WASHINGTON D.C. (WLNS) – President Joe Biden has chosen Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE.)
Gonzalez is the sheriff of Harris County, which surrounds the City of Houston.
Gonzalez is known for being critical of former President Trump’s immigration policies, critiquing them in a 2019 Tweet.
After his 2016 election, Gonzalez also withdrew Harris County from a federal partnership that allowed sheriff’s deputies to enforce immigration laws, a partnership that originally began in 2008, reports The Associated Press.
Gonzalez also slammed ICE raids under President Trump, saying:
“I do not support ICE raids that threaten to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom do not represent a threat to the U.S.,” he wrote on Facebook in July 2019. “The focus should always be on clear & immediate safety threats. Not others who are not threats.”-via The Associated Press
Gonzalez is set to lead the world’s largest immigration detention center in the world and oversee the deployment of thousands of ICE agents.
His performance will face harsh scrutiny not just from Republicans, but from progressive Democrats and supporters of immigrant rights who call for the abolishment of ICE.
According to Pew Research, ICE has an approval rating of 46%, lower than even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which sits at 65%.
Gonzalez’s appointment comes as record numbers of unaccompanied minors have been arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Immigration officials testified in front of Congress today, saying the crisis is getting better.
The Biden administration attributes the improvement to new policies, such as allowing children to apply for asylum from their home countries and creating emergency shelters.
Officials say the shelters are working, but are not permanent.
“The number of children in border patrol custody has dropped 80% since late March,” said Aaron Reichlin Melnick of the American Immigration Council.
Republicans in Congress blame Biden’s border policies for the crisis, including ending construction of the border wall.