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Abbott Says He Will Cut Grants To Immigrant-Friendly Sheriffs Departments

Ryan E. Poppe
Texas Public Radio
Gov. Greg Abbott

Texas Sheriffs Departments were put on notice today that if they do not fully comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) notification and detention requests, then Gov. Greg Abbott intends to deny them funding from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division.

In other words, “sanctuary cities” need not apply.

In a letter written to Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Abbott states his office will deny some criminal justice grants to sheriffs departments that “cannot certify that their office will honor all ICE detainers for criminal immigrants.” The letter went on to say, “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.”

Valdez has said in the past that she may not honor those requests if the suspect was arrested for a minor crime. At this time, she has not refused a federal detainer request.

Abbott’s office announced the new standards on Wednesday, just one day after Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau and Bexar County Democratic Chairman Manuel Medina were guests on Texas Public Radio’s The Source where the topic of discussion was “Should San Antonio become a sanctuary city?”

Pamerleau said she notifies ICE about all Bexar County inmates whether they have been convicted of a crime or not, and she leaves it to them to decide who to deport.

Medina said even under the law, the sheriffs office could be more flexible in who is turned over to immigration authorities. He said San Antonio should become a full-fledged Sanctuary City.