In a slew of nominations Tuesday, President Joe Biden tapped Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to become the new director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
If approved, Gonzalez—who received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston Downtown and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas, and has served in various locally elected positions for the past decade—would replace acting director Tae Johnson (ICE hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed head since 2017) and lead 20,000 people at the federal immigration agency.
But how did Gonzalez get to this position? We’ve walked through a brief timeline of the native Houstonian’s career.
Gonzalez retires from the Houston Police Department after 18 years. During that time, he rose to the rank of sergeant, working as a hostage negotiator and later a homicide detective. In November of this year, Gonzalez was elected to Houston City Council for District H, which covers parts of North Houston, The Heights, and the Second Ward.
Gonzalez is elected vice mayor pro tempore by the City Council. The mayor pro tem position acts as a “vice mayor,” performing official duties, like presiding over a city council meeting, when the current mayor cannot.
During Gonzalez’s second term, then-Mayor Annise Parker appoints him as mayor pro tem, a position he served in until 2016.
Gonzalez is elected Harris County Sheriff, overseeing a staff of about 5,000.
Gonzalez officially begins his term as sheriff on January 1. In February, he ended a controversial partnership with ICE in which deputies would screen Harris County inmates and hold immigrants for deportation if request. (Learn more about that here.)
Gonzalez publicly condemns ICE raids in Houston, opting for the Harris County Sheriff’s department to not participate. “I 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.,” he tweeted in July 2019. “The focus should always be on clear & immediate safety threats. Not others who are not threats.”
Gonzalez is re-elected for Harris County Sheriff, winning 57.46 percent of votes, or 903,736 ballots.
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