Her nomination has been under the radar.
Via Dallas News
Dallas prosecutor Sarah Saldaña is headed for the challenge of a lifetime.
Her nomination to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the sprawling federal agency whose missions include tracking down people living in the country illegally — comes as the White House considers the timing and extent of executive actions to shield millions from deportation.
“She will get pressure from all sides, all the time,” said Julie Myers Wood, who ran ICE for three years under President George W. Bush.
Edward Alden, an immigration expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that “there is no more contentious position in the government right now than the director of ICE.”
On Thursday, President Barack Obama picked Saldaña, the U.S. attorney in Dallas for the last three years, to run ICE, the government’s biggest investigative agency after the FBI. The job has been open for more than a year, partly due to tension between Obama and congressional Republicans.
Like Saldaña, previous directors were chosen from the ranks of seasoned federal prosecutors. That background helps with myriad responsibilities that go far beyond deportation, though that’s the part that generates the most headlines and heat.
When Congress reorganized the government’s homeland security agencies after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it merged parts of the old Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Customs Service to create ICE. The agency tackles drug smuggling, human trafficking, cross-border arms transfers, cybersecurity, trademark violations and even certain trade disputes.
By far the most politically delicate challenge for the next ICE director will be to implement and defend the president’s policy of “prosecutorial discretion” — that is, deciding which immigrants in the country illegally should be deported and which should be left alone.