Gov. Greg Abbott cuts $1.5 million in funds for Travis County for sheriff’s immigration policy

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Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Gov. Greg Abbott withheld $1.5 million in grants for Travis County after Sheriff Sally Hernandez enacted a policy to not comply with federal immigration agents Wednesday, according to the Texas Tribune.

“We are in a legislative session — we are working on laws that will, one, ban sanctuary cities, remove from office any office holder who promotes sanctuary cities and impose criminal penalties as well as financial penalties,” Abbott told Fox News last week.

The County lost the Criminal Justice Grant from Abbott’s office after Hernandez said, starting today, she would not allow immigration agents to detain undocumented immigrants held in local jails without a warrant. Immigration Agents make detainer requests to investigate jailed undocumented immigrants, and Hernandez said in a video last week these requests only ask but do not require local law enforcement to fulfill them.

“I will not allow fear and misinformation to be my guiding principles as a leader sworn to protect this community,” Hernandez said in a statement from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. “Our community is safer when people can report crimes without fear of deportation.”

Abbott said last week he would seek a bill to remove elected officials who do not comply with federal immigration enforcement. Hernandez said she will comply with detainer requests without warrants from a judge only for undocumented immigrants who commit sexual assault, murder or human trafficking, according to the Statesman.

On Tuesday during his State of the State address, Abbott made banning sanctuary cities an emergency item to discipline those protecting undocumented immigrants from federal immigration enforcement.

“Elected officials cannot pick and choose which laws they will obey,” Abbott said. “Some law enforcement officials in Texas are openly refusing to enforce an existing law. That is unacceptable.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick filed Senate Bill 4 banning sanctuary cities, and the bill is set for a public hearing on Thursday at 8 a.m.