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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 4, 2016 1:17pm-3:18pm EDT

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>>. >> do. >> thank you. let the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. we would appreciate if you would limit your oral testimony to five minutes. your entire written statement will obviously be made part of the record. ms. saldana, you're recognized director for five minutes. >> thank you. i cannot tell you how disheartening it is to sit here and hear an issue and very important issues related to the topic of immigration reform be bandied about as a political football. i'm a former united states attorney. i was a prosecutor for ten years. i am about the law and law enforcement. i'm about identifying problems and correcting them. i am here to get, to tell the public what the situation is with some of the issues we face, inform the public, and i would really appreciate we focus on solutions. solutions as opposed to political banter. along with our sister agencies
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add the department of homeland security, i.c.e. has no smaller mission, no smaller mission than the national security border security and public safety of our citizens. like any law enforcement agency, we deal with serious and difficult matters every day. in the area of immigration, recent estimates are that there are about 11.2 million illegal immigrants in the country. there are approximately 2 million, 2 million undocumented immigrants who are involved in some form or fashion in i.c.e.'s administrative process. there are about half a million, 500 thon of those, who are part of active cases in the immigration court. i.c.e. detention program booked in approximately 300,000 individuals last fiscal year. as you know, we have been funding at the 34,000 bed level for the last couple years. you, the congress, have not only provided the funds to carry out our responsibilities for which we're very grateful, but you
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have also set forth the framework to execute those responsibilities. and it's all right here in the immigration and nationalization act. you tell us who we are required as a mandatory matter to detain and you tell us who we exercise our ability to release someone and not detain, make a decision about not detaining or barring for that matter. given the numbers i have just cited, obviously, a very small percentage of individuals are detained while an immigration judge under the system that you the congress has provided are detained while that judge makes a decision in their removal proceeding. i am deeply mindful that this is not simply a discussion of statistics capacity, policies, or procedures. there are families whose lives are personally effected by thesestitithese decisions. as a human being and a mother, never mind my prosecutorial
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experience, i feel very strongly any time someone is injured or murdered or killed, otherwise killed by any person. and certainly those within the immigration system. i know that the women and men of i.c.e. were tirelessly to enforce the law and protect the public, and they steadfastly bear the enormous responsibility they are charged with. when the chairman respectfully, sir, says we just decided that it would be nice to let them out on the streets and, quote, we chose not to detain people, that is misleading the public and particularly these victims about the immigration situation and the entire picture. i think this committee well knows that this year, over two thirds, over two thirds of the criminal, something i wish you had pointed out, two thirds of the criminal releases were as a result of the supreme court telling us we had to release
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someone, wasn't i.c.e. choosing to do so, and another portion of the court otherwise telling us that we had to release the immigration courts, who have overall supervisory responsibility over this system. so to sit there and say that the proud women and men of law enforcement and i.c.e. are choosing to release criminals is absolutely unforgivable. i'm very proud of representing those men and women. many of them are former police officers, sheriff's department members and they do not go around trying to put criminals on the streets. so i want the record to be clear and i want the victims' families to know exactly what i.c.e. is facing and i want them to have an accurate picture of that. so, when i.c.e. makes a custody determination upon an alien with a criminal conviction, we act in accordance with the law. a law that you have given us. we are committed to carefully reviews the circumstances of
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each case, to insure we made prudent decisions and to use the tools at our disposal, including supervision and conditions of release. further, we include in our data set things over which we have no control when somebody is claiming to be a citizen or lpr, there are additional requirements on us. this is a very complex law, and every time or virtually every time i have been before a committee, i have begged, i have asked, work with i.c.e., work with me, work with the secretary, for comprehensive immigration reform. we can't kick this down the road or after an election. we need to fix this. and i am -- i implore you to help us. so this issue has been of great importance as director of the agency about a year and a half ago. in march of last year, i set up a system i think i have testified about to this agency, to look, review every criminal
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release that there is. we have a panel that i have actually visited with. i'm in the process right now, like i do with any policy, of revisiting the policy to see how effective it's been over the last year. because we started in march, and to see what we can do better in that regard. i am willing to learn and i do listen. so as you're aware, we're proud of the fact, and i think it is a result in part of this panel, of going from 36,000 releases in 2013 to in 2015 a little over 19,700. so you know, i want to be sure it's clear that while two thirds of the criminal releases in 2013 and 2014 were characterized even here as resulting from i.c.e. determinations, that ratio actually is reversed in 2015, and as i said earlier, we have
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about two thirds of our criminal releases being required of us by courts. and with respect to what congressman cummings pointed out, and that is the recalcitrant countries and getting people to take back their criminals, this world is a chaotic world. we have countries with great instability, countries that have suffered a tremendous, even natural disasters like haiti, and are in her moturmoil, and t to deal with them is very hard, but i'm working with the department of state, this afternoon, i'm meeting with michelle bond to talk more about what more we can do with respect to recalcitrant countries. i'm glad to do that. let me conclude by saying having heard directly from families over the last 11 years, the victims of crime who suffered tremendous loss, i personally remain committed, mr. chairman, i personally remain committed to
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implementing i.c.e.'s priorities in a smart and strategic manner and to safeguard our communities and maximize the agency's success. i thank you for the opportunity to address the group, and i wait for your questions. >> thank you. i'll now recognize myself for five minutes. the numbers you gave us just in the last two days discretionary releases by i.c.e. were 54%. the total is 46,422. the rulings you said were two thirds of the reason, and yet the numbers you gave us show that it's less than 10%. your microphone, please. >> i don't know which numbers you're looking at. >> you're the one who said two thirds of the reason you release people is based on the supreme court decisions. the numbers you gave us just two days ago show that number is less than 10%. >> the numbers we gave you were for 2015. >> we have 2015, 2014, and 2013. >> let's focus right now on 2015
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as an example, although we can do each year if you would like. 19,723, there was 19,723 criminal releases. >> let me ask you another way. >> no. >> no, no, no. >> it's a question that more than that has happened. >> no -- >> they were the duvive edreleases. and the immigration courts were 52%. >> okay, we will hash out the numbers with your own numbers, but what is unacceptable is even one discretionary. why do you even release one? why do you even release one person? >> because of the statute that congress has given us. >> no, it's not. it's discretionary on your part. you took more than $100 million and let it go to other purposes outside of the immigration customs enforcement. you're not maximizing the amount of money that you want in order to get the beds that is mandated under the law, and you have asked for $185 million less for
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detention and transportation. yet you're not going to be convincing us that you're dedicated to removing these criminal aliens. >> if i may answer your question. >> well, yes. go. >> you have said here only a certain number of convictions even, they're primarily convictions, offenses with convictions, are subject to mandatory detention. the rest -- >> this is where you're totally wrong. you have somebody who commits homicide, yes, we want them deported. that's the law. >> then put it in the statute, sir, because in the statute, they say if they do not commit one of those offenses that are specifically enumerated including aggravated felonies then these people are not subject to mandatory detention, which you specifically outlined here. when i say you, i mean the congress. the rest, you say okay, i.c.e., you will then make a determination based on what the judges, federal judges of this country make every day, and that
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is based on flight risk and harm to public safety or potential harm to public safety, you will decide which ones can be released. >> there's a whole list of categories that are harm to public safety including homicide that you went ahead and released anyway. that law is crystal clear. you are making these discretionary choices in releasing these people out into the public, and they're committing more crimes. and i don't understand why you don't deport them. use as an excuse these countries that won't accept them. based on section 243-d of the immigration nationality act, how many times have you recommended to the state department in writing that the -- that these countries are according to the law, on being notified by the attorney general that the government of the foreign country denies or unreasonably delays accepting an alien, and then it goes on, that the secretary shall order the counselor officers in the foreign country to discontinue
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granting visas or nonimmigrant visas. how many times have you made that recommendation to the attorney general or the state department? >> i don't have the precise number. >> have you ever? >> yes, we have, sir. >> which countries have you recommended? >> i can't tell you off the top of my head. >> when will you get my the information? >> within a week. >> you'll give me, to make sure we're on the same page, the letters you have given either to the attorney general's office or the state department regarding the problems that you're having with the -- and the recommends you're making about the countries that will not accept these aliens? >> yes, and you understand that i have to talk to department of state about that because some of these are sensitive areas that i believe we can talk about this further in chambers, sir, but i believe you -- >> we're going to talk about it in the public. i want to know which countries -- because you know what, they shouldn't be getting federal aid and we shouldn't give them visas so more people
