In response to a newly elected Sheriff’s refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, Gov. Greg Abbott is doubling down on efforts to curtail illegal immigration and holding the officials who refuse to cooperate responsible.
Newly elected Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez recently stated that she will only honor federal immigration detainers if the suspect in question is booked on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault, or “continuous smuggling of persons,” stating, “[the office] will not increase our liability or set unwise public safety priorities simply to ease the burden of the federal government.”
In response, Gov. Abbott has ceased grants from the Governor’s office to departments who refuse to comply with immigration detainers, and is also pressuring lawmakers to pass meaningful immigration reform, including a ban on sanctuary cities.
“We are going to crack down on this and ban sanctuary cities in Texas,” Abbott stated. “These sheriff’s offices receive grants from the governor’s office in the state of Texas, we are cutting off those grants to any sanctuary city. But however, 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.”
Sanctuary city legislation has come up in past sessions, only to die at the hands of the coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans governing the Texas House. This past session, State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) killed the same legislation the governor is now championing in the State Affairs committee.
However, this session, with the governor throwing his weight behind these reforms, it will be more difficult for the House cartel to get away with quashing these agenda items. However, their success under the dome will still require the dedication of concerned constituents making phone calls and contacting their respective legislators to ensure that these reforms get the vote they deserve.