tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 12, 2016 10:30am-12:31pm EDT
enforce our immigration laws is to have increasing oppression as if that's going to work has been proven wrong for 30 years. in this room at least we can talk policy. we don't have to believe that the talk radio guys that the border is more out-of-control and all those al qaeda agents are coming across. there's no evidence of that at all. should we have betting and screening, yes. would we have more people screened and vetted if we had reform? yes. should all the central american fleeing violence flee the united states? no. :
clearly in the interests of law and order, clearly in the interest of economic growth your just had to get that off my chest. [laughter] >> there are many definitions. [applause] >> it's very easy to see what's in the national interest but what's in the national interest is often in the eye of the beholder. so the real difficulty we are facing it seems just illustrated by this panel and by the comments that have been made is how do you even have the conversation? obviously we're not having a productive conversation in this election campaign. but the issue is right there squarely in the middle of it. it is not going to be done. it will be, it will carry over
after the election because of the way that it's been highlighted in the election. and i am very struck by what's been said along the way here, that what should our immigration policy before? been who's interested be? what is the national interest? you can set it up to be, as trump says, for american citizens and in the best interest of the country. well, you look at immigrants and immigrant families in immigrant communities. they are totally fused. there is not a we and they were immigrants and american citizens are concerned. it's the nature and it is they can us. we have to be clear about who it is we're talking about, but at the same time the idea that immigration policy has lost its
witness and absolutely fair and valid critique, it seems to me. you listen to what the deputy secretary said earlier today, and gave some examples of the lack of cohesion and the lack of coherence in what our overall immigration system does and calls for today. and it is no question problematic. so before we open the mics, which i will do in just a moment, i would like to know whether anybody would have a final observation or would want to make an observation on how actually to have that conversation, structurally, mechanistically your do we just go past this electio election? if one does assume a democratic victory and go right back in to the partisanship that has characterized the congress in the past?
or is there a way to step back? is there a way to more fundamental conversation. what do you think? >> i think it's going to be worse. i think what will happen, let's go with the consensus view it's probably a democratic president, possibly a democratic senate, probably not a democratic house. i'm not so sure about the senate. hillary clinton comes to office with a much stronger commitment toward the democratic platform on immigration than barack obama came within 2008, but more central to her reinvention of itself as a left center democrat. just much less optimism. president obama thought he could work with people and persuade people. hillary clinton much more, less ideological but more partisan than president obama and she would use the power of the president and try to drive things through administratively. and that would make that vacant
supreme court seat an absolute red hot button and she will lose a lot of republicans who might be inclined, probably most republican senators agree with their and with frank on the merits of immigration reform. most republican member of the house, most surviving member of the house will not. but what will unite the republican party as it realizes were not the part of the presidency any more, there will be much more nervous about these kinds of high-handed executive actions and especially about that vacant supreme court seat. there will be tremendous rancor over the. the republican party assumed they lose the president will be ripping itself to pieces with incrimination, over whose fault was this end over future identity. should it be led by its traditional business elite, which is had a very scornful attitude towards the economic interest of rank-and-file republicans. immigration is like the thing we're focused on your but another issues on health care and wages and jobs, the party of
paul ryan has been a party that has been very focused on economic interest of the comparatively small number of republicans, nevermind the small number of americans. of the republicans, there has been leadership and that's why this space was waiting for cynical personal donald trump to seize it. but there will be better contenders. now that trump has identified this discontent of the republican party there will be more responsible contenders to take this space that he explored. so that there will be a par parf the great dealing with it so. hillary clinton of the trust that president obama had. she will have to prove yourself harder and will be subject to more criticism and i think just because of the our nature to her view of colditz works, she will not be a dealmaker. >> karen, final comments?
>> i do agree the supreme court fight is going to be a big, big part of this, and also the internal battles of the republican party. ted cruz his hand, dressed and ready. [laughter] it is really hard to look at next year and see not just on this issue but a number of other issues. one you might throw in is trade. it just looks grim. >> all right. on that very, very -- [laughter] -- hopeful note, let's go to the next, let's go to the younger generation. question. >> thanks very much. national skills coalition. my question really has to do with which aspects of immigration policy captures the public imagination. over the past few years tens of millions of dollars have gone to community colleges to help train american workers, and those
grants come from fees paid by immigrants, typically for a 21 cases but also for others. and yet those kind of training programs and the fact that we are using immigration policy to help strengthen american workers skills the something that is never discussed the it's not part of enforcement discussion. it's a part of the hoosier but let him. it's not even par part of the pt system debate about australia and canada. i'm just curious for any of the panelists if you have thoughts about why some of these issues capture the public imagination, why others have early remain in the realm of immigration policy wonks and have not gotten farther out? >> i think you are actually write. i think that we don't just need a policy on immigration that looks at enforcement and looks at modernization of the system in terms of these fighting who comes into the country.
we need an immigrant integration policy, and have to be part and parcel. inexplicably linked to whatever we do in terms of modernizing the immigration system. and if, indeed, we want communities to feel that immigrants are bringing their talents and skills to the table, which they are, then an investment of integration, whether it's in job skills, whether it's in english language instruction, whether it's in workforce development, that has to be a critical component of modernizing our immigration policy. it isn't, it should just not be policy but immigrants but about immigrant integration. immigrants are integrating. we are seeing that there are greater economic mobility, greater acquisition of english language, but we need to be doing more of that.
we're hoping that this is something that everybody can agree upon, no matter what they may be thinking about enforcement issues or issues about modernization in terms of who comes to the country. >> people are so cynical. anytime a government program getting anything right answer but workforce training programs are not exactly a model of the efficiency or success. what grabs the public imagination? the khan family grabs the public imagination. >> the idea of immigration as one factor within a national human capital development strategy, that is exactly the wavelength i am on. if you were doing that, however, that somebody would run your immigration policy. the american policy is quite different. let's have immigrants basically selected themselves with that
for very much regard to human capital. and then once they've integrated, once they come to the country once we realized we would immigrant populations of substantial or in skills and the native population, and let's try to fix it up on the backend at enormous cost. if we are serious about human capital as the consideration in immigration policy, that's where you're screening should be, on funding. the question is not to go to community college but he was bringing with you the most advanced skills. one reason, i'm from canada originally, one recent immigration so much less, candidate takes a higher proportion than the united states. it's so much was cut for so because w where you encounter immigrants most often in canada come at the hospital. at all levels. not just that the levels of the clerical workers, the people cleaned the place but the doctors and especially the nurses. especially if you're in like a smaller% in candidate. you would not get to surgery but for the immigrant doctors who
perform it and you wouldn't get the blanket and the meal but for the it more likely immigrant nurse who's bringing it. people get that. in the united states it is done in exactly the opposite way. very much a pattern you see in american life generally in this approach to immigration is education, which is the latest phase of the education system, the more globally superior it is. greatest graduate education program on the planet by far. universities pretty good, comparatively some others and then after that it just deteriorates compared to the rest of the world. that seems backwards. >> we just a few minutes let's i'm going to ask the people that are at the mics to very quickly, you, you interested to question if the applicant the panelists selected opportunity to answer. >> the question is directed primarily to david frum. i think mr. sharry made the very
good point that obama has deported more immigrants really as in number than any other president has really ever. i look at the numbers. i think is deported so far i think 23% more. you made the claim in thing in general the democrats have moved far to the left when it comes to immigration and enforcement of immigration laws. i would like you to clarify how you can reconcile same and you claiming that with the fact that obama has indeed deported more immigrants -- >> weight. >> statistical artifact caused by counted rules out the border with deportation numbers that were never included before. it is a totally fake number. >> so my question is the rhetoric you might see for both parties.
you saw donald trump had a huge -- [inaudible] to get more media coverage because the media coverage donald trump is able to get, and for the democratic party like bernie sanders being able to mobilize so many young voters, bringing up some issues that they feel have been ignored for them. tensions of what's going to happen in the future with us and things that we may be more concerned about the maybe an older generation might not be as much. >> my question is about a wave were discussing immigration it sounds like it's always something is happening particular to us as if the u.s. has no interests outside of it. for example, frank mentioned the demographic shift happen. someone mentioned about the cartels, as if the consumption of drugs in this country and thus misleading of the there are no guns made in those countries.
