Texas Gov. Lays Down The Law Against Sanctuary City Sheriffs

The guardians of sanctuary cities may soon be facing jail-time in the Lone Star State.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he’s itching to sign state legislation that could imprison county sheriffs in the Lone Star State if they refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement authorities.

Abbott is an avowed foe of the so-called sanctuary movement, which is a key component of today’s left-wing activist repertoire. Its supporters are the soft-headed souls who carry protest signs emblazoned with the red-herring of a slogan “no human being is illegal” and who apply all the usual smear-adjectives – including racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic – to anyone who supports having secure borders. The movement gave illegal aliens permission to rob, rape, and murder Americans by, among other things, stigmatizing immigration enforcement.

Some left-wingers use the dreadful euphemism “civil liberties safe zones” to describe sanctuary jurisdictions. The phrase blurs the distinction between citizens and non-citizens by implying illegal aliens somehow possess a civil right to be present in the U.S.

Abbott, a Republican, is fed up with local governments refusing to hand over illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

One of the worst offenders is Travis County, home to the state capitol in Austin.

Citing a recent ICE report, Abbott has noted “there were 206 instances nationally during the first week of February where law enforcement agencies had declined ICE detainers, with 70 percent of the declines coming from Travis County,” according to Texas Monthly. This means Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez (D) refused to honor ICE detainers issued for 142 illegal aliens, whom the liberal magazine quite predictably describes as “unauthorized immigrants.”

The ICE report “is deeply disturbing and highlights the urgent need for a statewide sanctuary city ban in Texas,” Abbott said, adding:

The Travis County Sheriff’s decision to deny ICE detainer requests and release back into our communities criminals charged with heinous crimes—including sexual offenses against children, domestic violence and kidnapping—is dangerous and should be criminal in itself. Texas will act to put an end to sanctuary policies that put the lives of our citizens at risk.

A few days ago Abbott elaborated.

“We have been pushing a piece of legislation in Texas that is going to pass that I will be signing into law that imposes even sterner penalties on counties,” Abbott said on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

It will include things such as further defunding them. It will impose fines. And it could impose jail time for these sheriffs to enforce the laws. Oddly enough these sheriffs could wind up behind the very bars they are releasing these criminals from.

Abbott implemented a policy in 2015 that requires all Texas sheriffs to certify they cooperate with detainer requests from ICE. Failing to cooperate can lead to a loss of funding through the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division. The governor has already held back $1.5 million in funding from Travis County for its refusal to cooperate with ICE. 

In a distinctly Madisonian speech on different Texas legislation last week, Abbott made it clear he believes local governments shouldn’t be allowed to run wild.

America isn’t the “United States of Municipalities,” he said as he backed an unrelated economic development bill that preempts local regulations. 

“It would be far simpler and frankly easier for those of you who have to run your lives and businesses on a daily basis if the state of Texas adopted an overriding policy and that is to create certain standards that must be met before which local municipalities or counties can establish new regulations,” Abbott said. He called the proposed measure a “broad-based ban on regulations at the local level unless and until certain standards are met.“ 

“The goal here is to make it far easier for businesses to conduct operations in the state of Texas that deal with cross-city and cross-county lines,” Abbott said.

How is this related to a crackdown on sanctuary jurisdictions? Well, it isn’t exactly but it offers an intellectual framework that could help stiffen the spines of other state governors on the sanctuary cities issue.

Abbott said that the U.S. Constitution is the “predominant doctrine” where local control is concerned, citing the Tenth Amendment. That amendment delegates power that is not already vested in the federal government to the states and the people — not the cities, as the governor has noted. 

In other words, cities are creatures of state government and when they arrogate powers to themselves – such as refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement – it is perfectly legitimate for states to bend those cities to their will. The illegal alien-loving Republican governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, could take a lesson from Abbott.

Abbott’s announcement about cracking down on sanctuary-embracing sheriffs came after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions unveiled plans last week to move forward with stripping sanctuary jurisdictions of federal funding. More than $4.1 billion in Department of Justice grants are at stake in the current fiscal year. Sessions reckons that the offending state and local governments will have to begin cooperating with ICE because they won’t be able to afford to continue flaunting federal immigration law. The U.S. government also intends to rescind grants already made.

Abbott praised the move at the time.

I applaud today’s bold action by Attorney General Sessions that aims to end sanctuary city policies that endanger American lives. After years of the previous administration turning a blind eye to this issue, the federal government is sending a clear and necessary message that the laws of this land are going to be enforced.

While Sessions was speaking to reporters at the White House last Monday, local officials and open-borders advocates from across America met in Manhattan to devise new ways to frustrate immigration enforcement. The two-day conference was hosted by Urban Justice Center, a local nonprofit that has received $621,280 from George Soros’s philanthropies since 1999. It was moderated by the unhinged leftist New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D). Last month she accused President Trump of “ethnic cleansing” for wanting to remove illegal aliens from the country.

Gov. Abbott rejects the left-wing talking point that nothing should be done that makes illegals reluctant to report crimes to the police.

“Well it’s a bogus argument, because here’s the premises of that argument,” he said. “They’re saying that they are going to promote obeying the law by promoting lawlessness, so it’s a flawed strategy.”

And that flawed strategy comes from the thinking of leftists and other open-borders fanatics, which by definition is flawed.

These people will come up with any argument, no matter how convoluted or nonsensical, to prevent the United States from enforcing its own sovereignty.