Sally Hernandez

Texas Governor Seeks to Remove Sheriffs Over Refusals of Detainer Requests

By Peek & Toland on April 25, 2017

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is seeking the power to remove law enforcement officials who fail to comply with federal detainer requests.

The governor has aimed his comments at new Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez who has imposed a policy would limit compliance with federal immigration authorities in Austin.

Hernandez said she would restrict her staff’s compliance with federal detainer requests to hold undocumented prisoners.

Greg Abbott seeks to derail Travis County on detainer requests

Moves are afoot to clamp down on Austin’s status as a sanctuary city

The sheriff ran for office on a platform that included limiting compliance with these requests. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials make detainer requests of jails when they ask local law enforcement officials to hold inmates who may be illegally in the United States.

Detainer requests are sometimes illegally placed and done so without a warrant.

Hernandez’s stance is consistent with the policies of a sanctuary city. Austin’s police also have a policy not to ask people who are arrested their immigration status.

Abbott told Fox News he and other lawmakers will seek to push through new rules to remove Texas sheriffs from office if they don’t cooperate with federal immigration officials over the handling of individuals who are thought to be undocumented immigrants.

Abbott previously warned he will strip state grant funding from Travis County if Hernandez does not change tack. However, the sheriff remains defiant, according to media reports and has gained a national profile in the contentious immigration stand-off with the federal government.

The governor warned Texas sheriffs would also face criminal and civil penalties if they did not comply with detainer requests from ICE.

One opponent of the policy is Congressman Lloyd Doggett. He told The Statesman Abbott’s proposal was unlawful and neither the governor or the legislature has the authority to remove an elected sheriff from office.

Hernandez will honor detainers requests only in cases in which a suspect has been charged with a serious offense like murder, human trafficking or sexual assault. Federal agents obtain a court order or an arrest warrant.

Our Travis county immigration attorneys work hard to keep families together. If you have been hit with a detainer request, you may have rights. Contact us here for help.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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Travis Sheriff Highlights the Value of Keeping Immigrant Families Together

By Peek & Toland on January 20, 2017

The Trump administration’s unsympathetic stance to sanctuary cities will face staunch opposition in Austin. New sheriff Sally Hernandez has highlighted the value of policies intended to keep immigrant families together.

Hernandez ran her election campaign on a platform that included ending Travis County’s commitment to honor “detainer” requests. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) make these requests of jails.

When ICE makes these requests, federal agents ask county jails to hold immigrants if the feds suspect they might be in the country illegally.

Detainer requests are sometimes illegally placed and done so without a warrant.

New Austin sheriff wants to keep immigrant families together

Austin sheriff seeks to keep immigrant families together

In late 2016, a federal judge in Illinois ruled that ICE was exceeding its legal authority when it makes requests for local jails to hold non-citizen inmates. It’s a finding that could apply to the rest of the county if replicated by the appellate courts.

Hernandez’s stance in Travis County puts Austin on course to become the state’s first official so-called sanctuary city. According to The Intercept,  residents, activists, and Austin city officials support the move.

The term “sanctuary city” is not a precise legal term. Indeed, Austin has already appeared in lists of sanctuary cities in Texas.

These municipalities won’t allow the use of municipal funds or money to enforce federal immigration laws in a bid to keep immigrant families together.

Often government employees in these cities are instructed not to inquire about the immigration status of residents and told not to report undocumented workers.

Travis Sheriff Seeks to Protect Immigrant Familes

At a press conference shortly after the presidential election, Hernandez reaffirmed her stance against mass deportations. She said.

“The sheriff’s office will not be part of a deportation force that sacrifices hundreds and thousands of people, our neighbors, to a broken federal immigration system.”

Hernandez’s approach elevates the importance of keeping immigrant families together. Instead of deporting people who have committed minor crimes she puts the emphasis on family stability. As Austin family immigration attorneys, we know the difficulties new arrivals to the United States face. Studies have pointed out immigrants can revitalize and bring prosperity to struggling areas.

However, deportations split families apart, deprive children of parents, and families of breadwinners.

Supporters of Austin’s role as a sanctuary city already face a massive challenge. The Trump administration has promised a crackdown on sanctuary cities.

In Texas, Senator Charles Perry has submitted a bill that would require county jails across the state to cooperate with ICE when the agency seeks to deport undocumented immigrants

Writing in Breitbart, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took aim at Hernandez and claimed sanctuary cities imperil public safety and provide a safe haven for criminals.

However, our website contains numerous accounts of immigrant families who would have been split apart and children left without a provider, had we not successfully fought for cancellation of removal.

If you are facing family trauma due to a pending deportation, we can help you. Please call our Austin immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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