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tv   Acting Homeland Security Secretary Testifies on National Security Resources  CSPAN  September 3, 2019 10:45am-12:43pm EDT

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business and government interact with one another. they have an antagonistic relationship and also a collaborative relationship in the real story american history is one of public private partnership in many ways, ways that sometimes our unseen and so this was i think the story is really can't wait to get into that. >> university of washington history professor margaret o'mara discusses her book "the code" sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's q&a. >> acting all my security secretary kevin mcaleenan testified recently on president trump's 2020 budget request for his agency. members asked about the administration's immigration enforcement actions, efforts to protect migrant children, drug interdiction efforts, and fema's response to recent flooding in oklahoma and turners in missouri. this is about two hours.
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>> good morning. picketing will come to order. this is a hearing resource the title -- protect the homeland. we will review the department of home it's a good budget. when the acting sect of homeland security, the honorable kevin mcaleenan here to testify and want to fraternal appreciate and thank you for your long service to this country. and in particular, at this moment where we are glad, grappling with some issues. the aftermath of an unprecedented level of disasters of hurricanes and fires in california, hurricanes in the gold coast, the disaster that is occurring at the border right now. if we could just put up our chart. do we have our chart? .org we have it it on the chart
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that we have and that an oshkosh would weaken the required a a giveaway. so a quick produced out of my factory some cups with that exact same chart. what it shows is how out of control this problem is in the first seven months of this year. we had over 300 total, 312,000 individuals coming either as over the border illegally being apprehended either as unaccompanied child or as part of the family unit. i know these are not for public release yet, so they are initial numbers. but in the first three months of may, another 65,000 unaccompanied children but again primary coming in as family units, and for apprehended at the border in between the ports of entry and over 97,000 total apprehensions. so we're on path of breaking again, you know, from i guess
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march 103,000, 3000, april 109106000 and now we will be on that in may. this is a growing problem. it needs to be taken seriously and it is what you and the men and women that you lead are grappling with, and just got bless you for doing it. i mean that in all sincerity. i know because i've been to the board and will be going with the ranking member and a couple other senators later today. we know what you're having to deal with and it's an impossible task. so again i just appreciate your dedication, your willingness to serve and with without alterinr to ranking member. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman and thank you, secretary mcaleenan. we appreciate you being here today. i'm going to do front into my open,. >> i know our time is limited and remembers that have meeting coming up and i know you're on a hard stop as well. i do members of this committee want to ask questions so i will ask unanimous consent to my opening statement in the record.
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>> without objection. i will ask the same request. >> that sounds good. i'll turn over to you. >> mr. secretary, it is the tradition of this committee to swear in witnesses. if you will stand and brazier writing. do you swear the test when he will give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth all to god? >> i do. >> please be seated. >> the honorable kevin mcaleenan is the acting secretary for the department of homeland security was inserting dispositions of april 2019. prior to this appointment he had a dusting of his career at the euros customs and border protection where he recently served cbp since january 2017. in 2015 mr. michelini received the presidential rank award, the nation's highest civil service award. heals a bachelor degree from amherst college and a j. d. from university of chicago law school. mr. mcaleenan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ranking member peters comp establishment of the meeting, senator portman come preshift opportunity to appear before you today.
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it is a a sincere honor to sere as acting secretary and represent dedicate men and women of the department of homeland security. really do believe that dhs has a most compelling mission income but to safeguard the american people, our homeland and our values. as acting secretary i intend to work with this committee and have been in the last six weeks in serving as an advocate for the do from to chew our people have the resources and authorities they need to carry out their critical missions on behalf of the american people. as were highlighting the president 2020 budget of what you point out a few of the key areas where there's critical investment across dhs and the multi-missions that we carry out. i want to ensure this committee we will not lose any momentum on our multiple missions from cybersecurity to disaster responses. we see what's happening this morning with the floods in oklahoma, the attorney of the touchdown in in the street and we'll stay on top of all of these missions that i want to highlight some investments. of course i will speak to the
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security crisis which this committee is focus on and understands very well. the president's budget request money for critical missions across the department for cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency, the budget request $1.3 billion to cybersecurity risk and protect government information systems and critical infrastructure. the budget supports the launch of project 2020 a new initiative died to get all states to baseline level of election infrastructure cybersecurity well before the national election in 2020. the budget supports additional transportation security officers to enhance security effectiveness and stay ahead of increasing growing traffic at airports nationwide. $3.3 billion for tsa also includes funding for an additional 700 screeners and 350 computed tomography unit. for fema this budget provides a significant increase in the disaster relief fund, begins to move the patient of new requirements and the reform act and funds critical operation positions identified in the
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twentysomething hurricane season after action report. for the u.s. coast guard, this budget continues efforts to fund offshore patrol cutter and advances or security cutter program. with regard to border security and immigration enforcement as you're well aware, we are in the midst of an ongoing security and he american crisis at the southwest border. your chart puts that in stark contrast, start with, mr. chairman. almost . almost 110,000 migrants attended across without legal status last month, the most in over a decade. over 65% were families and unaccompanied children. that means over 40,000 children entered our immigration system in a single month. the president's budget will address this 2020. first the request-23 million for the american crisis. this money while i was to provide better care for those we come in contact with through apprehension, custody, detention and removal. second, to address the border security aspects of the crisis
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it request $5 billion in funding funding for the construction approximately 200 miles of a new portable system, request by frontline agents and also calls for 750 border patrol agents, 273 cbp officers and over 660 i is frontline and support personnel. the budget request to make much-needed upgrade to cinches, command control systems and a credit to our men and women combat criminals who are profiting from human suffering. while the 2020 budget will address this crisis will need additional funding. given the skill of what we're facing we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year which is why the administration set of fundamental supplemental request. in addition to a $3 billion for health and human services to care for unaccompanied children the request includes 1.1 billion for the department of homeland security and would provide 391 million free american assistance including temporary microprocessing facilities at the southwest border, 539 for border operations to include our
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search personal expenses and increase transportation at detention costs. 178 million for operations and support costs including for operations and support costs including pay and retention incentives for operational personnel as well as upgrading our i.t. systems. the supplemental request is critical and unless congress addresses the factors, children will continue to be put at risk during a dangerous journey to our border. without these authorities and resources the situation will remain untenable and while dhs will continue to all the can to manage this crisis, every day that congress does not act puts more lives at risk and increases the burden on the system. mr. chairman, ranking member peters of endings for a long time. this is a third time i've been in a leadership role during a migration surge at the border. families and children. both in 2014 and 2016 at the end of the last administration. we have more than doubled those crises combined in the first seven months of this year and
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we're still in the middle. we are doing everything we can to address it. as you will see, on the medical front, we had about ten people providing medical care in our top processing center as of a year ago. we now have 50 in that center alone. 24 x seven coverage in all all of her highs traffic sectors with u.s. coast guard medical teams on the ground. we have health and human services, commissioned corps on the ground with us. working to protect the special children that come into our custody. we've expanded our facility. we put up 1000 spaces in two location. we will have 10,000 by the end of next month to address this growing crisis. we've gotten tremendous support from the department of defense, national guard, from our state and local partners and we can close with nongovernmental organizations and charities to try and help those in need but none of that is going to be enough.
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we are still seeing too much tragedy and this week and must have been no exception. 40% of our agents are off the line doing processing transportation and care, hospital watch, feeding and cleaning migrants in our custody. this leads to significant border security risk added all think we can tolerate given the drug epidemic of the dangers to our communities across the country. my second week in this job i went to see the 9/11 memorial museum to get really inspired at the origin of the department of homeland security. it was kobe might of homeland security when we started with non-commission. it was a nonpartisan mission that all americans supported at a note this committee works in that spirit. through your prior hearings to become expert on this and help inform the american people, for efforts to go to the border, i know your point again, this is unique approach the committee is taking to grapple with the problem based on a shared set of facts and solve it. i want to work with you and the ranking member and both parties.
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our frontline agents and officers needed, they deserve the support if the children being put at risk you as well. security of our border in the future of our region depend on it. i appreciate the opportunity to appear you before today and i look forward to the dialogue this morning. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i'm happy to do for my questioning to you or to send to department to just keep things moving. did you want to ask your questions there? okay. senator peter. >> thank you for your comments. i know you mentioned in your opening comments the challenges, the medical charts in particular you're having along the border. the last evening it was reported that a young girl from el salvador died last year while in custody, but her death was undisclosed publicly until last night. which made her now the six migrant child to die after crossing the southern border in less than a year.
