October 03, 2005
Enid Doggett
(202) 639-6419
Emily Ryan
(202) 639-6421

Put National Safety Above Favoritism, AFGE Tells Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today asked Congress not to approve the president’s choice of Julie Myers as head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an entity of the Department of Homeland Security. “While Ms. Myers may well be a talented lawyer, that is not what ICE needs in a leader,” said AFGE National Homeland Security Council President Charles Showalter.

Recently, the management of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the tenure of Director Michael Brown has come under fire. Mr. Brown is a lawyer who had no emergency management experience prior to his appointment.

“To the best of my knowledge, Ms. Myers has no practical or managerial experience with immigration and customs enforcement,” Showalter explained. “If we have learned anything from the near-collapse of FEMA, it’s that only experienced, qualified people should head government agencies.

“I am sure that Ms. Myers is a fine attorney; unfortunately, that’s not who we need to head ICE,” he added. “The head of ICE legally must have at least five years of experience in both law enforcement and management. I just don’t see that on her résumé.

“ICE agents are the federal law enforcement officers charged with investigating and arresting criminal aliens and potential terrorists anywhere in the United States, other than at the borders,” Showalter said. “Millions of illegal aliens penetrate our borders each year, and ICE is the only agency in DHS responsible for identifying and detaining them once they are inside the country. This agency is the last defense our government has in its effort to find potential terrorists. I, for one, would want the most qualified person leading that charge—not just a person who knows the right people.”

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