New head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to reform current ICE activities.
President Biden has appointed Texas Sheriff Ed Gonzalez as the first head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since the Obama administration in what he intends as a major reform of the agency.
Known for his criticism of Trump-era immigration policies, the Harris County sheriff has stated that he does not support the tendency of current ICE activities to involve raids of immigrant homes and the forced deportation of undocumented migrants, most of whom present no threat whatsoever to the United States.
Aligned with President Biden’s pro-immigration stance, Gonzalez plans to focus on only deporting those undocumented immigrants with serious criminal records. Regarding ICE’s historical policy of deporting all identified illegal immigrants, the sheriff finds such practices as unfounded and wrong. Gonzalez aims to follow in the President’s footsteps, as since Biden has taken office, notably fewer undocumented immigrants have been arrested.
In fact, deportations appeared to have already slowed by about 50 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, even immigrants held in detention by ICE in 2019 ended up falling from 56,000 to 14,000 by March of 2021. Now, with specific leaders actually heading these immigration agencies under President Biden, Gonzalez and like-minded individuals hope to achieve even greater reform.