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Biden nominee to lead ICE amid border crisis, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, withdraws

The Texas sheriff who nominated President Joe Biden in April last year to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday that he was withdrawing from consideration for the role.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he notified the White House this weekend in a series of Twitter posts also condemning the “political stalemate” in Washington.

It is the latest in a string of defeats for Biden in the Senate, who passed his high-level cabinet selections without much trouble but tanked nominations for key mid-level board positions.

So is the director of ICE, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security that has been a political lightning rod since it was first established under George W. Bush to control illegal immigration and related crimes.

Gonzalez’s stalled appointment means the agency was led by someone on an acting basis through a year in which hundreds of thousands of migrants strained the US immigration system on the southern border and state and local infrastructure.

In May, there was a record 239,416 encounters between law enforcement and migrants on the southern border.

That’s despite a judge who blocked the Biden administration from lifting a COVID-19 pandemic-era deportation policy known as Title 42, which was expected to usher in a new wave of asylum seekers.

In his withdrawal announcement, Gonzalez pointed out that ICE has not had a Senate-approved director since Barack Obama’s presidency.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump's immigration policy and has clashed in the past with ICE, the agency he would lead.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s immigration policy and has clashed in the past with ICE, the agency he would lead.

He announced on Twitter Monday night that he was telling President Biden that he would withdraw his nomination after it was first put forward in April 2021.

He announced on Twitter Monday night that he was telling President Biden that he would withdraw his nomination after it was first put forward in April 2021.

He noted that the politically controversial agency has not had a Senate-confirmed director since President Barack Obama's administration.

He noted that the politically controversial agency has not had a Senate-confirmed director since President Barack Obama’s administration.

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“I came to this decision after prayerfully considering what is best for our nation, my family and the people of Harris County who have elected me for a second term as sheriff,” his statement continued.

“I am grateful to President Biden for the honor of nominating me, and I wish this administration the best in its efforts to break the crippling political impasse that threatens far more than our country’s borders.”

He warned, “Frankly, the dysfunction threatens America’s heart and soul.”

Gonzalez promised that he would continue to focus on his law enforcement role in the Lone Star state’s most populous province — the country’s third most populous province.

“My love for America and my desire to serve in these controversial times is stronger than ever,” he concluded.

“It is a great honor to ensure the safety and security of the people of Harris County, and I am fully committed to continuing to fulfill this responsibility.”

Before being elected sheriff in 2016, Gonzalez served on the Houston City Council and rose to the rank of sergeant in the Houston Police Department.

Migrants from Honduras pass their details to a Border Patrol agent after being apprehended near Mission, Texas, on June 17

Migrants from Honduras pass their details to a Border Patrol agent after being apprehended near Mission, Texas, on June 17

A US Border Patrol agent interacts with a son of Russian migrant Yevgeny as they wait for their identities to be checked by US Border Patrol agents and to be taken to a processing center as hundreds cross the Mexico-US border in Yuma, Arizona.  21st of June

A US Border Patrol agent interacts with a son of Russian migrant Yevgeny as they wait for their identities to be checked by US Border Patrol agents and to be taken to a processing center as hundreds cross the Mexico-US border in Yuma, Arizona. 21st of June

But his confirmation to lead ICE has seemed uncertain for months. Biden was forced to resubmit his nomination in January after it expired in the last Senate term.

He stepped down from the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs along party lines in February but never got a full vote, and it’s not certain he would have gotten the votes.

Gonzalez's withdrawal is the latest in a string of setbacks for Biden nominees to minor but key positions

Gonzalez’s withdrawal is the latest in a string of setbacks for Biden nominees to minor but key positions

As sheriff, he has clashed several times with the agency he was to lead.

Gonzalez broke Harris County’s partnership agreement with ICE in 2017, and the Houston Chronicle reported that he refused to participate in an ICE raid himself in 2019.

In a 2017 letter to the then Republican-led Senate Committee on State Affairs, Gonzalez criticized what he called “anti-sanctuary city legislation,” which he said created “a climate of fear and suspicion that our efforts to build trust between strengthening law enforcement agencies. and the communities we serve.”

And his nomination was complicated when Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma expressed concern over a domestic complaint.

An affidavit filed in 2019 — unrelated to Gonzalez — contains a report of “an alleged domestic dispute” being investigated by an officer involving Gonzalez’s wife Melissa Gonzalez.

Both she and her husband have denied the claim.

The White House shared Melissa Gonzalez’s denial with news outlets and stood with the sheriff at the time.

DailyMail.com has reached out to the White House for comment on Gonzalez’s withdrawal.

Also in the past 12 months, Biden’s nominee for the Federal Reserve Sarah Bloom Raskin, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were chosen Saule Omarova and David Chipman, the president’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. , all forced out before a confirmation vote is held on the Senate floor.

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