Houston News & Search
The Travis County Sheriff, under a Sanctuary policy enacted after her 2016 election, has denied at least 196 detention requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including requests involving 58 people convicted of driving while intoxicated and 34 convicted of assorted acts of violence, including aggravated assault.
Copies of the detainer requests were released Tuesday by the Washington DC-based non-profit Judicial Watch, which obtained the documents through a Public Information Act Request filed February 3.
Many of the records pertain to ICE detainers denied under the administration of former President Barack Obama, whose administration by policy included DUI offenders among those targeted for deportation as well as others convicted of crimes of “moral turpitude,” which include both felonies and misdemeanors. But some retainers were denied more recently under the more aggressive deportation policies adopted by President Donald Trump.
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday, but she has defended her stance as one that supports the rights of immigrants and encourages them to report crimes and serve as witnesses without fear of deportation.
She’s previously faced criticism from Trump’s administration as well as from Gov. Greg Abbott, and other state and national lawmakers.
Hernandez has said she “will not allow fear and misinformation to be my guiding principles as a leader sworn to protect this community.”
“I am following all state and federal laws, and upholding constitutional rights to due process for all in our criminal justice system. Our community is safer when people can report crimes without fear of deportation. I trust the court system and our judges to assess the risks and set appropriate bonds and conditions for all who are incarcerated. The voters, who elected state leaders and me, expect and deserve a collaborative effort to come up with solutions to this very complex issue,” she has said.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, a prominent conservative, said: “these documents provide disturbing evidence of how Travis County’s sanctuary policy protects criminal illegal aliens, many of whom are dangerous felons, from deportation.”
He argued that “sanctuary policies such as these put the public’s safety at risk.”
Houston News & Search