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we all agreed we must absolutely secure our borders, but the death of children, i know you agree, the death of children in custody is simply unacceptable. but first we must identify what went wrong and it sure this doesn't happen again. brief questions, yes or no. does every child in cbp custody have access to a pediatrician? >> no. >> does the cbp have clear protocols regarding the transfer of children to a hospital in presenting acute systems, especially look at the aggressive nature of the current outbreak we're seeing along the border? >> yes. and as commissioner i i directd that all children come into our custody he screened by a certified medical professional and that's what we've undertaken steps to accomplish, or both of our extension of a contract to get medical professionals into our facilities at soldiers coast guard and a public health commission corporate that effort is extensive and ongoing. 65 65 people being brought to e hospital every day, watched and support by agents and offers.
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this is a massive effort going on to protect children. i know we have saved dozens and dozens of lives over the past several months. >> although there's been cases, recent cases of a 16-year-old who passed which was not not taken to the hospital. so there are gaps that have to be filled. >> he was both great and offered medical care and we look forward to the finals of the medical journal to see if we can do better. one of the key areas i've got high but its effect hs does not have enough funding for bed space for teenage males and that's the main arriving at a company child right now. we are not able to move teenage males as expeditiously as we should be to the better situation for tier within health and human services, and we need that support from congress in the supplemental. >> i fast many of our colleagues and pride dhs leadership and i'll ask you again today, how long is too long to detain a child? >> detention for a child is for the safety of the child.
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that's the only reason to do it. we don't believe that children should be detained very long at all. we would like to move as quickly as possible to health and human services to a more appropriate setting for unaccompanied children where they can be placed with an appropriate sponsor through hhs processes. i think that's the best approach. i'd like to get that 24-40 hours and try to comply at all times with the standard and the protection act which is 72 hours. .. upon arrival at the border as opposed to not finishing as quickly as possible.
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there is no desire to detain children of any capacity for long. >> it is reported dhs is acquiring fema and other components to contribute staff to various securities security the northern and southern borders must be our top priority. we have a northern border as well. i'm concerned about an readiness in my state of michigan and other northern border states. my time is short but could you give me a brief synopsis of the specific duties of the folks being asked to do on the southern border? >> is in any crisis we call on volunteers to respond. last year, for hurricane harvey, hurricane emma, we had 2000 people deployed across the department. right now we have to hundred 50 volunteers. what i ask our volunteers to do is make a risk assessment and
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decide who is available. they are doing all kinds of things for attorneys and commercial drivers licenses to transport migrants to folks helping with food service and care, the variety of michigan -- we are fortunate to have volunteers helping out in the crisis. >> shortage of personnel is an issue for you, even before the recent increase in migrant traffic at the southern border it was clear cvp was not adequately staffed to secure the borders and facilitate the other mission which was to move legitimate trade and travel in other parts of travel. the cbp discovered new leadership as the commissioner identifies a shortfall of thousands of cbp officials, this is the current situation. to help address this gap in personnel senator cornyn and i have introduced bipartisan legislation to give clear
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authority and direction to cbp officers to the levels identified in the model you put together. especially concerned about critical personnel being moved from michigan to the southern border while michigan remains two of the three busiest border crossings in the nation. will you commit to working with congress to advance this legislation and close the hiring gap we currently have? >> i will end appreciate your support to additional hiring of cvp officers, among one of the most critical lock relations -- occupations. we netted 20008000 in the last few years. we are expecting to make 1200 additional officers. based on a number of changes we have made in congress. a model-based staffing strategy accommodates growing security
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threats as a way to plan for the future and i appreciate efforts to support that. >> i appreciate your support of getting this legislation passed. i have a little remaining time but i want to make sure everyone asks questions, stick to our strict 7 minute time. >> we were talking about hiring rate. is it true we have greater hiring than attrition rate? >> for border patrol agents it is closer to attrition although we are making progress. >> that is good news. i am highly concerned with the current crisis. we don't have the resources and you are courting all the volunteers border patrol officers will start -- i'm a
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certain concerned about attrition rates. have you seen that in the crisis? >> my first decision as acting secretary was to extend 5% retention and sent it to our agents who are working incredibly hard. we need to look at all we have to maintain our tremendous professional workforce and they need to see a light at the end of this tunnel and working with congress is the best approach. >> all my colleagues to support -- it is critical to get that funding not just for hhs but the 1.4 billion dhs is requesting as well. >> we appreciate your coming back again but you are here at a time when the question is humanitarian. to put some numbers around us so people understand what is
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going on my sense is 100,000 people coming to the border and 75% increase in the number of children showing up at the border. and a 100% increase in families going to the border. more families with children. is that accurate? >> exactly correct. >> it is overwhelming. we appreciate your service in the men and women of cvp and border patrol who were trying to do with this issue and many are being pulled off the normal jobs to deal with a humanitarian crisis. is that accurate? >> that is very true. the process of caring for families and children is much more and to have 3% engaged in that function is not on the line of addressing border security in the crisis by any measure. i know you have been committed especially these concerns. i am very concerned about drugs
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on the border in this crisis. >> the drug front is pretty scary because we have progress on the opioid front, increase in overdose death but what is happening in ohio is a lot more crystal meth coming in. it is pure and powerful and inexpensive and there aren't any more meth labs in places like ohio. it is so powerful to buy this stuff from the cartels coming up from mexico. you have heroin and fentanyl and cocaine and crystal meth. what is the most important thing we can do? >> the fy 19 budget in this regard, we are going to deploy those resources for the southern border and dramatically increase the
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percentage of vehicles we scan. the best tool we have to stop the increase -- >> technology we have funded to see if there is a truck coming through a noninvasive technology and to be able to apprehend. >> two additional points. the investments in the border wall, the cameras, lighting, roads that indicate access, that will address the increasing incidence of narcotics between ports of entry and our agents can be focused on security assets of the mission. >> let's talk about other factors. what we are trying to do in this committees help you to address this issue. on the flipside, countries where there's a lot of poverty, corruption and reasons for people to want to leave. we talked about how to get aid
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deployed. there is a general consensus that we should do a better job. however, there are still issues of guatemala that can't be addressed, it packages -- seems to be the most important one, 400% increase in families, 75% increase in kids, something going on with the asylum system. they are coming over to seek asylum, they are not trying to avoid law enforcement. the law is not helpful in this regard. they are coming forward and saying they would like to get asylum. tell us what happens to these families when they ask for
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asylum. are they being processed, are they being detained, are they being allowed to go into the community, what is happening today? >> absolutely right. i would use your committee's chart on this point, you see floors reinterpreted. that is the essential driver, the fact that families can no longer be detained together during a fair and expeditious proceeding to determine if they have other immigration rights. >> were family members are limited to 20 days as an emergency and released to the community. >> that is correct and that certainty at knowledge they will stay in the us, it could be years away depending what jurisdiction they are in. they are advertising that and we hear that routinely and see
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that in the media. >> what percentage of families that come to the border are released to the community? >> 100%. they are not necessarily asking for asylum. they don't have to. they don't have to present that case. >> it can take a while, they should know before we have a court hearing in a two your period. what is the average? >> the average is around two years. >> before the immigration hearing takes place. >> we are looking at tightening the rules so there is no opportunity to take advantage of the system. >> the permanent understanding that they don't work immediately "after words". >> right now it is in the 30-90 day range. >> individuals are going to work.
