tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN December 17, 2015 11:01am-11:15am EST
2001, want to express the support and sympathy that i and my family feel and i'm sure my colleagues on the panel share and our colleagues across federal service for the families of those killed in san bernardino. and for the families and victims who were injured, 21 victims injured in that terrorist attack. our written testimonies and the statements submitted to the committee describe in some detail the systems that have been put in place for screening of terrorist travel. what i'd like to do in the four minutes i have left is to give you an overview of this system and the four major shaping factors that built it since 9/11. i point out this was a system that was built under the leadership of two presidents,
one republican and one democrat. it was built under the leadership of four homeland security secretaries, two democratic and two republican. it was built under four secretaries of state, two republicans and two democrats. what we faced a after 9/11 were a situation in which we did not have a unified system. i was the united states attorney in southern california. and i recall in the 1990s there were terrorist were watch lists in each of the various departments. in the aftermath in the 14 years since 9/11, we have built a system that brings together the information of the united states government and constitutionalizes in a multiagency way. we have the national counterterrorism center, the nctc, that maintains the tie, terrorist identity database.
environment. tscb managed by a multiagency terrorist screening center, terrorist watch list. we actually have brought the system together. and we do communicate. and i trust during this hearing we will have an opportunity to discuss that. the second major shaping influence was we realized that 98% or 99% of all travel into the united states is lawful. we need to see facilitation and trade as being the same process. we need to introduce a risk management into the trade and travel vetting systems. the third influence was that we recognize in the global world where there is a massive instantaneous constant flow of
goods, goods, ideas, that in fact, protecting the homeland. the homeland security enterprises inherently trans national. and we build on out a system in which together with the state department, the defense department, the intelligence agencies, dhs, as a presence abroad to watch the movement of cargo and movement of persons towards the homeland. and fourthly, what we have seen recently and that is shaping the system now, is that in fact, we have a trans national threat that is cyber enabled and that our terrorist enemies are actually usesing the internet to radicalize those who listen to their message and are receptive to it. so at end what we have built and what we need to continue to build hopefully in a bipartisan
fashion the system that protects the american people by building up a homeland security sper price that takes into account predeparture toward the united states, departure towards the united states, entry at the united states. and then exit from the united states in due course. lastly, mr. chairman, i would be, with all due respect, i would be remiss if i did not say on behalf of kelly ann barisi, i know of no other that i am responsible for who is more dedicated, more knowledgeable about screening. the fact of the matter is, mr. chairman, she came to this hearing expecting to talk about the visa waiver program. and she was hardly questioned at all about it. i make no apologies for her. she is first rate. she is an american. she's a patriot. and i regret that you came away with a different impression. thank you, sir.
>> that we will be discussing. mr. rodriguez, you are now recognized for five minutes. >> good morning, chairman, ranking member, members of the committee. one of our very most obligation as public servants is to safeguard public safety and national security. that is particularly true when we are reaping benefits and privileges. so when we give somebody a driver's license, we require a test so we know that that person will drive safely. when we give professionals licenses, we test them to know they can practice their provisions in a manner that poses minimal threat of harm. we work in every respect in what we do to minimize risk. that is particularly true in the area of citizenship and immigration. and we grant citizenship and eupl tkpraeugz benefits. we take a number of safeguards to protect the national security.
an observation last week resonated with with me particularly. and he challenged us that when incidents occur, we would be talking not just about what we are doing in response to that incident but we were really thinking in terms of prevention of future challenges. and as i reflected on that, that in fact, has been our posture and will continue to be our posture in the future. and i will give a few examples. we are as secretary johnson has frequently observed in an evolving threat environment. more and more the threats are not the threats posed by organizations acting in a concerted manner, but increasingly those threats or the threats of isolated individuals or isolated groups of people perhaps inspired by the organizations that present the threat to our country.
