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Texas Governor Cuts Funding To Austin Over ‘Sanctuary City’ Policy

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Texas Governor Cuts Funding To Austin Over ‘Sanctuary City’ Policy

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(Reuters) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott made good on his promise to cut $1.5 million in grant money to Travis County after the county sheriff said she would limit her department’s cooperation with federal immigration officers, county officials said on Wednesday.

Travis County includes the Texas capital Austin, which is a so-called “sanctuary city.”

Abbott spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said the money that would be withheld from Travis County is a series of one-time criminal justice grants totaling $1.8 million. About $300,000 of that has already been spent, but she said the governor would not try to claw back that money.

Sanctuary cities in general offer safe harbor to illegal immigrants and often do not use municipal funds or resources to advance the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Sanctuary city is not an official designation.

In January, newly elected Sheriff Sally Hernandez said in a statement on the Sheriff’s Office website that she was “following all state and federal laws, and upholding constitutional rights to due process for all in our criminal justice system. Our community is safer when people can report crimes without fear of deportation.”

In a Jan. 20 memo seen by Reuters, her office said it would make an exception for people charged with serious crimes like murder, aggravated sexual assault, or human smuggling.

Hernandez was not available to comment on Wednesday.

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, who manages the county’s budget, said on Wednesday that Hernandez’s directive does not violate state or federal law.

“Any of the 254 sheriffs across the state of Texas has discretion to decide whether or not to put their resources toward assisting federal immigration enforcement,” she said in a press conference that was webcast.

“I will do everything I can to protect revenue sources. I believe it is foolhardy for the state to starve itself by starving its own programs,” she said.

In a letter to Hernandez in January, Abbott said her position was “not a pronouncement of sound public policy; it is a dangerous game of political Russian roulette – with the lives of Texans at stake.”

Abbott has voiced strong support for proposed legislation in Texas that would penalize sanctuary cities.

On Tuesday, San Francisco, another sanctuary city, filed a lawsuit challenging a Jan. 25 executive order by President Donald Trump directing the U.S. government to withhold money from cities that have adopted sanctuary policies toward illegal immigrants.

The lawsuit marked the first court challenge over the sanctuary order.

New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, Washington, and Seattle, in addition to San Francisco, offer forms of protection to illegal immigrants, and billions of dollars in federal aid to those cities could be at risk.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in San Francisco; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

IMAGE: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a campaign rally for U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz in Dallas, Texas February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Stone/File Photo

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8 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 2, 2017

    The dark shadow of political conservatism stretches out across America, disrupting lives, creating deeper divisions, weakening America’s image at home and abroad, and further sustaining an already endemic greed.
    Every day, the GOP gives the impression of having awakened from some fitful sleep with images of how to stick it to the country, ready to implement further hardships on the nation the next day. What a demented collection, with selective amnesia of their ancestors’ emigration, and immigration, to these shores.

    Reply
  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 2, 2017

    The dark shadow of political conservatism stretches out across America, disrupting lives, creating deeper divisions, weakening America’s image at home and abroad, and further feeding and sustaining an already endemic greed, and a primitive fear of other cultures and peoples.
    Every day, the GOP gives the impression of having awakened from some fitful sleep with images of how to stick it to the country, and create deeper divides by implementing policies that create further hardships.

    What a demented collection of Congressmen and Congresswomen, all afflicted with selective amnesia of their ancestors’ emigration, and immigration, to these shores.

    Reply
  3. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

    remember when conservatism wasn’t just about being racist un-American scum who would sell out the nation to a foreign dictator in a heartbeat?

    well, no, probably you don’t – but your grandparents might.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 February 2, 2017

      Yeah! Trump has added an even more special evil dimension to a political party that has been especially corrupt over the past 50 year – ever since Nixon created Treason by sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks. But even since Teddy Roosevelt was in office (the past 110 years almost) the GOP has been the party of economic doom – always working to trash our economy with the party’s mindless notion of operating our government on the cheap (always insisting on using mindlessly stupid austerity).

  4. Nativegrammy February 2, 2017

    Amazing conservatives like Abbott insist “government” is bad…..however I have never seen a group so Hell bent to control and destroy everyone’s lives by THEIR form of governing by attacking people’s differing opinions, what they can or cannot protest about, women’s health restrictions in the extreme, attacking any and all things to restrain any rights for the LGBT community, hoping to kill health insurance for millions, and hey while at it, Republicans seem “committed” to sneak by destroying Social Security and Medicare, getting rid of most regulations, one they eliminated today allowing coal companies to dump coal crap into streams and rivers, surreal, along with blowing holes in the deficit/debt by providing obscene tax cuts for the wealthy, etc., etc., They never, never seem to learn, we have already been here, done that! CONTROL IS AN ILLUSION Republicans!!! There will be a price to pay for their destruction derby in 2 years just like the racist/bigoted Tea Party movement did in 2010, with the apparent over whelming numbers for those against Trump and Republican ideology that is determined to attacking average Americans lives and futures!!! The anti Trump organizing groups being a far larger voice of disapproval of his “policies, behavior” and with reason and in far greater numbers, 60% in the anti Trump/Republican movement being approved by Americans, compared to the 39% that was approved of in the Tea Party movement! And if the last two weeks are any indication of what the next 2 years will be like, that over whelming percentage will only get larger and louder and more committed!!!

    Reply
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  6. Badtux February 3, 2017

    So Abbott says that the sheriff’s action impairs public safety, thus takes action to improve public safety by doing what? Getting a court order or law to force her to do what he thinks is necessary for public safety? Nope. He instead takes away resources the sheriff needs in order to improve public safety. In what universe does that make sense? Since when does taking money away from public safety, improve public safety?!

    Reply
  7. Budjob February 3, 2017

    The U.S.A. is full of fucking Fascists,and Nazis,and it would appear that we are going to have to rid this country of them,VIA good old fashioned violence!

    Reply

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