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Abbott goes authoritarian

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, but it is still shocking, even in the world we now inhabit.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that he and state lawmakers will pursue legislation that would “remove from office any officeholder who promotes sanctuary cities,” raising a new consequence as Republicans crack down on local officials who do not fully cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Abbott is threatening to cut off state funding to Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez after she announced Friday she would reduce her department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities when they request an inmate be flagged for possible deportation. If she continues with the policy, Abbott suggested a more serious punishment.

“We will remove her from office,” Abbott said in an interview on Fox News.

It was not immediately clear how legislation would remove Hernandez from office. She won her election last year. Sanctuary cities opponents view such officials’ immigration policies as a violation of their oaths of office.

The Fox News interview appears to be the first time Abbott has suggested officials like Hernandez could lose their jobs under sanctuary cities legislation. Abbott is expected to prioritize the legislation in his State of the State address on Tuesday.

[…]

Hernandez’s office did not have an immediate comment on Abbott’s remarks. The governor’s comments, however, quickly drew ire from other Democrats, with the state party saying in a statement that Abbott was “launching a new assault on the will of Texans.”

“I don’t know how the governor would suggest to do that,” state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, said at a news conference that was called to push back on sanctuary cities legislation. “Unless the governor wants to be king and remove people from office unilaterally, then I think the people of Travis County will have an opportunity to speak on the sheriff, the governor and all other elected officials when they stand for re-election.”

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, suggested another remedy. “How about removing those from office who make up the law to suit their own political needs!” he said in a statement.

See here for some background. It’s abundantly clear by now that Abbott and his cohort have no respect for the will of local voters and that the only authority they recognize is their own, so it’s a small step from stomping down on local control to overruling an election. I think back on some of the things that people said about President Obama when he lawfully exercised executive power and I wonder, was it fear or longing in their words? The latter seems much more likely. I suppose it’s possible Abbott was just preening for the Fox News cameras, but we have been advised to take authoritarians at their word, and Lord knows Dear Leader Trump has lived up to that. So yeah, I expect to see a bill come out of this. After that, we’ll see.

(All this was happening, by the way, as Harris County residents were being urged to call Sheriff Ed Gonzalez’s office to ask about when he plans to end 287(g) as promised during the campaign. Like it or not, people are going to have to pick a side on this.)

Speaking of Il Duce, a federal crackdown on “sanctuary cities” is coming as well. Again, one can only wonder at the thought of President Obama making similar threats to Texas cities – just how quickly could Abbott or Paxton file a lawsuit in a friendly court? We may soon see how the shoe fits on the other foot. A statement from the Travis County legislative delegation is here, a statement from the El Paso delegation is here, and the Current and the Observer have more.

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34 Comments

  1. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Karma – Democrats in the US Senate did away with some rules, it is coming back to bite them in their butt.

    Republicans are not going to control Texas forever, what ever they do can will be done to them.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Abbott is reaaaaallly overreaching here. Like her or not, the people of Travis County elected her. I don’t see how he has even the moral authority to toss her out, much less the actual authority to do that. Abbott is wrong on this, as is Patrick. Good thing they have drivers assigned for them, because I bet they would be picking up speeding tickets in Travis County frequently after this dust up.

  3. Flypusher says:

    If Abbott is concerned about immigration enforcement, let him negotiate with Boss Tweet to get more federal agents assigned to TX, since immigration is the Federal gov’ts job.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly:

    Trump has already set in motion the wall AND more ICE and BP folks, so just hold on, help is on the way. And I agree, immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility, but public safety is a responsibility of ALL levels of government, including Sally’s sheriff’s department.

    When she arrests or houses a convicted citizen or legal resident, she doesn’t have much recourse to keep that offender from reoffending when released. However, when she arrests or houses a convicted illegal alien, say, for DWI, shoplifting, driving with no license, etc., she does have the power to reduce or eliminate recidivism by handing them over for deportation.

    One thing Trump has just authorized is a weekly wrap up and announcement of crimes committed by criminals who should have been deported, or turned over for deportation. I’m really hoping that includes all crimes, not just the more heinous crimes. I think public opinion, especially in sanctuary cities, will change when the public finally gets to see how much crime illegal aliens are responsible for.

