Julie Myers

Infobox Officeholder
name = Julie L. Myers


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order = Assistant Secretary, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Department of Homeland Security
term_start = January 4 2006
term_end = present
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predecessor = John P. Clark (acting)
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birth_place = Shawnee, Kansas, USA
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party = Republican
spouse = John F. Wood
relations =
children = 1 son
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alma_mater = Baylor University, 1991
Cornell Law School, 1994
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religion = Baptist; married in the Episcopal Church


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Julie L. Myers (born 1969) is the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She assumed the job following a recess appointment by President George W. Bush on January 4, 2006. Previously, Myers worked for the Office of Independent Counsel under Kenneth Starr and was a lead prosecutor in the Independent Counsel's failed case against Susan McDougal. [http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/04/12/mcdougal.verdict] After leaving the Office of Independent Counsel, Myers was appointed Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement at the Department of Commerce for one year. In that capacity, she oversaw 170 employees and a $25 million budget for one year. She also is the niece of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Richard Myers, and is the wife of John F. Wood, the current U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri and the former chief of staff for the Secretary of Homeland Security [cite news |url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20060106-125033-6150r.htm |title=Critics call Myers unfit for immigration post |publisher=The Washington Times |author=Seper, Jerry |date=January 6, 2006 |accessdate=2006-04-06] . Michael Chertoff is the Secretary of Homeland Security [cite web |url=http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/|title=Department Subcomponents and Agencies|accessdate=2006-12-14] and her boss. [cite web |url=http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/DHS_OrgChart.pdf|title=Organizational Chart of DHS|accessdate=2006-12-14]

Assistant secretary

On June 30, 2005, Myers was nominated by President Bush to head up the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. On September 15 she testified in front of the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Coming after the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) head, Michael D. Brown, the members of the committee were very suspicious that Myers is not qualified for the job, and the appointment was made for her family connections.

The committee approved Myers' nomination on a strict party line vote (with Republicans voting for the nomination). The full Senate never voted on the nomination, and President Bush gave her a recess appointment on January 4, 2006, to remain in effect until January 3, 2007. He renominated her on January 9, 2007. [cite news |url=http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0107/011007j1.htm |title=Bush moves to retain recess-appointed ICE chief |publisher=Government Executive |author=Jonathan Marino |date=January 10, 2007 |accessdate=2007-03-31]

Criticism/Controversy

Criticism

Because the head of ICE is required by law to have at least five years of legal and management experience, three U.S. Senators -- two Republicans (George V. Voinovich, Ohio; Susan Collins, Maine) and one Independent (Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut) -- expressed grave concerns that Myers lacked sufficient law enforcement experience. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091901930.html] Much of the criticism came from conservative commentators, including "The National Review," which urged President Bush to nominate a candidate with more experience. [http://www.nationalreview.com/editorial/editors200509221416.asp]

Julie Myers has also been criticized for not responding to [http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-06-24-Immigration-raids_N.htm] human rights abuses in the numerous detention centers across the U.S. where immigrants waiting for asylum are held. Some of the abuses involve the methods used by I.C.E. agents during raids, where people are denied 4th Amendment Constitutional Rights, and/or are subjected to severe interrogation methods for lengthy periods, and being denied access to bathrooms. Others include only being allowed up to 3 showers a week; no access to fresh fruits and vegetables in these facilities; computer programs that crash a day or two before a detainee needs to submit their arguments for their cases; lack of medical and mental health care for detainees; and children being housed in prison beside their parents (sometimes as U.S. citizens) instead of the parents being offered ankle bracelet tracking options.

Ms. Myers has downplayed these human rights abuses in an effort to minimize Homeland Security's inability to follow the rule of law when dealing with immigrants. Another area of criticism is Homeland Security and the inability of I.C.E. to award [http://www.visalaw.com/04aug1/2aug104.html] "S" and "U" visas, to immigrants who have compromised their security by offering information on terrorists and organized crime, after taking the information in exchange for the immigrant's right to enter the U.S. legally. Julie Meyers and I.C.E. have refused to award these visas, and falsified documents surrounding the immigrants offering this information instead of honoring the agreements that were created to secure America's borders and in doing so, I.C.E. and Julie Meyers have compromised national security. Under Julie Meyers, these people are being deported after satisfying requirements for information that leads to arrests of organized crime suspects, thereby creating a premeditated murder for the immigrants who risked their lives offering this information. [http://narcosphere.narconews.com/node/1965] One case that received a great deal of publicity involving this involved Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, the U.S. government informant who played a key role in the House of Death carnage. But there have been many more that have not received any publicity, because Homeland Security has been careful about allowing this information to leak to the American public. Since Homeland Security is autonomous in monitoring itself, this has been an unwritten problem for the most part.

