The White House wants a lawyer with little immigration or customs experience to head the troubled law enforcement agency that handles those issues, reports the Washington Post. The selection has prompted sharp criticism from some employee groups, immigration advocates, and homeland security experts. The nomination of Julie Myers to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, comes amid debate over the qualifications of department political appointees involved in the sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina.
“I realize that I’m not 80 years old,” Myers, 36, told senators last week. “I have a few gray hairs, more coming, but I will seek to work with those who are knowledgeable in this area, who know more than I do.” After working as a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, N.Y., for two years, Myers held a variety of jobs over the past four years at the White House and at the departments of Commerce, Justice, and Treasury, though none involved managing a large bureaucracy. She worked briefly as chief of staff to Michael Chertoff when he led the Justice Department’s criminal division before he became Homeland Security secretary.