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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  February 24, 2016 6:05pm-7:01pm EST

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department's appropriations. we also do not participate in any efforts to do so. i believe the president's plan reflects the administration's ongoing goal to close guantanamo bay because of the ongoing problems it causes our country particularly abroad as a terrorist recruiting center and certainly in our national security work we do see the effects of that. the administration is committed to closing that and, of course, we support those efforts. i would note that the administration is committed to working with congress to make that happen and certainly in light of the current statutory framework we anticipate that is what will occur. so, if there's anything we can do, we'll help in that regard. >> you won't take any action of any kind to assist in the transfer of guantanamo detainees into the united states until congress changes the law. >> certainly that we would be prohibited from doing so. i'm not aware of any efforts to do so at this time in any event. . >> thank you very much. in january the obama
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administration announced new executive action dealing with americans right to keep and bear arms and that's a source of great concern to americans across the country. certainly the second amendment is an absolute right guaranteed to all americans and as the subcommittee chairman it's highly important that i'll do everything in my power to ensure that that right to keep and bear arms is protected. i was particularly concerned about the guidance on firearms on licensing that was published as part of this executive action. and i wanted to ask in particular if the guidance -- will the guidance in any way impact or affect hobbyists who may engagejsqk in just ordinary lawful transfers. >> thank you for the question, mr. chairman, and i agree with you it's a very important issue and worthy of debate. the guidance recently published by atf which will be distributed at gun shows and individuals who have questions about whether or
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not they are required to obtain a license to sell firearms is designed to gather existing law in one place in a clear, easily understandable version of the various court cases that have opined on this issue. so, that individuals who have those questions, who routinely come to atf, either the atf booths at gun shows or frankly even by calling atf headquarters, will be able to have at their fingertips an outline of what the current law requires and, of course, the current law does contain the exception if one is a hobbyist or a collector, you are not engaged in the business of dealing with firearms and a license is not required for those types of transfers. similarly if one is a family member or giving a gift, again, a license is not required for those types of transfers. >> terrific. that's what i'm aiming at. i want to make sure people listening if you are a hobbyist or you are transer iffing a gun to a family member as part of an inheritance or a gift if you are a hobbyist or collector you
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don't need to worry about this new guidance. >> that is correct. i would encourage people to look at the guidance because what we've tried to do is have clear examples of the typical situations where activities fall within the category of being engaged in the business and also where they typically fall in the category of a hobbyist transfer, a collector's transfer and i think people will see in those examples the types of everyday activities that are typically not covered by the law that requires them to get a license and would distinguish them from those individuals who are engaged in the business. >> to family members or buy and sell them casually or
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occasionally, they're not on your radar screen. >> what i would say while that is generally the case, weapons their livelihood, they hold themselves out and have a business card, for example. they may go to not each a gun show, but even a flea market. the courts held that individuals can you engaged in the business. these are generally individuals who want to comply with the law. we felt it would be helpful to provide them with clear examples where the courts found that individuals are engaged in a dealing in firearms and provide the assistance to respect them. the number of guns is not the
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only factor. the only job is the selling of firearms. the courts found that also. as much as i enjoy that, they can seek out the cases and try to find what the courts said about the situations and we felt it would be useful to gather the situation in one clear easily understandable format. >> i know it went through your office as well, but they can relax unless you are doing it to make a profit. for all of us. we appreciate your answer. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. last year we dealt with sexual
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assault and today they estimated the rape kits are still collecting dust in the law enforcement across the country. we have the technology and the means to process them, but we must have adequate resources to occur to exist the rape kit backlogs. it reduces this nationwide. that is included in fy 15. the president has 17 points to request another for the program. are there best practices that have come out of this so far and would you share with us the
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communities that share the progress. >> you are correct in noting the current budget includes $41 million for a grant program to ensure the resolution of the sexual assault cases to get the kids tested that have never been committed to crime labs and the numbers across the country that are staggering. 10,000 in some cities and 11,000 in other cities. these represent victims and individual women who suffered one of the most heinous crimes that we can. with respect to this, we have funded the different laboratories who were working with a dna-related backlog. we are looking to enhance that. since 2009 we have been working with the effort and the program
