President Biden will nominate Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a Trump critic who cut some cooperative ties with ICE, as the new director of the immigration enforcement agency.
Sheriff Gonzalez in 2017 ended his Texas county’s participation in the 287(g) program, which trained local officers to help flag deportable migrants and to begin the deportation process in coordination with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The sheriff also fought a losing battle against Texas’s anti-sanctuary law, suggesting that being forced to cooperate more with ICE would spawn a “climate of fear and suspicion” in immigrant communities.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sheriff Gonzalez was a “strong choice” to lead the chief deportation and interior immigration enforcement agency.
“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,” he said.
The White House also urged action on the Gonzalez pick.
“Certainly we encourage the Senate to not only consider, but to confirm qualified nominees. We certainly consider him one of them,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “The president looks forward to having someone in place in this position, and [the announcement] certainly indicates a priority that we put it out today.”
Mr. Biden now has named nominees for the three immigration agencies at Homeland Security, tapping Trump critics for all of them.
He picked a prominent immigrant-rights activist and former official at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to lead that agency, and he picked Tucson’s police chief to lead Customs and Border Protection.
Strikingly both the ICE and CBP picks come from local law enforcement and do not have experience in either of the two federal immigration enforcement agencies they’re asked to lead.
ICE has been without a confirmed director since the Obama administration.
President Trump had sent nominations to the Senate but, even though the chamber was under GOP control, neither was acted on.