Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he will begin denying some state dollars to "sanctuary cities" that don't fully cooperate with U.S. immigration authorities.
The announcement Wednesday is the Republican's latest embrace of cracking down on local governments that conservatives criticize as giving refuge to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.
Abbott told Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez that his office will deny some criminal justice grants to counties that refuse federal detainers to keep immigrants jailed. Valdez has said recently she may not honor the requests if the suspects were arrested for minor crimes.
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Despite those statements, Valdez has yet to refuse a federal detainer request at the nation's seventh-largest jail.
Dallas County has received about $78,000 this year from the program that Abbott is now restricting.
Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan issued the following statement:
"Governor Abbott's threats are misguided and misleading. He fails to acknowledge that ICE has already approved the immigration policy enforced by Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. He also fails to acknowledge that our sheriff is not releasing immigrants who pose a threat.
Abbott's characterization of immigrants jailed for traffic violations as 'dangerous' is baseless and only adds fuel to misplaced anti-Latino sentiment. There is no justification for requiring Dallas County taxpayers to foot the bill for holding non-dangerous offenders whose release dates have passed. Abbott does not offer to reimburse counties for these post-release holds, nor does he offer to reimburse counties who get sued for holding human beings past their release date.
We support Sheriff Valdez, and we support local control. Before he was elected Governor of Texas, Abbott also supported local control. He needs to back off and let Sheriff Valdez do her job, protecting the citizens of Dallas County."