Texas Governor Moves Against Sanctuary County

440px-greg_abbott_by_gage_skidmore11056546_814772561936445_7014694705004167086_oI have been discussing the likely confrontation between the Trump Administration and various “sanctuary cities” which have pledged not to cooperate with federal authorities in the deportation of illegal immigrants. I believe that cities like New York City will face a rude awakening when they calculate just how much they received in federal grants that could be withheld by Attorney General Jeff Sessions or the Administration. Now that scenario is playing out in Texas where Gov. Greg Abbott is threatening to cut funding for Travis County after Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced the county would be scaling back its cooperation with federal immigration. Hernandez could trigger a perfect storm of having both state and federal fundings cut back in a county that is deeply dependent on such funding.

Starting Feb. 1, sheriff’s officials will begin honoring so-called immigration holds or “detainers” placed by federal authorities only when a suspect is booked for capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and “continuous smuggling of persons.” That is an oddly short and arbitrary list. What about other forms of assault and battery? How about gun smuggling or racketeering or major drug charges? It is also not clear why one has to be “continuous” in the business of smuggling people or how one defines “continuous.”

Hernandez will require that the feds get a court order or arrest warrant signed by a judge for the jail to continue housing a person whose immigration status is in question. She insists that “The public must be confident that local law enforcement is focused on local public safety, not on federal immigration enforcement. Our jail cannot be perceived as a holding tank for ICE or that Travis County deputies are ICE officers,” Hernandez said.

Now here’s the question. What if Sessions insists that the public may want the federal government to focus on federal crimes and cut all local and state funding in the criminal justice area? How about federal assistance in turning over federal prisoners with detainers for state crimes? The feds could adopt the view that they are not their problem and release them. This could be a dangerous game of chicken with the public most at risk from the release of some of these prisoners with violent history that are not covered by the relatively short list released by Hernandez.

The county may not have to wait for a decision from the feds. Abbott has said the state is likely to move by cutting off funding. That would mean the loss of $1.8 million in grants, which is hardly crippling for an office with $169 million budget, but it is also not chump change at around one percent. The federal hit could be greater. More importantly, if Hernandez is going to obstruct federal enforcement, she may find less cooperation in a host of other areas.

The coming weeks will see if these confrontations are going to worsen but the politics are not promising for compromise. That would result in the type of confrontation between federal and state authorities that we have not seen on such a large scale. There are over three dozen such cities. It could lead to some interesting constitutional challenges over conditions tied to federal funding. In 1987 in South Dakota v. Dole, the Supreme Court upheld federal conditions that withheld highway funding from cities that did not enforce the federal drinking age. However, the Court noted that the amount was not so high as to be coercive in the denial of state authority over this area. Ironically, these largely liberal cities may rely the most on a ruling against the Obama Administration. In 2012, the Court found such coercion in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, when the Court struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that would have blocked federal Medicaid funding to states that did not adopt a Medicaid expansion.

The result could be a major reconsideration of what constitutes coercion from federal conditions. I have never been a fan of federal conditional spending. I have a hard time with the notion of the federal government taking more in taxes than its needs only to send the money back to the states with conditions on how they handle traditional areas of local and state authority. Having said that, the Court has allowed such conditions and these cities may have to make a choice between defying the federal government or accepting hundreds of millions in federal support for the criminal justice system.

What do you think?

127 thoughts on “Texas Governor Moves Against Sanctuary County”

  1. “Hernandez will require that the feds get a court order or arrest warrant signed by a judge for the jail to continue housing a person whose immigration status is in question. She insists that “The public must be confident that local law enforcement is focused on local public safety, not on federal immigration enforcement. Our jail cannot be perceived as a holding tank for ICE or that Travis County deputies are ICE officers,” Hernandez said…”

    Why the hell not? I’m a member of the public. I’d like to think my local jail is a holding tank for ICE.

    1. With her name and her county and consider the voter base it’s easy to see what she’s got in mind. Re-Election. In any case all the costs of illegals should be born by the federal government including schools, medicine etc. as well as the law suits and reparations for turning loose those who are previous felons, Regaining the money is no biggie. All those countries get foreign aid and most if not all send trade goods to our borders. Just add it in the regular costs tariffs etc. so the fed can regain what they reimburse to the schools, medical facilities, courrts and jails etc. The mechanics of that are not rocket science.

