This letter (H/T: @brianmrosenthal) went out to Lupe Valdez, the (Democratic) Sheriff of Dallas County, Texas. Sheriff Valdez made the news recently when she announced that her jurisdiction (which includes the City of Dallas) would not “comply with federal requests to detain immigrants in the country illegally if her office does not find them to be a significant public safety risk” (as the Houston Chronicle put it). Governor Abbott’s response was remarkably straightforward:
Your refusal to fully participate in a federal law enforcement program intended to keep dangerous criminals off the streets leaves the State no choice but to take whatever actions are necessary to protect our fellow Texans. 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.
At a minimum, Texas must pass laws that prohibit any policy or action like yours that promotes sanctuary to people in this state illegally. The State must also enact laws that make it illegal for a Sheriff’s Department to not honor a federal immigration detainer request. 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.