drug trafficking and gun charges.
Sessions thanked local law enforcement for that operation, which he called a “massive takedown.”
“I want to applaud federal, state, and local law enforcement and our prosecutors here in the Boston area for all you have done and being the tip of the spear in our fight against MS-13,” he said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)