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Sheriff on ICE detainments: ‘I feel that we're being held hostage'

Salazar says failure to comply would cost county $9 million in funding

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County sheriff has agreed to continue to detain undocumented immigrants at the county jail, if they're flagged by Immigration and Custom's Enforcement officials.

"I feel that we're being held hostage almost," Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

The sheriff claims the governor's office would cut $9 million in state grant funding, if he didn't comply.

"The fact is that money is vital to what we do here to protect and serve. Again, whether I agree with the detainers or not, the taxpayers didn't put me here to act on emotions or my own opinions. They put me here to keep Bexar County residents safe," Salazar said.

Salazar said the decision not to cooperate would come at the expense of county and many important programs.

"We need this money to protect and serve our community in the best way we see fit against things like human trafficking, sexual assault, DWI, tobacco used by minors, there’s veterans programs that are tied into this," he said.

The agreement between the sheriff and the feds would be to hold onto undocumented immigrants flagged by ICE for 48 hours. If they’re not picked up by then they would be able to post bond and his obligation to ICE would be over.

"The fact is once someone finds themselves in the jail by some other means, some other mechanism. We're complying with federal mandates. However, we are not proactively going out into the community. In fact, I want to reassure the community that if you need us we're here," Salazar said.

Click here to Salazar's letter to Gov. Abbott.