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as a result of just this work alone. over a quarter of a million and we got almost 100,000 hits so far. 92,000. we have expected the information from the rape kit with someone already in the system. this allowed us to close the cases. it allowed us to close cases and investigations. i was privileged to be in new york with the vice president announcing that in conjunction with the district attorney, at the same time we received communication that money that the federal government provided and they were allowing them to close open rape cases and provide comfort to the victims
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who were living without knowing if they would ever find justice. >> as we proceed, it would be good to know the progress being made. the impact if they are tested. it is being denied the justice systems that are the process. very important that we could be kept up to date. >> we will do that. >> on parts of the victims of crimes, native americans are 2.5 times more likely to experience violent crimes and pribs have not received the funds from the crime victim's funds. only 16 states passed through
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totalling 25% or 1/2 of 1%. that request of $25 million to supports them from the crime victim's funds saw that. you can describe how that will anticipate helping with crime victims services of. >> yes, thank you for the opportunity to talk about this important work. we take obligations very seriously and we have a trust relationship with tribal nations, a special obligation and a special bond and a commitment that we look forward to enhancing. we are requesting $25 million for tribal assistance.
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the other that connects that works with the tribal purposes is requesting $71 million in the set aside program and the cops program and we are requesting three million and we have found that it's respectful if they have the same access to the system and computerized crime information as other law enforcement agencies to address environmental problems in indian country and money for the office of tribal justice. we are focused on the victim who is tend to be more often women and children, particularly sexual call the victims. that includes children as well. funding will go to counseling
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them to make sure the prerp traitors are caught. as i'm sure they are aware, in the violence against women act, an amendment allowed the tribal nations for the first time to have jurisdictions. this prevented justice for a number of victims. we are including grant money to help law enforcement agencies and courts with the court programs to focus on prosecuting as well. s it's or hope and intend to deal with crime on indian land with a view towards dealing with victim trauma and strengthening the tribal justice systems that allow for prosecution of those crimes on the reservation.
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>> the sexual assault issue, is there any country or are the programs and fundings, are they in indian country? >> yes, indeed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. my apologies for being delayed on the floor. i missed part of your opening statement. oi couple questions this morning. i work closely with the local law enforcement leadership in florida. as i think many members of this panel and other members heard when the memo went out in december with some of the requests, that created a lot of person and consternation among law enforcement. i'm aware of the we sigz
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requests that came through and my understanding that we had a constructively meeting about a month ago. it's that the department anticipates the sharing of the forfeiture program. can you comment on your perspective on where that is and when it might be restarted? >> thank you for the opportunity to address this issue. it has been one of great concern to our state and local colleagues and to those of us in the department of justice who rely approximate them heavily for the important work they do in the task forces. if you look at the task forces throughout the department of justice law enforcement agencies, they are 50 to sometimes 60% local law enforcement because they have the 3we69 information and we found it to be a helpful partnership and that saved lives and built cases. when the recisions were given to
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the department late last year, of an amount greater than anticipated, that was larger than we anticipated or received before. we were forced to suspend those payments. i have been in contact with the leaders of the law enforcement groups including police as well as the national sheriffs groups to discuss the situation with them and advise them as i am happy to advise you, this is a temporary deferral of payments. we an sis pate through the course of the work over the year, the fund will be able to be replenished in an amount to resume the payments. we promised an update on a monthly basis and a promise to update this body by mid-march as well. we are looking at the fund to make sure as we look at the
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obligation that is it sustains to victims, et cetera, that we have the title start the payments. it is our intent and we have meat the request to remain and continue submitting requests to process them as funds are available. we have made sure that they are aware that even though the equitable sharing is temporarily deferred from the joint payments, they have not been. so much of that money goes to support the overtime and we are prioritizing those and in the immediate term, they will be able to cover the expenses. we asked them to continue and i have received commitments that they will continue working with us. >> i appreciate that answer and i suppose for the record and i want to work constructivelily with ow this and your team.
