TX Governor Issues Major Threat to Police Over Sanctuary Cities

Governor-elect Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday November 5, 2014, the morning after he was elected. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Within moments of new Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s announcement that she would no longer be fully cooperating with federal immigration agents, Texas Gov. Gerg Abbott smacked back.

“The Governor’s Office will cut funding for Travis County adopting sanctuary policies. Stiffer penalties coming,” he tweeted.

This week, Sherriff Hernandez notified the county that it would no longer be complying with federal agents’ hold requests in many cases. Consequently, the county could lose up to $1.8 million in grants that are only available to jurisdictions that comply with the rule.

Abbott is disgusted and wants no more “sanctuary cities” in Texas.

The Travis County Sheriff’s office has a $169 million budget. The cut would represent about one percent of the budget, but already members of the Texas Legislature are willing to further punish Travis County.

Under the previous sheriff, the county has honored nearly all requests from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to hold a suspect booked into jail when agents want to further investigate their status.

However, the Austin American-Statesman reports, effective Feb. 1, sheriff’s officials will honor immigration holds only if a suspect is booked on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault, or suspicion of human trafficking.

Otherwise, federal agents must have a court order or an arrest warrant to continue holding a person.

“The public must be confident that local law enforcement is focused on local public safety, not on federal immigration enforcement. Our jail cannot be perceived as a holding tank for ICE or that Travis County deputies are ICE officers,” Hernandez said in a video announcement.

This sounds like a classic showdown between the state and local law enforcement. With President Trump on his side, it’s going to rough-going for Sheriff Sally Hernandez.

The left, however, couldn’t be happier:

Greg Casar, an Austin city council member who has opposed unlimited deference to federal immigration authorities, praised the sheriff’s policy announcement.

“Her policies will help all families, immigrants or not, feel more comfortable reporting crime to law enforcement,” Casar said in a statement Friday. “ This is especially important in District 4, where over a third of our population is made of up immigrants. Sheriff Hernandez’s policies focus on community trust and public safety over politics.”