Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued its first ‘detainer’ report, identifying sanctuary cities where local police have released illegal immigrants despite requests by federal authorities to detain them. Travis County, Texas, law enforcement refused to honor 142 out of 206 detainers for aliens with criminal charges, or nearly 70 percent of declined detainers nationwide. Unlike the 13 other Texas sheriffs who are fully supportive of U.S. immigration laws, “Sanctuary Sheriff” Sally Hernandez said that she wouldn’t always cooperate with President Trump’s administration unless Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had a warrant from a judge or if the person was charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault, or human trafficking.
Sheriff Sally’s declaration that her “jail can’t be seen as a holding tank for federal immigration offenders and that the policy change will save taxpayer money” set up a showdown with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has pledged to eliminate sanctuary cities across the state. Immediately after Sheriff Sally’s announcement, Governor Abbott cut state funding to the sanctuary county to the tune of $1.5 million in state law enforcement grants. In an effort to recoup the state funds lost because of Sheriff Sally’s sanctuary policies, Texas State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-TX51) started a crowdfunding page. Instead, the crowdfunding page seems to be a real “crowd loser” raising about $136,000 – less than one tenth of the lost funding.
Losing $1.5 million in state law enforcement grants could be just the beginning for Travis County. Governor Abbott has vowed to take additional action against sanctuary jurisdictions. He has stated Texas is “working on a piece of legislation that will impose criminal penalties, where the sheriff herself can wind up behind bars and, hence, be removed from office, fines that can add up to millions of dollars per year, as well as other penalties.” Further, as a result of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement earlier this week that he will withhold federal law enforcement grants to sanctuary jurisdictions, Travis County may lose millions of federal dollars too.
Sheriff Sally’s policies aren’t just unpopular with Governor Abbott and Attorney General Sessions, they are also unpopular with the American people. According to polling done by Rasmussen last week, 35 percent of American voters support their communities declaring themselves a sanctuary for illegal aliens and 52 percent want to eliminate federal funding for sanctuary jurisdictions.