Travis County Sheriff “Sanctuary Sally” Hernandez joined with four other Texas sheriffs to declare that “FBI crime statistics have found that labeled ‘sanctuary’ cities experience lower rates of all crime types, including homicides.” Fact checkers at PolitiFact, a left-of-center watchdog, said no such FBI report exists, but labeled their statements “Half-True.”
In opposition to the then-pending Senate Bill 4, legislation that makes law enforcement officials in sanctuary jurisdictions subject to civil and criminal penalties if they ignore immigration detainers, Sheriff Hernandez joined with Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles, and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, in an op-ed published in the Austin American-Statesman. PolitiFact looked into claims made by the sheriffs and rated their statement as “Half-True.” Politifact defines “Half-True” as “The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.”
“In my book, a ‘half true’ for an open borders study from Politifact means it was definitely bogus,” Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughn told Breitbart Texas on Wednesday evening. “It means ‘we would like it to be true but it wasn’t.’”
After declaring the FBI report cited by the sheriffs of Texas five largest counties did not exist, PolitiFact went on to try and salvage their statement.
Travis County Spokesperson Kristen Dark told PolitiFact the sheriffs drew their claim from what the fact checkers dubbed a “liberal public policy research and advocacy group,” the Center for American Progress. That report claims that 2015 crime statistics in 608 “sanctuary” counties was significantly lower than in counties that were more frequently honoring immigration detainers. PolitiFact then challenged that report because it did not “identify any counties.” The report’s author, University of California Political Scientist Tom K. Wong, responded to the fact checkers and cited a report from the San Francisco-based Immigrant Legal Resource Center. He also forwarded an alleged ICE spreadsheet he said identifies counties that do or do not accept immigration detainers.
The Center for Immigration studies identifies 300 jurisdictions as sanctuaries, according to Vaughan.
After analyzing all of the information they could find on the matter, the publication concluded “Any implication the FBI reached this conclusion is wrong; the agency has not aired such findings.” The fact checkers then backtracked one more time stating, “Still, an outside analysis of 2015 FBI-collected crime statistics supports the idea that communities offering sanctuary to unauthorized residents have less total crime. Then again, that analysis didn’t independently confirm the sanctuary status of each county nor did it fine-tune the crime statistics as much as criminologists would prefer before reaching cause-effect conclusions.”
“On balance, we find the sheriff’s statement Half True,” PolitiFact stated.