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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 6, 2015 6:00am-8:01am EDT

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>> we have an obligation and that's safety and security of the homeland. there's going to be handoff between the various agencies. how do we make sure with this increased workload and increased pressure to help the refugees that we don't make a mistake that could potentially put our homeland at risk? and i'll start with anybody in the agency. maybe homeland security. >> i was concerned of the numbers and we'll go to the security. just to be clear, yes, we are -- our goal, whatever you want to call it for physical year is 85,000. within the 85,000 we are thriving to admit ten thousand
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syrians. that is not a capt. >> the only clarification i have is that secretary kerry said it's not a ceiling. it's the floor. >> i think if that were to be raised it would be a higher number. the hundred thousand refers to the aspiration, the goal to do a hundred thousand refugees to ky -- 2017. i can assure you on our side there will be no shortcuts on security or medical screening. there will be no shortcuts on processing. we will have discussions but at
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the moment in time there will be no shortcuts in terms of responsibilities to the american people. >> thank you. at a planning level we had anticipated that these refugees ceiling was likely going to rise to 75,000, so as an operational purpose and planning purposes, i had anticipated increase from 70,000 to 75,000. you're probably aware, we are at an unusual situation and we are c-funded agency. the fun that supports my program t resources that support my program are paid for applicant for other immigration benefits, so everyone who applies for a green card or applies for naturalization, a piece of that see -- support supports asylum s in the u.s. he has informed us that there's
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sufficient funding in what's called our examination fee account to cover the 85,000 anticipated admissions in fy16 by reprioritizing programs. i would like to reiterate. there's -- in no way are we cutting corners, changing the security checks or cutting back on the elements that we think are to the security program. >> we will not cut corners. the security check requirements were developed in the inner agency and with fbi, dhs partners and intelligence community partners and the security regime was set up with
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all of that input. i have heard no discussion of making any cuts to it for any reason. i would like to point out that the refugee status are discretionary so if there's a doubt, the case is referred for further review and if there's a concern, that individual's application is denied. >> as a refugee situation continues to evolve, the administration is assessing capacity and resource needs for fiscal year 2016, with increase refugees, fund this out at a sufficient level. >> mr. chair, if i make just one question related to accountability. i understand that you're working with the decisions that have been made, but it does seem to me that if we went from 75,000,
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85,000 over a couple of weeks given the growing chris sis -- crisis where peoples' lives are at stake, and i -- i share some of the chair's concerns about the ongoing costs and the -- but more than anything else in this committee i have had the sad discussion abouten immigration decision that lead to a young man murdered in my city of charlotte because the handoff wasn't done properly. it speaks to various agencies using together using the data effectively. in this case it resulted in my home city, 20 minutes from where
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i live. i would like to know as you move forward and you have all individual pieces, you are passing the baton in many cases, who process 185,000, or 120,000, what agency or who ult -- ultimately has the responsibility if there is a lapse. and mr. chairman, that's my final question. >> the responsibility for refugee petition is one of the forms, i-590. we approve that. we would not approve it if we have derogatory information on the application. we also have discretion so can deny a case when we feel it's appropriate even if there's not a derogatory security check or makes the individual not a good candidate to come to the united
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states. there is another check when the applicant arrives at the airport, our colleagues at custom and border protection, inspectors can make a decision at that point whether to admit based on the fact that applicant has an approved refugee status. >> senator, if i could just say one thing about the bill to 75 to 85. we had been planning for 75 and now 85. we will be building the program so that arrivals will be peaking through the fiscal year and not the beginning. [inaudible] >> you make a very valid point. if we go to a hundred thousand, the next year as proposed, secretary kerry, former
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colleague told us in consultation with the judiciary committee, he practically told us. this is not the bottom numbers. the problems we are facing, it's not a scare tactics. i'm reading a paper and he says, quote, there's monsters out there, close quote and goes onto say more than 20 young men left this somalian immigrant community from 2007 to 2009 to join arabic for the youth, al-qaeda afilliant. in the past year disappearances began again, this time to islamic terrorists fighting in
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syria. i'm just saying, we know this is serious. you don't have the availability to do efficient checks as we'll talk about it later. senator perdue, thank you for being with us. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate you calling this hearing. i know congress has a responsibility that we review this. we should have done it since 1979. i thank the witnesses for being here today. i just have a couple of quick questions. we have a perfect case in iraq where the systemic screening for applicants here, director told the house and i'm quoting, the administration has quote, learned its lesson close quote
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with iraqi mission effort. can you tell us what specific measures in your agency have been taken to remedy the problems and what did we learn from that exercise that we can apply here? >> absolutely. let me briefly describe -- [inaudible] >> sorry. let me just briefly describe the nature of the checks we do now and how they changed. so the checks are multilayered. they involve both biographic information and not just this one data element but multiple data elements and fingerprints. the checks are done not just at one time, they're done over a
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period of time and in some cases continuously throughout the process. they touch against a broad range of u.s. government holdings so our biometric checks checks against fbi fingerprint holdings. it checks against dod fingerprint holdings which include fingerprints that have been obtained overseas and dhs system which contains records of any time someone has passed through u.s. border, their fingerprints are can i want -- kept and they go to the dhs system. >> can i interrupt you? in iraq we also had background checks and actually talked to people on the ground in iraq when we had a lot of troops on the ground. we don't have it in syria. is that not going to create a tremendous shortfall in data?
