Cutting off state funding for Travis County law enforcement will be just the first shoe to drop. There is also state funding to the City of Austin which will be under review. Further, President Trump has vowed to go after sanctuary cities by cutting federal funds to those cities. There is simply no justification for city and local governments to be spending millions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money on people who are breaking the law simply by being here.
Soon after newly elected Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced she would be scaling back her department’s cooperation with federal immigration agents, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that his office will cut funding “for Travis County adopting sanctuary policies.”
This week, the American-Statesman reported that she had notified the county that it would soon no longer be complying with federal agents’ requests in many cases. The county consequently could lose up to $1.8 million in grants because the governor’s office requires compliance in order to receive grants.
Gov. Greg Abbott said via Twitter in response to the Statesman’s report, “I’m about to up the ante. No more sanctuary cities in Texas.”
The Travis County sheriff’s office has a $169 million budget, according to the county’s budget website. The $1.8 million would represent 1 percent of that budget.
In a major policy shift that is already being met with controversy, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez on Friday announced that she is scaling back the amount of aid her department provides federal immigration agents in detaining suspects who may be in the country illegally.
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.