for the central america migration to assume that people are just coming because they woke up one day and not because of interventionist policies of the u.s. has had over the years and continue to have. i think it takes away from immigration discussion because there is, you kind of break it, you have to buy it. the u.s. of broken many things in many policies are not trying to excuse the government and what they need to do to fix their own policies, but to the extent the u.s. has not played a role and does not share some of that responsibility. so i'd like to panel to discuss it in the context of not just in the rest nativist context. thank you. [applause] >> these are all important points, and this is a good indication of how one, there are so many corrections want to take a conversation like this. we are not going to be able to take any further. i would invite those of you who might want to talk with
[inaudible conversations] >> a short break in this conference on immigration posted by the migration policy institute. coming up in about 15 minutes a panel on immigration enforcement, prosecutions and family detentions. and closing out the morning session will be the assistant democratic leader dick durbin of illinois. live coverage of the conference's afternoon sessions moved over to c-span3 starting
at 1:40 p.m. with discussions about immigration and the republican party, and refugee resettlement in the u.s. and teleconference resumes remarks of alejandro mayorkas, deputy homeland security secretary. >> thank you very much for the opportunity to share some thoughts with you. i should comment on, very briefly on my relationship with the doris meissner, and thank you very much for the two kind introduction. doris is more than a mentor and an adviser to me. it's a little bit more unique than that. she's actually my role model in terms of what it means to be a fair, a just and a dignified government servant. and so my friendship with doors
is extraordinarily important, not only to my life but to my work. i'm a political refugee. i was born in cuba, and my parents brought my sister and me to this country to fully the communist takeover of cuba. my parents did not want to raise their children in a communist regime. and my identity as a political refugee was extraordinary important to my upbringing, and my parents were very focused on instilling in me a deep sense of what it means and what it meant to be a refugee, to be an individual displays from one's home and the country in which one's parents dream of raising their children.
in 2010 and 11, i had in the course of my work as a director just citizenship and immigration services the opportunity to learn a great deal about our administration of the refugee system, and to learn about refugees displaced all over the world. there was one experience in particular that quite frankly shook my identity as a political refugee. i went with colleagues to nairobi to view our refugee operation there. and from nairobi we took a small plane to the kenyan-somali border and visited the refugee camp of dadaab. at the time just about six years
ago, dadaab had originally been developed for the placement of about 90,000 somali refugees on their way to resettlement in third countries. in 2010 when i visited, there were just over 300,000 people. and i would describe them as poor, except for the fact that poverty suggests that individuals have something, but just not enough to make it through. and these individuals had absolutely nothing. i have never seen anything like it. they lived, they dwelled, they slept on the sand. and some of them had plastic bags wasted on sticks as the only cover. and the others who didn't have those plastic bags have nothing. and i remember sitting on --
sitting in on an interview of a refugee family conducted by one of our refugee affairs officers. and the family consisted of a husband and wife, a father and a mother, and their four children. and a very close knit family. and the oldest of the children was a young 17 year old woman. and our refugee affairs officer asked her where she been born. i thought she's going to say somalia. and by the way, around the camp for as far as the eye could see there is sand and there is heat. there is really nothing. it was inconceivable to me how these individuals could even arrive at dadaab safely. and, of course, many did not. the 17 year old woman in response to the question where she was born answered here.
i was born here. and should live her entire life, 17 years, in this camp, where poverty would actually be an exaggeration. and i came back from that trip and i had a very difficult time identifying myself as a refugee, political or otherwise, understanding the depth of despair and loss that others who seek the benefits of our refugee system have suffered. and i won't, please, doris, i won't seek to draft the first iteration of it look back at the obama administration but i just want to share a thought on the notion of identity.
because it is identity that has to serve as the foundation of our approach to the difficult immigration issues we confront. we have to give thought to the fundamental and foundational question of who we are as a country, and who we should be. and how we answer that question on the subject of immigration should be our guide post in traveling through and managing their very difficult and sensitive and too often divisive challenges that we face. and so let me give an example or two. the syrian refugee crisis. there were and remain at least two different approaches or
priorities that are in tension with one another and people come down on different sides of that tension. on the one hand, there are many who believe that it is one of our proudest traditions as a country to be a place of refuge for those in greatest need, and certainly the individuals fleeing the horrors that too often occurs in syria qualify in that category. and there is a strong sentiment among many that we need to open our arms more widely and more receptive fully and embrace more strongly a greater number of refugees and we have historically. and historically, of course, we have been the leader in the world and recently refugees. that leadership numerically we can no longer claim, given the
fact that we are speaking of over 4 million individuals displaced from the middle east in this type of great turbulence and terrorism. on the other hand, there are individuals who believe that the syrian refugees, as a population, bring a component of concern for our security, that a component of that population may very well% a threat to our security, that the vetting of these individuals is especially challenging because we don't have a wealth of background information about them, and we must be, therefore, much more circumspect than the president has expressed as intention as an
administration. and how one answers that tension and the challenge of the competing considerations, in my opinion, should be answered by how one defines who we are as a country, who we should be and who we want to be not only today but also tomorrow. and so i don't necessarily suggest what mighty of the answer is, i just think that muswemust reflect on opportunitd what it needs to be as we seek to answer that question. on the issue of security, by the way, one of the things that has developed in my thinking over the last seven years is to frankly add an additional pillar to the three additional pillars of our immigration system. the three traditional ones are of course the humanitarian relief, family unity, and
economic prosperity. and i do think that the notion of security, security of our country, needs to be explicitly articulated as a fourth pillar, given the realities of the world in which we find ourselves. i have found that the community, and that, of course, is not a monolithic entity but the community presents us with our greatest challenge. the community, individuals and advocates and thought leaders challenge us in the administration most aggressively when the community believes, whatever the committee's views or diversity of views are, when the community believes that we are actually acting inconsistent with our identity of who we are into we should be as a country. i think the rhetoric becomes the strongest and the indication becomes most acute when people
perceive a gap between our behavior and our character in our identity. the issue of migration from the northern triangle from the central american countries of honduras, guatemala and el salvador. many have taken great issue with the administration's removal of individuals who have not qualified for refugee status or asylum status in the united states, in our practice of removing those who have not qualified for relief under our law. the criticism has been that we should a more expansive in how we welcome individuals who we think without controversy everyone understands are fleeing despair, great violence, great
socioeconomic challenge, and great challenges in their lives. we are a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws. whether we expand the bases on which we seek to welcome these individuals fleeing a better life is a question that is answered by thinking of who we want to be as a country. understanding that we have to manage our borders, are we proudest when we manage those most effectively with some orthodoxy to the standards articulated in the law? or are we most noble when we exercise our discretion with greater generosity and welcome these individuals?
i don't mean to suggest an answer, that i pose to you the questions that bear on the issue of what one thinks our identity is and should be and, therefore, the answer to that tension and though somewhat divergent questions, or a lease it enters the verge from those questions, how does one resolve it? i of course have my views. some might describe it as an opinionated individual. i would hope so. i have an opinion on just about every single issue under the sun. that's not to say i am unwilling to change my opinion, but i hope that people who are interested in the issues of our day and the challenges of our time have views and strong views about how best to resolve them.
recently the department of justice announced that it would be moving its contracted quinto institutions -- keynote institutions to government run institution to the department of justice primarily runs through the bureau of prisons the majority of its institutions already, but some are contracted out. immigration and customs enforcement relies a great deal from much more so than does the department of justice on contracted facilities. and the question has arisen in the public discourse whether immigration and customs enforcement and component agency or department of homeland security should follow suit and should end the contracted facilities. and we and the federal system should run them ourselves.
