Biden’s ICE Nominee Is an Anti-ICE, Anti-Borders Activist

Investigative Reports |Press Releases

July 15, 2021

IRLI investigation shows Ed Gonzalez’s track record of opposing immigration enforcement

WASHINGTON—While Sheriff Ed Gonzalez sounded like a reasonable moderate in his first day of confirmation hearings as the Biden administration’s nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), he has a track record of opposing the agency’s core mission and other programs designed to protect Americans from violent criminal aliens.

An investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) examined the history of Gonzalez, currently sheriff of Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston. The findings raise serious questions about Gonzalez’s fitness for this critical post.

Gonzalez has a history of repeatedly attacking immigration enforcement agencies including ICE. In his five years as sheriff, Gonzalez has also implemented policies intended to kneecap local cooperation with ICE.

Almost immediately upon entering office, Gonzalez terminated the Harris County Sheriff’s Office 287(g) program in February 2017, ending an effective cooperation agreement that helps ICE locate, apprehend and deport criminal illegal aliens.

In June 2018, Gonzalez spoke out against the Trump administration’s attempt to control illegal immigration at the southern border, saying the following: “Separating families harms children. To me, it’s an affront to our American values.”  Gonzales doubled down on these comments in a subsequent tweet: “Separating families who arrive at our border harms children and is an affront to American values. Children should not be in immigration detention, period”.

In July 2019, Gonzalez took to Twitter to denounce ICE raids, writingI do not support #ICERaids that threaten to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom do not represent a threat to the U.S. The focus should always be on clear & immediate safety threats. Not others who are not threats.”

ICE representatives have stated on numerous occasions that the focus of raids is criminal aliens, not those whose only crime is illegal entry into the country. When sheriffs like Ed Gonzalez terminate 287(g) programs, it forces ICE agents to conduct raids in homes, creating a far more dangerous situation to all parties compared to the controlled environment of a local jail.

As a member of the Houston city council and mayor pro tempore at the time, Gonzalez also took part in a 2015 trip to China that was funded by an organization called Houston EB5, an advocacy group for EB-5 visas, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The controversial EB-5 program allows rich foreign nationals to obtain U.S. visas in exchange for million-dollar investments in U.S. projects.

Gonzalez’s nomination has the full-throated support of anti-borders activists, including Al Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum, and Ruby Powers, spokesperson for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“Ed Gonzalez is a radical anti-borders activist,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Only in the Biden administration could we get a person with such extreme anti-ICE beliefs nominated to actually lead ICE. At a time when our borders are being overrun and criminal aliens are being released back into communities, picking someone who has repeatedly opposed efforts to enforce immigration law to lead ICE is highly irresponsible. The Senate should reject this nomination.”

Gonzalez is currently being questioned by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as part of the confirmation process.

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