Abbott pulls state grant money to Travis County

As threatened.

Sheriff Sally Hernandez

Gov. Greg Abbott has followed through on his threat to cut off state funding for Travis County over its new “sanctuary” policy.

Abbott’s office said Wednesday it has canceled criminal justice grants it usually administers to the county, whose sheriff, Sally Hernandez, recently announced her department would reduce its cooperation with federal immigration authorities when they request an inmate be flagged for possible deportation. The policy was set to go into effect Wednesday.

The move appears to target about $1.5 million Travis County was due to receive this year from the criminal justice division of the governor’s office. The division doled out $1.8 million to the county last year and has already paid out roughly $300,000 in 2017.


Democrats had pushed back on Abbott’s threat to withhold the grant money by noting it funds programs that help children, women, families and veterans. But the Republican governor has held firm, saying his No. 1 concern is public safety.

“The Governor is willing to sacrifice veterans, women and children to garner political points,” state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, said in a statement Wednesday. “Governor Abbott must be held accountable for playing politics with the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, went even further in a statement, saying Abbott’s “vindictiveness is more like Russian President Putin’s authoritarian regime than our democracy.”

See here, here, and here for the background. As the Statesman notes, the grants “support projects such as family violence education and a special court for veterans”, so way to get tough there, Greg. One point five million isn’t nothing, and Abbott is looking for more leverage to use, but I feel reasonably certain Travis County could cover the difference if it wants to. Looking over their fiscal year 2017 budget, there’s $169 million allocated to the Sheriff’s office, with another $105 million in reserves. My guess is Abbott will need to find a considerably larger stick to get their attention. But we’ll see, and if the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill passes this year, plus whatever horrors Congress and Trump conjure up, things could change.

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22 Responses to Abbott pulls state grant money to Travis County

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Seems like Sally is OK with tossing veterans, women and children under the bus in order to virtue signal, so she and Abbott have something in common. The convenient part of this is, some of those veterans, women and children will be victimized anyway, at the hands of illegal aliens, so their lives really didn’t matter much anyway.

    Finally Abbott is doing something I agree with. Maybe he can get Dan Patrick in on this too, and maybe Dan will forget about harassing transgender people for a while.

  2. Flypusher says:

    The reason I keep hearing from law enforcement officials who don’t want to assume the additional responsibility of immigration enforcement is that it makes people in the Latino neighborhoods distrust them, which hampers their ability to investigate crimes. I heard Houstin Pokice Chief Acevedo express that same concern on the radio yesterday. To him, immigration was a civil matter, and not in his jurisdiction. His priority was criminal matters, and he needed people who had information to not be afraid to come forward. Who are we supposed to believe in such a matter, Trump and Abbott, or people like Hernandez and Acevedo who are dealing first hand with these issues?

    As I’ve said before, let the Feds do the Federal tasks. Hire more people to work immigration if that’s what it takes. If the rich have to take a smaller tax cut, so be it.

  3. Neither Here Nor There says:

    So much hate Bill, you have a black heart. I do also but I reserve it for the commie loving Russian Republicans. That would be those unpatriotic Americans who support the Russian puppet who was elected with their help.

    Besides Greg Abbott is the one that is punishing Veterans, victims of Domestic Violence and juveniles. The Sheriff doesn’t handle that grant money.

    Besides everyone knows that is white racist Republicans that will victimize that group of people. That would include so called Libertarians that don’t know that it means open borders, unlike the Koch Brothers. Did you realize that they were Libertarians who believe in free borders and trade?

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Hey Neither:

    Everybody has a copy of your playbook nowadays, and guess what….it no longer works. (See 2016 election)

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.”

    I only point this out because I have a modicum of compassion for you, looking stupid by continually using the same failed tactic over and over, with predictable results. You want to win me to your side? Convince me by giving me a respectful, reasoned position why you are right.

    One of my best friends is a social worker, and he changes my opinion when he speaks my language… explaining how the work he does keeps Texans out of institutions, and thus, he is saving the taxpayers more money than they spend on working to keep mentally challenged people as independent as possible. Compare and contrast that to your approach: “Hey, Bill hates retards. He’s the worst person on Earth.”

    I doubt this little in-service will help you, but like I said, I have some compassion for you. I’m willing to give it the old college try to explain this to you…..again.