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>> so we have added a specific entry check since the time we were in iraq and we can brief you on that in detail in another setting, but the -- another additional thing that we've done is enhanced review that i just described. the individual comes in contact at first the refugee applicant comes in contact with ncr and provides a story and at the time all of his family members and the applicant, i'm saying he, it could be she, the principal applicant is registered as the family members. then that interview is -- that individual is interviewed again at the rsc, by the time our folks are reviewing the application, they've already talked to twice. they have had a very good
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inkentive to -- incentive to provide, that's how they get housing for the most part. so i don't want to discount the importance of the interview here because this is a face-to-face encounter where the refugee officers have been specially trained in the country and country conditions. they know what questions to ask an individual who is leaving syria. they know what questions to ask about military service. what questions to ask about possible bars. and we look at -- if there are national security concerns there, we look at the consistency of all those encounters. that gives us an opportunity to ask additional questions. so we have individuals with a lot of expertise who can -- who can inform questions there. >> okay. thank you.
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i need to go onto this last question. any other major point you want to make on that? thank you. one thing i want to get back, definition of refugee. if someone leaves syria, we know there's a major humanitarian crisis, we know that. we have been talking to senate about the cause of that. if someone leaves and they apply to u.s. are they considered refugee in our process? >> i think i have to defer to -- >> the definition of a refugee is contained in the refugee convention and u.s. law very closely tracks that. basically looking whether a person has suffered past persecution or fear of persecution on one of the protected grounds, race,
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religion, nationality, however, there's a bar if an individual has been resettled in another country. if you are looking in circumstances and not able to work, if your children can't go to school, if you're -- you know, if you were in a tenuous circumstances that does not amount to firm resettlement even if you've been in a country for a long period of time. a short way of thinking about it is if you have a set of right that is were similar to a green cardholder would have in the united states -- >> right. >> that start looking like firm resettlement so we will investigate that on an individual basis and look at what the laws are in the country of first asylum. >> of all the applications how
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many are accepted than rejected percentage wise? >> about 80%. right now it's higher than that for syrian applicants. it's likely to come down. right now it's running a little over 90% for syrian applicants but that percentage is based on all of the cases that have been decided yes and no and what it leaves out is cases that are still under review or hold. we think that a number of those hold cases when they are finally decided are going to turn into denials, when we have a little more experience we expect to come down somewhat. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. this is very important. i read in my opening statement what the europeans were finding where you had a nice dressed iranian saying he's from iraq, indians who don't speak arabic,
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apparently trying to get in as syrian refugees and we're now approving 90% of those who apply. here in the washington post article it goes onto say -- you had one story, there are shady characters, criminals, islamic, a couple of guys from iraq, one from with a fresh bullet wound who had been asked his occupation seemed confused, army said one, his friend corrected him, drivers, syrian passport can be bought in turkish border for at least $200. bought a syrian passport, id card and driver's license for
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$2,000 in turkey under the name of a real man who was killed in the conflict. so you face difficult problem, and former head of the association of cia officers has told us that the agencies has become a rubber stamp. there's no way they have the ability to do what's asked of them. i know you say you haven't changed any of your procedures, but the procedures are just not going to do the job. and let's talk about that, honestly about it. the director of national intelligence mr. clapper recently stated we don't pass alikes of isil, he further stated is a huge concern of ours. do you think that she's correct, do you disagree with that?
