Published: Fri, January 27, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Abbott proposes removing any officeholder who 'promotes sanctuary cities'

Gov. Greg Abbott says he wants a law that will allow him to remove local officials who won't hold criminally- charged immigrants for possible deportation.

The sheriff's policy, which she said will be effective February 1, will only honor immigration detainers when the suspect is booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and "continuous smuggling of persons".

"These are state legislators who regularly talk about how things should be left for local government to handle until it's something like helping the vulnerable, helping the poor, or protecting immigrants, ' said Casar, who thinks the legislature's actions are "laughable".

It was not immediately clear how legislation would remove Hernandez from office. Travis County got nearly $1.8 million from the division over the past year "based upon the commitment that federal immigration law would be enforced", according to the letter.

The tweet seemingly stems from a Travis County Sheriff's Office video, in which Sheriff Sally Hernandez said her department would no longer accommodate requests from Immigration Customs Enforcement to identify or detain undocumented immigrants.

Abbott, who attended Trump's inauguration, is now effectively threatening to carry out the president's promise on a state level. Abbott has previously warned local officials against adopting sanctuary policies but has not delivered such a direct ultimatum before now.

Hernandez did not respond to the letter. In the previous fiscal year, Travis County received about $10 million in direct and pass-through funds from the federal government, according to county officials.

All 20 Republican state senators signed their own letter Wednesday to Hernandez that called her policy a "reckless and blatant political stunt".

"Under your reckless policy, for example, unsafe criminal aliens convicted of felonies like murder; aggravated assault; human trafficking, including child sex trafficking; aggravated kidnapping; inducing sexual performance by a child or indecency with a child; risky gang activities; and the manufacture or delivery of deadly substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, GHB, PCP and ketamine will be turned loose into Travis County without permitting ICE the opportunity to collect them".

"We are working on laws that will one ban sanctuary cities, remove from office any officeholder who promotes sanctuary cities, impose criminal penalties as well as financial penalties", Abbott says.

Abbott similarly threatened Dallas County in 2015 over how the local jail worked with federal immigration authorities. She won her election previous year. Once upon a time, those deeply held values offered unbridled hope to refugees from war and privation - whatever their race or religion - and to immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families, "yearning to breathe free".

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