Homeland Security employee on leave; racially offensive Halloween costume leave some upset

An employee from the Department of Homeland Security was encouraged to take leave after an incident involving a Halloween costume last week.  The incident has made its way to the top of the department, as Secretary Michael Chertoff is involved in the matter.

According to CNN.com, "The employee wore a striped prison outfit, dreadlocks and darkened skin make-up," to the party.  The party was hosted by Julie Myers, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

CNN.com goes on to say that Myers was on a three-judge panel that originally praised the prisoner costume for "originality."   Other highlights from the article.

  • After some employees complained, Myers apologized for "a few of the costumes," calling them "inappropriate and offensive." She said she and other senior managers "deeply regret that this happened."
  • "Here is the bottom line: People do dumb things," Chertoff said. "I get very perturbed when there is anything that is done that suggests that with respect to the enforcement of the law, we are anything other than even-handed. I have zero tolerance for racism or discrimination in the area of law enforcement.
  • Myers called House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, about the incident and is expected to meet with him before the end of the week, a Thompson spokeswoman told CNN.
  • As head of ICE, Myers heads the law enforcement agency charged with enforcing immigration law in the nation's interior. It is the second largest investigative agency in the federal government, with more than 15,000 employees, including 6,000 investigators.

julie_myers_md.jpgMake sure to read the CNN account in its entirety.  It's amazing how much backtracking Ms. Myers has done in such a short period of time.  Who could blame her; her career is going down the drain before her very eyes.

I mean you're the head of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), and you prop up a dude in black face with dreads has having "originality"?  And I didn't even mention the prison outfit.

What makes it worse for Ms. Myers that that she has not been confirmed by the Senate.  You have to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, but the head of ICE (they win for best acronym in the government) has to know better than this.  She didn't show up in black face, but she hosted the party.

 Racism can't stop, it won't stop, its woven into the very fiber of our government.  How can Ms. Myers be expected to act in the interest of Immigrants if she can't recognize a racist costume when she sees one?

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