Biden appoints Texas Sheriff and Trump Critic to head immigration

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By Ted Hesson and Mimi Dwyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden will nominate a Texas Sheriff, who criticized Trump-era immigration robberies, to head the US Immigration and Customs Service ICE (NYSE :)), the White House said Tuesday .

Biden will speak to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a veteran law enforcement officer and Democrat who has served as the sheriff of Texas’s most populous county since 2017, the White House said.

In a July 2019 Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 post, Gonzalez said he was opposed to widespread immigration robberies after former Republican President Donald Trump hyperbolically tweeted a month earlier that ICE would begin targeting “millions of illegal aliens.” deport.

“I do not support ICE raids that could deport millions of undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no threat to the US,” wrote Gonzalez. “The focus should always be on clear and immediate security threats.”

Gonzalez tried to limit relations between the local police force and federal immigration enforcement while serving as the Harris County sheriff. In 2017, he ended Harris County’s participation in a program that increased collaboration between county law enforcement and federal immigration services.

Gonzalez has to be confirmed in his new job by the 100-seat US Senate, which is 50% split between Democrats and Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris may cut ties.

His nomination comes as Biden tries to roll back Trump-era restrictive immigration policies in favor of a more humane approach. Both ICE and the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) played a leading role in Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

Biden announced on April 12 that he would have Chris Magnus, an Arizona police chief and another critic of some of Trump’s immigration policies, head the CBP. Magnus had criticized the previous government’s attempt to force so-called “protected areas” to cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies.

In the recent Trump-era pullback, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that federal immigration officials would limit arrests of immigrants in or near courthouses.

The move reverses policies that expanded such arrests, which the Biden government says has had a terrifying effect on people’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement agencies.

The DHS has also launched a new operation aimed at identifying immigrant smugglers and targeting their activities by revoking travel documents, suspending trading companies and freezing financial assets.

If his nomination is approved, Gonzalez will take over the helm of an agency that has been brought to its knees by the change in management.

After Biden took office on January 20, his government took a 100-day hiatus from many deportations and severely restricted who could be arrested and deported by ICE. The moratorium was heavily pushed back by the Republicans and blocked by a federal judge in Texas a few days after it came into effect.

Some career ICE officials have privately criticized the new enforcement priorities, saying they prevent agents from arresting some criminals.

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