Republican governor gives liberal Austin sheriff 'sanctuary cities' ultimatum

"The Caucus stands with Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick and demand she rescind her lawless "sanctuary" policy before its implementation on February 1st", specified Senate Republican Caucus Chair Paul Bettencourt.

Greg Abbott vowed to oust Sally Hernandez, sheriff of Travis County, if she doesn't change her current policy. In all other cases, federal agents will have to issue a court order or an arrest warrant to keep housing a prisoner who may be in the country illegally.

Effective Feb. 1, sheriff's officials will 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 persons". That represents only one percent of the county's budget.

"These are state legislators who regularly talk about how things should be left for local government to handle until it's something like helping the vulnerable, helping the poor, or protecting immigrants, ' said Casar, who thinks the legislature's actions are "laughable".

Abbott has several avenues to potentially remove Hernandez from office.

Hernandez said last week that county law enforcement officials would stop complying with requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold detainees while federal immigration checks are conducted.

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Hernandez's office did not have an immediate comment on Abbott's remarks. "We respectfully urge you to allow the sheriff of Travis County to do her job". "They are unrelated to immigration, and none are under the management of the sheriff's office".

But the fight over sanctuary cities in Texas could shift to Washington if Trump makes good on his campaign promises.

"The public must be confident that local law enforcement is focused on local public safety, not on federal immigration enforcement", Hernandez said in a YouTube video posted Friday. If she continues with the policy, Abbott suggested a more serious punishment.

Gov. Greg Abbott told Fox News on Wednesday that state lawmakers will penalize "sanctuary cities" this legislative session by passing a bill to "ban" them. But it has served as material for Abbott's latest Twitterstorms about cracking down on sanctuary cities, and it gets him on Fox News.

All 20 Republican state senators signed their own letter Wednesday to Hernandez that called her policy a "reckless and blatant political stunt".

Now, many conservative lawmakers believe it should be applied to the Austin City Council when they pass a law banning "Sanctuary Cities". Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) said in a statement.