Texas Gov. Greg Abbott delivers the welcome address last April at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Dallas. Credit: Office of the Governor Greg Abbott

President Donald Trump’s not the only threat facing communities with so-called sanctuary city policies.

As officials across the country wrung their hands over the possibility of losing federal funds, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott just canceled $1.5 million in block grants to the Travis County criminal justice system, including funds allocated for victims services, juvenile programs, and the drug, DWI and veterans courts.

The move came after Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez refused to back down from her plans to institute a sanctuary city policy. Under the policy, which went into effect this week, deputies are not required to honor detainer requests from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, unless the inmate is charged with murder, aggravated sexual assault or human smuggling.

In response, Abbott canceled the county’s criminal justice funds and promised to push for legislation that would effect the same punishment across the state.

Sanctuary cities came under renewed scrutiny last year on the campaign trail, when Trump began describing them as a threat to public safety. He has since signed an executive order promising to defund any city or county with a sanctuary policy. That could affect more than 300 counties and cities that have policies limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities, imperiling millions in federal dollars.

Trump is among many who say sanctuary policies have endangered public safety by letting criminals to roam free. Supporters of the policy say it improves public safety by increasing trust of law enforcement in undocumented communities, allowing people to feel more comfortable reporting crime. A recent study by the Center for American Progress found on average 35.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties.

In Texas, state Sen. Charles Perry has proposed a bill banning sanctuary policies in cities and on college campuses. A hearing about the bill was underway Thursday morning.

Shoshana Walter can be reached at swalter@revealnews.org. Follow her on Twitter: @shoeshine.

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Shoshana Walter was a senior reporter and producer at Reveal, covering the criminal justice and child welfare systems. She's working on a book for Simon & Schuster about the failures of our country's addiction treatment system. At Reveal, she reported on exploitative drug rehab programs that require participants to work without pay, armed security guards, and sex abuse and trafficking in the marijuana industry. Her reporting has prompted new laws, numerous class-action lawsuits and government investigations. Her stories have been named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, Selden Ring and National Magazine Awards. She has also been honored with the Livingston Award for National Reporting, the IRE medal, the Edward R. Murrow award, the Knight Award for Public Service, a Loeb Award and Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative reporting. Her Reveal podcast, "American Rehab," was named one of the best podcasts of the year by The New Yorker and The Atlantic and prompted a congressional investigation.

Walter began her career as a police reporter for The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida, and previously covered violent crime and the politics of policing in Oakland, California, for The Bay Citizen. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she has been a Dart Center Ochberg fellow for journalism and trauma at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim fellow in criminal justice journalism. She is a fellow with the Watchdog Writers Group at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and is based in Oakland, California.