i think actually one editorial writer captured of what i think it's a more fundamentfundament al question, a more fundamental question of identity, which is the question of are we detaining the right people? and -- >> on charles wheeler with clinic. i want to welcome you to what is probably going to be another lively performance at we will talk about two related issues, immigration enforcement and immigrant detention, a complex controversial politically charged, et cetera. he for i do that, before introduce our panel as an open up for questions after that, i wanted to give a short background. i started out in the late '70s
and immigration enforcement was a very low priority, both of the border and also internally. immigrant detention was almost miniscule. that changed in the mid '80s with 96 when enforcement so that became an issue. coupled with of course amnesty. 1990s, that double down became more of a bigger issue with the 1997 act, to where by 2001 you had about 200,000 people be detained on a given year for immigration enforcement purposes. that has more than double by 2013 to where now we are at 440,000 people being held in immigration detention. that is five times the number of people who entered the federal prison system based on criminal statistics. complicating this whole issue has been the use of private for-profit contractors, ge oh
corporations, you may have read too long in depth articles in the nation and "mother jones" this year. very interesting spotlight on problems inherent in these issues. department of justice may be by clinton the big enough, department justice recent announced is going to cut its ties with the private contracting world with the bureau of prisons and deputy secretary mallorca's hinted that affect the justice also doing an internal review to see whether they might be cutting their ties as well. summer of 2014 as we all remember saw a return to family detention. to facilities opened up and refurbished in new mexico and texas to handle most essential american women and children. this notion of family detention was returned to bush policy that
obama had originally ended we took office. currently there are facilities operating in texas as well as pennsylvania, but they are also covering mostly central american women and children, but they are subject to pending litigation of compliance with the litigation in california, nationwide action. that's an issue that will be working its way up. as far as interior enforcement, the obama administration showed a willingness sort of late in the game to curtail controversial programs such as secure communities and has now replaced it with the 2014 memo that secretary jeh johnson wrote on particular enforcement categories as well as a new priority called priority enforcement program. that's a pep in the top to our panel in case you didn't know.
dhs has made pep voluntary in certain major jurisdictions have not opted in yet. but the hope is that up to two-thirds of the major jurisdictions that were not participating in secure communities are going to join that. so with that i am privileged to have the four panelists that represent both the community, the advocacy committee as well as the government talk on different aspects of these issues. the first speaker is stephen manning he was partner of the immigrant law group and director of innovation law lab. to his right is dree collopy -- i'm sorry, is thomas homan who is executive associate director for force the removal operations at i.c.e. into his right is elizabeth cedillo-pereira, senior advisor to the director of i.c.e. and then finally dree collopy at the end was partner at but not
quality and codirector of immigration litigation clinic at catholic university school of law. stephen, let me start with you. i decide at the panelists talked for about two minutes on issues they felt was the most important. >> thank you, charles. this is really, i'm not sure if it's more intuitive to be in front of you all or before a court of appeals talking about these things. in what seems like a lifetime it is actually been two years, i've been a -- i don't know why when i get a large group to talk about this issue i still have some reaction to i've been a volunteer lawyer representing women and children have been detained in the family detention centers. first in new mexico -- mexico, along with a lot of others would develop this crowd source defense model has been used in the detention centers.
right now i'm also involved in creating the centers of excellence, using a similar legal organizing model that focuses on entire immigration adjudication system and particularly underresourced areas, for example, in a letter to and in charlotte. we created this technology platform that is tight all these people together and now about to deploy the next generation of this technology that's going to connect border shelters, the detention centers to really create a seamless approach to the provision of legal services, to be able to make sure every court case whenever done. sort of this what we're calling big immigration law. as of yesterday the project without that operates hazards and more than 35,000 women and children. that's the less than two years to i've been a fault indicates representation within those 35,000 of actual individuals. i've been before all levels of
the agency could have done extensive programmatic and data analysis on the programs have been involved with impact litigation are some of the litigation that charlie was talking about. so have is rather broad, interesting viewpoint across immigration agencies, across departments, a cross court administration, the political space and the detention space. but what expedited removal program and its corollary, family detention, how it operates and what does it mean. it was from that vantage point of like to address the question, like the expedited removal, has it been a success as a program? it is a policy choice that is rooted in the comments prospect will discretion to remove a person from the conventional immigration court system that maximizes the authority of the, to order detention and insulates nearly all agency action from judicial review. so without explicit removal there's a family detention as we
know. family detention as it is committed is only possible because of the ministrations policy choice gives section 235 b. of the immigration and nationality act. so two years ago the administration flip the switch on expedited removal against the central american population and instantaneously we had artesia and -- so has expedited the movement was against the central american population since june 2014, hasn't been a success? the answer is maybe. that's the perfect lawyer answer, right? maybe because it depends on whether the policy is driven to address. what is the purpose behind the policy? i'd like to walk through a couple of possible is a one have expedited removal. the most obvious one is to expedite the removal. that's the purpose of expedited removal program against the central american.
i think the numbers would show its failed. so of those 35,000 women and children, probably less than .01% have actually been removed. it's important to know nearly all of them, that was the original expedited removal injured. but nearly universal almost expired removal orders are later rescinded. from a pure programmatic perspective if i were administrating this program, were all of my front in the process of listing and i think that's an important metric to find out whether it's been successful the if the program is intended to support the assignment program, to bolster our assignment system by separate out those o have credie claims for asylum from those who don't, i also think the numbers don't show that it's been six and so. so by using, choosing just expedited removal, this policy choice requires as we did three adjudications.
we have cvp thresher screen, and affirmative assignment program to do an extensive screening and then we set up for an adversarial adjudication before an immigration judge. that policy choice as create system shock. because of the vast resources it takes to maintain and stage a legally credible system, the affirmative asylum program has pretty much stopped functioning and large parts of the country are in portland, oregon, we wait for years for immunity. los angeles it's five years. miami, new york its greater charlotte and houston is two years. those resources that no one would've been available to manage the making the program are being diverted because of expedited removal policy choice. is the policy choice. this is about border enforcement? i don't think the metrics hold up well either. legally we know we cannot detain folks to deter other central
american folks are coming to the train. we learned that. even if it could detain to deter, i'll expedited removal program doesn't have any meaningful real world impact or deterrence value. so this credible field studies that have been done that it measured whether not what our policy here is on detention, removal, have people who are leading central american migration. for my knowledge it's not even a close call. as they detention program i also like think the expedited removal could look at the numbers come if we look at the numbers to detention lens, as a policy choice also seems not to function. so detention is only constitution authorized when it's been the furtherance of deportation. he we know only sunday's 35,000 women and children have come to the program, less than .01%, so that's 113, have actually been
removed. we know we can't detain to deter but we are not detained to deport either. and so the detention through the expedited removal program seems to be a policy in search of a purpose. it's also begs the question. with x. but a removal program subjecting children to prolonged detention or for detention, or family units to detention, what's happening to those human beings as human beings? it's like our empirical knowledge at this point of the effects and impacts on families, family dinners and children of the effect the detention is still very early stage you are because the irreversible damage? are respecting childhood development? we know we have the data showing for our children who are young kids were contemplating suicide. so that's, they are showing development of behaviors. so to fill this picture will
begin a more robust analysis of our own data within the big immigration law project to dig up some of the long-term impacts. there's two other things i want to quickly mention. one other perhaps useful metric and determine whether or not the x. but a removal program has been a success might be whether it adheres to the rule of law. it has implementation of this policy choice been legal? if we look at the state of play and impact litigation, every time the merits of the governments policy choice has been judicially scrutinized, the implementation has been found to violate the law. the overtime the government has survived in court is when the user structural advantage in the statute to preclude article iii jurisdiction, to prevent scrutiny. the very final thing i'd like to mention is expedited removal policy through a fiscal lives. i became a motorcycle to have to deal with numbers. i'm not a math person by do a lot of data analysis.
