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Name: Myers, Julie
Current Position: Former Assistant Secretary
A native of Shawnee, KS, Julie L. Myers served as the assistant secretary of homeland security for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement from January 2006 (although she was not confirmed until December 19, 2007) until Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Myers earned a bachelor’s degree at Baylor University and became an attorney following graduation from Cornell Law School. She clerked for the Honorable C. Arlen Beam of the US Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit.
Myers was an associate at the law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt in Chicago, IL, before becoming an assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York. There, she prosecuted criminal cases that included narcotics violations, financial crimes, immigration violations, securities fraud and other white collar criminal cases.
Myers later served as deputy assistant secretary for money laundering and financial crimes at the Treasury Department, chief of staff for the criminal division at the Department of Justice and assistant secretary for export enforcement at the Department of Commerce.
When President Bush first installed Myers as head of ICE, the move was done as a recess appointment which avoided Congressional approval. Some observers believed the President did this because Myers might not have survived the confirmation process. Both Democrats and Republicans contended Myers did not have the law enforcement credentials or experience to run the second largest police operation in the country.
Furthermore, some argued Myers received the post because of her connections, not her qualifications. She is the niece of General Richard B. Myers, US Air Force, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and principal military advisor to President Bush. Also, she is married to John F. Wood, chief of staff for Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, whom Myers worked for when she was at Justice.
After taking over ICE, Myers embarrassed herself by participating in the judging of a DHS Halloween costume contest during which an employee dressed in prison stripes, dreadlocks and dark makeup won for “most original costume.” Myers was part of a three-judge panel that lauded the costume, worn by a white employee. She also posed for a photo with the winner.
Once the incident became public, Myers issued an apology to department employees, saying some costumes were found to be offensive. She then called the National Association of African Americans in DHS to inform the group of what had happened.
After leaving office, Myers became president of Immigration & Customs Solutions, a consutling firm based in Evanston, Ill. that helps companies comply with immigration laws.
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