Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 9, 2006

Houston Chronicle editorial on the Julie Myers appointment

Filed under: DHS News — by Christian Beckner on January 9, 2006

The Houston Chronicle weighs in today on the Julie Myers appointment:

Politically, Myers hobbles [Bush]. If Bush wishes to make immigration enforcement a priority, why not prove it with a serious appointment? In Congress, Myers too will be hobbled, doomed to micromanagement by lawmakers angry at how she was installed.

But most frightening are the implications of her inexperience on the human beings she’ll affect. ICE polices the border and intercepts contraband, drugs and potential terrorists. It also deals with human traffickers, unaccompanied children and millions of adult immigrants searching for work.

ICE has problems reconciling these duties. Ensuring humane treatment of detainees while thwarting terrorists and criminals has challenged committed experts. The example of FEMA’s Michael Brown demonstrates the danger of handing such responsibilities to a cheerful novice.

I don’t have an opinion on her qualifications. I’ve read what her detractors have said, but I’ve also heard from people whom I respect that they think she’s been very competent in her prior government positions. But what’s an undeniable truth at this point, as this editorial correctly notes, is that the decision to use a recess appointment for such a critical position – and putting her on a 23-month timer – has the effect of undermining her authority from day one, at a time when ICE desperately needs strong and creative leadership.

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