and here's where the picture becomes more cloudy. is expedited removal program in a success? the direct cause of deployment, the detention center, that's a lot of money, the fiscal impact, the entire adjudication ecosystem as i call it is being weighed down by the expedited removal program. but we also know that there are some sectors have benefited. so there's some positive. the "washington post" recently reported that the private prison industry has been benefited in almost from the expedited removal policy choice. so to answer the question i posed to myself, is expedited removal come is to be policy choice to use expedited removal against this population were we have two years with the data to demonstrate that nearly everyone will be released because they all of -- hasn't been a success?
i would have to say no. >> thanks. [laughter] >> i guess i'm up your. [laughter] you know, every time i do one of these things my office papers all these talking points by the never used them. i don't know i keep doing this. i just become the top of my head. look, unlike most people in this room and at this table i am not an attorney. i've been a law-enforcement officer for 32 years all in immigration enforcement. i started in 1984. my old boss sitting the front row, doris meissner. it hasn't changed since the mid 1980s and i agree with your original statement was immigration is a very divisive, very emotional topic. and that's the plan to change because it affects so many people. i have been doing this for 32 years but i started as a border patrol port agent in to begin a special agent, criminal investigator look at organizations that smuggle people.
now that into my crew, passengers i've been in enforcement move operations. i've lived an entire illegal aliens life cycle from the frontline on the border to now in the detention removal face. i figure when i started to go to talk about a few items and briefly touch on each because of their hot topics for discussion. first of all the executive actions in our current priorities. in 32 years i worked over a lot of secretaries, either attorney general's at gucci are secretaries at dhs. i can tell you secretary johnson complied my this meant that i respect this man greatly. because we came to the table to talk the executive actions he brought law-enforcement personnel to the table. he brought me there. he had -- who wanted from a law-enforcement perspective what makes sense. two was. what they said our spirits what worked and didn't work. i was involved with some of the authoring of the executive
actions in the priorities. did all my input make it in? actually not but a defensive input that made it in there. here's what i think executive actions in the priorities makes some sense. if you believe the number 12 million illegal aliens in this country, let's just say we accept that, 12 million, the most aliens i.c.e. of removed in one year was 409,000 back in fy '12. 409,000. do the math. that's less than 3%. so hitting on all cylinders if we could ask agency based with our budget and our resources and so forth can remove 3% of the population, in my opinion as long for the officer that 3% needs to come. that should be a criminal or noncriminal. it should be the first 400,000 in the door. it should be the first 400,000 we find. we need to pick and choose the right to make sure it's going to be the biggest impact of border security and public safety. i think the priorities we are
curly working under gets us there. if we allowed editorials, if i read all the press release, half of them then we don't, the other half thinks we're doing to much which means were probably doing about the right thing. i have testified on the hill many times and i'm not a gifted speaker. i'm a cop that speaks to what i know, facts. here are the facts. for those people say it's not working. 98% of the server the last two, 235,000, fell into a priority, 98%. that's pretty close to perfect. 91% of the people we arrested last year in the interior trim it had a criminal conviction. that's pretty close to perfect. last year 59% everybody removed have a criminal conviction. that was ready for the agency. so those who say i.c.e. isn't paying attention to priorities, they are not looking at the numbers. because of the numbers speak for themselves.
we all know morale in the agency is an issue. a lot of officers think they should be enforcing the entire like we used to. my job is something essay on who want to testify, my job is to execute a mission within the framework provided to me. that framework being policies and resources, budget, whatever. execute the nation. based on the numbers i told you, the men and women are exceeding emission pretty close to perfect the. the facts are the facts and there are the numbers. we talk message or committees and try to program, i support the pep program and let me tell you why. because i've got a thousand law enforcement officers that for every detainer that's not honored we are knocking on a door. it's a matter of time into one of my men or women don't come home. because where concentrate on the worst of the worst criminal aliens and when not on those doors we don't know what's behind that door. so for every detainer that's not
honored, either a man or woman who works for me this knocking on the door which is i think the oldest in its and officer safety issue. so the pep program to bring back a lot of jurisdictions to the table. audit back to the table in full form that used to be six, seven years ago? no. but even some of the most difficult jurisdictions who we don't want to work with on the significant felons, that's one less door of got to knock on. the men and women after knock on. it's not were i think it could be but it's better than where we were last year or the year before that. so the priority enforcement program i think make sense from an officer's safety perspective, makes sense are my priority perspective. one thing i would disagree with stephen on secured communities. the biometric capability of secure committees was the biggest applause this agency ever saw. let me tell you why. a real-life top example. back when as a special agent in phoenix, arizona, we arrested where ever we can.
we could airport, look for people without were here illegally, had reason suspicion. we go to worksites. where we found them we arrested them. we didn't care if they're there for 15 years or 20 years. if they are illegal in the united states they will get apprehended and we will put them in detention. meanwhile, what we're doing to an arresting somebody that's probably here for 20 years, a u.s. citizen child serving in the military, those child predators walking out of this date jails and prison all across the country those no meaningful way to start over 4000 facilities, county jails, city just a precinct. what execute we did was give us a virtual presence in those 4000 facilities. so now that schumpeter does walked out of the jail. we don't have staff. rather than concentrating on who ever that we find, now we can have some commonsense approach to who we want to put our hands on. who do we need to put in detention, who do we need to put into immigration courts?
where secured communities get sideways with a lot of folks iscome for the sedona secure committees let me explain quickly. if any of us in this room gets arrested tonight and she and prince taken to run a criminal history check, those prints get bounced back off dhs database. if you have prior, we will find out about it. again i think secure communities gave us a tool that for virtual presence in all these facilities. where it got sideways is once we get into prince back in some is just illegally here, maybe they got a traffic offense and so forth, so there's this brief believe secure committees wrapped up in nonpriority persons. we can agree or disagree on that but that's where the message got sideways. under the priority enforcement program we saw the biometric capability but now we pick and choose who falls in the
priorities. so biometric capability i think is leap years ahead. i think is a great thing for us to have, so we can actually know where our predator or very violent offenders but getting released from the county jail know where we didn't have it before. that focuses on the worst of the worst. family detention, this is a tough issue. in fy '14 when the rio grande valley was out of control, i'm one of the ones who tell the secretary i think we need to build family detention. you can hate me or love me for it but bottom line is i think we are a sovereign country, we need to decide who comes in and out of this country. for those who want to question the family detention operates, under what conditions, you should go down and look at it. i've been to both of the facilities many times to look at them myself.
it is very costly. we do an educational program and we have a very significant health program that we run. we also work and get on site presents at the facilities with other organizations also. but right now they run around 14, 15 days. those 40 or 50 days we could find who they are. if you want to make a claim to a silent box a point we forget, back before we had this to getting released back to catch and release but a lot of these families were not claiming fear. most of them claimed fear when they come into our detention. so that they will have a claim to fear, i think more people are getting that opportunity to claim fear now and they will have due process. but those who say that we are detaining people asylum-seekers,
i think immigration court has disagreed with the biggest immigration court is fine of less than half to a valid claim. as a parent, a as a father i do not enjoy detaining families. again, i am executing the nation. trying to enforce the law. as far as the uac each of them unaccompanied alien issue, my rule is very simple in that regards. my job is i cannot hold a juvenile for more than 72 hours without turning them over to office of refugee resettlement. so my roll basically stewed transportation between the border patrol and all our wherever they chose to take the child is will be taken. so i've read stories where i.c.e. has spent millions of dollars transported children to the parents to complete what some people call criminal conspiracy of '80s but i will
remind the folks who say that, i've got a thousand law enforcement officers that are trying to enforce the law into the right thing. they're doing what the law tells them to do. it's clear what our job is to mistake these kids to a orr facility. and second of all congress appropriates me to do that. in my yearly funding there's a line item for the transportation of unaccompanied alien children. so the men and women of i.c.e. are doing what the law tells them to do and what they are funded to do. i'm sure i'll be she will come up, operation borde border guard border resolve the we did in january and february. again, we come up with an operation, targeted enforcement operation. they had their due process. they got a final order. one of the things we'll talk about today is a due process. people having to write in court. we've got to remember when they
do have their day in court and they do get a final order from immigration judge, however, my job is executed that order. again, it's not in that if gore can or should i. so for the folks who want the due process of law and stand by the laws of this country, once you have a due process, you've got to find and order and my job is executed and that's what needs to be done. ..
