on Tuesday nominated the sheriff of Texas’ most populous county to guide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), charging him with the formidable activity of reforming an company whose work has come underneath withering criticism from progressives.
If confirmed by the Senate, Ed Gonzalez, the Harris County sheriff, would lead 1000’s of officers charged with arresting and deporting unauthorized immigrants, and with working the sprawling U.S. immigration detention system, which is the biggest on the planet.
Since its inception in 2002, ICE’s work underneath Democratic and Republican administrations has change into a focal difficulty within the polarizing debate over immigration coverage within the U.S. Criticism of ICE intensified through the Trump administration, which gave the company broader discretion to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants, together with these with out felony information.
During Mr. Trump’s presidency, progressives, together with present members of Congress, began a motion to abolish ICE — a proposal that Mr. Biden and different reasonable Democrats have resisted.
John Amaya, who served as deputy chief of employees at ICE through the Obama administration, stated Gonzalez ought to count on to be accused by conservatives of not doing sufficient to implement U.S. immigration legal guidelines and by progressives of arresting and deporting too many immigrants.
A Pew Research Center survey final yr discovered ICE boasted a decrease approval score, 46%, than the Internal Revenue Service, 65%.
“As long as he understands that he’s going to be hit from both sides, he’s going to be well-situated to be able receive those blows, because they’re going to come no matter what,” Amaya instructed CBS News.
As chief of the nation’s third largest sheriff’s workplace, Gonzalez repeatedly criticized the Trump administration’s immigration insurance policies and withdrew his division from a federal program providing voluntary help to ICE’s mission of detaining and deporting migrants.
If confirmed, Gonzalez would lead a division house to greater than 20,000 staff and an $eight billion annual finances.
Despite the anticipated political scrutiny Gonzalez will face, Amaya stated his nomination will profit the company and its personnel, who haven’t had a Senate-confirmed director for the reason that finish of the Obama administration. Mr. Trump solely made one try and nominate a everlasting ICE director, however finally withdrew the nomination.
“There’s no question that the agency is dying for leadership,” Amaya stated.
On Inauguration Day, the Department of Homeland Security introduced a 100-day freeze on most deportations carried out by ICE, however a federal choose blocked it 4 days after it took impact. Mr. Biden additionally revoked that day an order issued by former President Donald Trump that made most undocumented immigrants weak to arrest.
ICE has sinceinstructing brokers to prioritize the arrest of immigrants deemed to pose a menace to nationwide safety, these convicted of sure crimes and up to date border crossers. Arrests of immigrants who don’t fall inside these classes require top-level supervisory approval.
During the marketing campaign, Mr. Biden stated he would finish for-profit immigration detention, however ICE has but to make bulletins relating to its multi-billion-dollar contracts with personal jail corporations, which run most of the company’s detention facilities.
The company is at the moment holding about 15,000 immigrants in detention services throughout the nation.
In a press release on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urged lawmakers to substantiate Gonzalez expeditiously.
“With a distinguished career in law enforcement and public service, Sheriff Gonzalez is well-suited to lead ICE as the agency advances our public safety and homeland security mission,” Mayorkas stated.