    I’m a Libertarian (explaining why I occasionally agree with Kuff, even if I arrived at the same answer in a different way), but am really warming to the populist/nationalist message, especially on illegal immigration, since I can go out daily and see the damage it causes. I could care less about the Koch brothers. I never got one bit of business from calling on their companies in my field, and furthermore, they didn’t support Trump. On the plus side, they aren’t paying people to riot (like another billionaire that shall remain unmentioned), but that isn’t enough for me to support them.

  5. Steve Houston says:

    I’m curious why the discussion has made this matter an “all or nothing” venture. How about some compromise? And if the modest grant funds involved aren’t enough, expand the ban to favorable legislation and other grants to the county in question once you define the parameters of what constitutes a sanctuary city/county in the first place.

  6. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill your hate for illegals is not going to change. Your heart, the black is set in stone.

    By the way I used the same argument you used, but you seem to take offense to that. All I did was change it from illegals to “Commie loving Russian Republicans. That would be those unpatriotic Americans who support the Russian puppet who was elected with their help.”

    You were saying Bill?

  7. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill have a great day, think about what I stated above, if I can’t change your mind of blaming the illegals for every evil in this country, using your same logic why would I expect to change your thoughts or beliefs. That change has to come from you. Jesus called it forgiveness, while you may not think I am capable of that I am. I harbor very little ill will to anyone. I said very little because sometimes I read things that would make it difficult to forgive. But in time I do. Well I still think that Inquisition was wrong and Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao not to mention the atrocities in Cambodia are difficult. to forgive.

  8. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Steve when the shoe changes and the “Liberals” control Texas remember that what goes around comes around. Those small town Republicans rely on government handouts much more than the large cities. “Liberals” just need to use the same Republican playbook.

  9. Bill Daniels says:


    Those commie loving Russian Republicans? They are CITIZENS. We can’t deport them, just like McCarthy couldn’t deport the Russian loving commies in the 50’s. We are stuck with American undesirables, however you define them. You are again using a false equivalency. Citizens=can’t deport. illegal aliens/undocumented immigrants/vatos sin papeles? [Maury] You CAN deport them! [Maury]. (I hope you read that in Maury’s “you ARE the father” voice). 🙂

    We are NOT stuck with people here illegally, and that’s where your argument fails bigly. People here illegally who commit crimes, say DWI, family assault, shoplifting, rape, burglary, carjacking, etc. are people we can do something about, but Sally has chosen for the rest of us NOT to do anything about it, not to keep people safe, and it effects all of us, not just Travis county, because people are mobile these days. A criminal let go in Austin may very well find him or herself in Houston.

    I don’t have to scapegoat illegals for everything wrong in society to recognize that they do not belong here, especially the criminals and the ones on the dole. We have more than enough American criminals for everyone to enjoy.

    And if (when) the Dems gain control of the Texas government? Heck yeah, slash and burn welfare. Please. Cut it hard. That way, we can get rid of Republicans, Dems, and anyone else that isn’t pulling his or her weight. No arguments here. Send them to California. CA likes freeloaders, apparently.

  10. Intervenant says:


    My understanding is that our Texas cities (Houston, Austin, Dallas…) DO hold and transfer to ICE illegal immigrants that have committed violent and property crimes. This includes assault, shoplifting, rape, burglary, carjacking, for example (but I’m not sure about DUI). The illegal immigrants that are being released are those that are arrested for non-violent crimes and misdemeanors.

    In addition to the other arguments put forth, there is a fiscal argument here. The time it takes ICE to pick up these individuals can be months. Is it worth the cost to the city to hold someone who committed a misdemeanor for MONTHS? I don’t know for certain, having not run a cost-analysis, but my feeling is probably not. I would prefer that cash-strapped Houston cops and jails prioritize violent and property crimes regardless of immigration status of the perpetrator. Unfortunately, our jails are at (over, actually!) capacity and our cops are spread too thin to do it all.

    To me, the full statements by Sheriff Hernandez and Chief Acevedo seemed to acknowledge this limitation of their departments (and point out other arguments), and did not suggest that they would be releasing every illegal immigrant they arrested. Maybe you’ve seen something I haven’t though?

