President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated the sheriff of one of the nation’s most populous counties to lead the agency that deports illegal immigrants, picking a seasoned law enforcement official who sharply criticized former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, whose jurisdiction includes the Houston metropolitan area, was nominated director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency that has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since 2017.
After his election in 2016, Gonzalez fulfilled a campaign promise to withdraw Harris County from a federal partnership that authorizes sheriff’s deputies to enforce immigration laws, ending an agreement that had been in place since 2008.
Such agreements grew from 35 to 150 during Trump’s presidency, with many of those additions in Texas and Florida.
At the time of the withdrawal, Gonzalez said his decision was financially motivated. Deputies trained under the program had to be reassigned to other law enforcement