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if you are a trafficker telling people if you come to the border and seek asylum or seeking an immigration hearing, be released into the community for a couple years at least before your hearing and have the ability to work and being able to make 10 times as much or 20 times as much. is that a factor? >> that is directly how smugglers are advertising the opportunity. >> it comes down to the jobs. i want to talk about e-verify. we don't have a system to determine who is legal or not in this country and we need to -- the mandatory use of e-verify. >> a great deal of interest in this hearing, we have 7 minutes but we are going to keep people at 7 minutes. >> thank you, ranking member peters, mister chair and acting
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secretary for being here to discuss these important topics. mister secretary. as i am sure you are aware convicted american television fighter john walker lindh is being released from federal prison today. last week we sent a letter to the bureau of prisons, a letter of concern about the release of john walker lindh and 108 terrorists scheduled to be released in the next 5 years which one of our concerns is the process to notify federal, state and local officials when a terrorist offender will be released. the receive information and material on probation and pretrial services regarding the release of a terrorist offender and what is your process for sharing this information? >> that is a good question. i will look into that. >> moving forward can i count on you to work to develop a
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strategy to ensure all necessary state and federal and local officials have the information they need to keep communities safe? >> yes. >> thank you. later today i am headed to the southern border with senator johnson and senator holly to assess the situation on the ground. i took a similar trip last year to talk to ice detention officers. i was impressed by my visits to el paso and texas where i saw the efforts by cvp on incoming traffic from mexico and we talked about the technology that helps officers immediately see what is different, how it is different from a typical car. stopping the drug cartel is not solely a matter of traffic coming through to the united states. we have to attack the cartel's business model, stopping the flow of drug money and weapons
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the travel southbound into mexico from the united states. as i saw in my trip last year our southbound screening if it is inadequate. the need expanded facilities, more personnel and updated technology to strengthen our ability to stop the flow of guns and money to the cartel's hands. i will ask you the same question i asked secretary neilsen last year. are you satisfied with the current state of southbound inspections? >> know. i agree strongly with you that we can do more and part of the inspection equipment we will be purchasing will go to outbound lanes. to your point we have been doing outbound alongside -- we don't have agents available for outbound right now. they are doing and down humanitarian missions. we do our efforts in coordination with the government, there's a lot to do in that area. >> given the numbers and
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humanitarian crisis we are seeing, you wouldn't say we made real progress on this issue since last year? >> the one area is acquiring the systems that will help us going southbound. in our overall hiring of cbp officers on the southwest border, with our agents now on humanitarian missions, a new government establishing new relationships on the investigators side, we do a lot more this year. >> one of the other things this year was it may take some work and planning on the north and south side of the border to configure ways for those elections -- to take place with local traffic and the like. is that something you guys are doing? >> absolutely. every port of entry has plans for outbound inspections given their unique flow of traffic,
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given the unique configuration of the footprints on ports of entry. we have been there a long time at a lower volume. we have plans for increased outbound efforts. >> i look forward to working with you on that and i will take that as a commitment to work on that until we get to the southbound flow. we are not going to break up the business models. >> an important aspect of the mission, i agree. >> back in march i requested from secretary neilsen the case files for 245 child separations that occurred since it was will be separations must end. the need for privacy and confidentiality i would've accepted redacted names. a week after my request, a representative from cvp followed up that you and the commissioner of cvp could brief me on this matter but not until 7 weeks after my initial requests.
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you responded with dates and times but i heard nothing back until two days or ten weeks after the request and you said you cannot provide information on these 245 cases. just this week reports surfaced that as we talked about, carlos vasquez died in federal custody at the border. the fifth child died last night as senator peters pointed out, we learned about a sixth child's death after apprehension at the border. this is incredibly disturbing and raises more serious questions about the treatment of children at the border. i don't care about it but we have to be able to implement, to present these tragedies from happening. can you provide any update on these 245 separated children for us, what cvp is doing for the treatment of children at the border? >> i will go back and look at
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your request and make sure we are responding appropriately. i was not aware we had been delayed in that response. i want to emphasize separation is occurring for the benefit of the safety of the child. this is in compliance with the court order and the executive order on june 20th of last year. even though we have 1500-2500, the separation is only occurring one to 3 times a day. it is extraordinarily rare and under controlled circumstances. >> thank you for that answer and because i'm running out of time i want to be respectful of time but this is not all necessarily on you and your agents but the administration has given a variety of stories about family separation since they began. you can understand from an oversight point of view, to
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protect children we need this information and need to engage with you to ensure what your intentions are and what is happening. thank you, mister chairman. >> thank you for your testimony. it is important to know who comes to our country, who is visiting on student visas, with intelligence they are here with that agenda. if they aren't going to school, sent back home. a problem that seems to be recurring at universities for 113 years, a great college, a real college with a great reputation in our state. students come in on student visas that were taken away or taken back. i don't think it is because there was actionable intelligence, but they are simply saying it is a fake university which is very insulting to our university and our state, not just the border
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agent problems the -- must be some sort of central list. what they type into a list for student visa and see what universities are on that list, the universities on the list to improve students. the only anomaly is some students are coming in to other airports like los angeles and do part of it online. it is approved by ice and the government. the problem is your officers, either it is not typed into the system correctly or whatever but turning them back and assaulting the university also. we sent a letter to you 63 days ago and there has been some response and some attempt to resolve this. 10 days ago another student was turned back. i'm all for safety and not letting people come in who our problems but doesn't sound like there was an individual problem, more systemic problem, you don't have your list right, your agents don't have access to the list. do you know how it works?
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does an agent come up with a list when a student comes in? >> i do know how the student visa program works. it is managed by ice. you need a certified program, certified university, individual student visa holder has to be confirmed. >> they are still coming up and insulting our university and saying it is fake. no one has presented evidence that they're not on the appropriate list. >> not familiar with the individual case but we will look into it and glad there has been a response but we will take a look. >> we need more and the sooner the better. it is a big deal for someone flying have a right around the world going to school here. to have the university insulted, to then -- we need a resolution. we have somebody call us in a work or so and work through
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this. we don't have recurrence. >> we are following on. >> the other issue was one we had with the last nominee for ice, we were not fond of him because one of his statements was a cell phone is just like a shipping container. not only do we object to that but we object strenuously, we are insulted by the comment. do you think a cell phone is the same as a shipping container? >> all goods across the border are subject to examination but we have specific problems with cell phones. it is different. they have a different level of data and that is why we have restrictive approaches whether we can inspect and how we can inspect. >> we want the law changed. senator wyden and i have a bill to require a warrant for us citizens coming back home because we think there is great danger that if you have brown skin or a different accent or a funny last name, doesn't look so-called american, they will
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say it was your cell phone. if you have evidence someone is part of a terrorist cell by all means do whatever it takes. just random american citizens being asked for their passport and self and is very intrusive and we think they look suspicious is not enough. we are still troubled by the reports we hear on this and we are going to keep pushing the issue but it is very important for us to convey to you that we don't think a cell phone is a shipping container. you have the right to go through luggage and shipping containers at the border, you don't have a right to look at my google searches and everything i have stored on my phone, pictures, etc. and download that onto a computer. when you are taking phones are you downloading contents from the phone to a database? >> there are a couple types of searches, a basic search where
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you look at the content of the cell phone and a more "in depth" search of a phone and contents. there are several additional safeguards. your concerns are sincere and well-informed on this issue. i want to emphasize we have oversight over the selection for secondary that includes inspection of a cell phone device. any indication that would be done on the basis of race, religion or anything else, it is overseen by cvps and our civil rights and civil liberties office. >> you see how the danger occurs. a lot of it is ambiguous when you go to what is suspicion. you see how there is a real danger and for people coming back to be targeted based on it even if it is not spoken, there is a danger in the way this is happening. the regulations you have on the
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phone on what you do to go to a phone and search, are those printed and available and open to us? >> i worked on the update and more stringent requirements of the policy. >> i know you deal from your perspective and our perspective many of us think there should be a legal requirement for judicial service but this is not the same as looking at luggage. at least realize some of us are concerned about this database and the search. >> senator carper. >> thanks for visiting with us. and sharing your thoughts. i ask to use most of my 7 minutes to sketch for us an outline that includes factors like alliance for prosperity and assignment changes in the process at the border, just put
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together a thoughtful compassionate, smart, cost effective plan on comprehensive immigration reform. that is the ultimate answer. take 6 minutes to do that please. >> thank you for that opportunity. at the start of the hearing the chairman's opening statement, some of our discussions in the floors case and the arrival of families and children the last several years, we talk a lot about factors and direct response to the fact the damage can no longer be held through a fair proceeding and essentially guarantee release in the united states. that is a tremendous challenge supported by smugglers who are advertising that opportunity and that is causing the significant surge we see this
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year. unaccompanied children even if they don't have valid asylum claims in central america are not able to be repatriated under the victimization act. those are the key factors we are facing and the other side is the asylum, the fear standard is a possibility of approving an asylum case, 92% of those who have the initial credible fear screening are passing it but they don't see a judge in an asylum process until two or three years later and when going to the asylum process 10%-15% are rated as highly. those are the areas of the framework we asked congress to take down or send language to the hill multiple times. there is good legislative work going on right now in the judiciary committee with chairman graham's bill that would address the full factors the president highlighted on
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senator graham's ability in his rose garden remarks. on the push factors there are significant challenges. in central america, 3 times in the last year, i am meeting with my minister counterpart in guatemala and i will be going back to the western highlands in guatemala which is the source of most of the migration we are seeing from guatemala, 40% of the total arriving at the border from this specific region, i am going to one department where 3.5% of the population has come to the us in 7 months and that is because they are facing poverty and economic opportunity gaps, the average age in guatemala is 18, people entering the job market are almost 200,000 a year, creating 400,000 jobs. there is a huge economic driver and a huge opportunity gaps highlighting the wage
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differential as well. you make 15-20 times you can make in the us, guaranteed ability to stay. that is a massive drama. second thing is there has been drought in this region the last 5 years affecting citizenship on the western highlands in rural areas of guatemala. this is their top cycle. corn, beans and potatoes are not producing. that is their source of protein. that is the issue usda and usaid have tried to help with. that has been a massive impact, the coffee prices cratered effectively the employment in guatemala as well. they are big economic drivers. on the security side the situation is improving in all 3 countries. the birth rate has gone down 40% depending on each country in the invisible areas.