  5. Flypusher says:

    You keep forgetting about the people who hire legally. Where are all the chants to lock them up?

    Anyone who thinks Mexico is paying for Trump’s boondoggle is a sucker.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly:

    The problem (not insurmountable, but a problem nonetheless) is that illegals have been known to provide fake or stolen documents, and if a business owner shows a pattern of profiling, and questioning documents, that business owner can be subject to the wrath of the EEOC. So, a business could either be genuinely duped by false documents, or afraid to question them as false documents and then be punished for it.

    If we eliminate the EEOC discrimination threat from employers, and can prove that they definitively KNEW the documents they accepted were fake, then yes, by all means, fine them, and arrest them if they are repeat violators. If it’s a cash business and there is no paper trail, I’d say that’s a pretty good indicator they knew the employee was illegal, and also leads to an issue of unpaid payroll tax…..both the employer AND the employee have effectively stolen from Uncle Sam. I am all for prosecuting these employers, and recovering the unpaid payroll taxes, plus penalties. Why don’t we start by questioning illegals who are caught about how they earn money, then investigate the businesses they name? I’m really good with that.

    As to who pays for the wall, Trump is playing 3D chess with the Mexicans, who are playing checkers. He can put a tax on remittances sent by people in the US to Mexico, one of Mexico’s biggest sources of revenue. The threat of tariffs on imports is just that, a threat. The Mexicans are already revolting, and a trade war would probably collapse Mexico well before US citizens took up pitchforks because an avocado now costs$ 3.00. No, Trump knows what he is doing. Mexico will pay in some manner, (probably installment payments), and Trump will offer to help them get rid of the drug cartels using our military and work to normalize trade with them. Trump is a deal maker. Surely somebody in Mexico read his book.

  7. Flypusher says:

    The people who are hiring under the table aren’t usually even bothering with documents, and likely pay out cash. The ones who couldn’t cough up any records ought to the ones the Feds deal with first.

    As for your hero worship of Trump and his deals, you leave a few important things. One, National Pride. Mexicans have that just like Americans do. You may have noticed that the Mexican President cancelled his meeting with Trump. He was under a lot of pressure from his people to do so. They don’t like being insulted and bullied. Also, If the US doesn’t want to do business with Mexico and starts a trade war, China would probably be quite happy that fill that vacuum. Lastly, it isn’t just people from Mexico crossing the Southern border; people from Central/South America cross too. Recently Mexico has been cracking down on that more on their Southern border, which reduces the influx. If they decide screw-you-guys-we’re-looking-the-other-way, that wall isn’t getting built fast enough the stop that renewed flood in the short term.

    A much cheaper way to deal with the cartels would be to scrap the stupid and counterproductive was on drugs. It wouldn’t kill them outright, but it would cripple them, and save us a lot of money and misery.

    Immigration needs fixing, but this wall is one of the worst ways to do it. But Trump’s hitched his ego to it, so he’s not going to listen to reason.

  8. Flypusher says:

    Also of interest, despite TX having the longest stretch of border with Mexico, Texas’ congressional delegation is lacking in enthusiasm for this wall:

    http://theweek.com/speedreads/675971/texas-longest-border-mexico-zero-38-members-congress-support-trumps-wall

    The estimated cost of the wall (which likely a big underestimate) would be better spent on more border control personnel, beefing up eVerify, and drug rehab, all things that would help border issues.

  9. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Well stated, Fly.

    Even the WSJ says that Trump is pushing Mexico to the left. Mexico has already reached out to China for trade. China is looking for ports in the Americas, already has some in South America. Mexico could quit trying to stop the drug cartels from sending drugs north. Mexico could choose not to stop Central Americans coming north. Texas exports about 40% go to Mexico, what will that do to the Texas Economy.

  10. Flypusher says:

    And now they’re backing off that 20% import tax plan:

    http://theweek.com/5things/676240/trump-team-floats-walks-back-20-percent-import-tax-mexico

    This sure looks much more like throw-it-all-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks rather than something that was properly researched and thought out.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly:

    As a libertarian, I agree with you about legalizing drugs. That doesn’t mean the cartels will go away, though, and that they won’t continue to be a threat to ordinary Mexicans. Also, just because WE legalize drugs and stop that income stream, it doesn’t mean their narcotics aren’t saleable everywhere else in the world. No, the cartels are much like radical Islam…..a cancer.