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i think there is a bit of 2k3wr5e789 because it was larger than anticipated. this committee provided plexibility as to when you could execute the recision. while i look forward to working in a constructively manner, i want to make sure they stay on top of ensuring it is restarted. that some of the decisions were not made for political purposes and the best judgment of the department. they could have been held off for several months and perhaps prevented a delay. the end of the day, we appreciate the partnership between local law enforcement and your department. it is critical to many communities in the area of human trafficking which has been a priority of yours and i thank
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you for that. i'm about out of time, but i would ask one more question. if you could provide your perspecti perspective. it is a department of defense program, but it has been a program that in some ways has been under scrutiny from the top of the president of the us on down. could you provide the perspective in terms of the role they troid in everything is law enforcement or concerns about it. >> this has been a topic of concern over the last year since i have been here, the opportunity to talk about it again with the state and local colleagues and sheriffs about this issue and i'm sure the group is aware, they did issue on the acquisition on the equipment using federal funds.
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those using other funds would not have to deal with the guidelines, but the focus was on making sure that the equipment was not only appropriately sourced, but training was provided for thement in. we see great fen fit of having that partnership where state and local law enforcement and police officers and sheriffs can'ts can obtain equipment. there have been operations and they help the swat teams that are sourced and resourced and we want to make sure the appropriate training is set in place and the equipment is accounted for. where federal funds were involved to come up with a list that would at least in the
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administration's view would meet neats and deal with the issues of overuse of equipment by can'ts that were not as well trained as others and rather than being in the sense of protecting the community and s.w.a.t.-type situations was used in ways that inflamed tensions. i had an ongoing dialogue about this program. it's our hope that as we work through it, they will find they can still obtain the equipment they need and the grants, for example. it can be put to good effective use without the unintended consequences of having the open program that existed before. >> i appreciate that. i know the chairman came in and i would offer for consideration, i shared with the folks in the
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white house as well. my approach is simple. it keeps the program in place, but requires local law enforcement to certify they have personnel claimed. that is most appropriate for law enforcement in their hands, but it requires the training to ensure that any equipment is operated within the mission. thank you, mr. chairman. รณ# over my time and i yield back.er my time and i yield >> the former district attorney, mr. rogers. >> thanks for the recognition of a former life. joy is not the word.
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appreciated my time and your being totals 29.5 billion, a 3% increase. this committee has a support for the men and women are law enforcement. it highlights important programs, the budget doesn't reflect the real budget constraints that we are faced with. and we look forward to meeting the challenge we have together. that being said, let me mention a couple of concerns that i have especially. i am disappointed that you
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proposed to slash the grants. i heard from law enforcement about the flexible program to drug enforcement activities. that would be devastating for my state and local partners as we work collaboratively to address the olympic yoid epidemic facing the country. we are losing 100 people a day to that. and speaking of opioids, i also am concerned that you are cutting money from the drug monitoring program. it may seem insignificant, but that's nearly 8% of the funding of that program. that's why our states are able
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to catch people who are abusing prescriptions. i can't imagine you want to do any kind of harm to that kind of program. it has been extremely successful. every state has a program except one. they are coming around, but they are slow. it works. it reduced prescription abuse in 49 states. yet you are trying to shave it away. there is progress to be made. this is part of the solution to the epidemic facing our country. 100 families a day are losing a member to death. that at one time was leading the way. i rate going to the emergency
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rooms and seeing a dead young teenager with the family surrounding it. this program is critical to stopping just that. i appreciate you telling me what you are going to do about it. now in each state they're learning to link up with each other. so if a person in kentucky goes off to ken see, they pick it up and say they have a problem. we are getting operability and making it realtime. it has been days of delay, but we have a real thing going. i hope you can help us. i'm concerned with the suspension of equitable sharing
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payments from the for fiddure program. those funds are essential. it helps fight drug trafficking and the wen and women are your partners and working side by side with federal agents and must find a way to restore the payments to avoid permanent harm. that is critical. i can't believe the action of the department in regard to it. also troubled by the approval of marijuana legalization efforts around the country. a clear violation of federal law. four states and the national's capital legalized use of this drug without any federal response. state offing aside the fact that
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marijuana is a known gateway drug for young people and the effects on the development is unknown. congress makes the laws of the country. the executive branch enforces the laws. you are tasked with enforcing federal law as the national's chief law enforcement officer and i hope you will see that as an opportunity to fulfill your mandate given to you in this ward. >> we thank you for being here and i want to ask you about prison construction and ov overcrowding that pose a significant problem.
