Just elected Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said that she doesn’t plan to collaborate with the federal agencies that handle immigration activities.
This didn’t sit well with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said “As sheriff your primary duty is to ensure the safety of the residents of Travis County,” he wrote Monday in a letter addressed to the sheriff. “However, your recent policy directive … betrays your oath and the residents of Travis County. I strongly urge you to reverse that policy before its effective date of February 1, 2017.”
“This is not a pronouncement of sound public policy; it is a dangerous game of political Russian roulette — with the lives of Texans at stake,” he continued.
Abbott also stated that if Hernandez doesn’t change his policy any time soon (before February 1 to be exact), she and her county would lose valuable funding.
The Governor’s Office will cut funding for Travis County adopting sanctuary policies. Stiffer penalties coming. https://t.co/yYxeXql3xL
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 20, 2017
Austin news station KVUE stated that this refers to the county’s Criminal Justice Division funding. Last year, around $1.8 million were given for the same purpose.
Local judge Sarah Eckhardt also engaged in the station’s interview and pointed out that these changes may interfere with the proper handling of the county’s juvenile justice system.
“It hits the sheriff’s office very little at all,” she said. “It hits the county attorney’s office, the district attorney’s office, the civil court system and the juvenile probation system. It hardly touches the sheriff’s department.”
Still, she failed to state that there are risks for the youth in the county in these actions remain unchanged:
“Under your reckless policy, for example, dangerous criminal aliens convicted of felonies like murder; aggravated assault; human trafficking, including child sex trafficking; aggravated kidnapping; inducing sexual performance by a child or indecency with a child; dangerous gang activities; and the manufacture or delivery of deadly substances … will be turned loose into Travis County without permitting ICE the opportunity to collect them,” he wrote.
However, the sheriff’s official policy states that department “officials shall not conduct or initiate any immigration status investigation into individuals in … custody or provide information on an inmate’s release date or address to ICE.”
This means, in other words, that criminals get to have a free pass.
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