Another good GovExec story asks tonight whether the recess appointment of Julie Myers at ICE sounds the death knell, at least in the short term, to the idea of a CBP-ICE merger:
Some critics also argue the administration missed an opportunity to merge ICE and the Customs and Border Protection bureau. Before Myers was appointed, both ICE and CBP had vacancies at the top. Former ICE Administrator Michael Garcia left last fall to become the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Former CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner retired in November.
By installing a new chief at ICE, the administration clearly signaled that it has no intent to overhaul the agencies.
The article then goes into great length to recount all of the people and organizations who support the idea of merging CBP and ICE.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out who exactly is defending the status quo, and why they’re doing it. Most of the key people in Congress support a merger, as today’s story notes. The DHS Inspector General has written a strong report full of evidence as to why this would be a good idea. Many frontline officials in both agencies have testified to Congress that they think this should be done. The think tank community has supported this idea in publications such as the CSIS/Heritage DHS 2.0 report. (Full disclosure: I participated in the task force that developed that report). Former CBP Commissioner Robert Bonner recently noted his support for the idea.
On the other side of the ledger, the only arguments that I’ve heard are (a) it’s too hard, (b) it’s too late, and (c) it would diminish my power. Those arguments aren’t good enough when national security is at stake.