Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tells Newsmax TV that the federal crackdown on sanctuary cities is a strong move in helping correct the nation's illegal immigration problem, one he's already implemented on the state level in Texas — and intends to toughen by signing legislation that could put sheriffs of sanctuary cities in jail.
"This is huge and this is a very important step by the U.S. Department of Justice and it is exactly what I did as governor of the state of Texas last month when I defunded Travis County, where the city of Austin is located," Abbott, a Republican, said Wednesday to Steve Malzberg on "America Talks Live."
"The reason why is . . . the sheriff refused to honor ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] detainer requests and instead released back out onto the streets very dangerous criminals.
"Criminals who had been arrested for sexual assault, including sexual assault of a minor, compromising the safety of our fellow Texans. Let me tell you something. If a sheriff refuses to enforce the laws . . . they need to quit their job. If they don't want to enforce the law, they should not be in law enforcement."
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Abbott's action cost the county $1.5 million in lost funding.
This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that cities that protect undocumented immigrants will face the loss of federal funding. Several of the dozens of municipalities considered sanctuary cities, including New York City, plan to buck the order.
Abbott said he is also that pushing legislation that will impose fines and possibly jail sheriffs who don't enforce the immigration statutes.
"Oddly enough, these sheriffs could wind up behind the very bars they are releasing these criminals from," Abbott said.
"America is a nation based upon the rule of law and these liberals who are abandoning the rule of law are compromising the safety and well-being of our fellow Americans and Texas and the Trump administration are not going to tolerate it."
Abbott is the author of "Broken but Unbowed: The Fight to Fix a Broken America," published by Threshold Editions.
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