HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- President Joe Biden announced he will nominate several people to serve in national security positions, including Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who's being named nominee for Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security.
Gonzalez was re-elected for a second term as sheriff in 2020, but now he will move into the Biden administration to tackle a major challenge.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia quickly welcomed Gonzalez.
"Glad to know I'll have a longtime friend and neighbor to share my serious concerns about our country's deeply flawed immigration system. Sheriff Gonzalez and I have worked together for our community so many times before and I hope to continue," she said, via a statement.
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that announcing Gonzalez's nomination today shows it was a "priority," although it was somewhat buried in a list of nearly a dozen nominations, sent out during the daily briefing.
"Well, certainly we want, we encourage the Senate to not only consider but confirm qualified nominees. We certainly consider him one of them. But the president looks forward to having someone in place in this position, and it certainly indicates a priority that we've put it out today," Psaki said, when asked at the tail end of the briefing whether the White House wants the Senate to send Gonzalez's nomination to the top of their to-do list.
Gonzalez, a lifelong Houstonian, was elected on Nov. 8, 2016 as the sheriff of Harris County. On Jan. 1, 2017, Gonzalez became the 30th Sheriff of Harris County.
Voters elected Gonzalez to a second term in 2020 when he earned the highest vote total of any candidate on the countywide ballot.
WATCH: Gonzalez chosen to move ICE in 'better direction,' Commissioner Garcia says
The Harris County Sheriff's Office is the largest Sheriff Office in the State of Texas, and the third-largest nationally. Gonzalez leads upwards of 5,000 employees to protect the county's 4.5 million residents.
Gonzalez began his law enforcement career as a civilian employee in the Houston Police Department, where he later became a police officer and rose to the rank of sergeant. He served on the elite hostage negotiation team and was assigned to the Homicide Division as an investigator.
After serving 18 years with the Houston Police Department, Gonzalez retired in 2009 to serve three terms on the Houston City Council representing District H. He was elected by his peers in 2010 to serve as Vice Mayor Pro-Tem and was appointed Mayor Pro-Tem in 2012 by then-Mayor Annise Parker.
Gonzalez holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston Downtown, and a master's degree from the University of St. Thomas.