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the strategy in el salvador for consolidated government effort at a municipal level is working. they are reducing violence and creating additional economic opportunity. there is so much more to be done. governance issues, corruption issues produce push factors that are part of this crisis. we need a strategy to tackle both. we need congress to address the pool factors, security investments we are making to increase capacity on the us border and mexico to tackle the transnational organizations exploiting vulnerable migrants and central america working with accountable targeted programs that make an impact on national interests. we have a lot to do but we have a coherent strategy, we need congress to implement the resources and authorities. >> what role do ambassadors
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play in this? >> i think professional diplomats in honduras, leading staff well-informed by the situation in those countries, there are professional diplomats and usaid driving the programs especially in el salvador that have the benefit of going to see them at work and how hard they are working in partnership. we have a great dedicated diplomatic war advocating for change in all 3 countries. >> there has not been a us ambassador for two years and the role they play, the ambassador to salvador, a guy named kelly, helping him prepare to assume office has been hugely helpful. it has been two years without
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an ambassador in honduras, something we raise our voices and say we can do better than this. tell us a few areas, vacancies around you. >> we have several nominees interest of the committee, the inspector general for oversight is critical and he has advanced to the committee. we have a fema nominee, heading into hurricane season next week, appreciate if we can schedule a hearing and move a tremendous nominee through the process. our chief financial officer is in another critical role, nominees we sent to the senate and more hopefully we can produce in short order but having the right leaders in the right position is important to maintain. >> two more senators, if i can bring your attention to the cup
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we put our chart on the so people won't throw it away but the point i want to make is in the first three weeks of may, 65,000 additional people have been added to that but my guess is this shows close to 400,000 in the first eight month compared to 120,000 a year in 2014. 400,000 is where we end up in the month of may. this is a growing crisis and we have to pass that emergency spending bill. >> i want to start by talking about the tornadoes that touched down in my state last night causing very significant damage. we lost three lives in southwest missouri, damage in the middle of the state we are still assessing the extent of the damage and i will see it myself soon. fema dispatched a search and rescue team. i wonder if you can speak to
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what fema might do to help. >> our acting administrator on these issues, fema is on top of it, the search and rescue team, very concerned about the loss of life. we will respond in support of your statement, local authorities to address any damage from the storm. >> i look forward to working with you on that. it is also a major flood event in the state of missouri. missourians are tough but we need assistance to rebuild those communities, those farms and towns. i look forward to working with you on that as well. let me ask you about another major problem which is the epidemic of drugs. i noticed in your written testimonial words illegal drugs just once which i was a little surprised by so let me give you a chance to elaborate. drugs coming across the border making their way across the
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country but missouri is hard-hit. we had an epidemic, most missourians don't realize what is flowing into missouri is coming across the southern border. talk to us about the drug crisis we are facing at the border and that is affecting my state and those of us sitting here. >> the drug crisis is acute and devastating. both opioids and the increasing myth. if you talk with sheriff and state and local police the last few years west of mississippi they would be talking about myth, not the synthetic opioid. now you are seeing math east of mississippi as well. just of estate and our responsibility and dhs to better. as you noted 90% of all heroin and meth are coming from mexico. mexican cartels made it into a
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super lab and are working with mexican authorities to seek out labs in key areas we help them identify but we need to do more at the border as well. the investments from fy 19 have increased and will be a game changer. right now 85% of seizures come from x-rays on personally owned vehicles. we are only a 2% of those now. the investments we got last year, we will get to 40% and that will change are dynamic in terms of targeted inspections. for commercial vehicles we are at 17% and we will take up 70% in a matter of two years. that is a different target should smugglers try to get through and we are increasing our canine teams, the second highest referral rate for seizures. i want to emphasize the investments are critical.
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the border barrier system with lights, cameras, sensors on top because we are seeing smugglers bringing in hard narcotics. that was the phenomenon 5 years ago and it is growing now and a huge challenge. we had the epicenter of the humanitarian crisis we are talking about last month we made a seizure of 760 pounds of cocaine in one seizure. they felt confident to bring that many drugs across. and one late in the brush for a week straight because he was worried about that stretch of border. he laid in that stretch of brush, i called him and talked about how dedicated he was to sit there 7 days in a row. we know what is happening. they are using families that hurt our resources and bring drugs behind him. >> what other resources to our
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agents need to combat this drug smuggling? >> we need better aviation. we asked for surveillance sensors in the 2020 budget that will help aviation platforms target -- we need the innovative towers we are putting in place, overseas support three years in a row for innovative cost-effective programs on emerging technologies that expand surveillance capability and that surveillance technology and the ability of our agents to respond effectively in a mobile way is a huge factor in our success. >> how is the growing crisis we are seeing that jeff was talking about later today, how is that affecting your ability to combat the drug smuggling crisis as well? speech first time i referred to this was border security and humanitarian crisis last june when we had one fourth of the traffic. the minister in crisis is
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drawing away our border patrol agents, 40% of their time is spent on transportation, processing, care, medical, food preparation. they are not on the line we need to be. the el paso sector, we are depleted, 60% from where we are. that dynamic has to change. the background of what the american people want them to do. >> is it fair to say congress's ability to deal with the immigration crisis helped fuel the drug epidemic great you? >> they are related. >> how frequently is border patrol ending members of transitional members like ms 13? >> 17,000 people from our records. we will exceed that this year. we had 808 gang members, more this year. there is a population that is not just families and children.
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they present unique challenges but we are talking about 35% are people trying to evade capture. admin at 35% are criminals, gang members and drug smugglers. we are trying to address come principally. >> senator scott. >> thanks for what you do. i was in panama and met with some dhs representatives to talk about marco trafficking and that was part of it. i met with other, dod, if they had additional resources, countries just north where a lot of the narco trafficking, they thought that would have a positive impact on dealing with the border. what do you need? what can we do to be more
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helpful in that arena? >> thanks for visiting with our people. one of dhs's strengths is our ability to work with foreign partners to make an impact on our security as far from the border as possible and building their capacity, sharing information. panama is one of the best examples of that. the investigation presence and cbp, us coast guard partnerships with panama are good example for the entire hemisphere and we made a lot of progress in the last 5 to 7 years with the government of panama. talk about trafficking challenges in that region, the andes are the highest cocaine producing raid. we've seen lots of cocaine coming to the border. the numbers have been increasing the last several years. addressing that at the source i was with the us coast guard on the water, the maritime patrol aircraft is our best defense.
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those introductions are driven by good intelligence sharing by investigative efforts with hfi, dea and our intelligence community partners in the panamanian government and others as we get to the introductions before they get out of open water and land in central america or mexico. those partnerships are critical, investment in the coast guard fleas are absolutely essential to helping us sustain the transit zones and our p3 fleet for cvp, our us fleet and the guardians in the maritime patrol version, those are critical assets and appreciate congress's continued support for that. >> we talked about the fact it must have been further south
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from south america into the pacific and possibly a need for additional dod or coast guard assets. >> we are seeing routes around the galapagos from baja california west of catalina and to the middle of california. open ocean maritime patrol capability, the technologies with microsatellites or unmanned maritime drones. we need to look at opportunities to innovate. we are seeing incredible efforts by cartels to avoid these efforts so not only investments we are doing conventionally but we need to look out toward the horizon and see what technologies we need to get better at this challenge. >> the comptroller general was just standing there this week talking about a review of
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agencies, talking about fema to a certain extent. every plague when i was governor of florida held -- hurricanes and everything. what opportunities do you have, through fema or anything else you can save money and allocate more dollars to the issues we are dealing with on the border? >> good question. at cvp there was an area we worked diligently on. our acquisition staff reorganized two years ago and it is very effective, lowering our protest rate, ensuring disadvantaged businesses, that is the story of dhs why, we have a tremendous chief procurement officer who received this effort. i looked at the fema numbers. you are looking at thousands of contracts fema issued in response to storms in your
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state and others that have been devastating the past several years and only a few of them had issues. i think the record is pretty good. there has been high profile concerns but that is what they look like, make sure we are getting best value, saving money for the american taxpayer and applying it to mission priorities. >> fema has been a great partner. they did a great job. everything you can imagine they were really good partner. there's a lot of money to be saved with them particularly how to do debris. fema pays for it but it is done through the core, the prices the core of contracts with the same company was multiple of the same company doing business in florida. it went from 7 to $8 per cubic yard to $72. it is a lot of money.
