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ICE nominee who GOP blasted for refusing to work with ICE advances to full Senate vote 


President Biden’s nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Harris County sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who’s been critical of the agency he’s been tapped to lead, advanced out of committee for a full Senate vote on Wednesday.

Gonzalez was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in a party line 7-6 vote. At the same time, the Homeland Security Committee advanced Rob Santos’ nomination to lead the Census bureau in a 10-3 vote.

The sheriff, if confirmed, will be the first Senate-confirmed ICE director since the Obama administration.  

Republicans have spoken out against Gonzalez, who leads one of the largest sheriff’s offices in the country that includes Houston, due to his combative record with the agency under President Trump. Gonzalez terminated a formal cooperation agreement with the agency known as 287(g), which deputizes state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law.

Gonzalez, pictured above at a Senate hearing, ended a voluntary cooperation agreement with ICE as sheriff

Gonzalez, pictured above at a Senate hearing, ended a voluntary cooperation agreement with ICE as sheriff 

Migrants line up at a border facility to receive a coronavirus vaccine, as Republicans voice concerns that they are bringing the virus into the nation

Migrants line up at a border facility to receive a coronavirus vaccine, as Republicans voice concerns that they are bringing the virus into the nation 

‘His history with ICE, both his statements and his actions, regarding the agency he is nominated to lead, are deeply conquering to me,’ the committee’s ranking member Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said of Gonzalez during Wednesday’s meeting.

‘On numerous occasions during his time as sheriff he criticized ICE and said he only worked with them because he was compelled to do so under Texas law, a law that he openly and vocally opposed,’ Portman said.

Gonzalez said he made the decision so officers could maintain the trust of his diverse community. 

‘I had to consider obviously the local realities as well and the importance of local law enforcement also working with a diverse immigrant community. I also wanted to make sure that we continued to remain focused on having the avenues necessary to arrest serious offenders in our community that impact our public safety,’ he said. 

Gonzalez has touted that he had an ‘amicable’ relationship with ICE and never declined a detainer, allowing agents into his jails when they sought to take custody of unlawful immigrants, as required by Texas law.

As the U.S. faced a previous immigration surge in 2019, former President Trump threatened ICE raids across the country to capture those who already had court orders to be removed.

‘I do not support #ICERaids that threaten to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom do not represent a threat to the U.S.,’ Gonzalez tweeted at the time. ‘The focus should always be on clear & immediate safety threats. Not others who are not threats.’

Gonzalez wrote in another tweet of ICE raids that pursuing any undocumented immigrants except safety threats ‘silences witnesses & victims’ as they are afraid to come forward and report crimes. 

But during his initial hearing on July 15, Gonzalez said he said that illegal immigrants should be subject to removal from the U.S., and believes that those with orders of removal should be deported.

Gonzalez’s advancement comes as Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) picked up a record number of migrants along the southern border in July, many of whom are processed and released into the interior to await a later court date. Republicans for months have cried of a border crisis amid the rise in numbers.

Migrants cross into the US from Mexico along Rio Bravo in Ciudad Juarez Mexico

Migrants cross into the US from Mexico along Rio Bravo in Ciudad Juarez Mexico

According to preliminary figures, July saw 210,000 border apprehensions. Meanwhile, ICE arrests have significantly decreased under the Biden administration.

There were 1,661 ICE arrests in July, 3,432 in June, 2,835 in May and 2,847 in April. In 2020 under President Trump, ICE arrested 5,855 in July, 5,103 in June, 5,394, in May and 5,613 in April.

The drop in arrests coincided with new guidance mandating that officers get pre-approval before arresting immigrants who do not pose a threat to national security, who are not recent border crossers and those who have not committed ‘aggravated felonies.’

The Biden administration will offer Covid-19 vaccines to immigrants in custody along the Mexico border, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. 

The vaccine would be given to those facing deportation as well as though released into the United States pending a court hearing. Migrants who are being sent back to Mexico under the Title 42 public health law would not be offered a shot. 



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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