U.S. Representative John Culberson asked the Department of Justice to certify Travis County as a sanctuary jurisdiction and declare it ineligible for federal law enforcement grants. The move by the Texas congressmen follows a declaration by the Travis County sheriff that she will no longer, with certain limited exceptions, honor federal immigration detainers.
Culberson, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, sent a letter to acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Q. Yates forwarding a copy of Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’ new policy restricting cooperation with federal immigration officials. He stated, “the President recently signed an executive order requiring ‘the Attorney General, and the Secretary [of homeland security], in their discretion and to the extent consistent with the law, [to] ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S. C 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes’.”
Culberson stated the law requires the attorney general take appropriate enforcement action against any entity that violates that law, or “which has in effect a statute, policy, or practice that prevents or hinders the enforcement of Federal law.”
“On its face,” Culberson wrote, “the Travis County policy clearly appears to violate 8 U.S.C. 1373. I ask you to review this policy and to determine what actions to take if the policy is a violation.”
Culberson also requested a list of grants for which Travis County has applied.
Following Culberson’s insistence last year, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to investigate a list of about 300 sanctuary jurisdictions and certify the top ten jurisdictions not in compliance.
“The law requires cooperation with immigration officials 100 percent of the time,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview. The OIG completed the certification list in May 2016, but it took until November for the DOJ to make the certifications public, Breitbart Texas reported at the time.
“The days of receiving federal money while protecting illegal aliens are over,” Chairman Culberson told Breitbart Texas in November.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott wasted no time in stripping Travis County of approximately $1.5 million in state law enforcement grants after the policy went into effect on February 1.
In the first two days of her sanctuary policy, “Sanctuary Sally,” a nickname given to Sheriff Hernandez by her opponent during the campaign, released 39 criminal aliens who immigration officials requested be held under an immigration detainer.
“This is why I declared banning sanctuary cities an emergency” Gov. Abbott Tweeted. “Texas will hammer Travis County.”
Culberson seeks to make sure the federal government does the same thing.