BOZEMAN - Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the country's chief lawyer, visited Montana Thursday to deliver a speech to a Montana police group.
His speech to the Montana Police Protective Association didn't come without controversy.
Sessions' talk touched on crime, violent offenses, drug trafficking, and immigration across the southern border.
He told the crowd that 2017 showed a drop in violent crime nationwide with a flattening of the homicide rate. He predicted that as result of Trump's presidency, 2018 will show even more of a decline.
Sessions also spoke about the nation's drug epidemic, and claimed that heightened border security would result in a decrease of drug trafficking, drug use and deaths.
He did address recent media coverage of young children being separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border.
Sessions responds that media reports of nearly 1,500 children missing as result of immigration practices are "fake news," although several news reports indicate that an administration official was on the record when he told a Senate committee about the missing children in late April.
"Hundreds of illegal aliens die each year trying to make it into this country," Sessions said. "In many cases children are trafficked, abused or accrued by criminal gangs, we all know that. No one should subject their child to such a treacherous journey. Yet the open border lobbyists are actually encouraging it every day. This is what happens: after the apprehension of adults by the Department of Homeland Security, the children are cared for by the Department of Health and Human Services, not a law enforcement agency, not a jail instituion, and they are transferred in DPHHS custody within 72 hours of being picked, and they are held and treated very carefully, and they are well cared for."
Sessions also claimed that Congress "has the power" to fix immigration tomorrow, but chooses not to.
Meanwhile, more than two dozen protestors gathered outside the hotel where Sessions spoke to make their voices heard. They carried signs criticizing Sessions' immigration policy. Many protesters said they were extremely concerned about the recent reports of missing immigrant children, and expressed the need to care for immigrants in general.
"What would it feel like to have your children ripped from you?" asked Billie Warford, who used to work for the Montana Early Childhood Project. "Do we want to send a message to [people from] countries that are coming here illegally not to come? Let's think of a better way to do it than using children as pawns in a political game."