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New Chief for ICE?

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Devlin Barrett reports for the WSJ that Sarah Saldaña, US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, "is the leading candidate to run the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to people familiar with the discussions."

ICE is one of the agencies created in the post-9/11 reshuffle of homeland security organization.  It has many of the functions previously performed by the old Immigration and Naturalization Service.

And the story has this nugget:

Ms. Saldaña got her current job after an unusual political standoff in which her nomination to become U.S. attorney was backed by Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) and opposed by some Democrats in the Texas congressional delegation.
Oh, that sounds juicy.  Poking around a bit, I found this article from 2010 by former Texas Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez (a Democrat, for the record):

In [the northern] district, the bipartisan panel and the senators agreed that the most qualified candidate was Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña, who has a long and distinguished career as a federal prosecutor and would be the first Latina to serve as a U.S. attorney in Texas.

Saldaña manages the fraud and public corruption section in the Northern District. She has performed in that role admirably, prosecuting corrupt officials without fear or favor.

Regrettably, Saldaña's promotion to that post is being blocked without explanation or justification. There is a widespread view that Saldaña is being blackballed by congressional Democrats for her role as lead prosecutor in the recent trial of former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill and other prominent Democratic officials. If there is anything to the charge, then a terrible message is being sent to career federal prosecutors across the nation.

I see no political motivation behind Cornyn and Hutchison fighting for Saldaña, a lifelong Democrat. They are taking a stand for professionalism and the rule of law, and ensuring that the most qualified person gets the job.

Saldaña deserves a promotion to U.S. attorney, and I applaud Cornyn and Hutchison for standing up for her.

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