    As to the Central Americans pouring through Mexico, they are a problem for Mexico just as they are a problem for us. Mexico is already doing virtually nothing to seal up their relatively small southern border (I base that on the fact that central Americans are still coming here illegally). Having OUR border secured would help put a stop to the hordes of central Americans flooding into Mexico. It would be a win-win for Mexico and the US.

    We agree on the Mexican machismo aspect, and AMLO and his leftitsts are a threat, but frankly the PRI (corrupt) and the PAN (Fox’s party, also corrupt) aren’t much better.

    The solution to this problem (the problem of a wide open border, the Mexican problem with drug cash and guns going south, and the American problem with drugs and illegals going north), will be a compromise where both leaders can go back to their people and point out what they are getting. Personally, I think that can best be achieved by a tax on remittances to Mexico from the US. As we gradually start deporting illegals, that revenue stream (for the US) will gradually decrease, but it will generate a lot of wall cash, especially in the beginning. Mexico saves face by saying they didn’t pay for it, and Trump gets to say he got it paid for, with cash that was leaving the country anyway.

  12. Kris Overstreet says:

    “One thing Trump has just authorized is a weekly wrap up and announcement of crimes committed by criminals who should have been deported, or turned over for deportation. I’m really hoping that includes all crimes, not just the more heinous crimes. I think public opinion, especially in sanctuary cities, will change when the public finally gets to see how much crime illegal aliens are responsible for.”

    You are aware that Trump’s inspiration for this innovation was the weekly newspaper Goebbels published listing all the crimes attributed to Jewish criminals?

    What you’ve just said is, “I hope people hate immigrants even more once they read and believe whatever Trump tells them.”

  13. C. L. says:

    So the solution to Mexico not wanting to pay for the wall is to tax the personal remittances sent to families south of the border ? So the remittance law would only apply to money sent to Mexico and not monies sent to Canada, India, China, New Zealand, Togo, etc. And it would all apply to all funds sent south, regardless of whether or not the sender was a legal citizen or not ? POTUS better get that SCOTUS spot staffed soon because the US is going to sued to death.

  14. Flypusher says:

    A very ominous bit of cherry picking. How about you release ALL the crimes stats instead. Break the numbers down all the various ways (by age, by race, by income, by education level, by religion, by legal status) if you want, but show it all. This thing called context is very important.

  15. Bill Daniels says:

    @Kris:

    You would have a point if law enforcement had a habit of spuriously arresting people for fake crimes. Does the Travis County Sheriff’s Dept. have a history of that? If Sally busts illegals for DWI or driving without a license, or for shoplifting, do you think those crimes didn’t really occur, that they were arrested just to make The Donald’s argument that illegals commit crimes here look more valid? I somehow Sally would want to support The Donald in any way. I’m quite sure she wouldn’t be telling her deputies to go round up some illegals to arrest so Trump can be proven right.

    @C.L.: Yes, I believe there would be a legal case to be made about taxing remittances, and it may very well be that such a tax would have to be applied to all outbound remittances, to pass legal muster. Of course, since Mexico and Central America are the biggest recipients of those remittances, the intended result is still achieved, albeit with some fallout for others. But hey, everyone loved ObamaCare, even though there were many losers with that, myself included.

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly:

    Yes, it is cherry picking, but it’s a very valid subset to highlight. Citizen criminals get released, and there’s nothing to be done about that. We are stuck with them….they will go out and shoplift again, sell drugs again, drive drunk again, drive with no license again, commit domestic violence again, etc. Illegal criminals don’t have to just get released back here, to offend in America, again. We can actually DO something about their recidivism.

    I can’t believe we are even having an argument about Trump’s plan to deport illegal aliens who have gone on to commit crimes in the US. In fact, if Trump was really good, he’d work out an agreement with the home countries of our illegal criminals to incarcerate them in their home countries, for the crimes they have committed here. We would pay the local rate for their incarceration. That’s a win-win. It costs much less to incarcerate someone in Mexico, so we spend less, and Mexico gets American tax dollars to support their own prison industry, creating jobs and helping the Mexican economy.

