Julie Myers’ nomination was moved out of committee earlier today and will be voted on by the full Senate soon. Myers is nominated to direct the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The vote out of the Senate Homeland Security Committee was 7-2.
Before Harriet Miers came on the scene, Myers was the lightning rod for those screaming unqualified cronyism in the Bush Administration. And she still may be. Whereas Harriet Miers’ rulings will effect our lives, should Julie Myers not be up to the ICE job, her failings may actually cost citizens their lives. It’s a brutal fact, but it’s probably true. She’s young, with no real management experience and no immigration experience. But older folks have built the mess she is walking into.
ICE has long been identified as one of the most dysfunctional, failing agencies in all of government. In many ways it still is, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is counting on Myers to fix it. It’s a safe bet that she won’t, and while it isn’t a safe bet, our guess is that she’s capable and bright enough to not screw things up worse than they already are. She might even improve them.
But if Congress — and in this case, the Senate — were serious about immigration reform and security issues related to immigration, it 1) should do something about it, and 2) should show up and send a clear message about how much it cares about the position by actually voting on the nomination. 7-2 won’t cut it.
If Julie Myers succeeds, it’s a statement about her abilities and another example of President Bush’s ability to spot talent. If new problems arise at ICE, we shouldn’t blame Myers so much as we’ll blame the Senate for failing to exhibit any spine in the advise and consent process its claims to care so much about.