Gonzalez withdraws as Biden’s ICE nominee
President Biden’s nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ed Gonzalez, said Monday that he was withdrawing himself from consideration after his nomination hit roadblocks.
Gonzalez’s nomination had languished in the Senate for more than a year and faced delays due to unsubstantiated domestic violence allegations.
Gonzalez, who serves as sheriff in Harris County, Texas, said he made the decision “after prayerfully considering what’s best for our nation, my family, and the people of Harris County who elected me to serve a second term as Sheriff.”
“I am grateful to President Biden for the honor of nominating me, 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,” Gonzalez said in a series of tweets.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on Gonzalez’s decision to drop out of consideration for the Senate-confirmed position.
The allegations came from an unrelated years-old suit at Houston Community College (HCC) that included an affidavit from an HCC officer alleging he was called to a domestic dispute at Gonzalez’s home.
Melissa Gonzalez, Ed Gonzalez’s wife, who previously served as vice chancellor of HCC, has said she never made any such complaint against her husband.
“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 completely false.”
Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee canceled plans to vote on Ed Gonzalez’s nomination in March after a Republican on the committee, Sen. James Lankford (Okla.), raised concerns about the old allegations.
Biden first nominated Ed Gonzalez to the post last April and was forced to renominate him at the start of this year because the Senate didn’t confirm him by the end of last year.
Biden has faced challenges getting some of his nominees confirmed due to the 50-50 makeup of the Senate, where Vice President Harris casts a tie-breaking vote.
Ed Gonzalez said Monday that he informed the president of his decision to withdraw himself from consideration on Sunday. ICE has not had a confirmed leader since the beginning of 2017.
During his time as sheriff, Ed Gonzalez was a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policy and in 2017 terminated his county’s agreement with ICE for local officers to carry out some immigration enforcement.
He also declined to participate in a 2019 ICE raid, according to reporting by the Houston Chronicle, arguing it would “drive undocumented families further into the shadows.”
“It silences witnesses & victims & (would) further worsen the challenges law enforcement officials face,” he tweeted.
Updated 7 p.m.