Federal grant money in jeopardy for ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’

Travis County Correctional Facility (Courtesy: TCSO)
An example of a slider door at Travis County Correctional Facility (TCSO Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) — White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Trump administration is going to “strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants.”

Still, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that appeared more limited than that. It referred to withholding Justice Department and Homeland Security funds from only those jurisdictions that bar local officials from communicating with federal authorities about someone’s immigration status.

The announcement came as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he will seek new laws to remove Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez from office because of “sanctuary” policies. Last week the sheriff issued a new policy that prohibits deputies and jailers from inquiring about someone’s immigration status and limits how they will work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Now, the Trump administration is talking about eliminating grant funding.

“I think that people are going to be scrambling around, I think that planning and budget is going to try to ratchet down to find what kind of number that might be,” said Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty.

County officials were not able to confirm Wednesday whether the policies in Travis County meet the president’s definition of “sanctuary jurisdiction.”

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