The White House officially notified the Senate on Monday that it withdrew the nomination of Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to be the next director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE, which is currently led by Acting Director Tae Johnson, did not have a Senate-confirmed director through the entire Trump administration. Sarah Saldaña, the last confirmed director, left on Jan. 20, 2017.
Biden first announced the Harris County, Texas, sheriff as his pick to lead ICE in April 2021. Because the Senate never voted on Gonzalez’s nomination, it expired at the end of the year. Biden nominated Gonzalez for a second time in January.
“On Sunday, I informed President Biden’s administration that I am respectfully withdrawing from consideration for the post of Director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Gonzalez tweeted on June 27. “More than a year has passed since the President nominated me for this important position, which has not had a Senate-confirmed director since the Obama administration.”
“I arrived at this decision after prayerfully considering what’s best for our nation, my family, and the people of Harris County who elected me to serve a second term as Sheriff,” he continued. “I am grateful to President Biden for the honor of nominating me, and I wish this administration well as it strives to overcome the paralyzing political gridlock that threatens far more than our nation’s border. Frankly, the dysfunction threatens America’s heart and soul. My love for America and my desire to serve during these contentious times is stronger than ever. Ensuring the safety and security of the people of Harris County is a great honor, and I am fully devoted to continuing to fulfill this responsibility.”
Under the Trump administration, nine individuals served as acting director of ICE from periods lasting a matter of days to former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan’s service that lasted a year and a half.
Gonzalez has led the third-largest sheriff’s office in the nation since 2017, and was elected to a second term in 2020. He began his law enforcement career with 18 years at the Houston Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant, serving on the hostage negotiation team and as an investigator in the Homicide Division.
Gonzalez retired in 2009 and served three terms on the Houston City Council, being appointed Mayor Pro-Tem in 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston Downtown and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas.
At his confirmation hearing in July 2021, Gonzalez said he sees “many possibilities” to “move forward in a positive direction” in relationships with local law enforcement agencies as he doesn’t believe “one agency can work alone” in enforcing immigration laws with maintaining public safety as the priority.
“America has shown the world that it’s not only possible to survive but thrive as a nation that welcomes those seeking a new home and a better life through hard, honest work. We have proven that people from varied backgrounds cannot just coexist, but rally around common values and a shared dream of always doing better,” Gonzalez said at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing. “With that said, the American dream relies upon the rule of law and a functioning legal immigration system.”