In response to the "sanctuary cities" debate and one Texas sheriff's challenge to not comply with federal law enforcement's request on detained immigrants, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has warned the withdrawal of future state funds.

Last month, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez issued a new policy that her jail will not detain immigrants on behalf of immigration officials past the detainee's release date. Her action is often referred to as "sanctuary city" policy, which limits the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), from cooperating with local law enforcement.

Abbott immediately opposed Valdez's new policy.

In a letter addressed to Valdez on Nov. 4, Abbott wrote that it is "particularly imperative" for Texas sheriffs to full follow with ICE's detainer program. He said sheriffs should "lead by example and enforce the rule of law."

Abbott announced new standards for sheriffs seeking grants from his Criminal Justice Division (CJD).

"Beginning now, all CJD grant awards will require that Sheriff's Departments fully honor ICE's detention requests for criminal immigrants," wrote Abbott. "Any applicant that cannot certify that their office will honor all ICE detainers for criminal immigrants will be ineligible for CJD funding. Further, any applicant that certifies full compliance with ICE detainer requests -- but subsequently fails to honor an ICE detainer -- will be subject to claw-back provisions and must refund the full amount of their CJD grant award."

Abbott said he will not allow CJD grants' release to local law enforcement who refuse to follow with the federal law enforcement program "that is intended to keep dangerous criminals off Texas streets."

Based on an attachment to the letter, CJD funds at risk includes grants to drug courts, the Body-Worn Camera Program, Residential Substance Abuse Treatment and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevent Act.

As Latin Post reported, groups such as the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), a civic engagement group in the Lone Star State, have supported Valdez for not complying with ICE.

"Valdez, relying on her and her officers' law enforcement experience, and research that shows that cooperation with immigration enforcement erodes the trust of the community, made the best choice for her department and for her county. She should be applauded for doing the right thing, even while knowing it would pit her against the governor and his tea party cohorts," said Brianna Brown, director of TOP's Dallas County office.


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