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from that country can go to the united states. i don't know what you think is so sensitive to that, but i want you to prioritize americans rather than the other countries. i want to know that the citizens of our states are your number one priority, and put it out in the public. let's know and understand which countries are not taking back the criminals who came here illegally and should be deported back to their country. >> let me remind you sir that the department of state is the one that issues visa, withholds aid. that's not what we do. >> i know -- >> you have a memorandum of understanding with the department of state where we say we're going to recommend to you certainly states, but we have it in a step by step procedure because this is a complicated world, i think you all understand, and we have to look at each country separately. syria and iraq, that's a pretty -- >> you think that's your job -- >> -- to return those immigrants to those countries. >> you really think syria and iraq is your job and your responsibility to make that determination? here's what the law says, and i'm quoting. on being notified by the attorney general that the
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government of a foreign country denies or unreasonably delays accepting an alien who is a citizen subject national resident of the country after the attorney general asks whether the government will accept the alien under the section, the secretary shall, and so if you go to the first part -- >> shall what? >> order consular officers in the country to discontinue granted immigrant visas or nonimmigrant visas or both until the attorney general notifies the secretary the country has accepted the aliens. what is incumbent upon you personally in your duty and responsibility is to make that notification. if you're trying to take even just one alien and deport them back to a country, these are criminal aliens. remember, the ones who committed crimes and were convicted of crimes. if you're trying to deport even one of those and the country won't take them back, you need to give that notification to the state department. >> and the state department makes the decision. let's be clear. >> no, there's no decision because under the statute, it says the secretary shall.
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so it starts with you. if you don't give them that notification. it doesn't work. my time has expired. i want to have within a week's time all of those letters since you have been in office that you have sent to the state department and/or attorney general telling them where there's a problem. i don't want to hear about this excuse any further. i'll recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> let me take up where the chairman left off. when that letter goes to the state department, what happens then? who makes the decision at that point? what happens? >> there's a leadership group, the counselor affairs secretary michelle bond is the person i have been dealing with. she makes a recommendation to the secretary of the depart of state, and they look at the whole picture with respect to that country and make a decision and notify us. >> then that is the decision? >> yes, sir. >> so you can't change that? >> i.c.e. is not in the business of issues visas. >> let me -- i want to make sure we put all this in some kind of context because remember what i
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said in my opening statement. about reform and trying to find solutions. and we have these families here who have suffered greatly. and by the way, i hope that, i know you may be leaving after your testimony, as is usual -- >> i'm staying. >> good, good, because i want you to hear from them. i think they want you to hear their pain, and again, they come a good distance. and i thank you very much for doing that. >> and i offer to both families, the roots and mrs. heartling to meet with them personally. >> thank you very much. we need to eliminate any misperception of immigrants as a group are more likely to be criminals or commit acts of violence. let's start with the likelihood of landing in jail. census data from 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, found incarceration rates for native born, essentially u.s. citizens, were
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2 to 5 times higher than that of immigrants. were you aware of that fact? >> yes. >> the fact contradicts the misconception that immigrants are inherently predisposed to be criminals, would you agree with that? >> yes. >> so studies have widely shown that recidivism rates for immigrant criminals is lower than for the general population. is that right? >> yes, sir. >> for example, based on the data submitted by i.c.e. for fiscal year 2014, less than 5% of the immigrant criminals committed new crimes after release compared to more than 20% of all criminals across 30 united states, u.s. states. you understand that? >> that sounds right. i looked at the studied by the department of justice and the statist statistics. >> given this information, do you believe it's fair to say that a person's immigration status does not indication the
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likelihood that they'll commit a crime. >> yes. >> i have to tell you if i were the family of a victim, i would say, well, cummings, i really am not interested in hearing that, because i suffered a loss. that will never be replaced. but i'm trying to just put all of this in some kind of context because i think if we look at the total picture and we have a better chance of coming up with the solution that truly addressed the problem. now, i would like to discuss the cases in which i.c.e. has discretion. and the chairman, i think he was absolutely right to address that. i.c.e. has explained in the past that some criminal immigrant detainees are released after posting bond, set by career i.c.e. law enforcement officers. can you please tell us again why not simply deport all criminal alien detainees you have the discretion to deport?
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and is it a question of resources? >> it's not so much a question of resources, sir, as it is the statute. congress in its wisdom gave people who were found in the country and determined initially to be in the country illegally, a very complex set of rights and ability to appeal and to have their cases heard by immigration courts. let me just make this really clear. we cannot -- we would be violating the statutes, which i think no one here wants me to do, we cannot deport somebody without a final order of removal from a court. i.c.e. doesn't deport people on its own motion. it has to have an order from the court. and obviously, we've got to have the ability to put that person in the country of their origin. >> i.c.e. has reported having the resources to deport only about 4% of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. is that right? >> that's right. and in fact, i think you all
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have seen the studies that indicate if we try to deport 11.2 million people, it would cost anywhere from $650 billion, $650 billion to $750 billion. >> so i.c.e. also explained the discretionary releases typically occur when the individuals are associated with less serious offenses, based on your experience as a prosecutor, and i have -- you were a former u.s. attorney? >> yes, sir. >> i have tremendous respect for our u.s. attorneys. why is it important for law enforcement agencies in general to have the discretion to release individuals? what is that about? >> well, again, it's important for us because we have to manage the money that this congress has given us. but i want to repeat, the bond procedures, the decision to detain, are all, or not detain, are all outlined in here. we must look at flight risk, threat to public safety, when we
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make those decisions, but you have given us that authority. and it's important for us because we have got to manage the number of beds we have and obviously, the entire fund that you have given us in order to remove bepeople from the countr. >> i only have a empty left on my time. i understand these determinations are based on risk evaluations, given consideration to age, physician and mental health, risk of harm to safety, and mandatory detention factors apply. director, can you please sman why it's important these evaluations are conducted on a case-by-case basis, and then knowing what you know, and hearing what you know you're going to hear, i want you to tell us things that we could do as congress folk to help you do the job that you're trying to do. >> okay. if i may start with the last part of that question first. i would love to sit down with this committee or a group of this committee to go through
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this statute and talk about comprehensive immigration reform. what we can do. with respect to some of the very complicated parts of this. and let's not forget, this is just the statute. we have rulings left and right from all over the country. literally going left and right. that we have to abide by even though we may be appealing them. but with respect to your overall question regarding discretion, we have committed to deal with each immigrant on a case-by-case basis because we don't have -- i don't think we have the will nor do we have the funds to deport 11.2 million people. we have to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, bright line rules don't work here. if we have a bright line rule that we're going to deport anybody who comes into our custody, we don't have time to do what we have been trying do do and successfully done, which
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is pofocus on criminal aliens. this is why we need to have that discretion and ability to make the decisions that we do. and i will tell you, sir, are we perfect? i have great -- i have great faith in the judgments of our law enforcement officers in making this determinations. they're experienced, well trained, and they care about the safety of our community. are we perfect? i can say first-hand, i am not. and neither are our officers, but we do the very best we can. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> i now recognize the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you. and i do want to echo the director's remarks that our customs and border patrol are some of the most professional, accomplished, hard working individuals in the federal government. they work day in and day out to do their job and protecting our
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borders, but we do hear that things have affected their ability to control our borders. first of all, the number of deportations total is down fairly dramatically in this administration, isn't that correct, director? >> the numbers are lower -- >> we have a chart there. can you guys put the chart up? so at the end of the bush administration, we were deporting about a quarter of a million. we're down to about 100,000. 2014 maybe even lower than that. that's total, total deportations, right? >> no, sir, i think you -- >> it's total. total deportation. >> sir -- your chart says interior deportations. not total. interior, there's also on the border removals. >> again, well, in this case, i'm taking in the united states, in the interior, not at the
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border. in any event, criminal deportations were 110,000 in 2013. and now they're down to 63,000. i don't have a chart on that. those are numbers provided by you, is that correct? 63,000 in 2014. i don't know what 2015 is. sorry, 2015 is 63,000. i don't have 2014. and 2013 was 110,000. in any event -- >> those are not the numbers i have. >> well again, all i can go by is what we gault frot from you. you said the law prohibited some of your actions to deport. actually, the agents tell us, well, two things. first they say they're hamstrung by the president's executive order that has granted some amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. that's what the agents say.
