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Abbott responds to sanctuary city policy, cuts $1.5 million in grants for county

Governor cuts criminal justice funding over Travis County’s new immigration-related directive

A white blond middle-aged woman with a blue Vote Sally Hernandez sign in front of a mural depicting Aztec and African-American figures and themes
New Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, pre-election, at the Carver Library
Sheriff Sally Hernandez/Facebook

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.

Gov. Abbott Cuts Off Grants to Travis County Over 'Sanctuary City' Policy [KUT]

Abbott to seek law to remove Texas sheriffs who don’t help immigration officials [AAS]

Sanctuary cities: What you need to know about Trump’s executive order []

Travis County sheriff announces new "sanctuary" policy [Texas Tribune]

Could Austin, Travis County face funding hit over immigration stance? [AAS]