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>> i guess i would like to talk to you about what our process is. >> i'm just asking, are you concerned? it's a huge concern for us. now you are supposed to be evaluating these people. is that a concern to you, is this supposed to be a danger? >> yes, sir, that's a concern, that's the background, the relationship with the intel community, so they share information with us about what they see as risks and what we've been describing to you is the methods and the procedures that we have to try to mitigate those risks. could i just speak briefly to the document? >> okay. >> issue, and i know larry wanted to discuss this as well. we think there's a difference -- we are now working in europe. we are not resettling out of europe.
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we are working prime airily in jordan and turkey. i think the incentive for other nationalities for nonsyrians is different in those countries as first asylum as first piece. we don't rely on any single document. in general worldwide we see quite a difference between refugee population, some of which are very highly documented and some of which because of the nature of their refugee experience don't have a lot of documents. we think documents are informative and look at them but no single document is taken as a goal ticket for refugee approval. >> well, i'm sure that's true. we also are told european officials stated not long ago that a million in north africa waiting to cross the med -- mediterranean, so a lot of people that would like to become refugee to the united states or
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europe, and if have to sort through them, what if they don't have any documents. a lot of people don't have any documents? what do you refer to then? >> in general, again, as i mentioned we found with syrian refugees, i would say with iraqi refugees, in general they have many documents. what we do i think is the process described, training, law enforcement community and law enforcement community, we invite them to train officers and talk about country conditions information. if someone doesn't have documents, for example, they might tell them my documents were destroyed or a barrel fell on my house and we check and open-source information if that's realistic if that happened at that time. we have a multifaceted approach to this.
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we recognize that they are so complex and we want the officers to be able to explore all of that information off and informed by the up-front individualized research. >> now, but in february 11th before the house committee on homeland security fbi assistant director of the fbi michael steinbach expressed concerns with screening syrian refugees. i don't see how this could be denied. the concerning syria is that we don't have systems in places on the ground to collect information. that would be the concern if web vetting databases. that would be a concern.
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you're talking about a country that's a failed state, that does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. so all of the data sets, the police, intel services that normally you would go to to seek information don't exist. now, you query this system, is that your responsibility, it's yes or no? do you supervise making inqueries? >> i do. >> if there's no database to query, how can you have valid information? >> there's data that we check against and we would be happy to describe this to you in a different setting. >> well you just tell us under oath. you're a public official. do you think there's adequate data, are you likely to have any valuable information from them? >> i will tell you that we often find valuable information and that we check every single thing
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that is available. >> i'm sure you check everything that's available. but mr. steinbach is making a plain fact that there's no databases in syria to check. isn't that right? >> we check everything that we are aware of within u.s. government holdings, we are either inquiring about or looking to or currently check. >> all right. >> as far as -- as far as i'm concerned, if we haven't overturned every stone, we are in the process of overturning every stone. >> there you go again. we are turning everything that we can overturn. i don't deny that. they don't have a national crime information center. you don't have access to their
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criminal history records. those are in assad's, i guess, control. they don't have a computer database that you can access, so isn't mr. steinbach telling the truth that the thing thats thatu would normally check just don't exist? >> in many countries of the world from which we have traditionally accepted refugees overs the years, the united states does not have extensive data holdings. >> all right. mr. franklin. i'm sorry, i ran over. not too badly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. any time. in prior years we have admitted
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far more refugees than we currently do. in 1980 we admitted about 200,000 refugees in the early '90's over a hundred thousand per year. last year in the mist of a humanitarian crisis we admitted fewer than 70,000. so it i'm sorry to me that the numbers we are bringing in today are pretty modest by comparison. it also seems to me that our past experience has demonstrate that had we can resettle refugees in a manner that is consistent with our national security. ms. strach, what do you draw from our past experiences admitting refugees, and can you describe the measures in place that ensures that those admitted to the united states will
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contribute positively to our society? >> senator, i think there are maybe several of us on the panel who would like to speak to your question. i think -- i think it's important to remember in the immediate aftermath of september 11 attacks there was a pause in refugee resettlement and it was a desire to make sure that the best screening available was in place in the wake of that situation. so for two years the united states refugee resettlement program had very, very low numbers, but i would say those of us who work in the field for a living consider disappointingly low numbers. it was necessary at the time to make sure that those safe guards were in place. having those safeguards in place we have worked diligently and again, strong relationships with law enforcement, national
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security and intelligence community so that we are able to have the program grow in a way that we think is responsible, has integrity and consistent with our national security obligations. >> anyone else care to jump in on that? >> sir, i would just say that in addition to 9-1-1 with the iraq response and resettlement response and out to many that work for us, we also layered on a new check. a new check was developed with two different security agencies and it impacted our arrivals, we did that out of the sense of responsibility not only the people that we are bringing here but the people that we are bringing them to, our communities. i think you're correct that we had larger programs in the past, and the infrastructure that we work with now is a little bit more complicated.