she walked away from many families where the mother was pregnant or had a breast-feeding child. you didn't read that in the paper. a lot of discretion was shown. many families, we locate them and we chose not to. [inaudible] because of health issues, breast-feeding babies or the mother may have been pregnant. the whole detainer issue is the last thing i will talk about and i'll just throw it out there the notification asked do not hold this person one minute longer
than you normally hold them but please let us know before you release them. i think that gives the enforcement agencies a different option. the retainer is being litigated in several areas throughout the country. i will share this with you, on what my thoughts are on this. there are a lot of people back to the table and i'm grateful to that. there are some jurisdictions that are not back to the table but we will keep working with them. if they don't want to come back to the table to work with us, i think there needs to be a mandate that they work for us because you can't have the department of justice funding but yet not cooperating with the government that's charged with enforcing immigration laws. i'll leave it at that. i just, i'm sure i have a lot of questions coming so this is my thoughts and i've been doing this for a long time and believe
me, it's emotional for me as it is for you. anybody who thinks i'm sitting in d.c. and i'm a heartless person, it's nothing further from the truth. all these decisions are decisions based on fact and the rule of law and it's a tough job. i have a tough job. anybody who doesn't think so, come sit with me for a day. that is the facts that i present and i'll be more than happy to take any questions. >> thank you tom. i think this man deserves a round of applause just for sitting with the table of lawyers. he is candid and transparent and that's why it's an honor to be a colleague. thank you. thank you for my colleagues from dhs and ice. i'm a senior advisor at
immigration and customs enforcement and i come from dallas texas. i was originally an immigration advocate and prior to joining ice about one year ago, practicing immigration law in dallas texas where i'm very happy with my family and kids in home and business. the director called me up one day and said i'd like for you to come join me and help make a positive contribution advice and i thought long and hard about it and the idea of serving the public good was very appealing to me and really quite eye-opening from an advocate perspective, to see all of the nuances that go into the decisions that must be made at this level, it's quite eye-opening and it's a tough job and tom talks about what he does every day with a lot of virtues and strong leadership. thank you tom. it's great to be back with charles weaver, you may know from his role that he has
trained quite a number of us. if i asked for a round of applause it would probably be at least 20. i am one of his fan club members. when working at catholic charities early in my career, he was often my red phone hotline to understand many of the issues when it was coming to play in early 2000. i call him the steve jobs of immigration law. it's great to be with you. >> it's good to be here. you may not have known tom before but now you do. that was my role to be an introduction to tom 101. you may not recognize his face, but his name is well-known. he is the signator to quite a few memorandums and one that's coming up this week about
custody decisions related to the treatment of individuals with vulnerabilities. he might talk a tough game but he does have a heart. he looks at everything any balances in ways those people who are in our custody. i'm glad to be here to have a useful discussion on how to we take the ball and move forward. as you've already heard him discuss family detention, i would like to talk more about discretion as this is something i play a direct role in. the one thing we are always asked about is how do we use td or do we even use it. sometimes we are asked for a roadmap. the truth of the matter is there is no magic formula, no miracle cure. our officers and attorneys exercise this on a case-by-case basis you've heard us say many times. no two cases are the same.
we are weighing all the cases and back in dallas texas i was known as wearing them down and exercising it as much as i could knowing how hard it was to get it released before the court. i know that sometimes attorneys don't like the decision we make related to their clients but i want to encourage lawyers and stakeholders and work with our field offices to see if additional information can be presented that may alter the outcome of the case. i often deal with colleagues at dhs who asked me to look into the matters and we do. we put it down we asked them to take another look and weigh all the factors that go into the discretion memos and they do indeed. sometimes the outcome comes back the same and other times it has
changed but the only way we can know that is if we have a decision from the field office because the director is flooded with being able to handle these cases. if there's not a decision made we ask that you please respect that process and talk to the field office director and once a determination is made and you are not in agreement with that, then you can use it in headquarters to escalate the process. we do have an e-mail address which is kind of long but i'll say it anyway. [inaudible] or to the mailbox which can be found on our website at www.ice.gov/immigration action. we will take another look at it. we will talk to the field about it and see if there is something that was missed. we want to be as transparent as you see.
speaking of transparency, that's one big task the director has asked me to handle and oversee to continue and grow our engagement with communities and groups. it's a major initiative and they asked me to complete our office of any engagement. now we have an office of community engagement. we've come a long way with it. we are halfway to building a community relation officers in each one of our field officers, they said hey, we need to in every field office. hold on time, we don't have the resources for that because he is serious and wants his officers, he supports ice chief councils
and they want to have a conduit to the community so they can be heard and we can deal with issues at the local level so they don't become giant issues at the headquarter level. we want them to communicate with our community and bring back information and share information back with the community itself. we are about halfway there as i said. we should have 24 community relations officers located in every field office of ice on boarded by the middle of october. do us a favor and reach out to your crl and see how you might be able to enlighten them about the issues going on in your local community. thanks very much for your time and attention. i am happy to have tom address any questions you might have today. >> thank you very much. >> thank you everyone for having me here today. i am honored to be on this panel with these distinguished individuals. i want to start by first
expressing my appreciation for the efforts of both of you to keep our country states. i understand governing is hard and not many people will take on that response billy. i also want to say from ours perspective our job is equally important in giving a voice to people who otherwise would not have that voice. i hope you will receive my remarks today from that lens. i also appreciate the administration's focus on prioritizing removal of criminals and people who could be a security concern. i do believe that there are problems in this implementation of that. there is sometimes a disconnect with what is happening on papers
and policy memos with what is actually happening on the ground with actors who are charged with implementing those policies. initially my thought is one of the enumerated priorities for enforcement is recent entrance and many of these recent entrance are refugees and the silent seekers. eminent tourney attorney and have a private practice here in d.c. and i focus my practice on asylum work and i have volunteered with the pro bono project and done a lot of work in the family detention context. for me that is a priority that is problematic and to our security concerns. that result about asylum-seekers and denial of our system to bona fide refugees.
i want to use my remarks to show you what this is looking like on the ground and ask that you consider what i have to say in the lens of deputy secretaries and my framing question at the beginning of the day of who do we want to be as a country. i would first like to address the obama administration. for me this is a serious refugee crisis. it has resulted in women and children fleeing in fear for their lives. when they get here, they are faced with expedited removal, detention and all of these enforcement policies that i think have merit in their idea
and implementation maybe they have failed. first of all, something that has been quite interesting to me from a policy perspective is the inconsistency in the administration dealing with this refugee crisis. for example, if people are outside the u.s., the obama administration has called this a humanitarian crisis. it has warned u.s. citizens not to travel to the region and have extended peace corps operations. it has called for increased refugee assistance and they've developed in country refugee referral. it has affected the miners program as well.
