Texas governor blocks sheriff funds over 'sanctuary cities'

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has blocked funding for the first time over so-called "sanctuary cities" after Austin's sheriff stopped complying with all federal immigration detainers.

Abbott spokesman John Wittman said Wednesday that $1.5 million in previously approved criminal justice grants will no longer go to Travis County. The move follows Sheriff Sally Hernandez announcing after President Donald Trump's inauguration that she would stop honoring all immigration holds in her jails.

That blocked funding in Texas' fifth-largest county is only a fraction of Hernandez's budget but funds programs such as crime victim services and drug treatment courts.

Abbott has asked the Texas Legislature to prioritize a "sanctuary city" law between now and June. The Republican wants the power to remove locally elected officials and block a wider array of funds.