Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Newsmax TV Tuesday he has withheld millions of dollars in state funding to a Democratic county in his state for being a sanctuary city.
Calling it "the blueberry in a sea of red soup here in the state of Texas," Abbott told Steve Malzberg on "The Steve Malzberg Show" he's cracking down on Travis County — which includes the state capital of Austin.
"I and the Texas legislature are bringing the hammer down on Travis County," Abbott said. "I've already withheld more than a million dollars in funds that were going to Travis County that I said, 'listen, if you're going to have sanctuary city policies, we're not going to give you any money from the governor's office.'
"Now we are seeking greater penalties, which would include fines, could include potential jail time, could include court action, an array of different penalties that will make it impossible for Travis County or any county or any municipality instead of Texas to adopt sanctuary city polices."
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Abbott, a Republican who served as Texas attorney general from 2002-2015 before he was sworn in as governor, said he has only one thing in mind regarding his crackdown on sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State.
"In Texas, we believe putting the safety and security of our citizens first," Abbott said. "I'm not willing to take a gamble on the safety and security of our citizens, so I am going to make sure that we ban sanctuary cities in Texas."
President Donald Trump took action to withhold federal law enforcement grant money to sanctuary cities last month, a move criticized by his opponents.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus defended Trump's move, saying cities and states need to follow federal laws.
"If you defy the laws of this country, you shouldn't receive federal taxpayer dollars from the people of this country," Priebus said.
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