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the intention is not to only grow 85,000 program to 100 in years beyond. we will see it but do it in a way responsible to our communities. >> before i ran out of time i want to ask this question, which i think speaks to the whole -- the whole hearing, the whole subject in a different way. i'm not sure if anyone has asked this, i'm sorry i gave a speech on something else. i think that approximately 4 million people have fled violences in syria and that's roughly 17% of the country's total population. of course, those that are internally displaced. families, many of them with children are braving the your
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journeys in order to -- i don't think anyone who has seen it will ever forget. like senator durban i have a grandson that that image reminded me very much of. ..
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formulating a plan, going to redistribute some 120,000 migrants among member states. germany has stepped up. the u.s. on the other hand, thus far as excepted only 1500 syrian refugees. and although the administration plans to expand the number to 10,000, i have joined with colleagues senator durbin, senator manchin, the letter, i was on that letter saying, this
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was quite a while ago, urging the administration to resettle 65,000 by the end of 2016. this is what i want to ask. i think these numbers are important in the context of the debate about national security. director bartlett, do you think of strong leadership from the united states on this issue would boost our standing in the region? should we be concerned that a tepid response here lends credence to the kind of narrative that our enemies spin about the united states in their efforts to sow discord? >> sir, i would submit our leaders -- leadership has been strong in the region. we stepped early on not just before this crisis but also the iraqi crisis.
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our footprint a regular in the region was emergency response, and people have asked us before why we been slow to resettle but we are not the only one to been slow to resettle. we only started resettle program about two years for serious because of for the syrian people that i think the hope of international things that people can go home. actually any refugee wants to the building to go home and that's to transit. it's only about two years ago that unchr at the institution said it's been too long, the countries are hosting these refugees are bearing too much of responsibility and we need to a. we are very aggressive in setting a high benchmark for all of us. we joined early on. we did not announce the number. we did not announce a goal. we basically said we are open for referrals. at the moment with 19,000 will
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continue to accept those other we have a 10,000 entrant goal for this next year, we are not limited by that goal and will continue to accept referrals from unhcr as this tragedy continues. >> thank you. i would just submit, i am way over, i would submit that that is something to be thinking about. thank you. >> if i may add very briefly. senator durbin mention in his opening remarks that we do have a long process can be used program in order for someone to come into the system. our average processing time, i don't think any of us are satisfied with those average processing times and i can tell you that i have very strong direction from my deputy secretary to look hard at the places where we can affect efficiencies without cutting corners in anyway in order to see that we can be more
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efficient so that windows referrals to come to us are able to process to effectively and as efficient as much as we possibly can. >> senator franken, i would just note that in 2013, the united states issued 117,000 green cards, that's permanent residency, if the united states, halfway decision ship to migrants from muslim countries including 70,000 migrants a just middle eastern countries, admitted 40,000 designator refugees and asylum-seekers, refugees and asylum-seekers which are essentially the same from all muslim nations. i think we've been generous. spent i'm sorry -- >> i understand. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to thank senator franken for his excellent questions and his comments, and he is absolutely right that this
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issue dessert the most sober of treatment. i beg to differ, mr. bartlett. we may have stepped up more recently but we have done far less than we should have in the region. having visited some of those camps, i think the united states could and should have done more and now can and should do more. and not just because benefits are standing in the region. because, but it improves our sense of self-worth as a nation before a nation of immigrants and many of those immigrants are refugees like my father came to this country in 1935 to escape persecution in germany at the age of 17. speak virtually no english, having not much more than the shirt on his back and knowing almost no one. this country gave them a chance to succeed, just as will
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countless other refugees in the future as we do in the past with refugees up many, many other countries. and the need for this program is as serious and as urgent as ever because there is no shortage in the world of inhumane dictators, territorial conflicts, environmental crises that contribute to the largest refugee crisis since world war ii. that's what we are facing right now. and my view is that we need to improve and speed the screening techniques. because the american people need to be satisfied as has been expressed here about the efficacy and accuracy of the screening techniques. i have proposed a number of reforms, three in particular, for example, expand the piii program which gives settlement applicants with you established
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the ability to skip the referrals from the unhcr and apply directly to the resettlement support center. second, improving the timing and security of medical and security screenings to ensure that applicants or their entire families did not have their checks expire forcing them to redo many of those screenings when individual parts of the test expire while they are waiting for other parts to be completed. and third, keeping families updated about their status frequently a large family so that will be delayed because a single family member is waiting to be approved. those are kind of common sense, straightforward methods of reforming the screening process so that it takes weeks not years to reach conclusion. and i think they are doable. they may require more resources
