WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., delivered the following statement Friday before voting against the nomination of Julie Myers to head the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. The nomination was approved by the full Committee on a vote of 7-2 (counting the proxy votes of Senators not present, the vote was 9-6). The nomination will now be sent to the Judiciary Committee, which requested a sequential referral.
“I have decided to oppose the confirmation of Julie Myers to lead the DHS Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This is not a decision I come to lightly. I have been impressed by the nominee’s intelligence, and her dedication to public service. Nevertheless, I have concluded that Ms. Myers lacks the management background and experience she needs to run the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau at this very difficult time in its history and our nation’s history. “With over 20,000 employees, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not only a big agency, it a vitally important one. ICE has an essential role in the war on terrorism, primarily to target the human smuggling and money laundering rings that can be exploited by our enemies. The agency also has the continued responsibility to enforce our immigration laws, and is centrally involved in administering a system widely perceived to be broken. As important as the agency’s mission is, from its formation it has been plagued with management and budget difficulties that have caused internal turmoil. “Faced with these daunting challenges, ICE clearly needs a proven leader, someone who can command the respect of employees while implementing a clear vision for the agency. My greatest concern about this nominee is her relative lack of management experience. In fact, I do not believe that Ms. Myers meets the explicit requirement of the Homeland Security Act, stated in the law, that she has five years of management experience. She has not held any management job for more than a year, and the divisions she did administer were small in comparison to ICE. Her record and the testimonials on her behalf are positive but given the statutory requirements and the difficulties of running this agency, I do not believe she is right for this job. I also would like to say that the nominee has virtually no immigration experience, which I also consider a serious requirement for this position. At this moment, with this particular agency, I want to be absolutely certain that we entrust the leadership of ICE to someone with a clear and proven record of strong management experience, which is why, respectfully, I will vote against this nomination.