    1. If we could only get some of our full time moochers to work at any jobs at all. I’m afraid with welfare so lucrative the new formula will have to be total welfare times two for minimum wage and that still might not be enough. I’m thinking a new rule which is something on the order of three job offers refused no more welfare might be in the near future.

      With the new tax system personal income will go up and so will tax receipts and that means money for the new infrastructure construction jobs. Also more states are going away from the union only model. Chances are though we’ll have to import labor legally.

      Only problem I forsee is in going to the Swedish model of drastically reduced welfare is dealing with home grown criminals. Starting with employers and of course the usual with politicians.seems to be a real problem with that class. The economic model looks good this time around.

      We’ll have to wait and see.

    2. If rehabilitation is the point of our penal system (penitentiary being derived from penitent) I’d also like to see the violent offenders get jobs upon release. Maybe this is an unpopular position, but I don’t believe the option of forcing them to live under a bridge and beg for a living is the best option for society.

      Going back to a life of crime starts looking attractive.

    1. 18 seconds flat to follow the links. Both Brietbart and Squeeky provided all the links necessary except. HOW to follow links and do research.

      10 results (1.61 seconds)
      Search Results

      IGS poll: Californians oppose sanctuary city policies | Berkeley News
      Sep 4, 2015 – Almost two out of three Latinos said they oppose such policies. … The online survey, which polled 1,098 California residents from Aug. 11-26, found that 74 percent of respondents said local authorities should … 73 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of … You Might Also Like.

      Sanctuary Cities: Restricting law enforcement risks public safety – Alipac
      2 days ago – 1 post – ‎1 author
      An IGS-UC Berkeley poll shows that 74 percent of Californians want sanctuary cities ended; 65 percent of Hispanics, 70 percent of independents, 73 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans. Recognizing strong public concern, California’s law enforcement organizations should speak out …

  2. If accurate, this is very interesting!

    Roughly 74 percent of California residents want to see an end to sanctuary city policies, according to a poll by UC Berkeley.

    The issue to end sanctuary cities in the state crosses racial and party lines, with 65 percent of Hispanics registering their agreement, while 70 percent of independents, 82 percent of Republicans, and 73 percent of Democrats feel the same.

    During President Donald Trump’s term, sanctuary cities could see a cut in federal funding and pushback from the Department of Justice under likely Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  3. State and local governments must cooperate with federal immigration laws. It makes no sense otherwise.

    We have a legal immigration system, as well as an asylum process. The poor come here legally every day.

    Nick – Eeew. You’re right. That is one of many the loopholes in the short list of when they law actually applies.

    Now, why can’t I have the law arbitrarily not apply to me? I’m honest and hardworking. So what laws do I get to claim do not apply? Hmmmm, maybe I will refuse to file taxes, citing illegal aliens who work under the table and use identity theft to navigate living here illegally, without getting deported. That’s 3 different laws they are allowed to break. Heck, they get protestors marching and attorneys working pro bono, as well as insurance subsidies to buy car insurance with less benefits than we legal citizens are required to buy. So I should be able to claim precedent. Which 3 laws may I now break because I am honest and hardworking, and still be considered not a criminal?

  4. The Feds have made child porn prosecutions a priority. Since this Sheriff does not include child porn on her arbitrary and capricious list, Austin[Travis County] will not only be a sanctuary city, it will now be a magnet city for child pornographers. Gives a whole new meaning to the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

  5. http://cis.org/Sanctuary-Cities-Map There are hundreds of sanctuary cities and counties. Many are small towns and counties. There are 4 sanctuary states and those include CO NM CA and CT. If Sessions decides to pursue this it will get very interesting for all involved.

    1. SWG – if Sessions really goes after the states, the train to nowhere will never get out of the station.

  6. In a few major cities the Federal Bureau of Prisons has Metropolitan Correctional Centers. These are Federal jails for inmates awaiting deportation or trial. In the vast majority of jurisdictions in the US, the Feds contract w/ county and city jails to house Federal detainees.

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