Biden's ICE Pick Caught Up in Domestic Abuse Brouhaha

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and his wife both say the allegations are 'false'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2022 7:33 AM CST
Domestic Abuse Allegations Derail Biden's ICE Pick
Ed Gonzalez testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, about his nomination to be an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, July 15, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Senate was expected to vote as soon as this week on President Biden's pick to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has been without a Senate-confirmed director since 2017. That vote has now been delayed, however, following domestic violence allegations against the nominee. Senate Democrats withdrew a vote to advance Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez's nomination on Tuesday after Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford wrote to Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), raising concerns about years-old claims apparently made by Gonzalez's wife, per the Hill.

Sometime between 2014 and 2017, Melissa Gonzalez told a Houston Community College police officer that Gonzalez became "physical or violent" with her after learning she'd had an affair with her supervisor at Houston Community College, where she worked as vice chancellor, according to an affidavit filed last July as part of a lawsuit against college staffers, per CNN. But Melissa Gonzalez denies the interview ever took place, per the Houston Chronicle. "To be clear, the assertions referenced in the affidavit, as they relate to me, my husband, or my marriage, are completely false," she says in a statement. "The allegations are false, all politics," adds Ed Gonzalez. "No supporting evidence surfaced, and no charges were filed," reports the Chronicle.

The White House is standing by the nomination, noting the "extraordinarily qualified law enforcement professional with 30 years' experience … should be confirmed without delay." But "because of the severity of these allegations, the vote on this nomination should be postponed until it can be determined whether or not these allegations are true," Lankford wrote. If true, "they are disqualifying for a law enforcement officer at any level." Peters on Tuesday requested unanimous consent to withdraw a procedural motion to advance Gonzalez's nomination, per the Hill. He said "any allegation of domestic abuse concerns me" and "we'll have to wait to see" if the nomination comes to a vote, per CNN. (More domestic violence stories.)

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