Sheriff Makes a Run against Texas’s Anti-Sanctuary Law



Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez ignited the Texas fight over sanctuary cities. Now she’s resigning her post and running for governor.

The sheriff from the Big D upped her profile this year when she announced she would only selectively honor detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“This is commonsense,” Valdez explained in nonsensical fashion. “There’s no way that immigration can hold all of the people that are undocumented. There’s no way that I can hold all of them in my jail.”

Local sanctuary policies, such as the one carried out by the Dallas Sheriff’s Department resulted in the Texas Legislature passing Senate Bill 4, requiring local law-enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal authorities on immigration matters. The law subjects non-compliant officials to fines or removal from office.

Valdez made headlines with specious and unsubstantiated claims about supposed benefits of sanctuary cities, repeating the urban myth that sanctuary policies make for safer communities.

In a newspaper column, she and other pro-sanctuary sheriffs asserted, “FBI crime statistics have found that labeled sanctuary cities experience lower rates of all crime types, including homicides.”

That’s news to ICE acting director Thomas Homan, who reported that some 10,000 criminal aliens released by sanctuary cities have committed other crimes nationally.

Valdez complains that SB 4 “coerce[s]local law enforcement to dedicate frequently scarce resources — such as jail space, on-duty officers and local tax dollars — to a job that is supposed to be done and funded by the federal government.” The law, she said, “perpetuate[s]instability by making it impossible for us to effectively direct and manage our deputies.”

Meantime, Valdez has come under criticism for the management her own jail. As the Dallas Morning News tells it: “When we asked why the media is not made aware of escaped prisoners or deaths in custody, [Valdez] responded that it often takes hours for deputies to notify her and implied that this wasn’t a problem because reporters will find out through unofficial sources.”

The sheriff can’t blame ICE or SB 4 for any of that. If Valdez thinks sanctuary polices are the ticket to higher office, she may soon discover that she is out of touch with voters.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)’s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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