© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Border & Immigration

Gov. Abbott Threatens To Withhold Law Enforcement Money From Sheriff Departments

Ryan E. Poppe
Gov. Greg Abbott Draws Line In Sand With County Sheriffs


Gov. Greg Abbott is threatening to withhold law enforcement money from counties that don’t inform federal immigration officials about undocumented immigrants.  


Gov. Abbott has come out vehemently against Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez’s policy on holding undocumented immigrants.  She refuses to hold them an additional 48 hours after they’ve finished serving time for minor criminal offenses.


In a letter announcing his position Abbott wrote:  “Beginning now, all state criminal justice grant awards will require that Sheriff’s Departments fully honor federal immigration detention requests for immigrants. Any county sheriff office that cannot certify that will be ineligible for state funding.”


San Antonio Attorney Marisol Perez specializes in immigration policy and represents clients that have been accused of violating federal immigration laws. 


“From an immigration lawyer perspective and I think from just a community-based perspective, the governor has taken several actions during his post to get in the business of enforcing federal immigration law,” Perez said.



Perez said it’s unfair to require county sheriffs to hold minor offenders longer when they may simply have an expired visa or have lost their paperwork.


But the out-going president of the Sheriff Association of Texas Andy Louderback said Gov. Abbott’s policy makes sense.


“Well it’s to follow the law.  I think that’s what the governor’s purpose is with that,” Louderback explained.



The Governor’s office says any sheriff office caught violating the new policy will be forced to refund the state law enforcement grant.  Over the past year the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division has given out over 4-million dollars in state grants to county sheriff offices across the state.