FAIR-Opposed ICE Nominee Appears Before Senate Homeland Security Committee
FAIR Take | July 2021
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs held a confirmation hearing for Ed Gonzalez to be Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If confirmed by the full Senate, Ed Gonzalez would lead ICE as its director and be responsible for enforcing the immigration laws of the United States in the interior of the country.
FAIR strongly opposes the nomination Ed Gonzalez. Gonzalez was a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies despite having no experience in immigration or federal law enforcement. ICE is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country, and Gonzalez is wholly unprepared to lead the agency at this critical time.
As the sheriff of Harris County, Texas, Gonzalez ended the county's 287(g) agreement, which allowed some sheriff's deputies to enforce federal immigration laws. These agreements are force multipliers for ICE and give local law enforcement the tools to enhance public safety. It is deeply disturbing that President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas would nominate someone so openly hostile to the very agency he has been tasked to lead.
During the hearing, Gonzalez claimed to support state and local cooperation with federal immigration officials, such as through the use of 287(g) agreements. He justified his previous statements about Texas' state law, which required such cooperation, to be based only on his belief that state governments should not decide how local law enforcement operates. He claimed that this decision to end his county's 287(g) agreement was merely a "local decision", based off of the resources of his agency and make up of his community. In response to a Republican senator’s query, Gonzalez stated that he would not terminate the overall operation of the 287(g) program if confirmed.
Despite these assurances, Gonzalez remains the wrong pick to lead an agency as important as ICE. He admitted in the hearing that he believes there are “mitigating circumstances” that should allow illegal aliens to avoid prosecution and arrest by agencies like ICE. Incredibly, he claimed that he did not know of any ICE guidance that would prevent an ICE officer from doing their job, even though current ICE guidance prohibits agents from making arrests in almost all circumstances except in those that involve illegal aliens with felony convictions.
In the midst of the current border crisis, ICE needs a strong and experienced leader at the helm. Ed Gonzalez is neither of those things – a vote to advance him is a vote to protect criminal aliens and punish Americans. His nomination now heads to a vote before the deadlocked 50-50 Senate. Gonzalez cannot afford to lose a single Democratic senator’s vote if he hopes to become the director of ICE.