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Texas Gov. Abbott on Levin: ‘I’m Putting the Hammer Down’ on Sanctuary Cities

Andrew Eicher
By Andrew Eicher | February 6, 2017 | 2:32 PM EST

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott appeared on Mark Levin’s nationally syndicated radio talk show on Friday and discussed his plans for dealing with Texas’ sanctuary cities saying, “I’m putting the hammer down.”

“I’m putting the hammer down,” Governor Greg Abbott said. “This is offensive what’s going on in Austin, Texas. It's actually the county, which is Travis County, which is the county seat of Austin, Texas. Travis County has declared what I call ‘sanctuary city policies.’ They are no longer going to hold for ICE detainers, certain criminals – who are, in fact, criminals – they’ve been arrested before for very serious crimes.”

The following is a transcript of Mark Levin and Gov. Greg Abbott’s remarks:

Levin: “Let me ask you about these cities in Texas, these sanctuary cities. It looks like you’re putting your foot down.”

Abbott: “I’m putting the hammer down. This is offensive what’s going on in Austin, Texas. It’s actually the county, which is Travis County, which is the county seat of Austin, Texas. Travis County has declared what I call ‘sanctuary city policies.’

“They are no longer going to hold for ICE detainers, certain criminals – who are, in fact, criminals – they’ve been arrested before for very serious crimes. They could’ve been arrested for armed robbery or working with drug cartels or all kinds of very dangerous crimes, and the sheriff is going to let them back out on to the street without letting ICE know anything about it.

“That is breaching her oath of office, is breaching the rule of law. Texas is not going to stand for it. What I’ve done is I have withheld $1.5 million in governor grants to Travis County, and I’m seeking legislation, we are working on it, passed out of a Senate committee yesterday, that is going to really put the hammer down on any sanctuary city policies.

“We are going to be asserting fines. We’re going to be seeking court orders that could lead to putting these people behind bars, the officials who are violating their oath of office.

“We are going to make it so that it is impossible for any city or county to adopt any sanctuary city policy in the state of Texas.”

Levin: “Well I want to thank you for taking a leadership role and showing people how you do this. And you know, I’ve always wondered why action isn’t taken like a writ of mandamus or something to force a mayor or sheriff to follow state and federal law, and if they defy it, then they can be held in contempt of court.”

Abbott: “Well, you’re exactly right, and if that mandamus action, to use a legal word, that we will as part of our remedies and if they fail to comply with the mandamus action they would be subject to going to jail.”

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