President Trump links gang crimes to sanctuary cities

President Trump has taken aim, once again, at sanctuary cities. He told a roomful of city leaders at the U.S. Conference of Mayors: “Sanctuary cities are the best friend of gangs and cartels."

He also said the "death rate around sanctuary cities is unacceptable."

KTVU decided to take a closer look at president's remarks to gauge their validity. 

Franklin Zimring, a criminologist at UC Berkeley Law School, says the President's comments aren't supported by crime statistics.  

“You might ask what does this all have to do with the status of California or these cities being sanctuaries, and the answer is, practically nothing,” Zimring said. “They happen to be extremely be safe cities, and they probably would be extremely safe cities whether or not they were sanctuaries.”

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin says Trump is needlessly fanning the flames of anti-immigrant hysteria, without facts on his side.

“Studies show that sanctuary cities are actually safer, because immigrants feel that they can actually go to law enforcement and report crimes,” Arreguin said.

"So the President is wrong once again and, once again, the President is targeting California like he has with marijuana. He's targeted California over immigration because we're a proud sanctuary state."

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt is in Washington, D.C. this week. He said he wasn't invited to hear Trump speak. Butt said he believed the city leaders who were there were all “Trump-friendly mayors."

Butt did say that he “just got out of a session on immigration, where we were reminded that the crime rate among immigrants is less than that of the general population."

Zimring, the UC Berkeley law professor, said, “Linking it to the status or definition of gangs and cartels is the sort of stuff that you're going to have to do in the Department of Rhetoric. You're in the law school now. We only deal with facts."