Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Threatens Dallas County Sheriff Over Sanctuary Policy

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is emerging as one the real stalwarts in the fight against the evisceration of immigration enforcement at the federal and local level.

Late last year, while he was still Texas Attorney General, Abbott spearheaded the lawsuit (together with 25 other states) against President Obama’s unconstitutional use of executive authority to grant de facto amnesty to nearly 5 million illegal aliens. While Congress failed to act to block the president’s actions by cutting off funding, an injunction issued by a federal judge as a result of the states’ lawsuit has thus far prevented the administration from implementing the president’s policy directives.

Last week the Senate refused to take action against sanctuary jurisdictions around the country that impede what little federal immigration enforcement is taking place and endanger public safety. Once again, Abbott, this time as governor, is stepping into the breach.

In a letter to Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, whose department recently adopted policies that dramatically limit the circumstances under which it will comply with ICE detainer requests, Abbott made it clear that the state will act to force local compliance with federal immigration enforcement. “Policies like yours compel Texas to take action to protect Texans’ safety and to reduce the costs that those policies may impose on Texas taxpayers,” Abbott wrote.

The governor warned that policies like Sheriff Valdez’s could lead to state legislation to ban sanctuary jurisdictions and to make it illegal for law enforcement departments to refuse ICE detainer requests. Abbott also threatened to hit local governments in the pocketbook. “Texas must also evaluate the extent to which local taxpayers should foot the bill for local decisions that increase costs for our health and education systems. Further, the State should consider amending the Tort Claims Act to ensure counties are fully financially responsible for the actions of any illegal immigrants who are released because the county’s Sheriff failed to honor an ICE detainer request.”

In sharp contrast to recent actions by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, Gov. Abbott explicitly cited the murder of Kate Steinle as an example of how sanctuary policies endanger public safety. Rather than express any contrition for sanctuary policies that put Ms. Steinle’s killer back on the streets, the San Francisco supervisors unanimously urged Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to continue to refusing most ICE detainer requests.

In celebrating the board’s unanimous decision to rub salt into the fresh wounds of the Steinle family, Supervisor Malia Cohen deflected blame away from San Francisco’s policies. Cohen declared that San Francisco “cannot allow hateful conservative news stations to dictate how we respond to incidents in our city. I’m not afraid of Fox News, and they don’t influence how I make my policy decisions.”

Nor, apparently, will she allow commonsense to dictate how the city acts. Thankfully, Gov. Abbott seems prepared to allow common sense and public interest to influence policy decisions in his state.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar
    Joel E Wischkaemper on

    I think we all thank Mr. Abbott for his efforts. I know the people of Texas also support the efforts. You could look at this mess from outside of our country and get the impression the Federal Government is deliberately making an effort to threaten and terrorize the American People. You could also wonder where it is all going. As it happens, that very thing is happening in other countries.
    This is one time when the Presidential Elections cannot come soon enough. Clearly, we need Mr. Trump, and clearly, the assumptions about the dispositions regarding illegal aliens need to become law.

  2. avatar

    It is refreshing to know that the great state of Texas finally has a leader who is willing to stand up for the people of his state and to stand against the Beltway bureaucrats and Wall Street Robber Barons who are abusing our immigration system to make a small number of fabulously wealthy people even richer than they already are – at the expense of the American public.

  3. avatar

    Sadly, as the ancestors of Native Americans found out, our government has an agenda a mile long for this seemingly incontrollable influx of IAs. In this generation’s case, it’s all about Obama’s desire to and ability to hide terrorists and PA insurgents amongst the ignored IA’s streaming across our southern borders.

    Look to any liberal state with perverted values which go unchecked and you’ll find “sharia law” demonstrations, and a glut of mosques in the surrounding areas. It is not only the IA’s (illegal immigrants really) who pose the biggest threat to our United States and its fragile economy thanks to the current administration, it’s the continued path towards military backed search and seizure of our legally owned firearms by abolishing the 2nd Amendment and ultimately Democrat-backed socialism.