    That being said, if the Feds (or Abbott) want to step in and take care of the cost and infrastructure to take this on, it would be a totally different debate.

  11. Flypusher says:

    “Heck yeah, slash and burn welfare. Please. Cut it hard. That way, we can get rid of Republicans, Dems, and anyone else that isn’t pulling his or her weight. ”

    Get a 100% employment economy going, then we can talk about cutting the safety net.

  12. Steve Houston says:

    Neither, Texas was under democrat control for over 100 years until the mid 1990’s, the GOP learning all the tricks of the trade from them, not the other way around. I’m neither democrat or republican, both parties having gone off the deep end too much to side with. And from what I’ve seen up close and personally, the big cities get far, far, FAR more government assistance than the small town hicks do, any large scale handouts in the sticks going to a very small number of insiders compared to the largess handed out so freely to the masses in big cities.

    So let the GOP go too far and things will change once more, blue to red and back again until the political parties drop their litmus tests and loyalty clauses, the bulk of the population demands immigration reform of one sort or another and should have it. I find no fault with the logic of demanding those here illegally getting kicked out when committing crimes and withholding handouts to them, preferring a work vista program for others that are willing to work and stay out of trouble. Illegals are not the only problem facing us but they are a problem that needs to be addressed so fix it one way or another lest a lot more feel the wrath of the public too.

  13. Flypusher says:

    “That being said, if the Feds (or Abbott) want to step in and take care of the cost and infrastructure to take this on, it would be a totally different debate.”

    Yep, and that’s how you tell the difference between a politician who actually wants to help solve a problem, and one whose top priority is establishing dominance.

  14. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill there you go off on a tangent, who said about deporting we already are living in a country where the president of the United States was placed there with the help of a foreign nation, thanks to all those commie loving Republicans.

    So Steve do you think that the Republicans of today would have freed the slaves. I said liberals as opposed to Democrats. Many older Republican politicians were Democrats when they needed that to be elected. Politicians are like an octopus they will change colors to match the political landscape.

    Bill California is the 6th largest economy in the world, I always wonder why states that are nowhere near that like to bash California. They send a lot more money to the Federal Government than they get back.

    Yes, I believe that government should take care of the poor, the empire that lasted the longest did that for a reason.

  15. Steve Houston says:

    If we were still burdened with the slave issue that our forefathers seemed so fond of kicking down the curb for so long, I think selling the GOP on freedom would merely take an economic argument (point out that you can pay them less than it took to take care of them as property and purchase them in the first place) while convincing the democrats would require a lot more effort (different area democrats have markedly different needs, pure economics alone would not work for them as a whole). Otherwise, there are plenty of RINO’s out there too, the general public believing most politicians are willing to sway with the wind just so long as it personally benefits said politicians.

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    “Yep, and that’s how you tell the difference between a politician who actually wants to help solve a problem, and one whose top priority is establishing dominance.”

    Sounds good, except Sally didn’t present a fiscal argument why she would not report to ICE that she has detained illegal aliens. Sally instead virtue signaled, because we are the world, kumbaya, etc.

    If Sally had presented her objection as cost related (something that would resonate with me, by the way), that would put Abbott on the hot seat, to either pay up, or shut up, but that isn’t how this all went down.

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    From the Texas Tribune article Kuff linked to:

    “Bob Libal, the executive director of watchdog group Grassroots Leadership, said Perry’s bill opens the door to local leaders being bullied by the state’s leadership.

    “Threats to localities that are trying to do right by their residents is a big problem,” Libal said. “It threatens to make our communities less safe.”

    Libal also said that demanding local entities comply with ICE will lead to mass deportation that would also sweep up nonviolent offenders.”

    Let’s remember this is a spokesman for the pro-illegal camp, and even HE admits there would be mass deportation, when we factor in all the nonviolent offenders that got swept up in it. Think about that. Mass deportation means that massive amounts of illegals are getting caught committing crimes. Offender=criminal. That hardly jives with the “they are just here to work and are less likely than citizens to be involved in criminal activity” talking point.

  18. Flypusher says:

    No doubt a fiscal argument would strengthen her stance, and I hope she ads it. Also re-emphasize the policing argument. As for the political/ ethical argument she’s using, she’s playing to her voter base just like Abbott and Trump play to theirs. Also from what I’ve heard she’s not opposed to turning people over if the Feds do their jobs and issue the appropriate warrants. So we’re back to do your own jobs, Feds.

