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Published On: Wed, Jan 25th, 2017

Texas Gov Greg Abbott threats Travis County Sheriff, Sally Hernandez against ‘dangerous’ sanctuary city stance by holding funds

In response to an Austin sheriff implementing a ‘sanctuary city” policy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott threatened to withhold funding to the county unless the policies are reversed by February.
The newly elected Travis County Sheriff, Sally Hernandez kept her campaign promise to scale back aid to federal immigration agents, establishing a “sanctuary city” in Austin. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “detainer requests” allowed inmates to be held until their legal status could be investigated.

Effective February first, the Travis County Sheriff department would overturn this policy.

Under the new policy, Hernandez would only comply with voluntary detainer requests from ICE under court order, or if the inmate was charged with either murder, aggravated sexual assault, or human trafficking.

Inmates would not be held for ICE to verify their legal status.

Greg Abbott photo/ Gage Skidmore

In a two-page memo, Hernandez states that her job is to protect the residents of Travis County “regardless of their immigration status.”

In response, Gov. Abbott sent an official letter, calling her policies “misguided,” “shortsighted,” and “dangerous,” saying that under her policy, dangerous inmates “will be turned loose into Travis County without permitting ICE the opportunity to collect them.”

Abbott told Hernandez that if she does not reverse her policy before it is enacted, her country would be disqualified from receiving grant money from the Criminal Justice Division (CJD).

“Unless you reverse your policy prior to its effective date, your unilateral decision will cost the people of Travis County money that was meant to be used to protect them,” Abbott wrote in the letter.

To Twitter:

“And I’m about to up the ante. No more sanctuary cities in Texas. #txlegehttps://t.co/YIyYdBkL1x — Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 18, 2017

The only funding Gov. Abbott can stop comes from the CJD, which is controlled by his office. Travis County received about $1.8 million of that grant money last year, only amounting to about one percent of the total sheriff department’s budget, according to the county’s budget.

In the past, Governor Abbott threatened to defund other “sanctuary cities” in Texas, but never followed through in withholding any funds.

Hernandez did not respond to the letter, but posted a YouTube video explaining her reasons for her controversial policy, saying that previous policies tied up her deputies and sowed distrust between officers and residents.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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  1. Texas: Immigration, sanctuary bill called ‘racial profiling law’ | The Global Dispatch says:

    […] He also said the law was especially needed after Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced in January her department’s intentions to redu…. […]

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