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President Joe Biden will nominate Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the White House said Tuesday. Gonzalez is a veteran law enforcement officer and Democrat who has been sheriff of Texas’ most populous county since 2017. While sheriff, Gonzalez ended the county’s participation in a program that let law enforcement cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Gonzalez also opposed immigration raids that he said would “threaten to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.” Reuters
In other federal immigration news…
ACLU Demands Closure of ICE Detention Centers
On Biden’s 100th day in office, the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Department of Homeland Security to close multiple ICE detention centers. In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the ACLU listed 39 detention centers it believes should be closed due to reports of abuse against detainees and limited lawyer access. The letter also urges Mayorkas to “dramatically downscale” immigration detention facilities “in light of the historically low number of people in the ICE detention.” According to government data, there are about 15,000 individuals in ICE detention, the lowest number in two decades. In Biden’s presidential campaign, he promised to terminate contracts with for-profit prison companies. CBS News
Biden Calls on Congress for Immigration Reform
Biden called on Congress on Wednesday to pass bipartisan immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. “Immigrants have done so much for America during the pandemic and throughout our history. The country supports immigration reform, we should act,” he said in his speech. Biden also defended his American Jobs Plan, an infrastructure proposal that some advocates believe could include aspects of immigration reform. Immigration advocates have argued there are economic benefits to including regularized status with a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers. It’s unclear if Democrats will be able to push the legislation through Congress. The Hill