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have you heard that? >> from our agents or border patrol? >> from your agent. >> i have heard reports of that. >> again, they're telling that. they also say that some of those people even, again, that there is a court decision, and i.c.e. has admitted, however, of the 2,457 of the 30,000 releasees, that that would be the number affected by the court decision, which was diaz versus davis, so 57% were actually released alt i.c.e.'s discretion, your discretion. so we have more than half of those at your discretion. that's what's -- we have had hearings, we have had your folks here. this is what they're telling us. the other thing, too, is you have the right to deport people, and again, the discretion is given to you.
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again, your agents have told us. but more than half the cases, you haven't exercised that discretion. you also have, when courts do let some folks out on appeal, these criminal aliens have committed an act, how many times have you appealed the bonds? >> bonds, some occasions. i don't have the precise number. >> could you provide that for the record? i think it's fairly limited. >> i can. >> you have that discretion, too. so one, 57% of the time where you have discretion, you haven't exercised it. then where people have committed it, they're out on bond, and you could appeal and go after those folks, you don't do it. one of the other things that was brought to my attention is we have lost total control of the border. and this is most disturbing. got this yesterday. this is the customs and border
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patrol system. the entire system, that deals with passport control. this is just for last two months, from march 4th, 2016, to april 17th. the system has been down almost two total days, and this is a record of the time the system was down. the system we have to control our border and who's coming in is imploding. i don't know what's going on here. and i would ask maybe the chairman of government operations or whoever is in charge of this in our subcommittee to look at this. we have lost control of our borders, and your system that protects us, the main computer system, has been down, down, down, and i think this is something that needs to be looked at. i'm going to hand you a copiy of this and i would like you to respond to these statistics. >> are these i.c.e. statistics or customs and border protection? >> custom and border -- >> that's another agency, sir.
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>> yes, but this is a system that controls the passports and entry into the united states. and you're also in dhs. i would like to have a response for the record. >> we should get the witness best able to answer -- >> and you'll help me with that and i appreciate it. >> the gentleman's time has expired. we recognize the gentle woman from new york, ms. meloni, for five minutes. >> thank you. first of all, i would like to thank director saldana for your public service. first, as a u.s. attorney in texas, and now as director of i.c.e. and i would like to understand the challenges that you and i.c.e. face in trying to deport criminal aliens back to their countries and the countries refuse to take them. i'm not -- i want to understand what the challenges are, and
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more importantly, what can we do to force a country to take back their own citizen when we are deporting them for a serious criminal crime? now, as you know, the chadwick family is here. they lost their beloved child, and they rightfully want to know why a convict ed -- a convicted threatening, terrible felon was not deported when he served his conviction in the united states, he was out on release. the law said we can deport him. we should deport him. and as i understand it, his home country, haiti, refused to take him. and i want to understand how this happens, and i want to understand what we can do about it. and in this case, the guy's name was jon jacques of haiti.
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as we reviewed the record in this particular case, it's stunning and shocking how many times the haitian officials approved his return to haiti and then reversed themselves and essentially pulled the rug out from under u.s. officials and would not let him come home to his own country. to give a specific example, on october 1st, 2012, u.s. officials submitted a request to haiti to deport him. haitian officials gave their verbal confirmation that he was approved to go back to haiti. and are you aware that the haitian officials approved his removal to haiti on october 1st, 2012? >> yes. and you have cited -- i don't know if you're done. >> yeah, yeah. then they changed their mind. they told you, u.s. officials, he was denied removal. they pointed out that he was approved three days earlier, and
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do you know why the haitian officials decided on a whim that he should not be allowed or would not be allowed eed to co back to his country of origin? >> we have not been given a response. it's frustrating. we wanted to send this person back. there are others in this same position. >> i want to go on. and this is really critical. because if we had succeeded in removing him and deporting him, we would have saved an american life. we would have saved an american family. and it was the right thing to do. so one week later, unbelievably, on october 10th, haitian officials acknowledged to u.s. officials they had actually approved a flight to haiti that included mr. jacques. he was supposed to go. but then on the very same day, they reversed themselves again. they said that he could not board the plane. what in the world was going on with these haitian officials?
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were they just playing games with us? i mean, this is the second time they denied the deportation request of the united states government. and by treaty, they had u.s. officials tried again to send him back to haiti and haitian officials informed us
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that mr. jacques was once again approved for removal and again on the same day these haitian officials withdrew approval. what i want to know is what can we do about it? this is something i would like to work off with a majority party on accomplishing. i support universal reform on immigration, but if we can't reach a quick approval on that, we should get a quick approval on how we can deport someone back to their country, especially when they are allies. when we have treaties. and yet three times they made fun of the american government and said no, we are not taking them back, reversing a verbal confirmation that they would take this criminal back. i feel strongly about this. i have two daughters and i can't
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imagine the grief this family is facing. this is such an injustice not only to this american family and to this young girl, but also to our country that they will not abide by the treaty. my question is, and it's a serious one one, how can we stop this abuse of the american government? >> we have a system in place and an understanding with a memorandum. >> if they refuse to take them? what do we do about it? >> what we need to do is have them state at the table how we accelerate the process. right now it is very, very slow. >> but you accelerated. you achieved it. he was ready to be deported and the country said no. we have to force these countries to be responsible. >> i agree. >> the time expired.
