Texas Governor Threatens Jail for ‘Sanctuary’ Sheriff
Abbott says bill would put Travis County official behind 'bars that she has tried to release people from'
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday showed no sign of backing down in his high-profile battle with the sheriff of Travis County over her “sanctuary” policy. He aims to hit recalcitrant officials on multiple fronts.
Abbott said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that state legislation would hit local law enforcement officials in the pocketbook and even threaten their personal freedom for refusing to comply with federal immigration law.
“It could lead to actual criminal penalties against people like this sheriff for violating their oath of office and, hopefully, put her behind bars — the bars that she has tried to release people from.”
“It could lead to actual criminal penalties against people like this sheriff for violating their oath of office and, hopefully, put her behind bars — the bars that she has tried to release people from,” he said.
Sheriff Sally Hernandez sparked the confrontation earlier this year by announcing a new policy that limits her department’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
“We in law enforcement need the cooperation of our communities of color,” she told “PBS NewsHour” last week. “We need them to be running to us, and not running away from us.”
Abbott responded by cutting off $1.5 million in law enforcement grants to Travis County, which includes the state capital, Austin.
“That was just for starters,” he told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham.
A bill already has passed the state Senate that would put “real teeth” in Texas laws prohibiting sanctuary policies, Abbott said. In addition to criminal penalties, the legislation calls for fines that could total $9 million a year and includes a provision holding uncooperative law enforcement officials civilly liable for crimes committed by illegal immigrants they release from custody.
"What she's done is absolutely reprehensible … She's actually released back out onto the streets very dangerous criminals that federal ICE agents wanted to have detained," he said. "This includes countless individuals who are here illegally who've been charged with felonies. It includes a person who's been charged with sexual assault of a woman, a person who's been charged with sexual assault of a minor."
Abbott also took a shot at the NFL, which has threatened to withhold the Super Bowl and other major events from Texas if it passes a bill to regulate bathroom use by biological sex.
"The NFL needs to butt out," he said. "If they want to get involved in politics, the need to run for office. If they don't do that, they just need to stick to football."