Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a new plan to strip state grant funding from county sheriffs with a Sanctuary City policy of not honoring ICE detainers. The move follows Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez’s order that criminal illegal aliens in her jail will be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if ICE detainers will be enforced.
“I am establishing new standards for Sheriff’s Departments that seek grants from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD),” Governor Abbott wrote in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Beginning now, all CJD grant awards will require that Sheriff’s Departments fully honor ICE’s detention requests for criminal immigrants. Any applicant that cannot certify that their office will honor all ICE detainers for criminal immigrants will be ineligible for CJD funding. Further, any applicant that certifies full compliance with ICE detainer requests—but subsequently fails to honor an ICE detainer—will be subject to claw-back provisions and must refund the full amount of their CJD grant award.”
The governor pointed out that ICE has been weakening its own standards about when they will issue detainers under the new Priority Enforcement Program enacted this year by the Department of Homeland Security. Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby reviewed this program in a January, 2015 article. Darby called the program “Catch and Release 2.0.”
“Given this weakened standard, it is particularly imperative that Texas [s]heriffs fully participate with ICE’s detainer program so that every single federal detainer request for a criminal immigrant is honored,” the governor wrote. “More broadly, it is vitally important that Sheriffs lead by example and enforce the rule of law.”
On October 26th, Abbott announced that Sanctuary City policies in Texas will “no longer be tolerated.” This action revoking funds shows immediate action by the governor who has also suggested new legislation to be considered by the 2017 Legislative Session. Among the suggestions by Abbott was modification of the Tort Claims Act to hold counties “fully financially responsible for the actions of any illegal immigrants who are released because the county’s Sheriff failed to honor an ICE detainer request.” He also suggested new laws making it illegal for a Texas sheriff to ignore an ICE detainer.
These actions follow Dallas County Sheriff Valdez’s order to scale back on honoring ICE detentions.
Abbott concluded his letter by stating, “[a]s Governor, I simply will not allow CJD grant funding administered by this office to support law enforcement agencies that refuse to cooperate with a federal law enforcement program that is intended to keep dangerous criminals off Texas streets.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.