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but that's where the united states congress should be involved, and i will be sending a letter within a few days detailing those proposals. a large audience here i think his testimony to the importance of the subject. again not just because of our standing or image in the world but our self-image, our self-worth, the view of ourselves as a nation. my feeling is that the american people still believe that we are a nation of the statue of liberty, that we have arms open to people who want to come your for opportunity and freedom, and to escape persecution and harm abroad here and, mr. chairman, if there's no objection i would like to get into the record some of the evidence of that widespread interest and support, a letter from former republican and democratic officials
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including ambassadors ryan crocker and robert ford, and former bush administration official robert wolfowitz calling for the united states to accept 100,000 syrian refugees, a letter from 18 mayors including chicago, mayor rahm emanuel, asking the obama administration to resettle syrian refugees in their cities. because come on quoting, refugees make our communities stronger, economically, socially and culturally. and a letter signed by 400 face leaders expressing strong opposition to any effort to limit the resettlement of muslims as refugees. >> without objection. >> thank you. if i may just ask a question, although i am, with your permission from going be on my
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time. mr. bartlett, and anyone else who wants to answer, if the piii program works to sell applicants with family members from within any negative impact on our national security in which you be willing to consider such an expansion? >> senator heitkamp i think of something we would assert to take under advisement and discussed amongst ourselves. there have historically been some problems with the priority three program in terms of false claims of family relationships. he may be aware we suspended the program for. of time until we are able to reintroduce him integrity features. so i think with a proposed expansion of eligibility categories of the united states we would want to think about it very carefully through th that s and based on that experience to make sure that an extended we
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have the appropriate safeguards at the same time. if i may mention, of your three points that you addressed earlier, i think on the second piece about improving the timing of security checks at addressing the issue of having been expire, that have traditionally been balance for all of us but we did some improvements. i think we could share with you in brief your staff can we've introduced some automation just this past summer the agencies that do the vetting, and we believe that's going to address typically to the institution of return of vetting, is going to help us ameliorate that process of securing checks expire in, and the challenges that is prevented -- presented to the i think will have some positive news for you on that score. >> anyone else want to address that question? i am aware that some changes have been implemented.
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i would be interested not only in your plans but in evidence that impact they are having an effect. because i think that the credibility of the entire refugee settlement program hinges on defective screenings. and one of principles of effectiveness is kindliness. the delays came into effect be self-fulfilling, expectations when those tests or screenings in effect expire, issued expire after a period of time, but they need to get more done expeditiously. so i thank the chairman for his patients. i have a lot more questions which i will submit for the record. thank you. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. i thank the panel. it's kind of like -- i would kind of like to walk through
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some of the detail of how you do your work, because i believe as presley constructed we are not able to do what you're suggesting today we are able to do. and the costs are much greater, mr. kerry, then you suggested in your statement. we've got billions of dollars in cost that will occur as a result about the programs. refugees are entitled to receive. and while we had 18 democratic mayors asking president obama is a more certain refugees to their cities, homelessness and the united states has doubled since the last recession. we have a financial crisis, too. every new dollar spent on these refugees will essentially be borrowed because it's a new expenditure and we don't have new revenue to pay for it. new york mayor double asean called for more refugees a
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registered this is a european problem -- mayor de blasio. i don't think europeans help us with the central american problem. we've had countries like brazil and argentina that are not taking any refugees. new york city hall announced they would spend a billion dollars more on the next four years focusing on the homelessness in new york. so i would say somebody is to be talking about the american people. what we want to do. we want to help. we are helping. we are doing more financially than any other country in the world to help deal with this crisis. at i don't accept the idea that we are not doing our fair share. and europe should be picking up the largest share of the problem, frankly, and i don't see it there. and a good policy should be to help just as close to home as
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possible and our overriding policy goal should be to create the stability in syria, in libya, in yemen, in iraq so people can go home. and we've allowed that to get away from us. we can criticize our policymakers for allowing this dangerous humanitarian disaster to occur. i just would say i think we have to ask those questions about who are going to serve and in whose interest are we trying to serve. now, mr. emrich, is there, can you name a single computer database, outside of maybe some of my very, very small but significantly valuable intelligence databases for syria that you run a check against?