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i ask unanimous consent that he be allowed to participate. i would like to introduce for the record a system downtimes log and the chair will recognize the gentlemen from michigan for minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and changes for being here. let me reiterate the fact that we support the officials that you work with. they are as frustrated as we are and that goes up to leadership aspects even above you. we are also concerned that there
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desiring immigrants that want to come to the country for all the right reasons and what's going on with the illegals. especially the ones perpetrating crimes and the murders in our society. we have to make sure they are working to keep this element out of our society. so let me ask you a question. information that i have and statistics said as of august 2014. the administration indicated that 375,000 aliens and 121,000 level one convicted criminal aliens who the obama administration deems the worst of the worst were remutualed as a result of the secure communities. instead of continuing to utilize
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that successful existing system, the obama administration implemented the enforcement program. why did the administration end the program that flags criminal aliens that were booked into jails. >> we may have to have a discussion on what successful means. >> people living and not dying. >> we, the united states, have been sued many times because of secured communities. the people that had claims that they served in federal court and we challenged them with respect to the limp elementation of the program and many people are concerned that as a result of secured communities and the way it was implemented and something in place before i was gone, before i got there, that there was a controversy about it.
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>> let me jump on here. during the secure communities program, it has been ended, how many detainers were issued by ice and ignored by local law enforcement? >> i don't have that number in front of me. >> do you have the number of how many of those resulted in aliens being released and committing a crime? >> no, sir. the secure communities you are asking? >> secure communities. >> yes. >> how many ignored detainers resulted in additional crimes being committed? >> i don't have that number. >> mario: you want slougzs, but seems like they want the numbers. >> i don't have them off the top of my head. they are available and we can find them. it may take a manual search and sometime, but we can. the fact that i can't answer that right now shouldn't undermine my point about wanting to do something positive. >> i would like to have the
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numbers provided for the committee and whether it's the week you said about the letters or not. why is the federal government satisfied with localities coming into contact with aliens and not collecting sufficient information and records and fingerprints, etc. >> that is happening. when you say removal, no alien is removable until they have a court order. they go through years in the making and they make that determination. i will tell you that you know that secure communities program was replaced where we work with the state and local jurisdictions. that's what i did as a united states attorney. we relied on local law enforcement and sheriffs
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departments and we do that. >> aren't there stipulations to provide information to you such as fingerprints? >> there is a provision that talks about toopgz from them. >> so cooperation of information ha is injury for protecting our citizens, correct? >> it could. >> it could. maybe that's why this hearing is 3r0 pelled today. families won't be sitting in the room because there is indication that we have not done what's necessary to protect them. that's my trn. it's administration. they are at least pushing for the funds and the resources and the assistance in place to make sure we have that capability. that's my concern. that's not a charge.
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that's a request to help us to do the right thing and in turn don't give us the excuses. >> another party is the dng. >> we have asked questions today about why you haven't used the resources. why there hasn't been a push back on other countries and hasn't been a if for dollars. i yield back my time. >> we recommend mr. cart right for five minutes. >> thank you for being here and i want to take time to thank everyone for the presence of the families here today. starting with you. your daughter's case we will talk more about it, but our hearts go out to you.
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i know i speak for everyone here and everyone in the united states congress in expressing most profound condolences. we have chief ralph martin taking up the cause and i know she is not family to you, but she is starting to seem like it, i'm sure. condolences to you as well. thank you for taking up that cause. we also have michelle and scott here today. thank you. we have scott and i thank you for being here. unspeckable tragedy. we are talking about your daughter who just graduated college the day before with a 4.0. of all things criminal justice and the next day in a drunken driving drag racing incident and
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undocumented illegal struck her from behind with such force she died within about 24 hours. unbelievable. this is a situation that i want to talk to you about. we had this 19-year-old illegal a young man from honduras. really what happened after the crime was more shocking. he got out on bail. there was a judge in nebraska and the judge let him out on $50,000 bail. if you know how that works, you post 10% and you are out on bail. that is $5,000 and his brother came up with the money.
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as soon as he got out, he was gone. are you familiar with the case? >> i wanted to look into that a little bit. the thing -- i was a lawyer for 25 years and i know how bail is set. one of the considerations is set when the judge decides to set bail and is this person a flight risk. is this person likely to be someone who plurchgs down the 10% and never be heard from again. he had a history of brushes with the law before this horrible drunk proving incident. what i read and i want you guys to disabuse me of this, but the trial court judge, the one charged with setting bail and
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never heard of the history with the law and never even knew. this is a poster child for the that may have a very, very high bail set and the judge never knew it and it was because the prosecution never informed the judge. if it's wrong. we will talk about it later and if you are familiar with the case, am i getting the facts right? >> more or less. i can't speak to exactly what the judge had in his mind when he made the decision to release him. >> in a case like that, does it require an ice detainer for a local judge to set a high bail
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in a case of probable flight risk. >> no, sir. he just needs to know the facts. we obviously were not in the courtroom at that time. it's a stick matter when it comes to this kind of activity. i want to tell mr. root, express my sympathies with respect to this. i think you said earlier that the da had said that things could have been done better. there is a lot of different things that could have been done better. i am going to use this as a i am going to use it as an example. i don't want this to happen and yeerth does the officer or the agents involved in this case. >> i look forward to hearing from the families later today.
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i yield back. >> i thank the gentlemen and recognize the gentlemen from arizona. >> you reached out to the families and i want to make sure it's for the record that you reached out around april 22nd upon finding out about this hearing and their testimony. >> i want to be sure for the record. >> i understand. i made a statement, ma'am. this is my time, not yours. >> you understand. >> once again, it's my time. >> you understand i want the record to be clear, sir. i am meeting with her this afternoon. >> i find it -- i'm going on. i don't think you ought to be picking a fight with arizona of all places. you better not go there. operations stream line go away, incarcerations over and over
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again. it's not the men and women in border patrol. it's leadership like you and like a president and like the attorney general all the way across the board. let's put a face on this. are you aware in january 2015 in my home state of arizona who was shot and killed who was facing deportation and was out on bond? are you familiar with the murder of an illegal alien in mesa, arizona. >> yes. >> this is important because i want to make sure you know about the members and the policies. >> the man who murdered him was instead of being detained was out on bond. in fact, a self-proclaimed drug
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cartel member was released on bond following a conviction, a conviction on a burglary charge. while out on bond, this alien had two harassment charges similar to my colleagues in the previous case against him in which one of the could haves said she feared for her life several times and you pointed the gun at her and her boyfriend. this man remained on the streets. here is this thing you talked about. this discretionary issue. he walked into the store and demanded a pack of cigarettes in exchange for a jar of jam. he pointed a gun at him and shot him. 21 years old. the director said the murder is a direct result of your agency's failed policies.
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once again, all the discretion i pointed out he has a history and a rap she'd. >> i can tell you what i said earlier. >> you can point to that code. it's not that code. there was no reason why. >> what did you say in. >> it's not about the code. >> statute. >> it's not about that. this man, the whole rap sheet, this guy should have been incarcerated. unfortunately his mother is not unique and it's not an isolated case. this is a director. it's not an isolated case. >> what is? the specific facts of that case? >> yes. we heard from mr. cartwright. >> i think the members are in the record. >> how many aliens were charged with felonies? >> i will have to look up the number. >> how many in 2016.
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>> in the system or out in the public? >> how many were charged with felonies? >> there 11.2 million aliens in the united states. >> i'm asking about those that come in with felonies. they were charged with felonies. >> some we haven't encountered.
