Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 29, 2016. REUTERS

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked state lawmakers to pass legislation banning "sanctuary cities" during his State of the State speech to the Texas legislature Tuesday, intensifying his battle over immigration enforcement with Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez.

"Elected officials do not to pick and choose which laws to enforce," Abbott said, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday. Abbott said officials "must protect Texas" from deadly criminals.

Abbott's comment about "elected officials" was a dig at Hernandez, who was recently elected sheriff of Travis County, home of Austin, a city that has long been a liberal oasis in red Texas.

By Jan. 20, Hernandez said her office would stop cooperating with federal immigration authorities starting Wednesday. In a two-page memo Tuesday, Hernandez said that while the sheriff's office would coordinate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when warrants were issued, or the individual wanted by ICE was charged with serious felonies, her office wouldn't conduct immigration status investigations or expand resources communicating with ICE. Hernandez said the policy would "promote public safety" and "ensure the continued participation of victims and witnesses regardless of their immigration status."

Last week, Abbott said Hernandez's policy was "completely outrageous" and threatened to withhold $1.8 million in grant money from Travis County. Abbott requested that state agencies tally all funds Thursday, including federal funds, given to Travis County in fiscal year 2016, the Texas Tribune reported.

Abbott made the banning of sanctuary cities— municipalities that decline to enforce federal immigration law—an emergency item. Under state law, the legislature cannot pass bills in the first 60 days of a legislative session unless they pertain to an emergency item. Abbot also made reforms to the state's child protection system an emergency item.