TX county could be without nearly $2 million in funding over 'sa - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TX county could be without nearly $2 million in funding over 'sanctuary cities' dispute

Gov. Greg Abbott Gov. Greg Abbott
Senator Charles Perry pushing for legislation to end sanctuary cities (Source: KCBD) Senator Charles Perry pushing for legislation to end sanctuary cities (Source: KCBD)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is threatening to cut nearly two million dollars in funding to one of the state's largest counties.

Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, a Democrat elected in November, announced last week that she is scaling back with federal immigration agents in detaining suspected illegal immigrants.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, she said on February 1, the would only honor so-called immigration holds or "detainers" placed by federal authorities only when a suspect is booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault, and "continuous smuggling of person."

According to that report, federal agents must have a court order or arrest warrant signed by a judge for the jail to continue housing a person whose immigration status is in question.

Governor Abbott responded by tweeting, "The Governor's Office will cut funding for Travis County adopting sanctuary cities. Stiffer penalties coming."

This is in direct opposition to SB 4 filed in November of last year by District 28 Senator Charles Perry. 

Senator Perry said the bill, which aims to eliminate sanctuary cities, makes it clear that government entities cannot undermine the rule of law by ignoring immigration laws. 

The legislation includes colleges and universities who intend to follow the example of sanctuary cities.

This bill also pushes for officers to have more information when investigating a crime.

For example, if an officer pulls someone over for a traffic violation, Senator Perry wants the front line officer to have the discretion to ask the person if they are a citizen without punishment under the authority they work on.

"You can't stop someone based solely on inquiring of their immigration status, that is discrimination and it's violating a constitutional right, so we are not going down that road. But, assuming an officer stops someone, and they go to their car and there is no digital footprint available, that individual doesn't exist anywhere. In this day and time, I think that is a pause as an officer I might want to know why that person isn't showing up somewhere in my system.

"Secondly, as an example, sex trafficking has become the new drug if you will for the cartel; it's the new money maker. So if there are individuals in that vehicle that just in observation or inquiry doesn't understand quite where they are going or why they are here or can't answer some common sense questions and the officer feels like there is a reason to kind of have an immigration status at that point, I want the officer to feel and have the tools in the tool chest to ask those questions without fear of retribution from the authorities," Senator Perry said.

Senator Perry also wants to see changes in the courtroom.

Right now, a magistrate does not know the citizenship status of an individual when determining a bond amount.

"I think it is only logical that a magistrate is making a decision to release you on a bond, that [the magistrate] ought to know if you are a flight risk because you are technically not a citizen within the state, you are undocumented," Senator Perry said.

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