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in overcrowded facilities, they have the workplace training and the risk of disease increases. that poses a significant threat to guards who are vastly outnumbered by inmates. it is dangerous in medium and high security inmates where the majority are serving sentences for violent crimes. with this in mind, i am concerned to see your request with the funding by a whopping $117 million. nearly 80% at a time of such need of these crowded federal penitentiaries. it's a headline in tomorrow's newspaper.
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the overcrowding in federal prisons. and the treatment we are subjecting them to including guards and staff. that's going to be a story. i hope you will help keep it from being a story. how do you intend to deal with the short-term problem of prisoner and guard safety in necessary resources to build new equalities and renovate old? can you help me? >> thank you for the student to speak on what you described on one of the challenges on the bouro of prisons that is not immune from that. i thank you for your support over the years. this committee was instrumental up to and including 2016 for
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providing the department with funds. and those funds are going to build a new prison and i believe it's going to be in the county. that is certainly an important part of reducing the issues as you note the officer and inmate safety. they are certainly implicated by that. the reason is we did receive that money and we guilt the prison and do the studies and we didn't need that to recur. they are being put to good use as we speak.
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the fact that you do not see that same number repeated is not a cessation of commitment. simply that having been given the funds, we are now working towards utilizing them and would not ask for the same funds again. that's going to help us tremendously with that. the other initiatives we have in dealing with the bureau of prisons as you mentioned, the overcrowding issues result not only in harm, but exacerbation of health issues for the inmates. you mentioned mental health and you will see that to deal with the issues also. where we can deal with the issues, we will have safer institutions for the inmates and the correctional officers who work there.
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>> thank you and thanks for being with us. i share the chairman's concerns about olympic yoid abuse and hit a number of communities in my neck of the woods. i have a lot of rural communities and small towns. i understand the need to balance prevention and treatment and enforcement to stop the spread here. i know the office of justice programs provides grant funding for state and local law enforcement assistance, i am hoping you can speak to how the funds are distribute and whether communities like the ones i'm talking about, rural and small towns, whether they are able to benefit from this and what this committee can do to improve the ability of rural communities that are struggling with the olympic yoid epidemic and what they can do to realize the support.
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>> congress mung, i for for raising that issue. it is becoming the issue of our time. the olympic yoid issue is a precursor because we find as we look at the heroin epidemic, so many of those began with prescription drug abuse and move on to heroin and unfortunately the we have a request in the budget for the funding which is an increase of 2016. they didn't address the olympic yoids in rural nairs. they are particularly for the purchase. over the last year, we have
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spent a great deal of time and discussion with our local partners and this particular tool is helpful. the rapid response overdose treatment. using grant money to make sure that while we may not be able to fund a clinic, we will make sure they have access and can go a long way towards saving a life and getting someone to the hospital on time. that is something we hope will be helpful with regard to that. when it comes to this administration, a number of agencies are looking at this issue and veterans affairs, for example. all of us focus on finding the best way to deal with this and certainly i think what emerged from the discussion is that we have to deal this as well as a
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public issue and not just focus on enforcement and improve treatment and resources as well for the families and those people who fall victim to this. >> thank you. i appreciate the focus on that. i want to switch gears. we hear stories around distrust and the police who protect them. there good stories around there with tacoma and foster a good relationship between law enforce and the populations that they serve. we saw a great effort with project peace and they are trying to see how they can improve ties. i would point out those sorts of efforts are costly. they can be limited in their success due to the resources
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being spread thin in a large city. i know that the department's budget proposed doubling the community policing development program and i'm grateful for that, but i am concerned as to whether that is enough to meet the demand in our nation. iment to get a sense how confident they are requested in the budget will meet the needs of our communities. >> that's an excellent dwoe think the needs are deep. i spent a great deal of time to work on the issue in 2015. i was engaged in a policing tour and did travel to the pacific northwest also and this year i will travel to six more cities focusing on cities that had a challenged relationship with the police. a shooting pattern and even a lawsuit.
