My fellow conservatives in Washington refuse to learn two vital homeland security lessons, one from 9/11 and the other from Hurricane Katrina.
Lesson Number One: If you neglect immigration enforcement, you will regret it.
Lesson Number Two: If you appoint political cronies in times of crisis, you will regret it.
The Bush administration has barely rebounded from the resignation of horse show organizer Michael "Heck of a job" Brown from FEMA, and yet is pushing forward with the nomination of another inexperienced bureaucrat to a key post at the Department of Homeland Security.
If this is supposed to be a shining example of Karl Rove's political genius, get him some stupid pills quick.
The new crony waiting in the wings is attorney Julie Myers, the White House pick to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, the agency Myers would spearhead deals with "enforcement" of "immigration" and "customs" laws and policies. Myers has practical and managerial experience in none of the above.
Zip. Nada. Nil.
As I've reported many times over the past several years, one of this country's greatest vulnerabilities is its disgraceful lack of clear and consistent interior enforcement of our immigration laws. The detention and deportation system remains in shambles. Rank-and-file ICE agents are undermined routinely by open-borders superiors.
So, what exactly are the 36-year-old lawyer's main credentials to solve these dire national security problems? Her uncle is Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Her husband is DHS chief Michael Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood. Chertoff was also Myers' former boss for a short spell at the Justice Department's criminal division. Myers also worked at the Department of Commerce on export control policy under Michael Garcia, the departing head of ICE.
Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, told the Washington Post: "She's well-known and respected throughout the law enforcement community. . . . She has a proven track record as an effective manager." That is most certainly not what I'm hearing from rank-and-file employees at ICE and other parts of DHS, who have been brutal and vocal in criticizing Myers' nomination. By contrast, the silence of the usual open-borders suspects on the Left to this Bush appointment is rather telling.
Myers and her supporters think some cute sound bites will paper over her lack of qualifications for the job. "I realize that I'm not 80 years old," Myers testified at her nomination hearing 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."
Please, spare us the not-so-clever rejoinders about age and wisdom. Reagan could pull them off. Myers can't. Why hire someone who needs to "seek to work" with those "who know more than I do" in order to her job? Myers may be perfectly capable of writing legal briefs and organizing policy conferences. I'm sure her knowledge of export controls is second to none. But as long as the borders are broken and al Qaeda continues to exploit lax immigration enforcement, she has no business heading ICE -- or any other DHS agency.
Old habits die hard, unfortunately. The Bush administration, like the Clinton presidency before it, has continued entrenched Beltway practices of installing no-nothing political seat-warmers in high places within the immigration bureaucracy. Bush appointed Eduardo Aguirre, a banker with zero experience in immigration law, to head DHS's Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Bush has also named several Republican Party operatives with zero experience in immigration law to immigration court posts. It's hack heaven at DHS.
This must end. Cronyism and national security are a deadly mix. Do we really want to wait until another mass terrorist attack happens to finally learn that lesson?