Harris County Sheriff nominated — again — to lead ICE
SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was nominated to lead U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by President Joe Biden.
Biden nominated Gonzalez for the job for the second time on Tuesday. He was initially selected in April by the President, but the first nomination expired earlier this week.
“Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is a strong choice for ICE Director,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at the time of his first nomination. “With a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Sheriff Gonzalez is well-suited to lead ICE as the agency advances our public safety and homeland security mission. I hope the Senate will swiftly confirm Sheriff Gonzalez to this critical position.”
The evenly-split Senate has been notoriously slow about confirming Biden’s nominees for various key roles in the administration and Gonzalez was included in the nominations left to expire.
The Director of ICE, in particular, has been a tough role to fill for the executive branch with its last permanent appointed prior to the Trump administration.
Rice University police science professor told the Houston Chronicle that he believes Gonzalez will face the same uphill battle in 2022 as he did in 2021 to be confirmed for the role.
“He’s received quite a bit of flak from the left and the right,” Jones told the paper The right has attacked him because of his past criticism of ICE, but the left has attacked him because of his support for border security and the rule of law at the border.”
Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security Committee unanimously opposed Gonzalez’s nomination last year, citing the Sheriff’s previous criticism of the agency.
“On numerous occasions during his time as sheriff, he criticized ICE and stated that he only worked with them because he was compelled to do so under a Texas law — a law that he openly and vocally opposed while it was being debated in the Texas Legislature,” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said at his confirmation hearing. Portman is the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Gonzalez said during his confirmation hearing that, if seated, he believes in the mission of ICE and told lawmakers he would not end a controversial program that screens jailed suspects to identify their citizenship status.
“Sheriff Gonzalez is a proven leader and dedicated law enforcement professional,” said a Michigan Democrat U.S. Sen. Gary Peters. “At his confirmation hearing, he demonstrated his deep commitment to the rule of law and his understanding of the complex mission and challenges that ICE faces.”