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Biden’s Nominee to Run Immigration and Customs Enforcement Withdraws

On Monday, the Nominee of President Biden to head U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ed Gonzalez withdraws from his position.

Mr. Gonzalez, sheriff of Harris County, Texas (which includes Houston), and an outspoken critic of the agency’s hard-line practices, withdrew from his position “in the best interest of the nation” in a letter to the president. A sheriff for 14 months, he said he needed to devote his “whole, undivided attention” to the job.

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Biden’s Nominee to Run Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ed Gonzalez Withdraws

Sheriff Gonzalez’s career was doomed from the start due to the heated political debate over immigration that surrounded his nomination. Unfortunately, Senator James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, issued a police report accusing Sheriff Gonzales of domestic abuse against his wife Melissa, which weighed down and delayed his confirmation process for months.

Sherriff Gonzalez and his wife had previously disputed the charges. According to the summary of the committee’s conclusions, the police officer who prepared the affidavit said in a deposition that the supporting evidence he had indicated in the affidavit did not exist. The committee’s investigators were unable to locate any proof to back up the charges, according to a committee aide.

The withdrawal was devastating for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has been without a permanent director since the Obama administration, and for the Biden administration, which has found immigration to be a political liability as it has struggled to stem influxes of migrants at the border and replace many of the hard-line policies it inherited. It happened on the same day when at least 46 individuals, thought to be migrants, were found dead in and around a tractor-trailer on the outskirts of San Antonio.


Sheriff Gonzalez “would have been a great leader of ICE,” the White House said in a statement. “We thank Sheriff Gonzalez for his willingness to serve in the face of baseless allegations against his family.”

Sheriff Gonzalez, who had previously spoken out against the Trump administration’s deportation tactics, was nominated as the new head of immigration enforcement, marking a significant shift away from the hardline immigration chiefs who had previously served under President Donald J. Trump.

Republicans in the Senate were not happy with this rebuke of President Trump and ICE. Mr. Biden, though, saw his candidacy as a step toward enacting the more empathetic immigration policy he had promised to implement as a president.

“America has shown the world that it’s not only possible to survive, but thrive, as a nation that welcomes those seeking a new home and a better life through hard, honest work,” Sheriff Gonzalez said during his confirmation hearing last year.

The withdrawal of Sheriff Gonzalez was the latest in a string of failures for Mr. Biden’s immigration policy and his efforts to fill key senior posts within the Department of Homeland Security. A federal judge halted a decades-long effort to repeal a key immigration restriction enacted during the pandemic last month.

As a historic influx of migrants across the southwestern border has swamped immigration services, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas has also been the target of blistering criticism from Republican lawmakers. Even while the Biden administration has been criticized by progressive groups and lawmakers for its treatment of Black migrants, deportations of Haitian emigrants have increased.

Gonzalez, the sheriff, said he would focus on leading his department and solving problems like increased crime and overcrowding in jails.

“I am grateful to President Biden for the honor of nominating me,” he said on Twitter on Monday. “And I wish this administration well as it strives to overcome the paralyzing political gridlock that threatens far more than our nation’s border. Frankly, the dysfunction threatens America’s heart and soul.”

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