in light of that combination of threats, the organized and also the isolated threats, we have been taking a number of measures over the past few years to reinforce the work that we do. one clear example is the institution of the interagency check that we apply in refugee vetting and in other environments. that gives us a very organized, very methodical way to query against intelligence data bases when we are screening particular individuals. so i know there have been discussions about individuals who entered the united states at earlier times. some of those individuals were not subject to that sort of screening. they would be today. and in many cases, that would have prevented their entry. when we screen syrian refugees, we prescreen the cases before interviews are conducted. that is another innovation in the spirit of prevention. and we have been piloting the
use of social media for the vetting of particular categories of people seeking individuals. there have, in fact, been three pilots that uscis has used with its intelligence community and law enforcement partners to screen particular categories of individuals seeking immigration benefits. we have already concluded two of hose pilots which operated on a relatively small group of people. we have learned the number of important lessons from that pilot, which no doubt i have have an opportunity to expand on those in this hearing. we are in the midst of a third pilot which, in fact, has been applied and is in the process of being applied to literally thousands of applicants for immigration benefits. so any thought that the department of homeland security had simply foregone the use of social media for purposes of immigration screening is a
mistaken thought. we have not spoken about it in great detail because the fact is the more we speak about it, the more who use it will crease to use it, knowing we will be examining that content. what happened in san bernardino is a tragedy. and we should take no other lesson from what happened in san bernardino that we need to look at what we do and make sure that something like that does not happen again. that a tragedy of that type does not happen again. in fact, we have been working together with partners at the state department, partners elsewhere in dhs, the intelligence community, to further look at opportunities to strengthen the manner in which we screen individuals. as i have read news accounts of of what occurred in san bernardino, i am struck by the fact that among the victims of san bernardino are individuals whose news reports related were immigrants themselves, would come from all over the world, who would come here to live
lives of service, serving the most eventual is initial people in our society. and i do feel that my oath applies to those individuals as well as all the victims of san bernardino to protect them. while immigration is a privilege to any one individual, it is not a luxury for our country. it is necessary for the vitality of our economy. it is necessary for the stability and unity of our families. it is fundamental to our values. and i pledge to operate my part of the immigration system in a way that maximizes every opportunity we have to protect the american people, to protect our national security. thank you, chairman, for inviting us here today. >> thank you. ms. bond, you're now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member cummings, and distinguished members of the committee. as has been described, the partner of state, along with partner agencies throughout the federal government have built a
layered visa and border security screening system in order to review and assess the visa eligibility and status of foreign visitors from their visa applications throughout their travel to and arrival in the united states. we take our commitment to protect america's borders and citizens seriously. and we constantly analyze and update clearance procedures and look for new ways to do an even better vetting process. my written statement, which i request be put in the record, be describes the screening regimen that describes all of these categories. although the tragedy of the terrorist attack in san bernardino sparked particular interest in the fiancee visa, we apply equally rigorous security to all applicants, all travelers to the united states. the vast majority of visa applicants and all immigrant and
fiancee visas are interviewed by a consular officer. it provides the extensive training provided to the officers, a strong emphasis on border security and fraud prevention, speragency coordination, how to be conduct the interview and how the name check process throughout the interagency is thoroughly done. all applicant's data are vetted in this interagency process in data bases that contain many records. regarding whom derog tore information exists, including the terrorist identity database which was referred to. we fingerprint and screen against dhs and fbi databases of known and suspected terrorists, wanted persons, immigration law violators and criminals. >> that testimony from this morning and now back to live coverage of the house oversight and deposit reform as they continue their investigation of immigration and terrorism.
>> had to do with the access of tsa to tie the data. and i talked about a policy change that was under way. on a manual case-by-case basis, that's been done from time to time, the policy change that i'm confident the member of congress would be please said to hear, is that this has to do with automated access of tsa to tie its data. the second matter, mr. chairman was in responding to mr. wahlberg, i indicated that a number of the visa -- of overstays in the 400 to 500,000 range. that number was correct. but my staff has corrected me. i apparently misheard. this relates to visa waiver program and also to all visa"a3w