Another disastrous crony appointment in the making
This is Julie Myers, President Bush’s nominee to head the the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security.
Her nomination is a joke. A bad joke: (via WaPo)
The Bush administration is seeking to appoint a lawyer with little immigration or customs experience to head the troubled law enforcement agency that handles those issues, prompting sharp criticism from some employee groups, immigration advocates and homeland security experts.
The push to appoint Julie Myers to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, comes in the midst of intense debate over the qualifications of department political appointees involved in the sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina…
…After working as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y., for two years, Myers held a variety of jobs over the past four years at the White House and at the departments of Commerce, Justice and Treasury, though none involved managing a large bureaucracy. Myers worked briefly as chief of staff to Michael Chertoff when he led the Justice Department’s criminal division before he became Homeland Security secretary.
Myers also was an associate under independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr for about 16 months and has most recently served as a special assistant to President Bush handling personnel issues.
Her uncle is Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She married Chertoff’s current chief of staff, John F. Wood, on Saturday.
In written answers to questions from Congress, Myers highlighted her year-long job as assistant secretary for export enforcement at Commerce, where she said she supervised 170 employees and a $25 million budget. ICE has more than 20,000 employees and a budget of approximately $4 billion. Its personnel investigate immigrant, drug and weapon smuggling, and illegal exports, among other responsibilities.
Myers was on her honeymoon and was not available to comment yesterday. Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, cited Myers’s work with customs agents on money-laundering and drug-smuggling cases. “She’s well-known and respected throughout the law enforcement community,” Healy said. “She has a proven track record as an effective manager.”
Oh, give me a ^*&%$# break and a half! This nomination is a monumental political and policy blunder in the wake of the Michael Brown/FEMA fiasco. And I can tell you that contrary to the Miss Mary Sunshine White House spokeswoman’s comments, rank-and-file DHS employees and immigration enforcement officials are absolutely livid about Myers’ nomination.
This e-mail I received last week says it all:
As you probably know, this is the largest investigative arm of DHS and the second largest Federal investigative agency after the FBI. ICE’s critical homeland security mission is directed at all Customs and Immigration violations occurring in the interior of the U.S. These are the officers that have to respond to calls of illegal aliens, drug loads with a border nexus and the detention and removal of all illegal aliens place in removal proceedings. ICE accounts for close to 80% of all arrests made within the FBI’s joint terrorism task force. ICE criminally prosecutes more individuals than any other Federal agency.
My point is, ICE is the lead agency to proactively prevent terrorism in the U.S. Ms. Myers, although learned, has barely the legal requirement to be nominated as the AS for ICE. The law requires 5 years of managerial experience and 5 years of law enforcement experience. Ms. Myers is 35 and has worked as the following(estimates): private attorney 2 years; AUSA EDNY 2 years; Deputy Asst Sec Treasury 2 years; Chief of Staff for Michael Chertoff at Main Justice 2 years; Starr Commission 1 year; Director of Commerce’s Export Control agency 2 years; and the White House Personnel 2 years. The most direct law enforcement experience is supervising 250 Commerce Special Agents which pursues similar violations on export control as ICE. Roughly 11 years of experience to lead the 12,000 law enforcement officer ICE agency. You decide if this is sufficient. I can guarantee you that she would never have been nominated to run the FBI, DEA or Secret Service. It’s almost like the old INS days where they just throw out the political favors. Maybe she’s getting the job because she’s tight with Chertoff. Maybe it’s because she’s the niece of General Myers (Chair Joint Chiefs of Staff). Who knows, but I guarantee you this, the next time some illegal aliens commit a terrorist act on U.S. soil, people are going to be scrutinizing her resume.
Sorry to ramble but unfortunately the majority of DHS is being run by hacks, snot nose youngsters who couldn’t find an illegal alien in Tijuana, and other “connected” people with no knowledge, experience, or business being in the Homeland Security sector. I guess it’s a good resume line to have these days.
Everything was supposed to change after 9/11. No more business as usual, blah blah blah. But when it comes to immigration enforcement and border security, Bush keeps installing clueless cronies.
Remember banker Eduardo Aguirre–now head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services–who had zero experience in immigration law?
And how about these Bush beneficiaries of the immigration court spoils system?
And check out this DHS chart. An ICE employee noted in an e-mail to me this week:
Look at the deputy Secretary Michael Jackson – came from private sector transportation jobs and Dept of Transportation. BTS chief Randy Beardsworth, in charge of ICE and Border Patrol, comes from the Coast Guard and was a budget planner. Where are the law enforcement backgrounds to head law enforcement agencies? And the CIS ombudsman? A longtime immigration attorney and AILA member.
The WaPo this morning quotes a union official I agree with:
“It appears she’s got a tremendous amount of experience in money laundering, in banking and the financial areas,” said Charles Showalter, president of the National Homeland Security Council, a union that represents 7,800 ICE agents, officers and support staff. “My question is: Who the hell is going to enforce the immigration laws?”
Bingo. Let’s pose that question to the White House–and the members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who held a public hearing on Myers’ nomination last week.
Myers cheekily told the committee:
“I realize that I’m not 80 years old,” Myers testified. “I have a few gray hairs, more coming, but I will seek to work with those who are knowledgeable in this area, who know more than I do.”
Spare us the cutsey rejoinders. Reagan could pull them off. Myers can’t. She may be perfectly capable of writing briefs and I’m sure her knowledge of export controls is second to none. But as long as the borders are broken and al Qaeda continues to exploit lax immigration enforcement, I don’t want her in charge of ICE. Why hire someone who needs to “seek out” those “who know more than I do” in order to her job? Why wait until the next mass terrorist attack to put those more knowledgeable people in leadership positions now and leave the paper-pushers in their cubicles?
Why the president wants Myers to head ICE at this critical moment in time–and why his supposedly brilliant strategists don’t see the stupidity of Myers’ nomination–defies comprehension.
White House, meet clue-by-four. Find someone better before this blows up in your faces.
The Myers nomination is all the more pathetic in light of the many experienced, able, and willing immigration enforcement veterans out there who deserve the job. My pick: Pete Nunez, former United States Attorney, Southern District of California (1982-1988), former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement (1990-1993) overseeing all law enforcement components of the Treasury Department including Customs and BATF, lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Center for Immigration Studies. He should have been named DHS chief. He’d make a worthy pick now for ICE.
Update: Debbie Schlussel is even tougher on Myers/Chertoff/Bush.
Ankle Biting Pundits weigh in: “Immigration Nominee Latest Sign That Bush And GOP Don’t Get It On Border Policy.”
On a related note, the liberal website Raw Story has published an interesting immigration memo from Rep. Lamar Smith to Karl Rove that was inadvertently sent to a Democratic congressman. Some conservatives have questioned the authenticity of the document. Well, I just called Rep. Smith’s office and confirmed that it is real and unaltered. Rep. Smith’s staffer explained the gaffe by saying that “something went on with the fax machine.”