~ Friday, July 28, 2017
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Good Morning (Buenos Dias) Thank you Director Michael Bayer for your kind introduction, and more importantly, for your leadership here at the ILEA.
On behalf of President Trump and the United States, it is an honor to be here with you all today.
It is a special honor to join you –the forty graduates- who will leave here today to fight for the rule of law and against violent crime-in your countries, your communities, and on every street corner.
Partnerships between our law enforcement agencies are increasingly important because of the threats we face have been growing.
We are all facing a deadly lucrative international drug trade. Drugs are killing more individuals than ever before in large part thanks to powerful cartels and international gangs.
Today, we are gathered not far from the headquarters one of the most vicious and brutal gangs on earth known as MS-13.
MS-13 is based here in El Salvador, but its tentacles reach across Central America, Europe, and through 40 U.S. States, and to within yards of the U.S. Capitol.
With more than 40,000 members worldwide-including 10,000 in the United States-MS-13 threatens the lives and wellbeing of each and every family anywhere they exist and everywhere they infest.
MS-13 members brutally rape, rob, extort, and murder.
We see this here in El Salvador, in the United States, and now in many other countries worldwide.
Guided by their motto: Kill, Rape, and Control, they leave misery, devastation, and death in their wake.
But at the U.S. Department of Justice, we have motto too: justice for victims and consequence for criminals.
This is our motto and that is our mission.
Fulfilling that mission will require each of us to use every lawful tool that we have. One of the most powerful tools we have is our cross border collaboration.
MS-13 might have cliques and programs, well so do we: we have our program of international partnership. It is only through this multi-lateral coordination that we will be able to effectively thwart the scourge of transnational criminal organizations.
I will tell you, it has been incredibly humbling and an inspiration to me to observe the leadership, bravery, and commitment of Attorney General Menéndez. You have a real warrior here.
Approximately 700 gang members charged in the last 48 hours. It is bold and decisive action like this that will ensure that good prevails over evil.
Thank you, General Menéndez.
Back in February, just weeks after taking office, President Trump issues an executive order that asked us to enhance the protection and safety of our law enforcement, this is a critical mission for the department of justice period. Law enforcement is a noble profession and one that demands respect.
We work every day at the department of justice to recognize the vital work of our law enforcement and to honor their mission. It is a high calling to wake up each day to protect and serve.
And today, each of you carry on this tradition.
I have been blessed in my life. I served in the United States Army reserves, and was a federal prosecutor for 14 years. I have been a state attorney general, a United States Senator, and now my country’s Attorney General.
It is an honor I never expected nor one I ever would have thought possible.
And while there are good days and bad days in any job, one thing has been clear to me, it is a privilege to serve one’s country in law enforcement to wake up each morning and fight the fight for the rule of law.
That is what you do. It is hard work and often thankless, but the right to be safe in your community is the right on which all the others are based.
We are your partners in this fight and you have our thanks.
Partnering with our allies has proven invaluable to our law enforcement efforts, and that just underscores why institutions like the International Law Enforcement Academy is so important to our work.
ILEA improves the working relationships between our country’s police forces.
By working and learning together through ILEA’s courses, our law enforcement officers build trust, which is the most critical component of any relationship.
And of course, ILEA makes better partners by training us to do our jobs more effectively.
ILEA helps fight corruption and violence by fostering a culture of respect for law and commitment to the common good.
Your being here today is proof positive that you share that commitment.
The United States Department of Justice remains committed to working with each and every one of you to fight crime.
While no two countries or even cities face the precise same situation, we face many of the same threats and can benefit from many of the same tactics and policies.
I want to thank you all for making a commitment to this difficult, but noble work.
God bless you all.
And I look forward to working with each of you to make our countries-and our hemisphere safer.