  17. Flypusher says:

    By all means, Trump should work out the deal you described. Unlike a White Elephant tribute to Trump’s bloated ego, that would be my taxpayer $ spent well.

  18. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly:

    Let’s go with the assumption that people here illegally are less likely to commit crimes than their citizen counterparts. OK, fine. That means most illegals are not committing other crimes, although considering our non enforcement of laws against working illegally, not paying income taxes, not arresting unlicensed drivers, etc., I think there are more crimes being committed than actually being recorded and documented.

    But let’s go with that. Let’s say that out of the millions of people here illegally, only 100 have gone on to commit new crimes here in America. Why is it wrong to enforce existing law and deport those 100 people? Why is this such a novel idea? When Obama was deporting people, this wasn’t a big issue, but now that it’s Trump, it’s the worst think EVAR.

    And here’s the other thing….Trump’s plan to report on crimes committed by people who got released by sanctuary cities? Since there are virtually no illegals out committing crimes, this should backfire on Trump, as he reports weekly….”no crimes committed that could have been stopped by deportation.” That would really put egg on Trump’s face, right?

    You should be for this plan, if only to embarrass Trump.

  19. Flypusher says:

    Read the Vox link. I have no problem with reporting any crimes committed by undocumented people, IN THE PROPER CONTEXT. Issuing a report on crimes committed by just one selected group of people invites profiling, stereotyping, and possible backlash against non-criminals who fit the profile.

  20. Bill Daniels says:

    If you want to have a disclaimer attached to each weekly report that most illegal aliens did NOT get caught committing a new crime that week, I’m good with that. I’m OK with a backlash against people here illegally, but NOT if that means citizens and legal residents are negatively impacted.

    Back to the disclaimer, we already do this every time there is a Muslim attack here…..”most Muslims are peaceful, this is not representative of all Muslims, etc.” Give people the facts and let them decide, but I think this will work out just like red light cameras. The people who are impacted by illegal alien criminal activity will suddenly have an epiphany….”hey, looking the other way just hurt me personally,” in the same way a pro red light camera person might feel when that pro camera person gets a ticket.

    This might be particularly interesting to watch in the Northeast, where there seems to be a crisis of kids dying from heroin overdoses.

  21. Flypusher says:

    “If you want to have a disclaimer attached to each weekly report that most illegal aliens did NOT get caught committing a new crime that week, I’m good with that.”

    That’s not what I asked for. I said release ALL the crime stats, not just stats for one group.

    ” I’m OK with a backlash against people here illegally, but NOT if that means citizens and legal residents are negatively impacted.”

    Here’s your problem- Trump’s irresponsible words have created Mexican=illegal in the minds of his followers. You have many American citizens of Mexican or South /Central American ancestry. Trump puts out his selective crime stats, which increases suspicion of anyone who looks “Mexican”. See where this is headed?

  22. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly:

    Here’s a video of Bill Clinton, basically saying the same things Trump is saying. Why was Bill right all those years ago, but now Trump is wrong for regurgitating the EXACT SAME policy?

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4351026/clinton-1995-immigration-sotu

  23. Flypusher says:

    Bill, I’m not going to spend an hour watching a clip. Quite the relevant part to make your point, and then we’ll talk further. I also advise you to not assume that I’m going to agree/disagree with something based on which party said it. I’m an Indy.

  24. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly:

    The clip is 1 minute, 24 seconds. I encourage you to watch it, don’t take my word for it. Clinton is saying the exact same thing Trump is saying right now…..and they were both right.

  25. Flypusher says:

    Must have been an iPad issue..

    So, I missed the part where Clinton said build a big expensive wall and demand that Mexico foot the bill.

  26. Bill Daniels says:

    No wall, but you did catch the part about deporting people, yes? People are positively apoplectic at the thought of [shutter] actually enforcing our own laws. But speaking of the wall, let me ask you a question…..since the wall is evil, mean spirited, xenophobic, etc., shouldn’t we be tearing down existing portions of wall and fence? Why or why not?

