Travis County sheriff says she will follow impending sanctuary city law

Sally Hernandez being sworn in as Travis County sheriff on Jan. 4, 2016 (KXAN Photo)
Sally Hernandez being sworn in as Travis County sheriff on Jan. 4, 2016 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez is making it known she will follow the law if Gov. Greg Abbott were to sign Senate Bill 4 when it reaches his desk, which he says he will.

On Wednesday, the final draft of SB4, was approved by both the House and the Senate. Sheriff Hernandez says while she hates seeing the bill being signed into law, she states she has “always followed the law and that will not change.”

In January, Sheriff Hernandez put forth a policy that prohibited deputies and jailers from inquiring about someone’s immigration status and limited how they will work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Full statement from Sheriff Hernandez:

It is unfortunate that fear and misinformation enabled SB4 to pass. It should be obvious that my implementation of a policy, meant to meet our community’s need, did not violate any law. Otherwise, the Texas Legislature wouldn’t have felt compelled to make a new one. I am disappointed, because this is not in the best interest of public safety. It ties the hands of our law enforcement agency and pushes victims of crime into the shadows. While I hate seeing a state law like this come to pass, I have always followed the law and that will not change.

The 2016 race for Travis County sheriff focused on the city’s “sanctuary status.” Hernandez promised, “I will change the current ICE policy to reflect our county’s progressive values and will prioritize the safety of all.”

Abbott has previously said the sheriff has the legal authority to “honor ICE detainers for capital-murder cases as you do for other crimes that you personally deem unworthy of enforcement.” Gov. Abbott pulled $1.5 million in grant funds to Travis County due to Sheriff Hernandez’ policy.

Republicans across Texas are hoping for SB4’s passing because they believe it will help keep communities safe.

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