we have all of that happening in the region yet the people who actually arrive at our border to seek protection, there's a completely different rhetoric and different policies that they are facing. for example the rhetoric on world refugee day, the obama administration said it would be increasing its attention to the silent speaking to deter others from illegally crossing. we had secretary johnson stating that our message to this group is simple. we will send you back. then again, that rhetoric has been implemented into this population, prioritizing these cases to get them through the system as quickly as possible and rates on central american
families overwhelmingly. while certainly we can recognize that not every central american who has coming here is a refugee, what concerns me most is access. being able to access our asylum system that we have set up. are we detaining the right people? are we proud of the conditions in which we are detaining them? those are some of the questions that the secretary has posed earlier. we asked that we use our national identity as a guidepost for answering those questions. i would like to share a little bit about what i've seen in those facilities and ask that you consider that through the lens of who do we want to be as a country. i have seen inhumane conditions including inadequate medical care, degrading and abusive treatment by the guards to women and children, the need of these women to recount stories of the
horrific violence they've suffered over and over again, whether it's to officers or asylum officers and pro bono attorneys and immigration judges, most of the time in the detention context in front of their children, some of these problems of course have begun to be addressed and that's great were making progress, but it is the nature of family detention that requires the telling of the stories. for example, i did an intake interview with a woman who describes being raped and brutally beaten by her husband while her six-year-old daughter sat next to her. those are some of the scenes that if you volunteer in these facilities that you see and it's not just one person, it's every single person i talked to has suffered horrible violence like
this and tonhet seg ec,s te of detention and enforcement. detention in these conditions has been proven to compound the trauma that the women and children have suffered in their own countries. social service providers, religious leaders, psychologists have all agreed to that fact. it also has serious due process concerns, access to counsel and interpreters is, if it wasn't for the obama project, it, it would be impossible because these detention centers are far away from any metropolitan area with pro bono ngos and other pro bono attorneys for addressing these issues. interpreters, there's huge issues there, not only for spanish speakers but many of the women, especially from guatemala are indigenous and it's nearly
impossible to get an interpreter and use an interpreter in the context of family detention. their access to witnesses and evidence to their family emotional support and mental health care are also impeded by the detention context. so from my view, using detention for asylum-seekers is not a policy choice that should ever be made. these women and children are not criminals, they are fleeing to seek protection and to survive. i never would be an advocate for open borders, but detention in my view of asylum-seekers is simply not the answer. it violates our domestic and international legal obligations to not turn refugees back to persecution and torture.
it's not effective as a deterrent mechanism. these women are coming here to survive. they are not going to be deterred by needing to be in jail. it's also quite expensive to the taxpayers. one thing that i couldn't help but think about when i was volunteering at the center was this is where my taxpayer money is going to, to detain this 4-year-old child. it costs $159. day. person in immigration detention which is up to $5.46 million at any given day. ice has an annual detention budget of $2 billion. so just thinking about the financial implications of that when there are other alternatives that might be equally effective for enforcement purposes is fairly mind blowing. so to me, i see this family
detection concept as a smothering of due process and a barrier to access to our asylum system. i think the answer is, is this who we are as a country? i think no. >> thank you all. we are going to open it up for questions now so please come to the microphone with any thoughts, comments, questions. i have a follow-up to your last statement which is the notion of alternatives to detention. maybe we could get all of you involved in talking about that. what is out there? what is the alternative of holding people for 14 days, longer in other situations, what has been tossed around and what is working? >> let me talk about a few things. first of all asylum-seekers, again they can claim asylum but
at the end of the day, less than half of them are getting asylum approved by the immigration court. once they find a fear finding, we work toward release. certainly if they say we think we have a good case for asylum, we are certainly not detaining them needlessly. that's fact one. as far as alternatives to detention, let me say this. between three and 400 persons a year come through our system. i'm funded for 34000. we detain a very small fragment of the population we run into every year. i would expect one in 12 people to see a detention bed in their life cycle. we retain very few people. many people who are release, depending on their community ties and if they have a criminal history, depending on a lot of different factors we decide if
they can be released to go from ankle bracelet with gps monitoring down to home visits and office visits. when it comes down to look at the people we removed, again the numbers are the numbers. we remove people we detain. people who often go on the docket either failed to appeal in court or we can't locate them "after words". most of the people that we went to go look for either never lived in that residence or moved once we got a final order. in the end, after having due process to execute of fine order is very difficult. not that we should get away from that, i think it has a role in what we do and it's an important role. we actually increased our funding each year in the past several years and we have maxed out that.
it's certainly an option that we use and it successful in some circumstances, not always, but what we find is that the appearance in court is generally high. when it comes to final order, those numbers are significantly declining. it's an option we use every day. so, what i wanted to say about officer safety program is something i never really thought about like that and i think that's very insightful to think about it like that. the alternative detention is to not detain, right. so we don't have to use detention authority against this population, we can use 236 authority which actually allows for immigration judges to make cuts at a more transparent process. i totally believe in due process, processes is like my
life flattery. just a couple of numbers about process, the government was forced to litigate several cases and so we didn't choose, we had universal representation. we didn't screen out everybody. if you were there we represented you. so we had a 90% grant rate. i think those are really, really important. were not taking out we cases, we take every case. there are more than 100 women and children who were picked up and generally from the hostile jurisdictions where we are building the centers of excellence and we represent every single one that's here, can we just talk to them. the administration was pretty forceful about preventing our
access. we were able to invoke some litigation to them gain access. for everyone we gained access to we were able to help. each one of those cases, we have 100% win rate. there's different kinds of orders but we were actually able to show that there was a fundamental failure in the processing of there's cases to undo those final orders. >> i would just like to add that we do have a family case manager and we have our special advisor, natalie, she is here today so this program is actually a pilot program. we're out one of five metropolitan programs and it is an alternative to the tension setting where people with some vulnerabilities are assessed. the whole premises work compliance and compliance with any order that comes into play but we are using a set of tools through case managers who are trained in this area to have people apply to their
obligations so were not dealing with the highest retention rate that we have seen. >> one point of clarification, first of all, they were given access to attorneys but you have to keep in mind that we certainly can't just make them available to an attorney, if we work through this we are at a good place. as far as 100% success, that's that's not accurate. there's hundred% success from a family in el salvador in which they took on timely appeals which is outside what they normally would do. it surprised us and a lot of people. those cases are still being litigated. i think they just recently settled in pennsylvania in favor of the government. again, we certainly want them to have due process. >> i am one of those trained by
charles, as she mentioned. i would would like to just open, i hope you could comment on something, there's an apparent disconnect from guys coming from the top and just some examples that you gave, i wanted to add to see if you could comment on the idea of having enforcement with the disabled winning executive action is happening versus when an officer is bringing suit against administration. you mentioned the implementation of communities where i can see the value of having that when you show it that way of having the connection with the fingerprint but then the youth, the decision is being made on the ground and who it's detained. you mentioned also having that extra to catch claiming fear when it's not being claimed at the border. i'm seeing a lot of three -year-olds that coming here
works. the disconnect, having you been so long in the agency, have you seen that change in your time there and what's being done to address that if it is an issue? >> there's a couple issues there. first of all implementation versus policies, i hear that all the time. we have a lot of law-enforcement officers and their alternate great job. are we perfect? no. however, the numbers speak for themselves. again, last last year, 98% of everybody removed. [inaudible] 91% of the people we arrested had a conviction. as an agency, the men and women follow this policy pretty close to perfectly. as an agency i think we are performing very well. the numbers are the numbers. i don't make them up. they are numbers we report up to
the department every year. as far as those claiming fear, 32 years experience i can tell you i testified in front of congress. i think some of them are escaping fear, absolutely. i think all of them are? no. i think summer taking advantage of a low threshold system? some of them are. not all of these families came in fear and win their cases because they do not have the case to support it. again, i want want to make sure they all get their due processing at the end of the day when they get a final order i have to review the order. i certainly do not think 100% of percent of the families are escaping fear. i don't. i've been to el salvador and honduras, they're not nice places. again we are a nation of laws
and a sovereign country and we just can't open the door to everyone in the world to come here. there are rules. if you look at, let me speak generally for a minute. last year we removed 235,000. we are removing about half of what we removed several years ago. you might throw the metrics out, it's not enough. when is enough enough? we have to enforce the law, if people don't like the immigration laws on the books, that something you need to. >> guest: your congressional representatives about but we are simply trying to execute a mission that makes sense and i think prioritization makes sense yes, law law enforcement professionals are at the table, did all my input make it in? certainly not but i had some implant that made it in their, basically the criminals, making sure all levels of criminals, some people say that misdemeanors are in a serious, but it does pens what side of
the misdemeanor you're on. for people entering the united states illegally. first of all it is a violation of law, it's not an administration issue. on top of that, if it's a misdemeanor, that the public safety threat. i think duis are public safety issues, something that's not as big of a deal. we have a set of rules to work by to prioritize the worst of the worst first. again the numbers speak for themselves. people can have them opinions on how we implement this in mistakes are made but at the end of the year the numbers speak for themselves and they are executing the mission pretty close to perfectly. >> we have time for one more comment. what would you have asked if you could have. >> i recommend the work that you
do, law-enforcement is difficult work. i am from washington college of law. one of the issues that have plagued law-enforcement is how the community feel about the work that the law-enforcement is doing. we see how much you are trying to do to help and picking and choosing in order to implement the policies that have been given down to you. the reality is, those of us who passes immigration law, we need both communities around the country and you mentioned ice is a shockwave. people are fearful, even those
who don't have any immigration problem. so i'm having trouble reconciling the effort that you are making to do your job in a way that is humane and then how the community feels about the work you are doing. my question is, do you recognize that and second, do you have any plans or policies to make sure that the communities that you are trying to keep safe, including immigrant communities understand the policy that you are implementing. are you including them into the implementation of this policy so they may feel this is directed to move from those who might turn around. >> thank you. unfortunately we do not have time for an answer.