  27. Bill Daniels says:

    *[shudder]

  28. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly:

    Here’s Hillary, Obama and Chuck Schumer voting for…..wait for it……a border wall:

    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/109-2006/s262

    But now, of course, a border wall is bad. It’s hard to keep up with this stuff.

  29. Ross says:

    So, Bill, I assume you are on board to drive the wall straight through Big Bend National Park, since what’s a little ecological destruction among friends?

  30. Bill Daniels says:

    @Ross:

    Looking at their website, it looks like a wall could benefit the environment AND make it safer for Americans to actually enjoy the park, without fear of encountering drug cartels and other random illegal aliens. Maybe put in a few stock tanks along the way to help the wildlife when building it?

    “Safety Advice
    If leaving your vehicle for an extended period of time keep valuables out of sight and lock your vehicle.
    Do not pick up hitchhikers.
    People in distress may ask for food, water, or other assistance. It is recommended that you do not make contact with them, but note the location, and immediately notify park rangers. Lack of water is a life-threatening emergency in the desert.
    Occasional drug smuggling and border crossings occur within the park. If you see anything that looks illegal, suspicious, or out of place, please do not stop or intervene, but note the location, and call 911 or report any suspicious behavior to park staff or Border Patrol as quickly as possible.

    Border Merchants
    Mexican Nationals may leave items for sale such as walking sticks, bracelets, and other crafts on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. If you purchase their items or make a donation, you are encouraging illegal crossings of the river, which may result in the individuals arrest and deportation through Presidio (100 miles away). Additionally, they may be fined or incarcerated.

    Items purchased are considered contraband and can be seized by officers. Rocks, minerals, archaeological items, etc. cannot be purchased, imported, or possessed in the national park.

    In addition, illegal trade damages natural resources, including the creation of social trails, cutting of river cane, erosion of river banks, and an increased amount of garbage along the Rio Grande. Supporting this illegal activity contributes to continued damage.

    You may legally purchase crafts made in Boquillas, Mexico, or purchase Mexican hand-crafted items at camp stores in the park. These items are purchased directly from Mexican artisans and are processed through a legal Port of Entry before being brought to the park. All wholesale proceeds go to the artisans.
    Please check with the staff at the Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry concerning items which may be purchased in Boquillas, but may not be legal to import. Rocks, minerals, and archeological items are still illegal to purchase, import, and possess in Big Bend National Park.”

    https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/border_travel.htm

  31. Flypusher says:

    You continue to make flawed arguments Bill. The fence your link references is not what Trump is proposing. The portions of the border that are straightforward to fence off have pretty much already been fenced off. The parts with the problematic terrain are more cost effectively dealt with by more personnel to patrol them. You also keep assuming whether I am for/against somethings is dependent on which politician says it. Bad assumption.

    You also haven’t addressed the major lack of enthusiasm in the entire TX congressional delegation for Trump’s expensive boondoggle, in particular the rep whose district includes Big Bend State park.

  32. Bill Daniels says:

    @Fly:

    I think most Trump supporters recognize Trump’s natural hyperbole when talking about just about anything. It seems he just can’t help it. I guess those years of being a TV reality show star had an impact on him. Anyway, given that, I think most of his supporters aren’t going to count cubits to make sure the ark is built exactly as it was ordained, instead, most of his supporters are expecting to see something that saves the animals and humanity from extinction, whether the boat is painted the right color or not. As to the Texas delegation, I expect it, like everything else in this country besides you and me, to fall precisely on party lines.

    Here’s my prediction…..more wall (or fence, or whatever other barrier is created) will be built. It won’t be 100%, but enough for Trump to claim victory and that he kept his promise. And the new sections will have the effect you desire…..allowing those sections newly equipped with a wall of some sort to be guarded with fewer agents, freeing up agents to patrol where terrain or sacred parkland demand that no traditional wall be built.

  33. Flypusher says:

    The TX delegation is most definitely NOT split along party lines:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/25/texas-gop-congressman-slams-trump-plan-for-border-wall/?utm_term=.28e671c11678

    Trump’s supporters being willing to accept half-assed measures wouldn’t be a shock to me. I suspect that they will have many expectations to dial down.