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Customs Pick Faces a New Hurdle on Hill

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Thursday, October 6, 2005

Julie L. Myers, nominated to be assistant secretary of homeland security in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is scheduled for a confirmation vote Friday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

On Tuesday, however, four Judiciary Committee members asked Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) for shared jurisdiction, adding a new hurdle for Myers.

They noted that ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and promised to "expeditiously consider" Myers's nomination.

A spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), chairman of Judiciary's immigration subcommittee, called the request for a hearing a jurisdictional matter. But another aide said doubt over Myers's qualifications "is something that's on [senators'] radar," in the wake of the ouster of Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael D. Brown.

At a Sept. 25 hearing, several senators questioned Myers, 36, about her management background, and Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) told her that her résumé indicated she was not qualified. Voinovich has since offered his support, however.

Myers was chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff when Chertoff headed the Justice Department's Criminal Division. Her uncle is Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who last week stepped down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She married Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood, last month.

-- Spencer S. Hsu


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