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. >> you got those numbers? >> no, sir. they wouldn't be complete. >> you have to be kidding. they come into this country, they are illegal. they are charged with a felony. what are the numbers? in this country. are you kidding me? >> i'm not kidding you. i asked you to listen to my answer. there 11.2 million people. >> i'm not asking about them. i'm asking about those who are here illegally. >> the time has expired. >> thank you. >> i recognize the c gentlemen from california. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> unbelievable. >> let me first say to the families, thank you for being here and i apologize for your loss. i would like to follow-up on the line of questioning about haiti. i don't know disputes that he had a court order for deportation and the haitian government three times rejected accepting him back to their
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country. are you aware that the u.s. has been the largest federal aid donor since 1973. >> no, sir, i don't follow that. >> we are the largest. to haiti. are you frustrated that they don't take back the sideses and order for deportation? >> absolutely. if we can remove someone and we have that order, we want to. >> would you support that story. >> i would support looking at that question and that's a reasonable and logical thing to do. >> have they apologized to ice or the victim at all? >> i don't know about the
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family. >> i hope someone watches this hearing. they have outrage from the government and not a good place to be in. i would like to know since they got a letter that perhaps you can communicate with the department of state or the government of haiti and say their behavior was unacceptable and we need them to change. >> i will raise that subject again this afternoon. >> i would like to talk about the case and how the person that killed her only two have a major
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for profit industry. many other countries ban money bond and that's because there is little relationship between how much money someone can have posted or the cash in hand they happened to have. how dangerous they are. in this case it's a good example where someone posted money and fled. that's what they have done for many years. if you are at risk of fleeing, we are just not going to release you.
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often you can get the 10% for the rest of the bond. and how they can be helping to release people who are quite dangerous and at risk of fleeing. we should reverse that and look at a system. i know this is not a partisan issue. the state of kentucky is looking towards a system and could you look into that and let us know? >> it's supposed to be a risk assessment. >> when you attach for profit money to that, the judges don't do the proper assessment.
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would you look at that issue? >> i certainly can. >> with that i yield back. >> you are supposed to fill an average number of bets of 34,000 a day, is that correct? >> that's what we are authorized for, yes, sir. >> they filled now about? >> excuse me? they filled now? >> we are about at 32,000. the last time i checked averaged daily population and right around that number in terms of the last time i looked at that day.
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and others are recent border entrance after january 1st. >> about hoch of each? >> i can get you those percentages. >> i hate to pull something out of the air, but i can look at that. >> you have extra bed space available now? >> about 200 if i'm right. that number varies from one day to the next. >> huh about 32,000 in there and you are authorized. >> did i say 200? >> let me add an extra zero. >> what percentage of criminals who could be deported are being deported? >> every criminal who has a final order of removal and a travel document is in the process of being removed. >> there criminals arrested for crimes who are not removed,
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correct? >> yes. >> do you know the percentage of people that are being removed? >> any given year, no,i don't. not right now. >> half, a third, 90%? >> i would give you a proper percentage. >> can you see what we don't have them for? >> terrific tickets? >> that's not a crime. >> it could be for minor offenses. the list is long and depends on it state by state. >> let me put it this way. where the offense has a sentence of less than a year, those are often misdemeanors. >> you wouldn't remove somebody for that?
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>> it depends. the priorities allow people to move someone with multiple misdemeanors. they are the priority. we have to look at every case on a case by case basis and the facts relating to that case. >> do you have a data bank? >> we have a criminal history on anybody we touched in the removal process. if somebody is charged with two burglaries, will they be part of your database.
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the guess is there 11.2 million that we may or may not know about. one can draw a conclusion and there is nine million or so who we don't know about. they are in the shadows. >> the question is did they commit crimes? >> about people i don't know, we don't know and we don't know. >> when the illegal immigrant commits that in the country, will you find out about it? >> we may. yes, we may? will you or won't you? >> it depends on the local jurisdiction. if they input into the system
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that we are part of, i can't give you an unequivocal matter. >> can you give us a reason why the state commits a burglary and why they should not be deported? it depends on the cases and the facts. they have a three u.s. 24 years ago. looking at it on a case by case basis, we may make a decision not to remove them, but not to detain them. >> i have no more time. >> the time expired and the chair recognizes the gentlemen from massachusetts. >> the ranking member for the hearing, i want to associate myself with the remarks of the gentlemen from pennsylvania.
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it may help other families from the same family. thank you for taking something very, very bad and painful and trying to make something positive out of it. i appreciate your courage and courage to do that. i want to make a couple of observations here. you are aware of the davis case where the supreme court in 2001 said if you are holding a person, an illegal alien charged with a crime that has a deportation order with no
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foreseeable reason, you have to release them. we go down to central america down to honduras and guatemala. like it or not these human traffickers, i think that's too romantic of a term. they will you three shots to get into the united states. if they get caught trying to cross the border, they.
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>> we are targeting those, congressman. >> i know. i'm trying to make a point here. every one of the kids that was returned and there were hundreds who got caught at the border and returned. in mexico they support that. they are trying to have a better life. the point i'm trying to make, the last numbers we have for south and central america, there 61 million people living on less than $1 a day. they are desperate. extreme poverty.
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if we have a system, if we are going to treat north and south america as a borderless region, then i think if we want an idea what might happen, we look at germany and europe. in that case and i spent a fair amount of time in germany and the middle east and refugee camps in the middle east, we are asking for the same problems where people are in desperate situations and we don't have control of the border. we do not. it is not not the fault of customs enforcement that we don't have control of the border. it's a willingness to grapple with the problem. we have a series, serious problem. we can't have a zone here. in the western hemisphere. we can't sustain that.
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that's not a system that is going to provide for the safety of our citizens and it's not going to be a system that will adquitly address our need for legitimate and legal immigration. i think it is -- at one point you were pointing back at congress and saying you have a responsibility here too. i think you are absolutely right. congress is responsible. we are responsible. i think there is a solution out there. i think we have got to just let cooler heads prevail despite the language about painting every person south of the border. that's not helpful. not right. by the same token, we have a prime responsibility of protecting our people. this is a national security issue. we have to get control of our borders, north and south.
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the faster we do that, the better opportunity we will have to come up with a koejent and sustainable and responsible immigration system. i thank you for your attendance and i see i exceeded my tame and i thank the chairman for his indulgence. >> the chairman recognizes the chairman from ohio. >> i thank the chairman and thank him for the hard work on this issue. when she talked about it's the
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rule of law and what america is supposed to do and what america is supposed to be about. let's look at these. there are four categories of individuals. if that comes to your country. then you have the categories that you are talking about today. you have people who overstayed their visas.
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they commit a crime and they are in your custody. they are supposed to be deported. then maybe the most important category. they commit a violent crime and entering your custody and supposed to be deported. we have four categories where the law says they are supposed to be deported and only focused on the last two. even a smaller subset. illegal entrance who commit a crime than you have in custody. my understanding is you release 86,000 of just that subset over the last few years. over half of that 86,000 were released at your discretion. is that accurate? >> that's correct. >> it's all correct. again, when you break it down, people came here illegally, did a crime, many cases violent
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crime were in your custody and the law said they are supposed to be deported and at your discretion, not because of the country not taking them back and couldn't get travel documents, not with standing other reasons, but over half where you just decided, you were going to not follow the law and you were going to release them. >> i disagree with that. we do follow the law. the law that was provided it is for other than those subject to mandatory detention, a decision must be made. very much what you are familiar with in the penal system. >> the fact remains that you release them? >> after a careful analysis of each case. >> careful analysis. the families who are here, i want to express my condolences. >> we 100% accurate looking back? as i said earlier, we strive for perfection and we are human and
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do fall short sometimes. >> half of the 86,000 were the way i described it. is that accurate? over half. >> someone who is on their death bed and we have something from a doctor who said there is no purpose in putting this person in detention. >> someone who is pregnant. those are the reasons. >> the four different categories and focused on the most just
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because you can do it. >> you provided. congress said we can do it. we wouldn't do it if congress had not provided what you consider bond for those not subject to mandatory detention. >> you have the capability to hold more and you are not doing that. >> we do, but i'm telling you we exercise judgment. >> you can't have it both ways. the judgment and the capability and you blame it on congress. >> you just did. >> that's what you law says. >> then it seant be your judgment. >> you have given us that judgment. things that are mandatory and everything else is discretionary. >> you have the ability to hold more people and committed to violent crime and you have the facilities to hold more and you are exercising your equipment to release them and some of those people you release did violent crimes and took the life of
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american citizens. >> vee have about 2,000 beds available based on what you authorized for us to do. >> yeah. i think we are saying let's use them. >> okay. that number fluctuates. >> i'm over it. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. connelly from virginia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> welcome and my heart also good out to the families. i'm a dad with a daughter. i cannot imagine. it was a failure of the system. that made you victims. ta made your daughters victims. we got a problem with immigration and i think the director has been trying to point to that tone saying i need your help in fixing that.
