As Attorney General Jeff Sessions leaves his post, the parents of many Long Island communities should pay homage to his decisive actions, which may have saved their children’s lives.
The vicious MS-13 gang was allowed to metastasize over the last decade, especially in the Long Island area — in large part, because of the foolish policies of the Obama administration, which did little to prevent unaccompanied minors from flooding over our southern border.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that allowing teenage boys to be sent to communities without guardians would leave them remarkably vulnerable to the clutches of local gangs, like MS-13.
Yet more than 8,000 unaccompanied minors were relocated to the Long Island suburbs starting in 2013. Most of them were typical immigrants just seeking a better life. But some — enough of them — were already made MS-13 members in their home nations; others were absorbed into the gangs once they arrived.
On Long Island, the gang grew in size and stature and soon was taking over entire neighborhoods and controlling our schools. To be accepted in the gang, recruits had to engage in vicious initiations, including murder.
These suburban LI communities were now seeing dozens of their young people, mostly students in the local high schools, having their lives snuffed out — sometimes just for giving a misperceived look or wearing an inappropriate color.
In Suffolk County, the problem was exacerbated by county officials, who bought into the sanctuary city mentality, and in 2012 ended their cooperation with the federal government. The anti-gang task force I established as county executive and that coordinated with the FBI was disbanded.
Again, it didn’t take a Nostradamus to predict this would spell disaster. It did.
In response to the mounting slaughter of school children in Brentwood and Central Islip, the Obama administration responded in the typical progressive manner. It sought to discuss root problems and social remedies.
Then someone new took occupancy of the White House and tapped Jeff Sessions as AG.
Sessions visited Suffolk County personally and promised a different approach. He channeled massive federal resources to the area and flooded it with FBI agents, tackling the problem primarily as a law enforcement issue. It worked.
Eventually, the county wised up and reversed its horrible decision to not work with the feds. But it was Sessions and his commitment to weed out MS-13 that produced the results.
One gang member after another was brought to justice. The gang has been neutralized and the community has been given back to the people.
There has not been a single murder of a Brentwood or Central Islip students since Sessions took charge.
New York’s governor and local officials sought to jump on the bandwagon by proposing all kinds of costly social programs so that they could claim they had a part in bringing down crime in this area. That’s all window dressing. The person who made a difference was Sessions.
He understood this was first and foremost a law enforcement matter, and he boldly put the full resources of the United States government into play. No Sociology 101 babble about youth programs. Just pure, tough police work. Surveillance, investigations and arrests.
Of course, there were the ACLU types criticizing the FBI’s tough interrogation methods, but they got little traction. Sessions would not wilt at this politically correct nonsense.
Nor did parents in the area give any credence to the critics. They saw they were getting their schools and neighborhoods back, and the fear that had gripped this community started to dissipate.
President Trump has his issues with Sessions related to the Russia probe, but there can be no doubt that when it came to carrying out the president’s desire to crush MS-13, Jeff Sessions followed through.
The people of Long Island, as well as communities around the nation, owe him a great deal of gratitude.
Steve Levy, who served as Suffolk County executive from 2004 to 2011, is a political consultant.