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anything we can do that can help you save money to allocate things that are bigger problem? >> thank you, senator. >> senator romney. >> thank you, very much appreciate your testimony today and this opportunity to talk about your budget and policies relating to the border. a comment at the outset. it is hard for me to understand why border security has become such a partisan issue. there are people who have politicized it much to the peril of those who are doing so. i understand there are political issues associated with how to deal with our d aca individuals, 11 or 12 million or so people who come here illegally in the past and been here for some period of time, raising families, people are
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concerned whether we are going to have a system of legal immigration based on families back together, family reunification versus merit-based system. these are understandable political back and forth but securing the border and keeping people from flooding over the border illegally is something i would think one could take out of the realm of politics. i think those making this a political issue i think it is a real loser from a political standpoint and because without a completed wall and technology we can avail ourselves of we are going to see more drugs come into the country with people dying as a result of drugs coming in. we will have a flood of children coming, parents go off into foster settings in many cases, unaccompanied children.
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it is a series of horrible potential outcomes or a horrible reality that is occurring. i hope we are able to deal with it. the loopholes and gaps in the legal system that has caused this extraordinary crisis to occur. with that said, let me turn to a question, you spoke about the importance of the wall using better technology to interdict the coast guard as well. and closing loopholes. you mentioned a number of people in central america and mexico looked across the border and get $15 an hour and getting one dollar an hour down here and they will find a way to get here because of that enormous economic advantage in doing so. some of us feel we should mandate a requirement that businesses use e-verify. if a business does not use
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e-verify, someone who is not here legally, penalties and whatever for not having used the e-verify system. do you believe mandating e-verify use with penalties would help reduce the magnet that brings people looking for economic opportunity? >> specifically under e-verify we support use of e-verify, everyone should avail themselves of this opportunity. we finished the development project to make it available for any employer, all 50 states. it is a robust ac system with quick responses on people with lawful status in the united states. that employment magnet you referenced, the booming us economy should have -- i should've included that in my response to senator carper, the opportunity we have, e-verify
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is a tool to make sure that is done in a lawful manner. one of the point. i closed my oral statement with a request and acknowledgment of this committee's ability to work in a bipartisan way on a policy and how welcome that is. i started after 9/11. it is a politicized issue and i don't think it is acceptable to the american people so i applaud your call for taking that out of the dynamic and looking at the problem, grapple with it and come up with shared solutions. >> a couple topics related to the numbers. this is a budget discussion. an enormous increase in the budget request for fema. looking at the president's request in 19-20 and comparing that with 18, is up 40%. why is there such a substantial
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increase? >> the bulk of that is to get the disaster recovery funding to the level it needs to be to address 17-18, but to have it prepared for the future. it is a scalable drawdown that doesn't have to stay obviated. >> in a similar vein there's an enormous increase in ice from $7.5 million in active in 2018, $9.3 million requested in 2020. why the substantial increase? >> there are two main issues. one is we need more professionals at ice. we asked for 660 additional homeland security investigation agents. ice enforcement personnel and attorneys. now our enforcement rule operations are sized for 34,000 people, holding 51,000. that means it takes longer to get each processed to get removals occurring and they don't have the strength to do
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all their missions at the same time. they are fully involved in the border crisis, hundreds of agents at the border dealing with struggling issues. they come up in the first few weeks of the operation with 160 classifications for adults or smuggling children. we need more capability to do that work so that is first for personnel. second, on the ice side, investing in our systems to get through court proceedings and a broad variety of requirements and funding bed space, the increased detention requirements from an increased flow across the board. >> in response to another question from my colleagues, the important role the coast guard has played in interdicting trafficking, north of catalina island. the coast guard budget request is down substantially from what
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was spent in 2019. what reduction in spending is funding for the coast guard? >> the main difference, about whether he is getting the need for the resources he needs to keep his capital investments moving forward, the big difference is the initial startup cost for buying the icebreaker for the arctic, that is not required in the 20 budget. we will sustain it program. we don't need that first investment. that is a big difference in the 19-20 budgets. >> my time is up. >> thank you so much. we have a lot to cover. we have gone through quite a bit. let me go through a couple issues to address a little it. one is on the direct interdiction issues. i want to go through the drug interdiction and what we see from mexico versus china.
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one is obviously coming by mail more and sometimes chinese are sending it to mexico and mexico is bringing more from their so help us understand what you see is the difference of the amount of drugs coming into the united states from mexico and through china? >> thank you. the two main factors, synthetic opioids, in this flood of e-commerce, tremendous growth from china, expressed consolidation from china. we are seeing hard narcotics, 25 g we are trying to detect in packages and it is very potent. the drug seizures we are making are 90% pure on average. a very small amount. i would be pressed at a very high level in terms of making profit and producing doses in the us. on the mexican side we are seeing prepackaged fentanyl
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doses in pill presses at 10% security level. it is a lower-level but produced and ready to use as opposed to needing further processing in the us. the bulk of our volume seizures are on the southwest border not for all drugs but including synthetic opioids. we have seen these from other countries being synthesized by cartels in mexico and across the border in increasing amounts. base used market share on any opportunity to smuggle drugs into the us. that is what we have seen in the cycle as well. >> what is the cooperation like in the mexican government since the bulk of drugs are coming across the southwest border? >> we have established connections with the new leaders of the counterpart agencies from investigations to the federal police which is transitioning into a national guard status. right now they sent a very
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overwhelming vote in support of transitioning to the national guard. that will be a 5 year process. we know what it is like to merge and change the department. we did that in 2003. that is a distraction. that is something to work with our partners and make sure we remain focused on the threats. we have good relationships with their head of security. secretary dorado. we will stay on this and maintain our efforts. we have been targeted, meth labs based on intelligence and information sharing from law enforcement. that is a positive sign. >> talk to me about the effectiveness and non-effectiveness of new fencing. he replaced fencing in san diego and that area in enough time to evaluate it compared to old fencing. >> complete difference. glad you asked that question.
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there has been a lot of supporting that suggests it is in a new capability. this wasn't important, couldn't be further from the truth. those were our top requirements. we had a dilapidated wall, the first wall built where we needed it the most, in san diego, now having a 30 foot wall where there is a mall and 30 yards at the border has completely changed that dynamic, the traffic has crossed the table in that area. we were able to use our agents more sufficiently in other parts of the sector. >> you have a good idea side-by-side of the movement of individuals or drugs through the same area? >> we do. i can get you that data. >> we would like to see that. there has been a lot of pushback to say this is a replacement. the numbers i have seen on a pulmonary basis show significant difference between new fencing between the older fencing that wasn't effective at all.
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my state has been several states -- we had a tremendous amount of flooding in my state, it has been pretty dramatic and continues to increase. we have storms predicted the next four days in a row. this is an area i'm closely working with the corps of engineers and others, fema has been on the ground and appreciate their engagement and continue to work with you on that. what do you need that you do not have already for disaster relief whether in my state of oklahoma are -- or missouri, the tornado last night in jefferson city, florida or puerto rico or california? >> we have the resources and the support we need for this recovery. two weeks ago i talked to the governor about the flooding or potential for increased flooding as rains continue in the river stays high. we are very worried about it. what i heard was the partnership between state and
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locals and fema is tremendous. they are getting what they need at the state level. i want to continue communication with them from your office and opportunities to improve that. >> we will continue to walk through fema's cooperation has been excellent and we appreciate that. i need to ask you a couple of quick things. one is on the coast guard process you and i have talked about briefly before that as far as interdiction on the water, the coast guard processed introductions and customs and border patrol have two different structures to do interdiction, the coast guard process is much longer and i always wondered in dhs, we had two entities from the water and one has one prosecution and one has another. ..
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let me shift to cybersecurity. what dhs did in the 2018 election was pretty remarkable and your engagement. a lot of threats and lessons learned from 2016. very different dhs engagement in 2018. i know you're staying engaged and ask how best engagement for election security and knowing every federal agency looks to you to help them with cybersecurity for that entity, how is that going? >> this is something i've been working on multiple times a week in my six weeks as acting. it's also an area high confidence in the leadership of our team. they have great strategy to capitalize on successes and momentum for the 2020 election, protect 2020 recalling it. i want to get to all jurisdictions in the country. not just all 50 states but all jurisdictions and make sure that
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the right systems in place, that if they want scanning or penetration testing we can giveo that in advance and help them prepare. the relationships and communication is robust. we built a lot of trust and our partnership with state and local so i feel very good about the election security strategy. in terms of the energy agency and the federal network side, we do have good by then on our protections at edge of the gately, einstein says what others. we do need to continue working on that. talking with the team, their top three priorities are getting better at what they already do, federal networks, soft targets. of course working supply chain issues where we see components being brought in that could have vulnerabilities. obviously, and assure control systems. that's a huge challenge cybercom could have the biggest impact everything from power to pipeline. we're going to step top of it across those areas. >> thanks for all your work on this.