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they found a way to collect a dialogue and restore the bridges again. i am focusing on cities that are exemplifying the six pillars and the task force that was the product of last year's work. they had to pull more in. we do have as you know, billing community trust and community policing for providing on cameras for smart policing and reform and also our community relations service will be important in this. we are asking for $3.5 million for law enforcement reconciliation work and community relations service and they go into the community and work to build the bridges and they work with community leaders in particular and law enforcement and the local officials to foster dialogue around these penitentiary problems they are not gathering
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at all. we have funding for them and i think that will be helpful. i think the most promising efforts i have seen are those that come from the community such as project peace. we were looking for ways to support that. it is a deep and ongoing need and i am impressed with the work i have seen going on across the country. we are hopeful that the funds for a host of issues will help in that regard. as i talked to police departments, we are supporting them and this is an area that people have different opinions on, but people on both sides are seeing the utility and providing for accountability and a level of trust in the types of
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interactions that law enforcement has with civilians. we see complaints go down in departments and reports of a use of force that go down. that's part of the web that you have to build to rebuild the trust that are going to have been created in areas. . >> i would like to recognize the former district judge, the gentlemen from texas. that's an opportunity to speak to you. he said i came from the back and the highest in the great state of texas and have familiarity.
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this last minute i have a town hall. we have 35 to 50,000 and let people get up on the line on the phone. the same people ask the question and this question came up. this is a tough one. i said i would ask you. the e-mail received on the personal server are classified. they refuse to have top secret information. you should have known better.
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that makes the case and this had classified information to put them at risk and we prosecute the case. you undermine the investigation and you are the chief prosecutor. >> with respect to the information to how they handled classified information as i'm sure you know, that is being handled by career agents and the departments in the department of justice. they look at the law and make a recommendation to me. beyond that this time, i will say again that this will be conducted as every other case and we will review the facts and
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the evidence that come to an independent conclusion as to how to best handle it. i am aware of no efforts in this matter at all. >> they are a bit concerned and maybe the justice department will do this for political reasons and i am not expecting you to comment on the information. no one is above the law in the united states and if it should be brought before the grand jury, the right thing to do would be bringing somebody. that's where you are and i hope you remain there.
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this has been difficult to be a police officer and you have belligereb belligerence every time they want to make an arrest. police who don't feel that the differently justice supports them. more importantly i am concerned of the exception that the boj is focusing the investigations and they have a tactic for the state and local police and pushed the administration many of the law enforcement agencies in the boj is looking over there to sue the sue the department. i heard stories of u.s. attorneys refusing to prosecute
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drugs and smuggling cases along the border. you get caught with 200 pounds of marijuana in bell county you are going to prison. i can't say that. it needs to change. >> thank you for the opportunity to talk about the important relationship that the department has with our colleagues and state and local law enforcement and they are our colleagues with respect to the work we all do for the protection of the american people. the issue of trust between communities and law enforcement, particularly the communities that we all serve is an important one. the message that i heard is i traveled the country speaking to law enforcement officers and i speak to the rank and file officers when i visit. i speak to community members. how ded waited they are to their
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jobs how focused they are and why they became police officers and what they feel and the pressures they feel. what i hear is the commitment to continuing their work and protecting the american people. we have solutions where law enforcement feels under siege as well. we try to engage them about discussions on why that is and what might be the causes of it. one of the things i will say is the benefit of having been a prosecutor for over 20 years. i have noted with a positive view with the police departments in the current administration. i was involved in reviewing police issues in the 90s when i was a u.s. attorney and i have
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been involved from 2010 and now as an tearnt general. one of the benefits is the we fund police officers and have that information for to you review to improve that and increase ourability to provide additional local law enforcement support. we also provide what's called and we are having a problem or an issue. it may be keeping up with the latest data or finding the resources to support them in buying vests or the cameras as i mentioned. i have seen a positive relationship between law enforcement at the local level and the department of justice
