WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer extended an invitation Monday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to tour New York City via subway “at 4 a.m.” and see for himself that it is safe.
Schumer, a Democrat from Brooklyn, took issue with the U.S. Department of Justice’s criticism last Friday of New York City as “soft on crime.” The agency is seeking proof of compliance from New York City, among other so-called sanctuary cities, on federal immigration laws.
“We are a safe city,” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” crediting the NYPD. “And by the way, New York has grown from 7 million people in 1990 to 8.5 million today, the largest of any city, because crime went down.”
The senator said he isn’t worried when his daughters ride the subway overnight and added: “I’ll be happy to ride the subway at 4 a.m. with Jeff Sessions.”
Sessions indicated his respect for the NYPD as an institution but did not take back the “soft on crime” statement made in a Department of Justice news release.
“For four decades, New York has been a fabulous city for law enforcement,” he said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “They have developed some of the best techniques ever.”
Sessions commended the leadership of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a fellow Republican, as well as community-based policing and the NYPD strategy of targeting quality-of-life crimes with the so-called broken windows approach.
“That was a statement that went out dealing with the sanctuary-city situation,” he said, adding that the Sergeants Benevolent Association has agreed: “This is a soft-on-crime policy.”
A Department of Justice spokeswoman did not respond Monday to a request for comment on Schumer’s remarks.
City officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, have said they will not heed federal orders to detain immigrants who are in the country illegally if they have not committed a major crime.