ICE director pick ‘prayerfully’ withdraws from consideration, wishes Biden good-luck with ‘paralyzing gridlock’

President Joe Biden’s nominee to be ICE director has taken himself out of the running for the position after his nomination stalled in the U.S. Senate for months.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was tapped by Biden last year to be the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement which is currently under the leadership of acting director Tae Johnson.

Vocally opposed to former President Donald Trump and his immigration policies, Gonzalez has been the sheriff of Texas’s largest county since 2016. He took to Twitter Monday to announce he is withdrawing himself from consideration for the director position and that he informed the administration of his decision on Sunday.

“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,” he continued.

Gonzalez noted that he made the decision to withdraw “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.”

“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,” he added.

“Frankly, the dysfunction threatens America’s heart and soul,” the sheriff wrote.

“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,” Gonzalez concluded.

Domestic abuse allegations against the sheriff, which surfaced earlier this year, led to a delay in the nomination process.

An affidavit filed had alleged “suggested violence” Gonzalez’s wife had experienced “at her home at the hands of the sheriff.”

“Both the sheriff and Melissa Gonzalez denied the allegations, and an inquiry into the allegations obtained by the Houston Chronicle undermined the credibility of the claims. The White House stood by President Joe Biden’s ICE nominee,” according to The Texas Tribune.

In March, Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma had called for a delay of the vote for Gonzalez’s nomination over concerns about the allegations.

The Democrat sheriff’s announcement was met with a response from a White House spokesperson.

“Sheriff Gonzalez has the qualifications and experience to do this important job and would have been a great leader of ICE. We thank Sheriff Gonzalez for his willingness to serve in the face of baseless allegations against his family and thank Homeland Security Chairman Peters for his diligent and hard work in support of the nomination,” the spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

Congress has not confirmed a director for ICE, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, since 2017 during the Obama administration. Jonathan Fahey served as the last acting director but resigned last year just two weeks after starting the job.

Gonzalez’s announcement came just before news of more than four dozen people being found dead inside an 18-wheeler Monday in San Antonio, Texas. The victims were believed to be migrants attempting to enter the U.S. About 16 people were found alive however and reportedly taken to the hospital.

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Frieda Powers

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