Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas defended President Donald Trump's crackdown on undocumented immigrants and argued against sanctuary cities.
"Either you have to enforce the law or you have to get out of the business of law enforcement," Abbott said on Fox News. "It's very simple."
"What Texans expect and what I think Americans expect, is for law enforcement officials to keep our communities safe," he added. "What Americans want most of all is to be safe and secure where they live."
Abbott has been outspoken on his opposition to sanctuary cities -- locales where municipal police departments will sometimes not coordinate with federal requests regarding undocumented immigrants.
On Feb. 7, lawmakers in Texas passed a bill that would restrict state funding to cities that pass sanctuary city laws, reported the Texas Tribune.
Abbott was a strong proponent of the bill.
"If you have a public official, including a sheriff, who continues to adopt sanctuary city policies after this ban goes into place, they could be criminally prosecuted and themselves wind up in jail. The place they are releasing dangerous criminals from," Abbott told Fox News shortly after signing the bill.
In his remarks, Gov. Abbott specifically referenced the sheriff of Texas' Travis County, Sally Hernandez. Travis County includes Austin, the state capital of Texas. Hernandez and Abbott have been increasingly at odds since January, when Abbott first threatened to cut off state funding for Hernandez and then threatened to remove Hernandez from office if she continued to not cooperate with federal authorities.
Hernandez, who was elected sheriff in November 2016, said on Jan. 26: "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."
Trump has signed executive orders that expand the number of crimes undocumented immigrants can be convicted of that would classify them as a priority for deportation proceedings.
Critics of those orders contend that they will lead to mass deportations, an allegation that the Trump administration denies.
"Let me be clear, there will be no mass deportations, everything we do in [Department of Homeland Security] will be done legally," DHS Chief John Kelly said during a press conference, reported NBC News. "The focus of deportation will be on the criminal element, all of this will be done in close coordination with Mexico."