Drugging deportees

Under her administration, ICE officials admitted to administering Haldol and Cogentin to deportees without consent. Haldol and Cogentin are controlled substances that typically require a prescription from a doctor. The ACLU filed a suit on the basis that this violates the bill of rights as well as federal laws and may constitute torture [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gxBn8z3XdgEdDuAaKNskTkaGDgawD8S6PT280 ACLU Seeks to Stop Drugging of Deportees] By GILLIAN FLACCUS – October 10, 2007] . On May 20, 2008, Myers wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in "The Washington Post" in which she stated that, in June 2007, pursuant to a federal court order, ICE had stopped administering involuntary sedation to detainees without a court order, execept in "emergencies." She added that beginning in January 2008, ICE had stopped all involuntary sedation without a court order. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/19/AR2008051902296.html]

Other Psychological Torture

Although Julie Meyers insists this practice have stopped, many family members have still noticed marked psychological behavioral changes in their loved ones, who have been housed in detention centers across America. One such case involves a man who was housed in Corrections Corporation of America in San Diego. Five days before each of his immigration hearings, his wife noticed he lost clarity and exhibited the symptoms of Stockholm syndrome, and after the hearings his behavior cleared up. When the staff of CCA in San Diego was asked to provide hair follicle samples to test for presence of drugs, they declined. Besides drugging deportees and detainees, another psychological torture tactic used has been to change the names of detainees two months after they are booked and threaten to deport them under the fictitious name without the passport they arrived with, or house them in segregation for up to a year without mental health treatment, in a cement cell 23 hours a day, often without access to television or anything to help transition them through the depression that ensues. One detainee who endured this in San Diego lost 70 pounds in his first 8 months of detention, began losing hair, and the psychological staff treating him insisted he had no problems with depression when he also had a palsy in his hand.

Denial of Medical Treatment to Hiu Lui Ng, Resulting in Death

In another scandal relating to human rights abuses and agency callousness, it came to light in August 2008, that detention centers run by ICE denied basic medical treatment to Hiu Lui Ng, ultimately resulting in his death. Ng endured a fractured spine and undiagnosed cancer during his yearlong detention, which began on July 19, 2007. Despite repeated pleas for medical treatment for his excruciating pain, guards denied him access to doctors, forced him to climb up and down from an upper bunk (despite having a broken back), refused to provide him with a wheelchair, and restricted his access to legal services and his family. Towards the end, Ng was so weak that he could not stand in line to receive his painkillers, and so was not provided with them.

Judge William E. Smith of the United States District Court in Providence, upon hearing the case in late July 2008 ordered that Ng be transferred to a hospital for treatment, where it was found that he was days from death. His body consumed by cancer and in exceeding agony, Ng died on August 6, 2008.

Ng had come to the United States in 1992 from Hong Kong. After overstaying his tourist visa, Ng settled in Queens, New York, married a U.S. citizen, and had 2 American-born sons. He had attempted to file for a green card, but a court summons was sent to a non-existent address and a deportation order was entered against him as a result, unbeknownst to Ng. He had been successful in the computer services business. He was 34. [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/nyregion/13detain.html?pagewanted=1&em]

Costume party controversy

On Halloween of 2007, Julie Myers hosted a costume party for ICE employees of which she was a judge.cite news
last = Lipton
first = Eric
title = Official Had Controversial Photos Deleted, Report Says
publisher = New York Times
date =April 9, 2008
url = http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/washington/09homeland.html?ex=1365393600&en=a4aca88a70f728a7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
accessdate = 2008-04-09
] They awarded a top costume prize to a white Homeland Security Department employee dressed as a escaped Jamaican prisoner, complete with a prison jumpsuit, dreadlocks and blackface. [cite news
last = Lipton
first = Eric
title = Official Had Controversial Photos Deleted, Report Says
publisher = New York Times
date =April 9, 2008
url = http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/washington/09homeland.html?ex=1365393600&en=a4aca88a70f728a7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
accessdate = 2008-04-09
"The staff member who won the “most original costume” prize wore a dreadlock wig, what looked like a prison jumpsuit and black face paint. “I’m a Jamaican detainee from Krome — obviously, I’ve escaped,” the employee, referring to a detention center in Miami, announced to the judges..."
] Although Myers issued an apology after employees complained the costume was racist and inappropriate, she had been photographed smiling with the costumed employee in question. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/09/AR2008040903738.html] Under Myers, the employee was immediately transferred from the agency headquarters to a field office and an attempt was made to delete the photographs. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/11/06/ice.costume/ "DHS employee put on leave after wearing 'offensive' costume"] by Jeanne Meserve and Mike M. Ahlers, November 6, 2007] The photographs, however, were not permanently deleted and the House Committee report featured the shot of Myers smiling with the employee as evidence.

Initially, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff dismissed criticism of Myers, claiming " [s] he was kind of caught by surprise by this and in the middle of the party." [cite news
last = Gamboa
first = Sue
title = DHS Employee on Leave Over Costume
publisher = ABC News
date =November 2007
url = http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=3827454
accessdate = 2008-04-09
"She was kind of caught by surprise by this and in the middle of the party and I know she's mortified, but I think she's doing what she needs to do at the moment,"
] However, her nomination has since been delayed. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/07/halloween.flap/index.html?iref=mpstoryview Costume leads to 'hold' on Myers' Senate confirmation] , November 7, 2007] [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,309359,00.html Nomination for Immigration Agency Chief Imperiled Following Halloween Costume Incident] FOX News, Thursday, November 08, 2007] A report by the Democratic United States House Committee on Homeland Security ruled that Myers led a "coordinated effort to conceal" her role in the scandal.

References

12. [http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/oct/15/dea-informant32wont-be-deported/: DEA informant won't be deported] , (October 15, 2007), Washington Times Retrieved on 2008-6-25

13. [http://www.icemisconduct.org/icemisconduct/press_center/press_062408_la.cfm: National Commisssion Investigating Misconduct by Immigration Enforcement Agents Holds Public Hearing in Los Angeles] , (June 24, 2008) Press Release

External links

* [http://www.ice.gov/about/leadership/asstsec_bio/julie_myers.htm U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement biography]


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