Attorney General Jeff Sessions touted tighter border security and the importance of so-called sanctuary cities and states cooperating with immigration laws during a U.S. Coast Guard event in San Diego Wednesday announcing historic drug seizures across the country.
Sessions said that the Trump administration intends to be successful with erecting a border wall with Mexico.
Asked about sanctuary cities and states, Sessions said he found it “sad” that those jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials who are tasked with arresting people in the country illegally.
“I find it almost unbelievable that states and cities would object to that. Why in the world would they want to object to the law being followed,” the attorney general said.
“I call on the cities and states to analyze what they’re doing, the danger it’s causing to their own communities.”
He added that, though officials are working on land to enforce immigration laws, smugglers’ efforts at sea continue to pose problems.
“We are facing a tremendous challenge,” Sessions said, referring to an increase in fatal overdoses across the nation.
But with the Coast Guard’s help, “we will reduce the flow of drugs into this country,” Sessions said.
During the event, officials offloaded 50,550 pounds of cocaine and heroin worth $679.3 million.
The load is a result of 25 seizures across the country since Aug. 2, and represents a record-breaking year in cocaine seizures for the Coast Guard, officials said in a news release.
More than 455,000 pounds of cocaine totaling over $6.1 billion have been intercepted so far this year.
The seizures occurred in Alameda, South Carolina, Virginia, Oregon and Hawaii, according to the Coast Guard.
“By preventing overdoses and stopping new addictions before they start, enforcing our drug laws saves lives,” Sessions said in a statement. “I commend every service member who has helped us in our mission to keep the American people safe, and I thank them for this indispensable contribution to public safety.”
In addition, the Coast Guard has thwarted 600 suspected smugglers since the beginning of the fiscal year and delivered them to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Also Wednesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the construction of a border wall with Mexico.