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>> senator rosen. >> thank you. i want to thank you for bringing this important hearing here today, and i want to thank you for your service for so many years. it's really important, and your knowledge is great, and your compassion as well. i want to ask a couple questions on family separation. a couple weeks ago my colleague we sent a letter about misleading information we received last year when we visited the border. i haven't yet received a response from your department but maybe you could provide me with some answers. recent news reports indicate dhs and hhs officials have exchanged e-mails on june 23, 2010 technology the department did not have the necessary information to reunite migrant children with their families. those e-mail exchanges admitted, and i'm going to quote, in
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short, no, we do not have any linkages from parents to children. we have a list of parent in the numbers but no way to link them to children, end quote. on that same day dhs issued a fact sheet claiming the department knew the location of all the children in custody, that the department had a process in place of the families to know the location for the children, and had a central database you could access and update. so just two days after that congressman carbajal and die in june 25 travel to the border to the unaccompanied minor facility. we were falsely told by leadership in those dhs and hhs facilities that departments have the necessary information to reunite the families. so my question i'm hoping to ask, acting secretary, , takinga step back, how could you or how
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would you explain the discrepancy between the private email e-mail exchange between the government officials and the fact sheet published to the public the same day? >> thank you for the question. i'll do my best to explain it here and then make sure we have a robust response to your inquiry. there are five different components involved primarily in giving with immigration. three agencies within dhs, health and human services, orr in the department justice, all five manage different i.t. systems. lets you start with that. that's a challenge. on april 19, 2010, cbp at the request of hhs and limited an adjustment to its system to be able to capture parent-child relationships more explicitly in our data at the border. that's a a cvp system. it's not necessarily available directly to all hhs personal as of june 2018. when you seen an e-mail like that, and i would want, giving
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you a broad answer. about answer with the individual or send an email or thinking or talking to specifically, but my interpretation of that is having to go to list appeared in the numbers means they have to go to a different system. they can't automatically see the linkages between the parent and child in the different systems. >> do you think was like a documentation interagency? >> alike of system integration interagency. i think the communication was very good. i want to comment on the reunification and the second, but first we're going to fix this. one of my priorities as acting secretary of the unified immigration portal that allows that dated to connect and be integrated across agencies. that is doable. we did it for 47 departments and agencies for trade data and i was the deputy commissioner of cbp and the automated commercial and private call the single window and we can approve this process and certainly help ensure relationships are capture between people arriving at the
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border. so that's a priority. the reason i i know i can say h confidence that the data was captured and the intent of what was that publicly about our system was born out is the reification to happen pretty rapidly. the reification for broadly successful by hhs working with i.c.e. and cbp data. >> let me follow up. of the children that are still separate from their families, and we know there are still quite a few, how many in your estimations, how many cases to like information necessary for reunification? could you provide that information to us? >> that's been provided by hhs and i think biweekly filings. the exact status of that and i would refer you for an official answer to that dated and hhs. my understanding is every single child has an identified parent relationship. >> we will refer out to that. i have another couple things. in my estimation, your
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department has a lot of work to do to regain public trust, including mine. and so as you lead the department forward, will you personally commit to all of us do truthfully respond to the committee that your department will not misleaders again in the way we were misled last year when i visited the border, the matter what the severity of issues are at hand? >> law enforcement depends on public trust. it is a fundamental requirement to carry out our mission and carry out our jobs. i will ensure that as long as i've acting will do our level best to explain what's happening to congress and to the american people on all aspects of our mission. >> hanky. i am one last question quickly on family separation, and the training that you're providing for the dhs officers to determine whether or not families are falling into the criteria of needing to be
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separated. what you're going to do going forward. usage of a lack of that space, lack of detention space. what are your plans going forward to train your officers, to take care of these families when they're going through this. >> thank you for the question. a case where a child and a haired are separated out is extraordinarily rare. it's done for the safety of the child. if there's a serious criminal violation or indication the parent present a risk to that child, if there's a commutable disease issue but there are child they need to go to emergency happening one to three times a day out of up to 3000 families arriving. i want to be very clear, it's very rare situation and it has got defined criteria that we buy policy mandated for all personnel in the field. in accordance with the corridor and the president's executive board from june 20 of last year. it's extraordinarily rare. in terms of the process for doing that, i think there's an
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opportunity with our civil rights and liberties office to look across our department and see if we can ensure we doing consistently and we're taking all steps to consider the care of the child, the mental concerns the child might have in that scenario, and explain it effectively. there's an opportunity there i would like to work on. >> thank you. >> senator sinema. >> thank you, mr. chairman. our nation faces a crisis along the southern border, and avoid with local leaders in arizona, my colleagues and cogs in the administration to stop the flow of migrants to the southern border ensure that their and hue treatment of migrants who do come. the situation on the ground with our committees, ngos and her border law enforcement is not sustainable. we must work together to find bipartisan and common sense solutions. i'm glad you're here today. i look forward to our discussion. the lack of transportation resources to manage the flow of migrants is a serious problem in arizona. we need help transporting
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migrants between interception, detention facilities and i.c.e., and getting migrants to ngos to facilitate further transportation. could you review dhs is capable to write additional transportation resources in arizona, including resources from outside cbp or i.c.e. and get back to what the possibilities are? >> i can do that. >> great. this is going well, chairman. when searching for solutions to a crisis it's always important to think outside the box. i hope you are encouraging your organization to tackle the challenges with the migrant crisis in this manner. the transportation issue calls for some outside the box thinking. it's indeed in the best interest to work with the in joke group on how best to manage migrant transportation after they leave dhs custody but i've heard from constituents about ideas such as working with sponsors to find charted by threats to ease the pressure uncrowded greyhound roots pick such ideas have merit but will probably need dhs
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assistant and cooperation to be effective. could you take a quick look at what other support dhs could provide to these ngos on the transportation front and work with us on the ground in arizona on those possibilities? >> we will do that, senator. innovation and partnership are going to be critical as we managing this crisis. they have been to date with state and local authorities in arizona and elsewhere. just highlight one quick example of that innovation and creativity. our acting commissioner john sanders at cbp has been instrumental in bringing together faith-based organizations and ngos with resources away from the border that want to or are able to help that ngos at the border that doing so much work in your state, and el paso, in south texas, and really that's brought in lots of additional resources and funding that supporting the board entities. we can do the same kind of thing
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on transportation not only engaging our greyhound partners to increase routes would also look at other creative solutions. in addition to applying the funding quicken from congress, we are buying buses cbp, borrowing cdl drivers from the department of defense and we've asked for transportation funding in the supplemental. >> great. i believe we need to be all migrants who come to our country. and you mainly. we need to determine who is eligible for a stipend and who comes to a country as an economic migrant. the key part of that effort is the determination of credible fear. do you feel the department has sufficient authority to allow immigration and asylum offices to ask enough questions of migrants to get at the truth of any credible fear claims? >> there are to make elements to that. resources are part of it. being able to take the time at the front end to assess the situation and we're seeing that unfortunately with family units right now. the volume is so high, our
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border agents are not able to spend adequate time with each family to do the interviews to assess the relationship or if there's any concerns a smuggling and trafficking. i know that because we deployed hsi agents from i.c.e. to both el paso over the last three weeks. at a 560 interviews they found 160 cases of fraud. these were targeted cases aced on risk and visuals. that's an incredibly high percentage. they're prosecuting the adults involved but i'm very word resource wise we don't have enough to point to detect that fraud and protect the safety of children that could be trafficked or smuggled by adults, given the flood of crushed. the other aspect of credible fear is the standard. there's to be to get between the front and, possibly approving and the sound case and ultimate determination by a judge, to 85-90% pass that first bar with only ten-15% pass the assignment
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bar with a two to five year gap between those findings, that's obviously a gap in the framework that is allowing and inciting additional traffic to our borders. we need to address that only the resources but the standard. >> what would you suggest that congress to get up close that gap between the initial interview and the determination in front of a judge? >> we provided language to the judiciary committee and the senate that would apply a different standard on the funding of the credible fear that we think would still allow valid asylum cases to go forward, but reduce that you check between the credible fear of finding and the asylum findings. >> deeply get the current authority to expand the questions asked at the beginning when folks are intercepted to create a stronger record or longer record to help prepare for litigation? is that something you have the current authority to do or do
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you need congresses action to ask more questions. >> what we do have the authority and implement them are standardize approach to those initial questions. my concern is the resources right now and the ability for any suspended time they need to do the question effectively. >> if you have sufficient resources and personal power, you could ask more questions at the front end that would help better prepare a case for presentation in front of a judge to either make the claim or to show that is not evidence for adequate asylum status? >> right, or presentation to an asylum officer as well. >> cbp a syndicated its recent over 700 officers from ports of entry and airports around the nation, including some from the tucson area in arizona. we know there's an effort to transfer tsa officers from airports to assist the border patrol. i have concerns about these decisions and their impact on security. could you tell me more about
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where officers were reassigned from and to so we can better understand the strategy you are using to move officers? >> sure. i was commissioner at cbp when we started the deployment of cbp officers to support our board privileges, and you seem to increase our ability to safely care for families and children in our custody. that was the more immediate need and addressing wait times of commercial traffic which is critical to our commerce as you will know, but gallas is one of those important arteries for trade with mexico across the whole border waiting more important that you need to take care of children. that's how we make that determination. we have now balanced the sourcing of our cbp officers to include rosenborg locations, airports and seaports from around the country and not just our southern border you offices. that's the strategy we are applying, and certainly were eager to get those offices back doing the primary mission if we
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cannot mitigate this crisis. in terms of tsa or other components of dhs that we asked, volunteers up at the border. this is what we do in a crisis. this is what we do in response to a natural disaster. very clearly we're not going to allow an increase of risk in her aviation security system. not going to allow that. we don't even have any tsos deployed at this time as volunteers. we have are federal air marshals part of viper teams who are mobile to begin with. they are helping on the board and were taking office management staff and other capabilities as volunteers, looking for attorneys, cdl drivers not tsos yet. tsos might be required in the future but with 2000 people deployed as volunteers for harvey. we'll have to and 50 or so right now for this crisis. it's going to be managed carefully. we will not increase risk and other mission areas we might increase wait times here or there. we had that effect on the border and that is a concern. >> thank you, mr. secretary.
