Texas Governor Greg Abbott is cracking down on illegal immigration in the Lone Star State and is going to make life more difficult for sheriffs refusing to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention requests.
Gov. Abbott’s plan will bar Texas sanctuary cities that are not honoring ICE detainers from receiving grant money gifted by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD).
An ICE detainer or immigration hold is a notice given by officials with the Department of Homeland Security instructing local, state and federal law enforcement to apprehend and/or detain illegal immigrants accused of crimes.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) November 4, 2015
“I am establishing new standards for Sheriff’s Departments that seek grants from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD),” said Gov. Abbott in a statement to Breitbart Texas.1
“Beginning now, all CJD grant awards will require that Sheriff’s Departments fully honor ICE’s detention requests for criminal immigrants. Any applicant that cannot certify that their office will honor all ICE detainers for criminal immigrants will be ineligible for CJD funding.
“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.”
Texas sanctuary cities will “no longer be tolerated”
Recognizing ICE’s increasing reluctance to enforce the law regarding illegal immigration, which many have criticized as being a “catch and release” program, Gov. Abbott said it’s more important than ever to uphold detainers issued by the agency.
“Given this weakened standard, it is particularly imperative that Texas [s]heriffs fully participate with ICE’s detainer program so that every single federal detainer request for a criminal immigrant is honored,” wrote Gov. Abbott.
“More broadly, it is vitally important that Sheriffs lead by example and enforce the rule of law.”
Gov. Abbott’s announcement follows Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez’s decision to only honor ICE detainers on a “case-by-case,” even in instances when a non-citizen has a felony, reported Breitbart Texas.2
In early October, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said she that she will no longer detain legal and illegal immigrants who have been jailed for minor offenses.3
Valdez planned to refuse upholding ICE detainers even in some felony cases
Sheriff Valdez said that legal and illegal criminal offenders in Dallas County will not be held for an additional 48 hours for ICE officials as the city had done in the past. The move mirrors about 300 other cities and counties that have also agreed to restrict their cooperation with ICE.
To counter moves like Sheriff Valdez, Gov. Abbott is considering modifying the Tort Claims Act in order to hold counties “fully financially responsible for the actions of any illegal immigrants who are released because the county’s Sheriff failed to honor an ICE detainer request.”
He may even make it illegal for Texas sheriffs to ignore ICE detainers.
In his written statement, Abbott concluded that “[a]s Governor, I simply will not allow CJD grant funding administered by this office to support law enforcement agencies that refuse to cooperate with a federal law enforcement program that is intended to keep dangerous criminals off Texas streets.”