>> i want to encourage you to stay. thank you panelists for a very lively conversation. please day, our next next speaker, we are very fortunate to have them so please stay put and that's our next show. [applause] >> i'm bill trainor and as dean of georgetown law, i would add my welcome to all those here today including our students. i'm especially pleased for georgetown to host this annual conference which brings together experts from government, advocacy, the media, think tanks in academia to address the most challenging immigration issues facing our country. i am particularly delighted to welcome back one of our
graduates senator dick durbin to campus. he is a double grad. he earned his undergrad degree and his law degree right here. senator durbin's illinois senior senator. he serves as the assistant democratic leader, the second highest ranking among democrats. he has also been elected to this leadership post by his democratic colleague every two years since 2005. elected to the united states senate in 1996 and reelected in 2002, 2008 and 2014, he sits on the senate judiciary appropriations and rules committees. as many of you know, he introduced the dream act in 2001. together with senator hatch. but you may not know how that came about. the story reflects how much care
he and his dad give to individuals and constituents. back in the day, his immigration case worker was trying to assist a young woman, a pre-piano prodigy who is undocumented and applying to colleges. the young woman was accepted at a number of leading music conservatories including juilliard. she is korean american and her parents brought her here when she was two years old. she thought she was american. that would make her eligible for college financial assistance. but because she was undocumented , that assistance was not available to her. the senator's office investigated everything they could think of in her case to help her obtain legal immigration status but existing law failed. it led the senator to develop legislation to assist young on document immigrants in similar
situations. to give such students a chance to contribute to society and earn citizenship by attending college or serving in the military. senator durbin continues to vigorously promote the dream act senator durbin continued in his leadership role as a member of the so-called gang of eight senators who drafted comprehensive immigration reform legislation which passed the senate on a strong bipartisan vote of 68 - 32 in 2013. this year, the senate senator cofounded a kids act to help unaccompanied children and other vulnerable children who cannot afford counsel. given the scope of this problem, we are very fortunate to have senator durbin chair share his
wisdom and experience with us today. please join me in giving a warm welcome to senator durbin. [applause] >> thank you for the kind words. it's great to be back at georgetown law. where i went to school was a lot different than this campus but i'm not going to get into those old stories because i will sound like a geezer but i will tell you the story that the dean started about the first dreamer, tresa lee and it had a happy ending. the happy ending is to families in chicago, one of them i knew personally decided to pay for her education because she couldn't get any financial assistance to go to school. she went to the manhattan conservatory of music and played in carnegie hall. she now has completed her phd in
music, she had the fortunate good wisdom fortune to mary. [inaudible] and she is a mom on top of everything pitch she didn't fire me to write this bill and introduce it. a little political footnote is when i introduce them i got a call from a colleague on the senate to dish or committee and he said what are you doing stealing my idea. i said your idea? oh yeah, he said i was working on a bill myself. he said why don't we this together and you can be the sponsor. okay, so it was durbin for two years and then he lost his interest and stopped cosponsoring and stopped voting for it. has been my project ever since and i hope to win him back into the fold eventually. i think the con is host and migration policy institute,
catholic legal immigration network clinic, it's quite a gathering. it does my heart good to see a lot of people working hard to get america's immigration laws right. i want to thank doris who has not only served us wellin the public capacity but continues as the director of the institute. i also want to recognize a young woman who i said hello to walking in. her name is esther lee. esther where are you? >> she is a dreamer, she was born in taiwan came to america at the age of two with her mom and her two older siblings. they were fleeing domestic violence and when their visas expired they stayed in america. esther put herself through new york university working as a nanny, a house cleaner and a tutor. she earned a bachelor's degree and a masters' degree. it was 2001 when i first introduced dues the dream act to
give people like esther the chance to become citizen. in 2010, six years ago, highlight a letter calling calling on the president to grant temporary legal status to dreamer and today president obama, because he had the vision encourage to establish doctor, she is able to make a living as a journalist. she's an immigration reporter. welcome esther. [applause] any of the dreamers? welcome to. when i first started this i would give speeches in chicago about the dream act largely to the immigrant audiences because they are impacted the most. i would go out to my car "after words" and without fail there would be a young person, usually a young woman, i might i might add, waiting to see me in the darkness and shadows around my car. she would look both ways and say senator, i'm one of those
dreamers but i swore to my mom and dad i would never say that anybody because their freedom going to get deported. that was the state of play 15 years ago. it changed. when young people are warned not to say things over and over, eventually they not only save them but they start saying them loudly and dreamers set them loudly. they stood up, spoke up and give me their stories. i plan to the florida senate, i think 100 times, hundred times, with stories of individual dreamers and colored photographs that i bring forward. without fail, i can tell you, people listen. they love stories and these are real stories and there's some amazing young people who just need a chance to become part of america's future officially. i will tell you the dreamers themselves have become my greatest allies and we just had one speak at the convention in philadelphia who we had worked
with over the years and is now an american citizen herself. the story of the dream act is one of the reasons why i decided to run for reelection. sure it's a nice job and everybody would like to keep it, but i want to have a purpose. when i set down to spell out the purpose for running for reelection, the dream act was at the top of the list. doors tells me we are now up to 800,000 in terms of dreamers who have signed up for backup. we have others in the process and there's an estimate that there might be another 2 million eligible. i look forward to this. their future is uncertain because of court decisions but as long as i'm around we are going to protect them and do everything we can't give give them a chance to become full-fledged citizens. let me just say that we all were moved yesterday when the president addressed the nfl football games across america in the general population marking the 15th anniversary of 9/11. i'm sure everyone here remembers in some way or another what they were doing that day. i was in the capital in a
meeting with the democratic leadership of tom daschle. tom was calling us together at 9:00 o'clock. as we got on the elevator to come to the meeting we heard a plane had struck the world trade center. it sounded so unusual. then as we walked into the room and turned on the tv and saw the second plane strike the other tower, we realized this was no aviation accident. this was an attack on the united states. there was a lot of talk about what we are going to do and then someone looked down the mall from the capital and saw the black smoke billowing across the potomac from the plane that crashed into the pentagon. within minutes they called us into effect with capital which was the first time that had ever occurred since i've been around. everyone stood out on the grass not sure what to do. tourist and staff members of congress and we heard what we thought at first were bombs. they were sonic boom's as they were scrambling fighters over to
the capital for feeler that the plane was eventually brought down in pennsylvania coming here to strike the capital or the white house. it was a mixed target. well, that was a scene in a moment in american history that we can never forget. the next day, september 12, 2001, i had scheduled the first ever congressional hearing on the dream act. it was canceled for obvious reasons. i was determined to include the dream act in a comprehensive reform bill. the plan would have included a path to citizenship but on that blue sky morning 15 years and one day ago, it seemed entire bully impossible or likely that such a plan was within reach. then the plane tipped and americans died and our debate turned into a security debate. it wasn't until 2011, ten years later that the senate finally heard the first hearing on the dream act.