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thank you, mr. chair. >> thank you, senator sinema. >> you've done a terrific job in my view of answering questions and showing the vast amount of experience in this area. we need you right now so we thank you for being here. we understand you're willing to stay until 11 tonight. we'll have a second brown, a lightning round. we will try four minutes and appreciate the fact my colleague senator peters has led senator lankford and me to go and also senator hassan, thank you because wittily just before 11. if you want to stay we'll get everybody a second man. senator lankford. >> thanks again for the work. i need also thank you for the new advisory committee you put in place for houses of worship after the attacks in pittsburgh and texas, at the attacks within multiple places. thanks for engaging us. anything in particular we need to know about that we can help in assessing them what your work is? >> so we are very concerned
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about the increased attacks on houses of worship of all faiths, both here in the u.s. and globally. the recommendation frankly between home as he could become, chairman thompson, ranking of rogers, i looked at it, talk with a team and was asked dolomites could advisory council who is providing outstanding advice, a bipartisan group of experts, former leaders, state and local leaders and they've given us great advice across all kinds of missions. asking them to take on this challenge, look at how we engage faith-based organizations houses of worship under security and preparedness, concerned in the kennedys regardless of the motivation behind the violence. we want to get in front of that and prevent it. and part with the fbi to address it if it does occur. i've been looking forward to the recommendations. it took on the task, judge webster a hero of the united states, still working to help secure the country well into his '90s. received the task and they're going to follow up on it
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aggressively. so thank you. >> no, thank you for stepping up. that's great whether it's in charlotte pittsburg california or texas. recent violence in houses of worship and has some attention there's helpful. i want to bank of the conversation we can have at a later time about the use of e-verify and also i-9 for employers the use e-verify. they also have to use i-9. you are using to systems, different directions with redundant paperwork. we got to figure out a way to have our systems have one set whether it's i-9 for e-verify the one we could be able to do this for the sake of our employers. to be able to verify legal status. i do need to ask because you and i talked before about what i think the term was recycled children come across the border, the same child come at the cost of any multiple families. are you still seeing that area are you still saying adults that are claimed to be a child at 17 that they are really 19, 20, 21,
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and how is that going with the determination? >> we are seeing both. having the same child smuggled twice by different adults is not as prevalent yet but we've identified three significant cases where this was an intentional strategy, bringing children in, then flying to back to central america and having another adult taken to the border and fake the family relationship. that's unacceptable. we see juveniles, we see 20-year-olds well into the 20 pertaining to be juveniles. we've got 3500 cases of fraud either in family relationship or an adult claiming unaccompanied child status so far this year. what we're determining with this hsi deponent is the problem might be bigger than we thought it was, based on initial findings from this reeks on the ground. we had a rapid dna pilot that's ongoing. it will help us determine family relationships on the first day that pilot with 12 adults, ford and say it's not my child.
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first day in one location. that's a major concern. we need to expand our capability to identify those relationships, to attack the fraud and then the technology support for agents and officers to get. >> and find out who's child that is that's been smuggled, right? thank you very much. >> you all just talked about this issue of attacks on houses of worship. i wanted to follow-up follow uu on that if i could. in the wake of the terrible tragedies in pittsburgh, san diego with regard to the synagogue and houses of worship in places like texas and charleston, you at dhs have been supportive of what's called the nonprofit security grant program. however, it's not authorized. we do it as a carveout in the appropriations bill. this is funding echoes not just for the advice and expertise, and appreciate the fact the advisory committee is getting going because we need to provide
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best practices to these groups, but also provides grant money to be able to ensure you have safer facilities, whether it's a synagogue or a church for unity center, school. unfortunately it is needed. senator peters and i who was here with me today have just introduced legislation. it's $75 million figure authorization, the nonprofit security grant program, again something does the supportive but not authorized. we would love you to support the legislation so we can have certainty going forward and build this program to the point it can provide better protection. but second terms of where the money goes, there is a report that just came out recently that said the risk assessment you are using that to get it get all the diverse threats out there today. would you support our authorization legislation? and second, based on this recent gao report, are you really velvety the risk assessment
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point to take account of these diverse threats? >> thanks for the question, send to do of all i'll look at the nonprofit grants and authorizing lynwood. i'd be happy to get back to you shortly. that is something i would like the homeland security advisor to advise on was what we need to provide to the federal covered n this sector going forward. i'd be happy to work with you on that. in terms of the risk assessment i'm not familiar with that gao recommendation but i know our departmental processes to assess and respond to the geo-recommendations are extensive and we will take that on. >> this was a 2015 report. i think it is the probably something you folks if they can look at and analyze. easy to get back to us than a couple weeks with response that would be terrific. again sadly, we have discontinued threat and we need to do more. with regards to fit no, we talked about what's going on at the border. the crystal meth coming over affecting my state of our and so many other states as well as
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cocaine, heroin. some of the fentanyl goes to mexico as well. most of it is coming from china but the major threat we still face in this country is directly in china come into the united states their own u.s. mail system. that's why we passed the stop act last year in congress. we are now trying to implement. the post office is behind it give us posted 100% of packages coming from china being able to be screened. unfortunately, it's only 76% as of january. they are supposed to meet a a target of 70% of all packages from around the world. unfortunately we only 57%. this effect you directly because your people don't have the ability to be able to get information and screen you packages, pull out the volvo packages without this advanced electronic data. my question is what you doing to ensure compliance with the stop act? are you coordinating with the postal service to try to get these percentages of to the requirement under the stop act?
