Late last week, according to the Austin American- Statesman, the newly elected sheriff of Travis County, Texas, Sally Hernandez, vowed to limit cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials saying that she would only honor immigration holds for suspects booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and "continuous smuggling of persons".
Traditionally, the county has honored nearly all requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold a suspect booked into jail when agents have wanted to investigate their status further.
However, effective Feb. 1, sheriff's officials will honor so-called immigration holds or "detainers" placed by federal authorities only when a suspect is booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and "continuous smuggling of persons."
Otherwise, federal agents must have a court order or arrest warrant signed by a judge for the jail to continue housing a person whose immigration status is in question, according to Hernandez's policy, which she released Friday.
"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.
Of course, the declaration from Hernandez drew an immediate reaction from Texas Governor Greg Abbott who promptly promised to cut state funding for the rogue Travis County and take steps to enact "stiffer penalties" as well.
The Governor's Office will cut funding for Travis County adopting sanctuary policies. Stiffer penalties coming. https://t.co/yYxeXql3xL
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 20, 2017
According to Vocativ, the Travis County Police Department receives $1.8 million in annual grants from the state of Texas. That said, at roughly 1% of their overall police budget, we suspect the the funding shortfall won't be a sufficient deterrent for Travis County's defiant new Sheriff.
Abbott, a Republican, has threatened to withhold nearly $1.8 million in state law-enforcement grants following Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s decision to buck state law and no longer honor all jail detainers sought by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A detainer is a request to state and local jails to notify federal agents when they are about to release an undocumented immigrant from custody.
“This is not a pronouncement of sound public policy; it is a dangerous game of political Russian roulette — with the lives of Texans at stake,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Hernandez on Monday. “Unless you reverse your policy… your unilateral decision will cost the people of Travis County money that was meant to be used to protect them.”
Of course, Trump also repeatedly vowed during his campaign to cut federal funding for sanctuary cities, a move that he is expected to officially confirm later today, along with a series of other national security initiatives, during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security.
Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
With that, it seems the time has come for many of America's liberal cities to: (a) get used to policing their streets with smaller budgets or (b) actually start enforcing laws.
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