Back in November, when the latest Julie Myers fiasco broke out, I said I had no tears for her. She’s the crony DHS head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau whose unpreparedness for the job I’ve spotlighted repeatedly over the years. When word spread about her photo-op at a Halloween party with a politically incorrect employee wearing a prison costume and darkened skin, I noted that however much she might have tried to compensate for her inexperience the last two years, she reinforces the perception (and reality) that the White House still doesn’t take immigration enforcement seriously enough.
Now, the pictures of the party–like the one above–have been released. And they underscore and illustrate my points vividly.
Myers, whose Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency runs the nation’s 32,000-bed immigration detention system, was on a three-judge panel that gave a “most original costume” award to the worker at an ICE charity event Oct. 31. Myers subsequently apologized, saying the costume could leave “a negative impression” of ICE’s respect for people whom it detains and explained that she learned only the next day that the man was wearing makeup.
Myers’s Senate confirmation was delayed until December partly as a result of the controversy, and she told lawmakers who inquired last fall that she had immediately instructed aides to order that the digital photographs of the worker be deleted. The images aired on CNN yesterday, however, after the cable television network obtained 113 official photographs of the party, including recovered versions of all the deleted ones, through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“At a minimum, she was being disingenuous,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Senate homeland security committee. McCaskill had objected to Myers’s nomination over her handling of the matter and over ICE’s slow release of data about criminal enforcement against companies that hire illegal immigrants. “You would not think the committee would have to resort to a FOIA request from the media to get these photographs,” she said.
A spokesman for Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), another committee member, added in a statement: “The perception of racial insensitivity is a serious threat to the credibility of ICE. These pictures raise serious concerns about whether ICE purposely withheld the pictures requested by Congress and whether Ms. Myers’ account of the incident was completely forthcoming.”
…In a Nov. 8 letter replying to questions by McCaskill, Myers said that she was “shocked and horrified” to learn that the employee was wearing makeup but that within minutes of leaving the party she instructed her chief of staff to direct ICE’s events photographer “to delete all photos of the employee.”
“Although I didn’t know that the employee had disguised his race, I believed I had made an error in judgment in recognizing an escaped prisoner,” Myers wrote.
It’s not the “racism” that’s so offensive.
It’s the utter stupidity.
The head of ICE, one of the top domestic homeland security officials in the country, couldn’t tell that the dweeb in a dreadlock wig standing next to her was wearing makeup.
If Bozo the Clown were standing next to her, would she know the red nose wasn’t real–or would she need posterior-covering staffers to help her realize that, too?
Compounding the stupidity are all the whiny, sanctimonious senators who now claim they were “misled.”
Myers was unfit for the job at the start and little had changed when the Senate voted to confirm her in December on an unrecorded voice vote.
Stupid is as stupid does.
Yeah, we’re “backsliding” all right, Chertoff.