During Myers's three-year tenure, ICE set records for fugitive arrests and deportations, CNN reported Thursday. She also led efforts to identify and charge illegal immigrants in U.S. jails, modernized the deportation process and enhanced oversight of detention operations.
"Julie has been a major force in transforming ICE into a 21st century law enforcement agency," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement Wednesday in announcing Myers' resignation.
Her leadership also drew controversy, CNN reported. ICE received criticism for its more aggressive workplace enforcement of immigration laws, failing to provide adequate healthcare to some detainees in custody and for sedating deportees.
Her judgment also was called into question by some congressional members after Myers awarded a prize at an ICE Halloween costume party to a man in dreadlocks and wearing tinted face makeup.
ICE Deputy Assistant Secretary John Torres will run the agency during the presidential transition, a spokeswoman said.