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Wed Nov 4, 2015, 11:30 PM

Abbott warns sheriffs to comply with federal immigration requests

Gov. Greg Abbott amped up his campaign against so-called sanctuary cities Wednesday, sending a warning letter to all Texas sheriffs that if they don’t fully comply with all federal requests for detaining “criminal immigrants” being held in their jails, he will deny them some criminal justice grant funding under his control.

“I am establishing new standards for Sheriff’s Departments that seek grants from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD),” Abbott wrote. “Beginning now, all CJD grant awards will require that Sheriff’s Departments fully honor ICE’s detention requests for criminal immigrants. 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.”

The letter places Abbott, a fierce critic of federal incursions on state power, in the novel situation of using his authority to demand that local Texas law enforcement officials discard their discretion in fealty to federal immigration policy, a demand the federal government cannot and doesn’t attempt to enforce on its own.

But, in the hot-button politics of immigration, it allows the governor to take a tough stance that wins headlines and plaudits on Fox News — “good job in Texas, I’ll tell you that,” Sean Hannity said last week — and placates the Republican base, while deflecting calls from some legislators and tea party groups for a special session of the Legislature on sanctuary cities and other efforts designed to crack down on unauthorized immigration.

Read more: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/abbott-warns-sheriffs-to-comply-with-federal-immig/npGbk/

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