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there problems in the current system that affect american citizens who count on it to protect them. but also immigrant families who want to make sure that they are treated with respect and dignity because overwhelmingly most of them are not criminals. i want to enter into the record, mr. chairman, two pieces of correspondence, one is from the southern law center, some of the problems with the atlanta raids and another one from my part of the country in northern virginia from the arlington public schools. that's to all families and staff because of growing anxiety about these raids in northern virginia.
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>> i entered into the records in the ice trampled legal rights. subjected mothers and children to the necessary police encounters and tore our families apart and these raids have turned to schools including students on the way to schools. are there indeed ice raids on the way to schools? >> no, there not grades. we conduct operations, sir. i really worked very hard in the community and i met with lots of organizations that simply do not understand what ice does. when the term raid is thrown around, it implies a thoughtless sweeping of people. the people we targeted in both of these operations that occurred earlier this year, operation border resolve and border guardian were
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specifically targeted to people excuse status was determined to be illegal and who had run their gentlemen bit of appeals and rights and the process that is afforded them by the immigration and naturalization statute who had a final order of approval. that's not what i call a rate. >> you don't call that a raid. they do. it's leading to superintendent of schools feeling he needs to provide council and reassurance to a school system based on the actions of ice. maybe it's justify and maybe it isn't. maybe you want to talk to them. >> i'm happy to -- if i can just brag a minute, if we have set up a network, we are setting up a network of community relations officers and people who mead with law enforcement and schools
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and rodery clubs and whoever will listen to us so we can lay out for them exactly how we go about our business. the taxpayer is entitled to know that. >> fair enough. a student on the way to school, the supreme courts ruled irrespective of status, if you are a student, you show up and you are entitled to a public education, correct? >> i'm not sure. i take your word for it. >> that's a matter of case law. >> whatever it is. >> that was the supreme court ruling. i'm not making that up. that's why the governments have to educate children. whether they are documented or not is immaterial. are they targeting the children on the way to what is a constitutionally protected education? >> no, just adults. children who have aged out are
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eligible. there over 17, i believe, or older. no, we don't target children. >> okay. i have a few seconds left. while you are doing your outreach, i urge you to do it with members of congress as well. in my district, probably my number one subject is immigration. they are family related and confusion and all kinds of other things. >> i will like to follow-up with you. >> if we don't have your cooperation, we can't resolve problems. >> what they said trying to do their jobs too on behalf of
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their constituents. i wish i had more time and i thank the chair. my profound sympathies to the families. >> the chair recognizes the chairman for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the director, i appreciate your service and i have to confess, i was surprised when you used political bantering in your opening. they talked about the damage by the separation of families. he was not talking about the family and casey's family or kate's family, he was talking about the families of those who
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were not here legally. that struck me as a political comment that he made and pacific it's not us that advocated for the political analysis that we are going allow state and local officials to decline to follow follow process. we don't trust and that is a calculus and not done by our folks. my friend from maryland, mr. cummings went to great lengths to quote from a single republican. i never heard him and advocated for all aspiring americans. like they can pass the
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background check. not a single one of them can pass a background check. if we are going to talk about pandering and use your phrase and you are the who used it r, there is plenty of pandering going on on your side as well. >> let me make myself very clear. very clear. i was not referring to one party or the other. i asked for everyone to drop the political banter and get a system that works. >> i want the record to be clear on that. >> let's let the record be clear. that's as to whether they were not detained. can you tell me as to why the killer was not detained? >> an individual from ice looked at the specific facts and circumstances are related to
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that matter and they had the individual that had no previous criminal convictions and based on his judgment that he did not need to be detained. you and i disagree with that? he failed to appear for court. >> it's easy to look back, sir. >> i'm looking back to prevent the next one. that's about all we can do unless we have a crystal ball. the only two things you look at are a danger to the community and a flight risk. the things you look at. >> help me understand. that's why they are driving three times did he have any criminal history at all. >> we did not find criminal
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history. he had traffic violations. but criminal convictions are records and didn't indicate he had. >> has he failed to appear subsequently for court appearances? >> subsequent to what some. >> his killing of sarah. >> he did not appear. >> right so he failed to appear. that was my question. >> absolutely. >> the discretion exercise was wrong. >> these are tough decisions, sir. >> this is not that tough to me with all due respect. it's not that tough. would you have granted a $5,000 bond for that? >> i don't think the bond was set at 5,000. >> it was 50,000. he had to post 5,000. would you have set that? >> i would not if i were a judge and i think that was a judge of the system who made that
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decision. another factor that the officer from ice might have looked at in making his decision. i will tell you, judges make tough decisions every day and we can point to judges. i was on the receiving end of many of these asking for bond. asking for detention and a federal judge said no. later that person ab skonded. it irks me every time of course and unfortunately it happens a lot. >> for does and sometimes with tragic consequences. i'm out of time and i will close up with this. i believe in a previous life you work with state and local law enforcement. >> absolutely. >> this struck me as unusual that we trust state and local law enforcement with every category of crime. whether it's narcotics and whether it's human trafficking and we trust them in child born cases including traffic
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enforcement. why don't we trust them? >> we have a program that we enlist in helping us with immigration enforcement. there a number of jurisdictions. >> you asked them to expand it? it's shrinking. >> no, sir, it's not clirchging other than withdrawing. they can't control. we beg them to stay and sometimes they withdraw based on whatever considerations. >> you do trust state and local law enforcement and do not buy into the mantra that racial profiling prevents them from that category of crime and not any other category of crime. >> that's a fully loaded question that i would like to break down. there is racial profiling, sir. i'm not saying it happens, but there is. that would require me to agree with parts they don't agree with. >> i would like to have this
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conversation more because there is racial profiling in nashts cases and in traffic stops. i would like to understand why the cases are different. >> i think i said they are not different. >> you may have said it, but my colleagues have not. >> i'm less interested in the racial profiling than in the racial sensitivities raised by this issue and being here like those who have spoken before me. i don't have the words. the parents who lost their children, particularly when they consider it could perhaps have been prevented. i have only the deepest
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condolences. i would like to get beyond determination and how you do law enforcement when the rhetoric is steeped with racial overtones. i grew up in the district of columbia. as a minority group, it was a deeply segregated city. i went to segregated schools. i couldn't go in public accommodations because i was black. and even the newspapers, the best newspapers would say john jones, black, committed x crime in northeast washington. this had an effect on me and how i felt about the criminals, to tell you the truth. john jones, black. they didn't say that then.
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john jones, negro. i don't know if he was guilty, but by points out his race, my community in the city felt that law enforcement was pointed at all of us. i want to ask about law enforcement when these are involved do happen to be from a minority group. for example, donald trump when he announced he was running for president said something that if i put black where mexicans are, i think people would know how i and others who are from minority groups felt. they are not sending their best. they are bringing drugs and bringing crime.