  19. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Yeah Steve, change the topic, I stated “Liberals”. When one has a weak argument change the topic. An economic argument surely you jest, white racists have been voting against their economic interests for a long time, became bigely in the 60s.

    But I will ask you this Steve what is the economic argument of building that wall?

    Bill your last argument fails the logic test.

    I already sent Austin some money to help the veterans, victims of domestic abuse, and juveniles that Republican like folks hate. Maybe the veterans haters could put that money that they withholding to help veterans to good use and fix some of the country to market roads that are full of pot holes.

  20. Steve Houston says:

    Neither, keep in mind that it was “YOU” who changed the subject to ask about slavery, a sticking point in the history of the Democrats given their opposition to freedom while Republicans pushed the measure through. And the GOP has a great many flaws but certainly no lock on racism when you look at the history of the democrats, just as “white racists” are not the only kind of racists, despite your attempts to change the subject yet again.

    The “Wall” will benefit some more than others, just like every other boondoggle public works project in history. Those building it, those advising the builders, and those that contract to man the stupid thing will all make out quite well. Those that would be victims of the people it will allegedly keep out of the country could also be said to benefit just as those who own businesses that compete with companies that use illegal labor will benefit.

    And given the minute amount the grant consists of as part of their budget, the county can easily shift other resources to cover the grant if it was REALLY about those poor downtrodden vets, victims of violence and juveniles, the county is just as guilty of politicizing the threat, if not more so, just as you are. Like I said, figure out a work visa program, toss the criminals in jail before deporting them (preferably offering Mexican authorities their going rate to house said criminals in Mexican prisons), and everyone will benefit.

  21. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Steve, there you go again, putting words where none existed. I asked a question about the present day Republicans, which used to be the “Liberal” party.

    Boondoogle project, can you be more specific what would be the same? Who is the wall helping, can you be specific. Don’t mention the people building it of course they benefit from the construction, besides them. Again what is the economic benefit of the wall, I am using that as a criteria since you brought that it had economic benefits.

    Steve you want to charge Mexico for the cost of incarcerating Mexicans in our jails? Why not just send them over and let them house them? You know that is not a reasonable argument.

    While I did send them money, I personally would just close the programs and write everyone a letter saying that Greg Abbott stopped the money as they were not deemed worthy. Heck maybe we need more DPS along the border, right?

  22. Steve Houston says:

    Manuel, again, YOU tried to change the subject. And you again misunderstood my comment regarding jailing the criminals deported, by all means use US money to jail them in Mexico or their home countries where they belong (it’d be cheaper than letting them serve their sentences here).

    I don’t favor the wall or wasting DPS troopers patrolling the border. I think the benefits of it would be minimal and then only to a small subset of the populace but a great many others in the state and country favor the idea. To them, illegals are the bane of modern society and contribute nothing other than cheap labor, at best. So my plan would be to throw them a bone, get rid of the criminals and allow those willing to work a chance to stay legally. By letting their home countries house the criminals in their jails, it would save a great deal of money even if we pay for it, plus it frees up space for the home grown criminals.

    Come on Barrera, is that really rocket science to you? Financially, it does benefit those who build and maintain the wall. Just as local developers hold great sway in public policy, so too do those who buy influence on a larger scale. It also financially benefits those who are hired to man the wall and the resulting bureaucracy. And it financially benefits any business that has to compete with cheap, illegal labor. But I never said the wall had economic benefits to the majority of people, nor will I now; you interjected that and ran with it. Politically, it benefits Trump and others advocating the thing to the tens of millions of citizens that want the darned thing built, effectiveness and efficiency not high on the list of factors they want considered for the project as near as I can tell.

    As far as the letter writing campaign, the counter letter would simply point out that the county spends hundreds of millions of dollars and the sheriff is using her stance to make those in need political footballs. We see that locally when politicians still freely spend on frills while telling the world that cuts will all be made to some popular program. Nobody buys that line of malarkey any more, it won’t influence voting other than appease the hardcore right wing types to keep the same flavor of poison they elected in the first place.

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