A Texas sheriff who refuses to enforce federal immigration law will face criminal penalties and lose state funding if she continues her stance, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick threatened on Monday.
"We won't mess around with this issue," Patrick told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" about Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, who released 37 illegal immigrants on bond in the first week of February alone.
"If she ignores the law and puts our citizens at risk, she faces criminal penalties, and she can be sued by victims of crime and we will take away her funding," Patrick said.
Hernandez was elected after campaigning that she would not hold undocumented immigrants for federal officials on immigration charges alone.
"In five years, with criminal aliens, of those about 66 percent were here illegally, and those people have committed over half a million crimes," said Patrick. "We don't have time to put up with the nonsense of some political sheriff who doesn't want to follow the law because of her leftist ideology. We won't put up with it."
From June 2011 until the end of February, more than 212,000 criminal aliens were booked into Texas' jails and were charged with more than 566,000 crimes, including assaults and kidnappings, Patrick said.
"[This is] crime in our country by criminal aliens that our citizens shouldn't have to endure," said Patrick, noting there are elected officials such as mayors, judges, sheriffs, or police chiefs, who will free the criminals without following federal law.
Meanwhile, it should not take financial incentive to get communities to follow federal law, said Patrick.
"We believe in a secure border, the Constitution and rule of law," he said. "Democrats don't. Out of our 254 sheriffs in Texas, one has doubled down and says they will ignore federal law, the president and the state of Texas."
Most people who come to the United States are not hardened criminals Patrick agreed, and there needs to be a legal immigration system so they can come into the country.
"But many are hardened criminals, gang members, go down the list," said Patrick. "These are dangerous people killing Americans and it needs to end."
Law enforcement in Texas also want to do their jobs, said Patrick, and are tired of elected officials telling them they can't do their jobs.
"[President Donald] Trump is right about building the wall," said Patrick. "When we deport these people, it's been easy for them to come back and commit more crimes. We see it all the time. Find someone here illegal and they've crossed the border three or four times and been arrested ... I'm here to let America know that every sheriff in the country is now a border sheriff because they have these illegal criminals in these states."
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