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Sheriff Hernandez not backing down

Good for her.

Sheriff Sally Hernandez

Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez indicated Thursday she is not backing away from her recently introduced “sanctuary” policy.

Her comments came a day after Gov. Greg Abbott proposed the removal of Hernandez, who announced Friday she would reduce her department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities when they request an inmate be flagged for possible deportation.

“Our community is safer when people can report crimes without fear of deportation,” Hernandez, whose jurisdiction includes Austin, said in a statement. “I trust the court system and our judges to assess the risks and set appropriate bonds and conditions for all who are incarcerated.”

Hernandez, who was elected in November, has said her department would honor requests from federal immigration officials only if they obtain a warrant from a judge ordering the confinement.

See here and here for the background. Sheriff Hernandez clearly has the moral high ground here – people shouldn’t be held without a warrant, minor offenses should not result in deportation, law enforcement needs the cooperation of the people they police in order to be effective, etc etc etc. Abbott, meanwhile, keeps ratcheting up the pressure. Something is going to have to give here. It’s one thing to pick on Travis County, which is a traditional punching bag for Texas Republicans, but will they go after Harris County, too?

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez appeared at this morning’s rally against 287(g), a flawed immigrant removal program.

Gonzalez reiterated his support of immigrant rights and his promise to rid Harris County of the controversial program. He did, however, ask for patience and time to study and navigate its ending because of its ties to federal and state funding, and because he wants to ensure that such a program targets violent and serious criminals. During the press conference, he also reiterated that the program is run within the jail and not out in the field and that his deputies will not be targeting individual suspects because of immigration status.

Local immigrant rights activists are seeking policy changes and strong statements of support to undo programs that target immigrants and have run amok of their stated intents. Programs which basically federalize local law enforcement are flawed and have been a cause for racial profiling, wasted resources, family separation, and downgraded local economies.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, also sought out by immigrant rights activists recently responded with his strongest statement yet.

I certainly wouldn’t put it past Abbott et al to lash out at anyone and everyone who defies him, but at some point it’s not a good luck for him to be fighting with so many big cities and counties. I don’t know how this plays out, but I suspect it will get messy. And kudos to Mayor Turner for standing up and doing the right thing, as numerous Mayors around the country are doing. We’re going to be in for a lot more of this from Trump, so we’d better be ready for it.

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  1. Flypusher says:

    A question for you Charles, since you have spent so much time and effort pouring over the voting data (and we thank you for your work). It’s been said that Hispanic Americans are the “sleeping giant”. There’s been plenty of predictions about when the giant wakes up, but so far none have panned out. It was not unreasonable to think that Trump’s angry scapegoating would be the wake up call, but unfortunately it was not. But here the provocation may move one step further, into actual action. If that wouldn’t wake up that voter bloc, I’m hard pressed to see what would. Would you anticipate Abbott getting much blowback if he followed through? I’m assuming enough potential voters (both Hispanic and non-Hispanic who would object) are there, if they actually chose to exercise the right.

  2. Bill Daniels says:


    I would indeed expect Abbott to receive blowback, from every person who got amnesty from Reagan, from all their offspring, from the grown up anchors since 1986….basically from everyone who got a free pass by the US. It will be interesting to see how the Cubans vote now that the “wet foot, dry foot” policy has been ended, assuming Trump doesn’t reinstate it (he shouldn’t).

    I will say that Abbott and Co. should get support from Hispanics who have been impacted by the crimes of illegals. Also, in the long term, as there is less and less illegal labor and wages rise for Hispanics, I wonder if our citizen Hispanics will see a cause and a correlation. That would tend to help Abbott.

    And remember, Hispanics are family and morals oriented, so they aren’t down with the GBLT cause, the pro-abortion cause, and all the other social issues the Dems have focused recent campaigns on. Black voters are willing to overlook all that, en masse. I think it will be hard for Hispanics to do the same, which is why they don’t block vote at 95% for anyone like the black folks do.

  3. C. L. says:

    @Bill… there’s a Democrat-led ‘Pro Abortion’ cause ?

  4. Flypusher – There’s actually decent evidence to suggest Latinos voted pretty strongly Democratic, though not necessarily at higher-than-expected volume in 2016. Look at HD144 for an example of how much the needle moved from 2012. It’s possible we could see that in 2018, but 1) if it does happen I believe it will be more about Trump than anything else, much as 2006 was mostly a rebuke of Dubya, 2) I think Dan Patrick would be more in the firing line than Abbott, though that could change, and 3) this would require a viable opponent for Abbott to materialize, and so far I’m not sure one will.

  5. Bill Daniels says:


    There was a march last Saturday. I don’t think the marchers were pro-Trump or pro-life.

    @Kuff: I do agree with you that 2018 will be a Trump referendum, and I’d love to see you guys put up a blue dog that could unseat Dan Patrick. Why not Gene Green? If I thought Gene had a chance to unseat Dan Patrick, I’d skip my usual Libertarian protest vote and vote Green.

  6. Bill – I doubt Rep. Green has any interest in that race, but I agree that he’d be a good candidate. Someone with credibility in the business community, who could maybe persuade those guys that Dan Patrick is not with them on a lot of important issues, would have (I think) the best shot at him.

  7. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Based on pcts that are primarily Latino they voted over 80% for HRC here in Harris County.

    Having stated that when you have a woman in Travis County with bigger balls than the guy who just won here in Harris County regarding 287(g), see article

    the people that normally don’t vote will begin to wonder if their vote means anything at all when one supports candidates who promise one thing and then say I need time to consider.

    Trump is very hated by a lot of Latinos.