Durbin to Sessions: You Aren’t Helping Us Solve the Murder Problem in Chicago by Taking Federal Funds

‘It breaks my heart to think what the families are going through in the city I represent’

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EXCERPT:

DURBIN: "What happened in Las Vegas was tragic and awful and heartbreaking; 59 people killed, over 500 wounded by gunshots in just a brief period of time with some military-type weapon. It was just awful, horrific and disgusting. Having said that, so far this year 3,000 people have been injured by gunshot in the city of Chicago and over 500 have been killed. This is not something that is a political debate in my heart. It breaks my heart to think what the families are going through in the city I represent. The superintendent of police, who has worked there and you gave credit to local law enforcement. I’m glad you did. I join you in that. He has worked in that police department for 30 years and I want to read what he said, the federal government’s plans to terminating of Byrne grant funds will hamper community policing and undermine the work our men and women have done to reduce shootings by 16 percent so far this year. And this is the sentence I want to focus on. If I’ve said it before -- I've said it before and I’ll say it again, undocumented immigrants are not driving violence in Chicago. And that’s why I want our officers focused on community policing and not trying to be immigration police. The money we are going to get, we hope to get from the federal government for Byrne grants we’re putting into something a program called shop spotter. You probably know what that is. But it’s a monitoring device in our city block by block that can tell instantaneously when a gun has been shot. And so our police can respond instantaneously  to try to get the shooters and to save the life of the victim. You want to cut back these funds because you want the city of Chicago to play the role of immigration police on federal civil laws. Mr. attorney general, you aren’t helping us solve the murder problem in the city of Chicago by taking away these federal funds and the superintendent says that your pursuit of undocumented immigrants has little or nothing to do with gun violence in Chicago."

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