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through this. where we have to look at issues of accountability, we want to engage them to be the first person to hold an office accountable. there will be issues and the important thing is to make sure that as they have those issues, the american people see are dealing with them in a transparent and a fairway and 7 treated equally before the law. and we provide support. we will see in the budget a number of other areas where we are seeking to provide support for the state and local colleagues and spent time trying to get their input. the policies that the department is putting forth, we promulgated assault and domestic violence
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victims. as we support the grants for training, we rely on them for the on the ground experience to talk about the best practices and policies. congressman, i would say this department of justice is focused and is in fact working well with state and local law enforcement. we have a very positive bond with them. we do the same work and have the same mission. we want to improve as we carry out the highest duty. >> a quick follow-up yesterday. i found a bill in the department that worked with me on it to include the active shooter program and the cops's criteria and the departments around the country want to train their people up on the active shooter issue. they don't have the funds and i
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know your office helped us. the cops's grants. finally the reason i mentioned them is we were told that the chairman has been told it has to be over 200 pounds of marijuana in the rio grand valley and along the border or the justice department will not prosecute. we think 200 pounds is a lot. >> in response to your question, how important it is that every law enforcement officer out there know that the department of justice has their back. that is a message i hope you will continue to speak out loudly and clearly and repeatedly to make sure all the local officers know how dedicated you are and your department is to supporting them and helping them.
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our deputy was murdered in my neighborhood and all of us are concerned. we want every law enforcement officer in the country to know that the members of congress and particularly the department of justice, we have their back and we support them. i appreciate you saying that. we recognize as a part of that, you have with local law enforcement and one of the more critical parts that local and state and officers have an open relationship where they share about the criminal defendants. i know from our conversations a concern that you have as well.
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i am delighted we are heading in the same direction. the sanctuaries where the state or local jurisdictions share information with the federal ho homeland security or the department of justice. the policies in a lot of these cities and counties and states have where they will refuse to honnar them to federal to them. if individuals in the jail are in the county jail and they have before they are released, it's long standing common sense. the county sheriff will check with the state and federal authorities. is there an out standing warrant and that individual will not be released on to the streets of the county. if there is a warrant in
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michigan, they will call and say do you want this guy? that has been the standard policy in the history of this country. until you get to the cities where they will not release them, they will not release them for deportation. this is just absolutely unacceptable. it is outrageous and resulted in the murder of thousands of individuals. she was shot and murdered by a seven-time convicted felon and a
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deportee released on to the streets of san francisco due to the utterly unacceptable and illegal sanctuary policy and that refusal to share information, to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities is the new chairman and the rules will be. if you expect to receive federal money, comply with federal law. i want to thank you, attorney general, for your timely response to a letter i sent you earlier this year. the concern i just laid out here. you said in part we are the department of justice receiveses credible allegation that anentity is receiving funds under apartment grant or reimbursement program has after they assures the department they
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are in compliance with federal laws where you have credibility evidence they violated a specific federal law the department can seek criminal or civil enforcement options against that. as we discussed, the title eight, from the u.s. code prohibits localities that have policies that prohibit the sharing of information about the immigration status that their prisoners said clearly that local jurisdictions cannott
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and turning an individual over to them that instead customs enforcement or ice will have the ability to step in and realize their detainer first. we have deferred because again we work with the state and local colleagues and want to make sure that they can adjudicate their cases as well. where we are dealing with the jurisdiction that essentially is not prone to honoring the ice detainers and those vary. they vary overtime and place. our policy is going to be that ice will instead have the first detainer and deportation. this may have the effect

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