Gov. Greg Abbott and Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez. Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Martin do Nascimento
Gov. Greg Abbott has followed through on his threat to cut off state funding for Travis County over its new “sanctuary” policy.
Abbott’s office said Wednesday it has canceled criminal justice grants it usually administers to the county, whose sheriff, Sally Hernandez, recently announced her department would reduce its cooperation with federal immigration authorities when they request an inmate be flagged for possible deportation. The policy was set to go into effect Wednesday.
The move appears to target about $1.5 million Travis County was due to receive this year from the criminal justice division of the governor’s office. The division doled out $1.8 million to the county last year and has already paid out roughly $300,000 in 2017.
Hernandez, whose jurisdiction includes Austin, has showed no signs of backing down from the policy, even after Abbott raised the prospect she could be removed from office. The move came a day after Abbott named banning so-called “sanctuary cities” one of four emergency items in his State of the State speech.
Democrats had pushed back on Abbott’s threat to withhold the grant money by noting it funds programs that help children, women, families and veterans. But the Republican governor has held firm, saying his No. 1 concern is public safety.
Abbott’s move Wednesday was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.
Related Tribune coverage:
- Gov. Abbott demands Travis County reverse new “sanctuary” policy.
- Travis County sheriff announces new “sanctuary” policy.
- Six years later, fight over anti-sanctuary cities bill has changed.
Author: PATRICK SVITEK – The Texas Tribune