President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, sought the release of more than 1,500 inmates this year, including illegal aliens and those charged with violent crimes.
Last month, Biden nominated Gonzalez to become ICE director, the agency that has been gutted by the administration’s “sanctuary country” orders that prevent agents from arresting and deporting illegal aliens who are not recently-convicted aggravated felons, terrorists, or known gang members.
A report by the Washington Free Beacon reveals that Gonzalez, in January, sought the release of more than 1,500 inmates in the Harris County Jail — more than 74 percent of which were either charged with violent crimes, were illegal aliens with ICE detainers, or had extradition orders on them.
Gonzalez’s prison release of the inmates request was so extreme that the county’s liberal District Attorney, Kim Ogg (D), refused to grant the request and instead released only 60 inmates.
The Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman reported:
“Of the 1,543 defendants on the list sent to the district attorney by the Harris County sheriff, 1,148 defendants have an external hold or their pending case is violent,” wrote Ogg. “The district attorney objects to lowering the bail for any of these individuals’ cases.” [Emphasis added]
Ogg added that the remaining 395 inmates on the release list “collectively have 823 pending cases [against them], many of which have a bond greater than $10,000. Many of these multiple arrestees were on bond when arrested for new offenses.” [Emphasis added]
According to Ogg, the sheriff’s office had omitted significant concerning details about many of the inmates. One of the prisoners on the list, who was charged with misdemeanor assault of a family member, was also facing probation violation and deferred felony charges for residential burglary and had waived bail hearings. The sheriff neglected to note that another inmate on the list, who had been indicted for felony theft, had previously been released on a reduced bond in an ongoing felony forgery case and was facing deportation when he was rearrested. Another prisoner, charged with violent misdemeanor terroristic threat, had previously been released on bond but had it rescinded twice for failing to comply with electronic monitoring. [Emphasis added]
In 2017, as Breitbart News reported, Gonzalez made national headlines when he ended Harris County’s 287(g) agreement with ICE — the program that allows local law enforcement to seamlessly turn criminal illegal aliens over to ICE agents.
Yet, the decision did not impact Harris County’s cooperation with ICE, as Gonzalez’s department told Breitbart News in 2017 they would continue complying with ICE when agents requested criminal illegal aliens be turned over to federal custody, and they even welcomed ICE to place an agent in the local jail to help facilitate such transfers.
While Gonzalez continued cooperation with ICE, he lobbied state lawmakers and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to veto a ban on sanctuary cities in April 2017 and criticized the law after Abbott signed the legislation in May 2017.
Gonzalez has opposed worksite enforcement raids by ICE. In 2019, Gonzalez wrote that he did “not support [ICE raids] that threaten to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom do not represent a threat to the U.S.”
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.