    • avatar

      how so?….how did the indian ancestors find out?……they are all dead and back then Mexicans and any was coming in no differently……interesting how you mix our reality with the past………..

  4. avatar

    It has already been years that the citizens of this country, and especially those living in border states, have had to endure the injuries of IAs committing crimes without any recourse available to American citizens to stop this affront to our safety, security and financial solvency. We have reached the point where this misguided liberal policies are costing lives of innocent citizens who can not even enjoy a walk along a pier in broad daylight! This is outrageous! How can bleeding heart left wing idealism override the safety of our friends and families? Mallia Cohen is stubbornly working on the side of the enemy and calling it “compassion”. Where is the compassion for the grieving Steinle family and those who will still lose loved ones to felon encroachment from the south?

  5. avatar

    The problem with illegal immigration is a direct result of the failure of the White House to enforce the law. Obama added gasoline to the fire with his election year stunt for votes by making false promises to alledged “Dreamers” he knew he couldn’t keep which has resulted in a tital wave of illegals sneaking in before the hoped for amnesty. The Federal government needs to acknoledge that it has lost complete and total control over the situation and has no idea of how many or who is in the country as a failure of national security.

  6. avatar

    Texas is fortunate to have Governor Abbott. I also don’t think SF’s Supervisors are as smart as they think they are. A huge part of SF’s economy is based on tourism, and if large numbers of tourists stop visiting based on fears for their personal safety SF’s economy could take a big hit.

    • avatar

      If the IAs are Driving Drunk and Killing/Raping

      SF will never admit it….what’s going to impede tourism is high hotel and restaurant costs, caused by Sanctuary City high property taxes for immigrant social supports with insanely high rents and insanely high priced small “packed in” shacks with dinky property lot sizes costs….clogged rush hour bridges comes to mind too.

      Seattle has all these amenities too.

  7. avatar

    these lawless politician lawmakers, like the woman from SF is the worst got voted in power by their respective constituents, to sell america to the illegal aliens. this bad SF woman politician lawmaker is sickening, too ignorant on the meaning of sovereignty. the happenings on this nation are the out of control 30-50M illegal aliens sucking the resources of america / americans, all facilitated by these lawless politician lawmakers, led by BO exposing themselves into committing crime of treasons. so the question is – why do the american people allow the trashing of america’s sovereignty by these lawless politician lawmakers, creating their own laws protecting illegal aliens, when all along these lawless politician lawmakers were voted in power to take care of the american people, not the illegal aliens, which should have been deported in the first place as stated in the rule of the immigration laws. the over 94M americans, who don’t give a damn, couldn’t care less on the problem of illegal aliens are all silenced, too busy collecting all sorts of welfare / freebies. the immigration reforms all these lawless politician lawmakers want are to rewrite the immigration laws, one of them is the deportation language to favor illegal aliens, and alterations of the language of the immigration laws, which is legalizing the illegal deeds of the illegal aliens, just because these illegal aliens have been living in the USA for decades, clearly is not going to solve the illegal aliens illegally invading, and spitting on america’s sovereignty, instead it will continue to escalate, knowing all along the lawless politician lawmakers are on their side, when push come to shove. the hispanics are for illegal aliens, shame on them for their own self interests alone, wanting america to self implode.

    • avatar

      I truly believe that is how “they” want it so that “they” can either point the finger at the one who put it into action or…… say oh…. gee…….. I wasn’t aware of that. DUH !

  8. avatar

    The Governors of the states have to act when authorities refuse–and by refusing , removable from office? Immediately, if this is the only solution to the problem. Our elected Governors must be responsible and concerned with the safety of the citizens! Someone has to perform the duties they are in office to do!! The country’s laws have to be upheld!! Supervisor Malia Cohen is naming “Fox” news as the adversary in the issue but of course it is the citizens of San Francisco she is harming. Yes, HARMING. She needs to be removed.