Texas Governor Greg Abbott is following through on his vow to cut funding to Travis County after new Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced that her department would be reducing cooperation with federal immigration authorities, specifically on the issue of detaining undocumented immigrants.
KUT 90.5 reported Wednesday that Abbott canceled $1.5 million in criminal justice grants from his office that had been intended for Travis County.
The sheriff’s office’s policy, which also went into effect Wednesday, limits what information local law enforcement will share with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to the KUT story, Hernandez policy directs staff not to honor most warrantless requests to extend the detention of people booked into a local jail, with the exception of those charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault, or human smuggling.
The cuts are the latest salvo in a battle that heated up with U.S. President Donald Trump’s office’s announcement last week that he would sign an executive order to deny federal funding to cities with policies similar to those of Hernandez’s office.
The newly elected sheriff had announced five days earlier that her department would be reducing cooperation with federal immigration authorities. State legislators almost immediately began threats to withdraw state funding, while Abbott tweeted that his office would “cut funding for Travis County adopting sanctuary policies," adding, "Stiffer penalties coming."
Meanwhile, KUT reports, the state Legislature is also taking up the matter with a proposed Senate bill to deny more funding to the county in response to the new policy.
• Travis County sheriff announces new "sanctuary" policy [Texas Tribune]