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and what more can we do to ensure that all aspects of this law have been complied with? >> thank you for your ongoing support of dhs in this area, and really holding as and the postal service accountable for getting better in the mail and private. that's critical. 76% is not what we need to be for china given the threat. it was less than 10% two years ago anything to support and pressure from the stop act and others has helped us get better with the postal service. is this a priority diplomatically all the way up to the presidential level. engaging personally with president xi on this issue, are abbasids, state department our linkage on china taking harsher measures on fiddle, alyssa fentanyl production and shipment out of china. that's going to continue to be a diplomatic priority and one i favor from the dhs perspective. i do want to point out we have gotten a lot better with that 76%. we are getting more and more seizures that the targeted basic
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information that we are able to work with postal inspection service and hsi to go and take of the pill press domestically. we had half a dozen cases of significance in that regard just in the last six months. something of what to make sure we get better at and we'll keep pressing. the postmaster general who was met with a dozen times in the last year is very focused on this mission and working hard to try to increase those percentages. >> i appreciate your personal commitment to and your meetings with me over the years, and meeting with her as well. i does want you to keep the pressure on syndicate this is still the dentist substance affecting us, killing more people than any other drug. >> mr. mcaleenan, recent news articles and litigation have highlighted the issue of government watch lists, especially in relation to intrusive and lengthy secondary screenings when traveling. michigan as you know has a very rich history of welcoming
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diverse communities from around the world. they are an integral part of the life of our state. unfortunately, many are also frequently subject to disruptions which sometimes can last an hour or more whenever they travel. so my question to you is, is the department studying ways to streamline screenings, especially for american citizens were forced to undergo long secondary screenings? >> we are. i can tell you i i familiar wih some of the issues with routine border crossings in detroit, for instance, in your state. the watch list serves a very important purpose of identifying a risk and import across a that is an important opportunity to see if there's a security threat. when that becomes routine, when it becomes an issue with a dandy crosser was a u.s. citizen even when there's valid security concerns that something we generally would modify. after an appropriate number of
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inspections we will reduce or not have that watchlist record fire on primary. we are changing that, it's something monitor carefully. the other child we have is similar names, date of berth issues for somebody having a second examination, we put in place a primary lookout overwrite function that allows us to not hit on that other traveler the next time. that's something we can always put in place, an individual should ask for supervisor, expressed his concern and we can address them. >> what is the department and to ensure that the staff is conducting secondary screenings that are sensitive to so many of the cultural as well as religious considerations of folks who are being screened? >> we spend a lot of time on the training under policies are clear on this. there is no room for bias or discrimination in her second or procedures, and our purchase anything those who are crossing
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our borders. if there are concerns would weo hear a complaint that we can follow up on at the supervisory level of office of risk professional responsibility if that's a issue. for all of our personal involved in counterterrorism response and expertise, they go through a high level of training that involves sensitivity issues with questioning, with certain populations and religious concerns as well. that's the commitment i have. i helped design the training way back in the office of antiterrorism era when i was the first director at u.s. customs service and then cbp. it's a commitment with improved over the years and i think we're doing that quite well. something we partner with the civil rights and civil remedies office on, and i committed to ensuring that we continue that effort. >> i appreciate that and we've spoken about this issue several times. i'm still hearing an awful lot of complaints, lots of concerns
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so i would hope we can continue to work together to find a exactly where those gaps are and how we can fill those gaps so i appreciate your commitment. >> if i could add, if you could get individual permission from their constituents to share this complaint, we are able to follow and it in five if there's a challenge for pattern or training opportunity. >> we will do that. i want to build a less question mark senator portman's questions related to attacks on houses of worship and were tempting with him on a grant program. on may 8, chairman johnson and i since you come fbi director wray and attorney general barr request for information about your departments use of federal resources to detect and to prevent domestic terrorism. we wrote you during a time of some disturbing increases in white supremacy of violence including the murder of white nationals and neo-nazis in charlottesville, the tree of life synagogue attack in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, the manual amity church in
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charleston oak creek, wisconsin and many, many more attacks at a know you're very welcome where. are you concerned about this rise of white supremacy violence that does the dhs have the flexibility in your authorities to respond to this evolving threat? >> we are very concerned about it. this is going to be a priority of our targeted violence and terrorist prevention office which which is created and broaden their mandate in the last six weeks at dhs white supremacist, extremist violence is a huge issue and one we need a whole of command effort for. it's been ideology that is motivate a number of those faith-based attacks we can talk about empathy focus of her homeland security advisory council review. for dhs, our mission is prevention on this front, intelligence sharing with state and local and then support to joint terrorism task force investigation by the fbi. fbi is the lead investigator voted but we will maintain that
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commitment, threats evolve this is an evolving and increasingly concerning threat. >> we requested a response yesterday for office. i understand we received some information but i need your commitment will have your full cooperation as both chairman johnson and i look at this issue. i appreciate that. do i have your commitment? >> you do. >> senator hassan. >> thank you, ranking member peters, and again mr. acting secretary, thank you for spending a long morning with us. we appreciate it very much. i want to follow up, i have two like questions, follow-ups in a way to others. senator portman talked about our ongoing battle about opioids generally but that no one in particular. the last congress with past and the present site into law the interdict act which provides more technology for border agency check finnell at the border. when i was at the border last year i heard agents still didn't
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have access to this equipment. former secretary nielsen stated it was acceptable unacceptablee testified before this committee last may. can you provide an update to the committee on the status of dampening the interdict act? >> i believe we have implement the interdict act of the highest traffic locations for concerns for fentanyl on synthetic opioids and we dramatically increased our testing capability across the board of the that doesn't mean revit and where we needed or in every port of entry. investments in fy '19 which were currently procuring at the point will help augment that but absolutely we look at our made and make sure it's conferences and supports this critical mission area. >> are all the fy '19 finds come have they been spent? >> not yet. they're currently in the planning and deployment phase. >> and all the machines are operational at this time? >> the new machines that were purchased under the interdict act unless as a maintenance issue, yes, they are operationa operational. >> what still needs to be done
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just expanding them to other sites? >> correct. we do put on a risk-based prioritized basis so it will be the mail facilities, express consent, the major ports of entry into we try to get to the rest of the key areas. >> do you have the funding you need to do that? >> i believe so. i'll report back if we're missing resources. >> please do. we'd love to stay up-to-date on that with you. i also want to follow up on issue of domestic terrorism. i greatly appreciate the attention of the dhs and my colleagues on fighting domestic terrorism against houses of worship and faith-based groups. as senator peters just mentioned, like him, senator grassley and i have also sent your agency a letter expressing concern over the rights of domestic terrorism and requesting more information on what dhs is doing to prevent and mitigate this threat.
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i want to ask a series of question to get a better sense of the resources the department has dedicated to combating terrorism. let's see if we can you our lightning round. i take it you agree that domestic non-foreign terrorist organization inspectors and is on the rise as stated in this administrations national strategy for characters of? >> yes. >> given the emphasis of domestic terrorism and its national strategy, thus dhs have 2019 strategy specifically addressing the rise in domestic terrorism threat? >> so we're working on a formal strategy but we do have that as a priority operational effort already. >> once you get it done, i take it you will share it with the committee? >> yes. >> what percentage of the department budget is specifically dedicated to addressing domestic terrorism and how does that amount compared to previous years? >> i don't have the information
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here but we can get back to you on that. >> thank you. i would love it if you get back to us on that. how many intelligence analysts at dhs headquarters are tasked with the primary responsibility of covering domestic terrorism? >> all get back to that as well. what i can tell he is the undersecretary of state was deployed a number of intel analyst to work directly embedded with state and locals around the country. that's one of their focus areas. >> asked a similar update about how many policy and program staff you have exclusively focusing on domestic terrorism. >> okay. >> i shared the concern is on the rise here. i've been concerned resources that once were devoted to domestic terrorism have a take it and use of the places and it's one thing to say we care about and are committed to it, which i believe and understand it's another thing to other resources, personnel focused do it. i'll look for it to the update from you, and thank you.
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>> we have three minutes remaining. senator rosen, they are yours. >> let's see a fast i can talk. i want to talk about tps just a tiny bit. so there have been serious allegations of improper political interference in the decision-making process surrounding the termination of tps for people from el salvador, nicaragua and some of the countries. thousands of them live in nevada. immigration and nationality act provides for tps status in cases where secretary of dhs finds it civil unrest and violence, natural disasters or any other temperate conditions preventing for natural for returning safely home to the countries or where the home countries can't absorb them. a federal judge has recently written and decided to terminate tps status of haiti, salvador, nicaragua and sudan. they change the criteria applied by the prior administration and did so without any explanation
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or justification in violation of the administrative procedure act. i have to my questions. i know these decisions are currently the subject of litigation, but since you've taken over the department, have you looked into the decision-making process for tps status determination? and we commit to cooperative with the inspector general with that investigation looking into and proper political influence decision-making process for changing his criteria? >> so understand the importance of tps decision-making, i have my first week asked where next decision is coming up but i've been affirmed by the ongoing litigation and is something we will do carefully applying the standard appropriately if and when the next tps decision is presented. >> thousands of people in my state are depending on a fair decision on this i look for to working with you. thank you for staying extra.
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>> anti-senator. >> thank you acting secretary. we appreciate you being here today. we appreciate your testimony at i will look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead. the hearing record will remain open for 15 days until june 7 at 5 p.m. for the submission of statements and questions for the record. and with that, the hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] weeknights this week we're featuring booktv programs showcasing what's available every weekend on c-span2.
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