Gonzalez nomination to head ICE met with excitement, caution
FOX 26 Reporter Maria Salazar has more reaction as President Biden will nominate Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to head ICE.
HOUSTON - Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez faces some major challenges should he be confirmed to lead the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Powers, an immigration attorney in Houston and spokesperson for the
American Immigration Lawyers Association, was in a staff meeting when
she heard the news of his nomination. She says it took a while for the
news to sink in but describes it as "good news."
think that Sheriff Gonzalez is the right choice. I'll be sad to see him
go from Houston as he's been a pillar in our community, but I think
he'll serve us all well in this role and this is a good role for him,"
Powers told FOX 26.
The hopes Gonzalez will steer the agency in the opposite direction of the Trump administration.
"It'll be great to have somebody in this role that withdrew the [Harris County Sheriff's] Department's 287(g) agreement and was opposed to family seperation and has supported due process for asylum seekers," Powers added.
She's counting on Gonzalez take on the key challenges her clients have faced while in ICE detention.
of different challenges from what we saw with family separation a few
years ago or to lack of communication with our clients or collecting
documents," Powers noted.
Other challenges include the treatment
of detainees and length of stay in ICE facilities. She believes he can
sent the tone even at facilities run by independent contractors
can help be a part of the that conversation from the top down. From who
they have as contractors, how the protocols of those private
contractors are supposed to work," Powers explained.
The ACLU is calling on the immediate shutdown
of 39 ICE detention facilities in the U.S Two of those facilities are
in the Houston area: IAH Polk Detention Facility in Livingston and
Montgomery Processing Center in Conroe.
fundamental disregard for the safety, the security, the dignity of those
detained and so they need to be immediately shut down," said Kate
Huddleston, attorney with ACLU of Texas.
Huddleston also hopes,
if confirmed, Gonzalez will re-examine some alternatives to mass
detention of those in immigration proceedings. Huddleston is calling on
the implementation of released supervision programs and sent the
ICE’s conditional supervision program,
called ISAP (Intensive Supervision Appearance Program), relies on the
use of electronic ankle monitors, biometric voice recognition software,
unannounced home visits, employer verification, and in-person reporting
to supervise participants. A government-contracted evaluation of this
program reported a 99% attendance rate at all immigration court hearings
and a 95% attendance rate at final hearings. U.S. Gov’t Accountability
Office, GAO-15-26, Alternatives to Detention: Improved Data Collection
and Analyses Needed to Better Assess Program Effectiveness 30 (Nov.
believes Gonzalez must also disentangle federal immigration enforcement
from local law enforcement beyond the end of the 287(g) program.
the use of immigration detainers and secure communities which is a
program where people who are arrested locally have their fingerprints
shared wtih ICE," she explained.
FOX 26 reached out to the National ICE Council, the union representing ICE officers, and have not heard back.