In article <XnsAC9F931...@18.104.22.168
> No, Democrat.
Ed Gonzalez, the sheriff of Texas' most populous county, on
Monday announced he had withdrawn his nomination to lead U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Biden,
a decision that will further prolong a 5-year-long leadership
void in an agency at the center of the nation's contentious
In a series of posts on Twitter, Gonzalez, who is currently
sheriff of Harris County, noted that his nomination to be ICE's
director, which was announced in April 2021, had stalled in
Congress for over a year. In a letter to Mr. Biden over the
weekend, Gonzalez said he had concluded that pulling his name
from the nomination process was "in the best interest of the
nation that we love."
"I arrive at this difficult decision with the understanding that
the challenges of preserving both the integrity of America's
borders and our country's global standing as a beacon of light
for those seeking freedom and opportunity have never been
greater," Gonzalez wrote in his June 25 letter, which was
obtained by CBS News.
ICE, which oversees immigration arrests, deportations, a
sprawling immigration detention system and investigations into
transnational crimes, has not had a Senate-confirmed director
for over five years, since the end of the Obama administration.
Sarah Saldaña, the last ICE director confirmed by the Senate,
left her post in January 2017.
Over the past years, under Democratic and Republican
administrations, ICE has become a frequent target of criticism
from progressive Democrats and activists, some of whom have
called for its abolishment.
Those calls intensified under the Trump administration, which
expanded the groups of unauthorized immigrants subject to ICE
arrest and tasked the agency with implementing some of its most
controversial policies, including the mass separations of
migrant families along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017 and 2018.
The Biden administration has overhauled ICE's immigration
functions, generally limiting arrests to immigrants deemed to
pose a threat to national security or public safety and recent
But the agency has continued to face criticism under Mr. Biden.
Progressive activists have continued to criticize ICE for
holding thousands of immigrants in detention, while Republican
lawmakers have accused the Biden administration of handcuffing
ICE deportation agents through enforcement guidelines that they
argue encourage unlawful immigration.
Apart from the confirmation delay, Gonzalez mentioned in his
letter to Mr. Biden a desire to devote his "full, undivided
attention" to his Harris County post, citing an increase in
violent crime and the jurisdiction's jail population.
It's unclear if there were other reasons behind Gonzalez'
decision. Representatives for ICE and the Department of Homeland
Security, its parent agency, referred questions to the White
In a statement Monday, the White House said Gonzalez "would have
been a great leader of ICE."
"We thank Sheriff Gonzalez for his willingness to serve in the
face of baseless allegations against his family and thank
Homeland Security Chairman Peters for his diligent and hard work
in support of the nomination," the White House added.
Gonzalez's nomination was delayed earlier this year following
allegations of domestic violence that surfaced in a previous,
unrelated lawsuit at Houston Community College (HCC).
The suit included an affidavit from an HCC officer who said he
had been called to a domestic dispute at Gonzalez's house,
though Melissa Gonzalez, Gonzalez's wife and former vice
chancellor of HCC, previously stated that she never made any
"Any suggestion that I filed or made a complaint against my
husband is false and defamatory," Melissa Gonzalez wrote in a
March letter. "To be clear, the assertions referenced in the
affidavit, as they relate to me, my husband, or my marriage, are
Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental
Affairs Committee nixed a vote on Gonzalez's nomination after
Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma expressed concerns
about the years-old suit.
The Senate Homeland Security Committee launched a bipartisan
inquiry into the alleged report of domestic violence, according
to documents obtained by CBS News. According to a committee
aide, the investigation did not corroborate or offer any
evidence in support of the allegations of domestic violence.
A summary of the investigation's findings prepared by the
committee's Democratic majority cast doubt on the allegations
raised by the former HCC police officer, according to documents
obtained by CBS News.
The summary said the committee found "discrepancies" between the
officer's affidavit that initially raised the domestic abuse
allegations and his sworn testimony. The officer told the
committee he did not file a report regarding the allegations
surrounding Gonzalez, despite initially saying otherwise,
according to the summary.
HCC also told the committee that bodycam footage that the former
officer cited in the original affidavit did not exist.
Under Mr. Biden, ICE has been instructed to generally avoid
detaining families with minor children, pregnant or nursing
women, victims of serious crimes and U.S. military veterans.
The Biden administration has also discontinued large-scale ICE
worksite arrests and expanded so-called "protected areas" where
agents should generally not arrest immigrants to include
disaster sites, places where children gather and social services
In September 2021, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro
Mayorkas directed ICE agents to focus on apprehending immigrants
who threatened public safety or national security, as well as
migrants who entered the U.S. unlawfully after November 2020.
Mayorkas' directive generally protected unauthorized immigrants
without criminal convictions from arrest if they had been living
in the U.S. for years.
But those rules were suspended over the weekend due to a court
ruling them to be unlawful. The Biden administration is
appealing that ruling, which stemmed from a lawsuit filed by
Republican officials in Texas and Louisiana.