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rapists and i want to ask about the effect on law enforcement. you have the delicate task of going mostly after perhaps mexican americans and central americans coming into this country. and operating under not the racial profiling, but the highest levels on television. hearing ethnicity called out in relation to your work. how does that affect law enforcement from the point of view of those charged with carrying outlaw enforcement that will mostly involve the very people whose names have been called out. they are cheering from the grandstan grandstands.
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>> we go about our business without regard to race. i will tell you this. it's different in the sense that the definition is determined boy the country of origin. >> the country of origin will be where people are located. i understand and somehow the other law enforcement has to handle the delicate task that you heard talk about the rates and legitimate to do. and is now making sure it is not caught in the rhetoric we hear. we heard also from mr. trump that we should close up our
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borders to people and he named who he was talking about. not mexicans, but muslims. apart from the ignorancestateme sealing our borders to any group possible and is it an effective way to combat terrorism? >> well, that is a huge issue, but i would say no. that is why everything we do, starting with the secretary and his priorities, is based on a case by case basis. you've got to look at every individual. it doesn't matter -- >> how could you, so sealing borders would involve what? >> i can't imagine how you would go about that. i think there has been some discussion about building a wall and that kind of thing. that doesn't sound like it would secure anything, actually, because i've seen the videos -- >> could you issue something for
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people coming over seas, saying if you're a muslim, don't travel to the united states. you will not be accepted. >> we would not do that. >> from the leaders, from the highest poisononts of leadershi somebody has to understand the delicacy of this task. i think of the relatives of those lost, my second thought is with those who have to carry out this difficult mission. thank you very much. >> the chair now recognizes himself for five minutes. thank you for coming. i echo some of my colleagues, i appreciate your service and what you're trying to do but to dismiss what we're trying to get to the bottom of this political banter. that is not what we're doing. when we see reports, when many of the releases are before you or ice but when we see 124 people in custody and here illegally and then end up getting charged with murder,
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when you see things like kate steinle going about her business and she got killed by somebody who had no business being in the country, that is something that concerns people here in congress but the american people and our government is involved in a lot of different things, you know, the type of health insurance you have to buy, how much water the toilet can flush, and yet a core function of the government is to ensure the safety and secure of the american people and it is frustrating when government is involved in all of these other things and fails at the core function so we're absolutely serious about it and it is not political theater, it is just the frustration to have families who have to go through this. now, you said something earlier in your testimony, you said that you need a removal order to deport someone. without that they can't be deported, is that correct? >> a final order of removal. >> aren't there administrative removals. stipulated removals and
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expedited removals. >> a person can volunteer to go back. a person caught at the border or ports of entry, we can move through the process quicker. >> there are ways to do it and i think that part of the frustration is, we've gone through the numbers a lot about the numbers that were discretionary versus what ice would say because of the supreme court precedent. but even there, that is a six month window, you have somebody in custody, let's say, who got out of prison after committing a sexual assault against a child and that individual is being held. you do have time to be able to repatriot that individual back to their own country and what we're a lot of times told by dhs is, well, they don't get the paperwork to us in time. they don't do all of this and so then the six months elapsed and this individual is released when they're clearly a danger to society, so you guys can work through this quicker and some of the other countries, and i get
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that they're not always going to comply immediately, but we have not used any of our leverage against them. we have not done, the state department has not suspended a single visa for any of the countries at august we have the ability to do that. they depend on us more than we depend on their visas. so what can you do to be able to move through the process quicker so that people who are clearly dangerous have been convicted, don't have any legal right to be here, can be repatrioted before that time limit expires. >> i'm all about procedures and institutionizing a process to make it work. my interest is not second guessing the officers it is setting up a process or procedure to do that. >> what do we need to do? mr. goudy has a legislative fix. is that something you're familiar with? >> i'm not. >> is that something you would be open to learning about. >> absolutely, sir, and working with you on that total subject.
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>> here is the, i guess, the issue, you've raised the statute books and said, look, they're not mandated to be deported even if they've been convicted of some of the bad crimes because congress made these decisions and while some of those crimes it is true, may not be mandatory, that doesn't mean that the law does not provide you, at least authority to detain them. in other words, just because it is not in that book does not mean that they have to be released. it does not follow, that that is the case. do you agree with that? >> that is true. >> and then in terms of the immigration courts, you've mentioned those, just so that the american people understand, the immigration courts, they're not article 3 courts, correct? >> they're not. -- >> they're article 2 courts, correct? >> yes. >> they're within the executive branch. >> within the department of justice. >> so if an immigration judge orders somebody has to be released and you feel that that is very strongly, that that is bad for the safety of the country, you can then go to the
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higher up and the executive branch and try to change that. >> bureau of immigration appeals and circuit courts after that. >> okay. great. do you know when we first did this issue in fiscal 13, there were 3 6,000 individuals released that have been convicted of crimes and here illegally and as of last year, there had been 1,000 of those people who had already been convicted of new crimes. do you have the figures on anybody from fy 13 through fy 15 who has been in ice custody, previously been convicted of a crime and got released and got convicted of a new crime? >> i don't know about 15 precisely. we may have 15 but yes, we have those numbers generally. >> if you could provide those for us, i think that would be important and then also back from 13, because i know that is obviously probably changed since the last time we had it. my time is up, and the chair now recognizes mr. heist for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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. all right, bottom line, when we all come to this, everybody involved, when it comes to the issue of criminal aliens, the public safety is paramount for past victims, as well as potential future victims. do we agree on that? >> yes, sir. >> with these criminals under the custody of ice, are there convicted sex criminals? >> yes. >> okay. >> do you have any idea how many? >> i think that number is available, but i don't have it in front of me. >> okay. if you could provide that, i would appreciate it. >> in what -- to the specific. >> in 15? >> in 15 there were almost 1,000 sex criminals released. >> that may be right. >> let me go on from there.
