Gov. Abbott makes eliminating sanctuary cities an emergency item

Hours before new Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez limits her deputies' cooperation with federal immigration authorities, Governor Greg Abbott made eliminating "sanctuary cities" in Texas an emergency priority for the legislative session.

At the State of the State address on Tuesday, Gov. Abbott declared removing sanctuary cities as his second emergency item, behind a CPS overhaul.

"Some law enforcement officials are openly refusing to obey the law, that is unacceptable," said Governor Abbott followed by a standing ovation.

Since announcing it a little over a week ago, Sheriff Sally Hernandez has refused to alter the county's new immigration policy that will restrict deputies' compliance with federal detention requests. The policy would also end access for U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents to county detention centers.

"If they feel like they're going to be separated from their families and be deported, it makes it much harder for them to cooperate with law enforcement," said Sheriff Hernandez

In response, Abbott has vowed to cut funding to multiple local criminal justice programs, like efforts to rehabilitate veterans, juveniles and victims of family violence. He also said last week he would try to remove Hernandez from office is she doesn't change her mind on the policy.

"It's unfortunate our state leaders are taking that approach," she said

Hernandez's policy would require court orders or signed warrants before deputies could act on ICE detainers.

Despite threats from Gov. Abbott, Sheriff Hernandez said she felt it was her job to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.