instead of moving forward congress turned its attention to security. we tightened up non- immigrant visas for students and visitors, and looked at the visas that 9/11 terrorist had abused. we enhance security measures for citizens. we spent hundreds of billions of dollars and literally changed our lifestyle when it came to airplane travel. despite efforts by some of us to pass reform for the last 15 years, changes in our immigration law and policy focused overwhelmingly on keeping dangerous people out of america. left unresolved were other questions, urgently important, how do we fix our system to let the right people in or let them stay if they're already here. how do we align america's immigration policies with the real needs of our futures instead of forcing millions of undocumented workers to live fearfully in the shadows, in poverty or near poverty.
the number of events since 911 have made passing reform even more challenging, let me tell you three. first the global economic meltdown of 2008 and 2009 cost millions of americans their job. when the president was sworn in, his first day, we lost 800,000 american jobs. jobs. life savings were disappearing. many americans still felt economically battered and vulnerable as a result of that cataclysm, but who could blame them. some fear immigrants may take their jobs or they might be costly draining and budgets. that makes comprehensive reform harder. second, the global refugee crisis is causing anxiety in america and much of the rest of the world, especially europe. look at the year uk in the breck that vote. they have succeeded partly by demonizing immigrants and refugees as terrorists and
criminals. they persuaded a majority that the only way to safe great britain was to wallet off from the rest of europe. william had come of the campaign is really the trump campaign with better hair. britain isn't alone. last year german chancellor announced her nation would take as many as 1 million refugees, fleeing violence from syria and elsewhere. it was a stunning active statement ship. look what happened last week. the backlash. chancellor merkel finished a dismal third place in a regional election in her home constituency. second place went to a 3-year-old hard-line anti- eu, anti- immigrant party. anti-immigrant parties and politicians are gaining new supporters in france, italy, austria, holland, greece, poland, holland, greece, poland and hungary. even in nations long considered. [inaudible]
attitudes or hardening. any refugee sediment in europe is even harsher than the u.s. it's fed not only by economic anxiety but fear and anger in the wake of unconscionable terrorist attack in europe. the third factor that makes many in congress hesitant to take up comprehensive immigration reform is frankly the bigoted of donald trump and his followers. you ask what's next? is there chance we could finally see progress of the next congress on matters affecting immigrants and refugees? can we return to the larger debate or has the ugly anti-immigrant rhetoric that we here in the presidential campaign poison the debate and will we remain stuck and still make? i think there's a reason to be hopeful. you may have seen a cnn poll that was released last week, and let me caution you in advance. i never use a powerpoint so you are about see the the only powerpoint i have ever used in
my entire life. here it is. people were asked, thinking about the way the u.s. government deals with the issue of illegal immigration, which of the following policy goals should be the policy's top priority? if you read from right to left, starting in september 2015 and then november 2015 and 2016, 51% of respondents now say the top priority of america's immigration laws and policies should be developing a plan to allow those in the u.s. illegally. we need a pathway to legal status. 51%. that's up 5% from a year ago. another interesting point, look at the percentage of respondents who said america's top immigration priority should be deporting immigrants who are already in the country illegally. a year ago, 14% ranked that as a top immigration priority. today just 11%. out of three possible
priorities, deporting undocumented immigrants comes in a distant third period instead of poisoning well, perhaps his ugly rhetoric could actually help build momentum for balanced immigration reform. i was part of the gang of eight. i tried to put together a comprehensive bill, a bill that ended up passing the senate 68 to make 32 with 14 republicans on republicans on board. i was a little over three years ago. if republican leaders had allowed the bill to come to the house floor, it would be the law of the land today. there were more than enough votes in the house and both sides of the aisle. it didn't happen. they held it off and they wouldn't let any immigration bill come to the floor. plaster was tough. republicans gain control of the senate and republican leaders threatened to shut down the department of homeland security unless the senate voted to deport dreamers. i'm not making that up. senate democrats refused and in the end we won the standoff with the present support.
i'm ready for the gang of eight to suit up again and get ready in the next session with congress. two of the four republican gang of eight members are still publicly supporting our work. the other two are missing in action but the two who were supporting were lindsey graham want to say i admire very much for standing up for this concept of a bipartisan approach to comprehensive reform. i hope to join them in the next congress to make another effort. i think the majority of americans are going to reject donald trump's plan and i hope members of congress and the new poll will persuade more of our friends across the aisle to join us. if they want to be presidential party, it has to be an expanding party reaching out to new populations. one president obama was reelected in 2012, the the highest percentage of the vote of the american electorate for him came from americans. the third-highest is hispanic americans.
second-highest, asian americans. why? asian americans. they heard every word that was said between romney and obama in that election campaign on immigration. though they are by nature more conservative in their thinking and background and families, when it came to the issue of immigration they knew where the party stood. now there were times when john mccain and others would stand up and see if our party has a future have got to be an expanding party open to new populations. they have taken a reversal this time with the current nominee. whether or not the anti-immigrant hardliners continue to block reform, our next president needs to be prepared from day one to use her legal authority to make our immigration system fairer and more rational. i have heard the tired argument that president obama has poison the well with his executive orders on immigration. nonsense. the president was using his authority to set immigration authorities.
congress certainly had its chance. they mention three important steps the new president should take. one, the president should authorize all qualified dreamers to serve in america's armed forces. immigrants have fought and died to defend america's freedom since the revolutionary war. captain conn whose parents spoke so eloquently at the democratic convention, it was a week ago, almost ten days that the islamic foundation had its national foundation in chicago. it didn't work in my schedule but then i heard mr. khan and his wife are going to be there. i changed my schedule and said i have to meet them. i did. i sat down with this gracious man, this well spoken and educated man who, with his his wife lost a son in service to our country. he has continued to be dedicated to the young men and women who are joining our armed forces. he entertains them at the
university of virginia campus at his home and gives a copy of the constitution to each of them. you may remember at the convention when he held up his copy of the constitution. i thought to myself what do i need from this man? i know what i need, i need him to sign my copy of my constitution, which he did in 2131 soldier became the first immigrant to die in battle. there are so many who want the opportunity to serve in battle. in 2014 i held a hearing on dreamers serving in the military the law is clear, the president can do this. i have been begging this president who majorly love but can't quite get across the finish line. under the current law, any president can make the decision vital to national interest they
can accept dreamers. that would give us more homegrown talent and make our military more diverse and inclusive. i will tell you, i have met young men and women who are anxious to serve. they have been in rotc programs, they want to serve and they should be given the chance. the second action for the next president he can take to break the stalemate on immigration refugees, she could dramatically increase the number of refugees america accepts up to 200,000. year including 100,000 from syria. two weeks ago, the obama administration met the president's goal for this fiscal year of accepting 10000 syrian refugees. the administration hailed it as a major achievement. maybe it is, but considering how uneasy americans feel about welcoming refugees is
understandable. we have the ability and the moral responsibility to do better. there are 65 million refugees in the world today. the largest refugee crisis in recorded history. they have been driven from homes in syria, iraq, iraq, afghanistan and far beyond. from south sudan, famine drought many fled to neighboring countries which are overwhelmed. lebanon hosts over a million syrian refugees. to put that in perspective, that that would be the equivalent of america taking in 64 million syrian refugees. jordan and other so-called front-line countries are equally overwhelmed. here's a number to think about. last year, ten nations with an average gdp. capita of about 3700 hours were hosting 45% of the world's refugees. america's gdp by comparison 34600.
nearly ten times. canada, has now excepted more than 30,000 syrian syrian refugees in the past ten months. they have pledged to accept even more. i support creating safe zones in syria, i hope this effort of demilitarized anger bringing peace prevails but we need to protect the victims of war from their country and also ease the burden on the front line initiatives. the third action a president can take on her own to break america's stalemate is to help ease the desperate refugee crisis. there are tens of thousands of children and families fleeing widespread horrific violence in el salvador, hduras and guatemala. the northern triangle has some of the highest homicide rates and murder rates in the world. drug cartels dominate. i'm strongly opposed to raids