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does syria at any that you can access? >> the government of syria does not, no, sir. >> all right. so fundamentally they are the ones that keep records. we keep them in the united states the people who are arrested and so forth, but they don't keep them you don't have access to any, if they exist in syria? >> as mis-strike mentioned, in most cases these individuals do have documents from syria. we do of the various ways of identifying those documents as she described our officers are trained in fraud detection. and i would be happy, we be happy to brief you in another setting on -- >> i'm asking you to come talk
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to the american people. the american people are asking you a question. i read what the fbi director said. he said there's no database to check. he suggested no way that they can get sufficient information, implies substantial majority of these persons. so aren't you left a basic look at whatever documents they produced a conducting an interview? >> i can assure the american people that we have a robust series of screening measures here that encompass a wide range of u.s. government resources that involve u.s. law enforcement agencies and intelligence immunity members, that these processes and the screening measures are constantly reviewed, that we're continuously looking at ways to improve these, that incorporate both biometric and biographic checks. they incorporate an in depth
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interview with a trained u.s. government officer. they involve an additional interview, or inspection rather, when a person presents himself or herself that the u.s. port of entry. >> senator, if i may -- >> let me just say this. >> okay. >> i've been in law-enforcement 15 years. i know how to national crime information center works. i know how you run background checks, mr. emrich. there's no way to do background checks with any significance. i'm sure we have some intelligence data on a number of people throughout the region. if you get hit on that i'm sure you would reject them, but you have only a miniscule number of people that have been identified i'm sure in that fashion. and i don't believe you can tell us with any certainty that you have an ability to conduct an
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efficient background check. and let's say you have no information. let's say there's a question, do you have any ability to send an investigator to iraq to check and see if the person actually lived on the street, actually have the job he claims to have had? >> sure, if i may -- >> i was talking to mr. emrich. >> okay. >> well, we do not have the ability to send an investigator to syria. we do have resources we can use to verify various elements of someone's testimony and story. >> well, i'm sure there are things you can do, but you are telling that you can get a free majority of of the people that you interview? do you have the ability for a majority of the people you interview to the independent data of value to identify them? >> we in many cases are able to find independent data. >> many cases.
