Gov. Greg Abbott has sent a response to Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez regarding her ICE detainer policy, warning that not reversing the policy will result in the loss of some funding.
In the three-page letter, available to view at the bottom of this story, Abbott tells Hernandez her directive betrays her oath and the residents of Travis County and urges her to reverse the policy before it goes into effect on Feb. 1.
“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 writes in the letter.
Abbott added his office would directly reach out to Hernandez in the coming days, but warns “Failure to accomplish both of those tasks prior to February 1, 2017, will disqualify Travis County from receiving subsequent CJD (Criminal Justice Division) grant money.” The letter also states Travis County received nearly $1.8 million in CJD grant money in the last year.
Hernandez announced her detainer policy Friday afternoon. The policy will only honor immigration detainers when the suspect booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and "continuous smuggling of persons."
Austin city council member Greg Casar, who has opposed unlimited deference to federal immigration authorities, released the following statement in support of Hernadez's position:
"Sheriff Hernandez’s new policies are a victory for public safety and civil rights in our community. Her policies will help all families, immigrants or not, feel more comfortable reporting crime to law enforcement. This is especially important in District 4, where over a third of our population is made of up immigrants. Sheriff Hernandez’s policies focus on community trust and public safety over politics. Her new policies strive to hold everyone accountable for violations of the law, rather than scapegoating and singling out immigrant communities.
Undoubtedly, Sheriff Hernandez will be falsely accused of skirting the law. It is not Sheriff Hernandez, but rather anti-immigrant leaders like Abbott and Trump who are advocating for policies that have been found unconstitutional: namely, the mass detention of immigrants without any criminal warrants. I hope more counties in Texas will follow Sheriff Hernandez’s example of upholding public safety and constitutional rights."
GO HERE to read a full outline of the policy.