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i asked a majority. >> i cannot quantify. i have seen -- >> 20% or 80%? you get positive data from the. can you tell us? less than 20 or more than 80? >> i can't give you a number. >> the reason is, you don't have the ability. i wish you did but you don't. ms. strack? >> mr. emrich covered the point i was going to cover, sir. >> well, -- >> mr. guerre, if i could. i want to go back to a point you made about humanitarian response to the u.s. responsibility versus those of other countries in the world. i know you mentioned brazil is not taken refugees. i wanted to set the record straight that brazil in fact has stepped up quite large in terms of the syria crisis. they've done a humanitarian visa
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program and have allowed thousands of syrians to come to brazil. they are not, technically as refugees they're coming from the immediate region of the middle east. there's about 30 countries that are involved in refugee resettlement of syrians, and so you are right, right now europe is taking the bold because people are moving across land borders but is countries like new zealand, australia and canada that are also playing a significant role. thank you. >> well, according to information i have, united states at six times more migrants that all the latin american countries combined. did you dispute that? >> i'm only talking about refugees at this point, sir. >> well, i've also seen numbers that indicate perhaps they've agreed in recent, how long ago was it that, that they agreed to step up? >> it's been within the last year. it might be six to eight months but they've done quite a lot. >> we have been very generous and i think the world leader in
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doing this. we are proud of that and we want to be a great country for handling refugees. i just believe that we need to understand the reality. how much it's going to cost in the danger of admitting those who could be a threat to the united states. ms. strack, there was a number of examples of people who have involved themselves in terrorism since they've been in the united states. sometimes when they come, they may not be radicalized by somehow someway become radicalized. there's no way you can identify that, i don't suppose, is it speak what no, sir, he can't predict the future. >> so we know the boston bombers
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came as refugees. >> they did not, sir. >> how did they come? >> i will have to check with some of my colleagues, but they were not refugees. >> were their parents refugees? >> i wanted his -- i will need to check with some of my colleagues spill we have a bosnian refugee along with wife and relatives charge with donating money, supplies, and smuggled arms to terrorist organizations in syria and iraq. i don't think that's in dispute. a man and his wife were among six bosnians living in minnesota, illinois and new york who were charged last week conspiring to provide material support to groups that we consider terrorist organizations. and uzbek refugee living in idaho was arrested and charged with providing support to terrorist organization in the form of teaching terror recruits how to build a bomb.
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and somalia americans in minnesota were charged, seven, were charged with trying to join isis. so it's not an easy job. there's always risk. we want to be sure you are fully equipped and able to do the best job we can come and to think we should be careful as we go forward on those try to protect the national safety as you indicate. do you know, can any of you tell me how many people who have been given refugee status since 2001, have been identified and affiliated with terrorism in any manner? >> cannot? we have a lot of public records on them. i certainly don't have the full
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number, that's for sure. uscis is generally -- there's a lot of things you could spend those keys on, and if you use fees to expand dramatically the number of refugees from syria or other place in the middle east, it does tend to drain the money, does it not, ms. strack, that you would otherwise have for other needs of your agency? >> yes, sir. in order to we prioritize lending to the refugee program in fy '16, that will come out of other uscis priorities. follow up on i guess mr. jealous -- senator tillis, mr. barletta mexico to 100,000, are you aware of how many of those over the
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75,000 this year, that's 25,000 more, how many of those would be coming from the syria and/or the region? >> we don't have a projection what it would look like when we break -- bring 100,000. what i can do it is with traditional respond to the humanitarian crisis of the time. and so in the last five years resettled a number of burmese, somalis, iraqis. some of those who have worked for us now increasingly syrians, and congolese. we've had a very big program built on the congolese coming out of the democratic republic of the congo who have been in basically asylum, temporary assignment for many, many years. we will again from those of youe the populations, they will ship according to this piece, for example, exist or if conditions exist to be able to return home, then those populations decline, but one would predict that
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probably syria and iraq would continue to be large. >> secretary kerry indicated that when he gave us some sort of consultation. he told us he floated the figure 75,000 for next year, then 85 we've heard, and he told us he warned us it might be substantially more. 100,000 would certainly be a lot, well within what he suggested he may recommend. so we don't get fees from those, do we? ms. strack? i mean, it's a normal immigrant that have to pay fees to help subsidize these kinds of procedures. >> that's correct, there is no fee to apply for refugee status. >> the "washington post" said
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that as the man and his wife arrived in 2000 as refugees, their sons and daughters followed a short time later from chechnya, of course. that indicates at least the parents if not the sons came as refugees, would it not? >> i would need to check with my colleagues, sir. >> what about parole program? is that under the homeland security section? >> it actually is a shared responsibility with the dissolution of the former immigration and nationality service into the immigration operational division at department of homeland security. cbp, customs and border protection, have parole authority. >> we were indicated in a staff briefing that dhs is looking at a categorical case-by-case
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program for parole, which is a program that has i think some difficulties. i'm not sure that kind of thing that ought to be done with regard to syria, but apparently it is being considered. is it still being considered, to your knowledge, using a role programs to deal with the syrian problem? >> sir, the uscis received a letter that had been signed by 70 members of congress asking the administration to consider what we've called a.c. green family reunification program. at the time there was a model based on the cuban family reunification program. under the design of the cuban program, family members in the united states are eligible to apply for green cards for the family members, form i 130. but they were eligible for that applicat

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