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of the sex offenders who are released back in to society, does your agency notify law enforcement? >> we do, and this is something, i think i testified about last time i was here. i'm very proud of the fact that we have stood up the law enforcement notification system whereby where we are releasing actually more than just sexual offenders but other criminals into a state, that we believe, that they have indicated and they're going to a specific state, we notify them that -- >> you notify who? >> the state database, usually it is the state office and for example, in my state of texas, in austin. >> because you promised last time you were here that by the end of 2015 that the states would, law enforcement would be notified. i spoke with a sheriff of gwinnett county this week which is the second largest county in america next to harris county, texas, where criminal ail aens
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are being released and he says he does not hear from you. >> i did exactly as i promised. we did get the notification system up and running by the end of last year to the states. what we're working now is phase two. >> so let's just cut to the quick of this. you're saying when an illegal alien sex offender or any others released into a community, you are assuring me that law enforcement is notified. >> the state law enforcement, yes. the state that is responsible for all of the local jurisdictions within. >> but not the specific counties? >> no. we have 254 counties in the state of texas. it would be very difficult to do that but we are trying -- >> isn't that where the rubber hits the road? >> absolutely. we're in phase two, congressman, we're in phase two, which is -- we'll be communicating with the specific local jurisdictions. >> what about victim notification? are they notified when a criminal is released? say you have somebody raped. the rapist is released into the
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community. is that victim notified. >> we have a criminal notification system like the department of justice does with respect to the penal system and people sign up for that and we do issue notices. >> so let's suppose a rapist is released. they do not register as we know many of them do not do on the sex offender registry. how does a previous victim know that that predator is released? >> they sign up i think he did this with respect to his situation, he wanted to be advised with respect to that particular illegal immigrant but they sign up for the victim notification system and that is how we give them that information. >> achbd and all of them sign u? >> i can't say all of them -- >> my question has to do with the predators themselves that are released. i've introduced a bill and i think that it closes this loopho
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loophole. hr-2793 called track. it would require ice to register the sex offenders on the national registry when they are released. right now, that is required of every citizen in the united states that commits a sex crime. they are put on the national sex offender registry. that is not the case with illegal immigrants who commit sex crimes and i don't understand that for one reason it seems very common sense call to me that if an illegal individual in this country commits a sex crime, they need to be put on the national sex offender registry when they are released. would you have a problem with that, with supporting that bill? >> i understand that is what happens with respect to any person -- >> it does not happen with respect to illegals. that is the point. >> and my concern is, we expect the person to --
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>> to do you really inspect a person to put themselves on a national sex offender registry? it doesn't happen. >> well, that is what you have provides for with respect to sex offenders. would you u have a problem with ice being required to make sure that they are put on the national sex offender registry. >> i would look at that and study it, yes. >> i would encourage all of our colleagues to get on board with hr-2793. it is a common sense effort to close a loophole by requiring them to be put on the national sex offender registry. >> 2793? >> yes. 2793. >> i thank the gentleman, the chair recognizes himself for five minutes. miss sal dana. i'll come to you. throughout this testimony this morning, you've made a point to pat the large book in terms of the law that you need help with, you've said it is somebody else's fault. you continue to focus on everyone else that has a stake
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in this and yet some of the blame actually rests directly with you, and so that is where i want to go with this. you've been equivocating, in my opinion with some of the questions answered and specifically the ones that i had issue with when you were talking with mr. grothman when you know the ep tire universe that committed crimes that get detained. do you know who they are? yes or no. >> who are in the country illegally. >> no. who get arrested by local law enforcement. do you get notified of all of those under the new system which would be the priorities enforcement program? >> we have the ability to check the system. >> do you know, yes or no, all of the people that are there? do they ping dhs and you know it? >> not necessarily. >> is that a change? >> is what a change. >> where they don't ping dhs anymore. is that a change in the way that
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you have been notified over the last 18 months? >> it is a database. >> yes or no. i know the answer. yes or no, is it a change? >> i don't understand the question. >> okay. let me be a little bit under the secured committees act. they were required to actually come and ping you and let you know they had somebody who committed a crime and it actually let you know that. is that not correct? >> i don't know that specifically. >> you're the head of the agency. how would you not know that? >> that program -- >> i'm a congressman and i've had to read up on it. >> that program has never been effect since i'm a director. >> let's look at it. you say they're all participating. what would you class faecify as participating. >> i didn't say they were all participating, 3,000 plus participating. i wouldn't have said that because that is not correct. >> you've said that, okay -- -- >> we've made progress. >> okay. made progress.
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if someone has committed a violent act under the program, are they required to let you know that they have them incarcerated. yes or no? >> no. >> all right. so we could have an illegal alien that has had a violent crime and local law enforcement does not have to let ice know? >> doesn't have to, but many jurisdictions -- >> i know many do but they don't have to let you know. do you not see a problem with that. >> that is why i'm working so hard -- >> let me go further. why would you have -- why would ice be arresting and detaining 40% people, 40% less people than they did in a previous year. >> apprehensions. apprehension numbers are down. >> are you saying, so is it your testimony here today, that there is less people that are actually
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committing the crimes? >> well, i didn't get to finish my answer. >> i'm all ears. >> okay. >> because i want to understand how all of a sudden there has been a 40% reduction in crimes by illegal aliens according to your stats. because you're not 40% less on detainers, 40% less on administrative removals? how did that happen this year? >> what happened, sir? >> 40% less detainers. 40% less removals? >> i'll tell you, we have fewer people in the system. that is going to -- by design because you've changed the system to make sure there are fewer people in the system and that is the frustration of the parents is what happens is you have made the universe lower so you can report less people that you let out of jail free. do you not see a problem? >> that is not correct. >> if you want to go over the
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numbers privately after this hearing, i'll be glad to go over the numbers. i'm a numbers guy. you tell me how it could be 40% less. >> as i started, part of it is the apprehensions, the number of people in the system, we are going about our apprehensions, all of our decisions on a very informed -- >> no. no. not informed you have to know the whole universe of the people in order for it to be informed. so how many drug dealers, how many rapists, how many kidnappers do you let get out of jail free card? >> none that have a final order of removal -- >> no, no, no. you're -- >> there is not a simple answer to this, sir. >> out of the 7,000 plus that you had the discretion to let go, were any of those violent? that you had total discretion over letting go. i'm saying they weren't traffic
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offenses, out of this discretion, were any of those violent. >> yes, there were some convicted of violent crime. >> don't blame it on everybody else. >> i'm not blaming it on everybody else. >> so violent criminals, at your discretion, have been let go. >> yes. some by order of the court. >> do you not see a problem with that? >> sir it is all based on the statute. >> don't go there. i can -- >> how can you leave the statute out? >> it is prosecutorial discretion and that is your discretion and that is my problem. >> and i can't -- i'm out of time. i'm out of time, but if you, are you willing to take me up and go through all of these numbers after the hearing? i'm perfectly -- >> i am always, always -- >> we'll go public with them. >> i'm always happy to meet with you. >> all right. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have a couple of lines of questions, but i want to get, i want to start with this discretion stuff that everybody
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is talking about. congress has given you guys the discretion to not deport people. i give my krichildren discretioo spend their allowance as they see fit. i would probably have to revisit that if i thought they were being stupid on how they were exercising that discretion to me, it seems like you're exercising your discretion in a way that is coming up with tragic results. listen, i think i can all understand, you have a violent criminal who is hospitalized and isn't expected to live six months, of course, you use the discretion there. it is not worth the money or possible to safely transport that person to their country of origin. that is the far extreme. i think you're too far towards, well, we're just going to let them go. i think that is the criticism that you're hearing from the
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members of congress here. even though we've given you the ability to do something doesn't mean you should do it. and i just wanted to clear that up because i think in all of the back and forth here, that hasn't entirely been made clear. i think the whole point of this hearing is that there are a good many members on this panel who have you up here because we think that discretion isn't being exercised wisely. >> i got that impression. >> all right. i wanted to make sure that everybody was clear on. that i want to talk a minute about the priority enforcement program. i meet and hear quite a bit from my local sheriffs in texas and as a texan, everybody loves the sheriff and they all have an opinion. what i hear from them is they're having problems in getting you guys to determine about detainers and sometimes they will arrest somebody and it will be three, four, five days before
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they hear back from you guys as to whether or not to issue a detainer, and by that time, the person is already bonded out. how can we improve that process to where they get, let's say, pick a number, 24 hour response there? >> okay. you know, i don't have to tell you, that there are 2254 counties -- 254 counties in the state of texas and it is wide and long. >> but everybody has a computer. >> oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. so, but the problem is getting to the jurisdiction -- getting to the specific local jurisdiction within a timely manner. so we try to get people there as quickly as possible. >> right, but what they want is a determination of whether or not to keep them. most of the sheriffs i know, they'll drive them to you. they'll be happy to deliver them. >> congressman, oh, my goodness, thank you so much. would you give me the names of those sheriffs? >> yes, i will. >> i'm not only half kidding, i
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would like to know any sheriff that is having any difficulty in hearing back from ice. i want to know that. >> we'll get you that information. we've actually worked with some of your local people and have seen that improve some. >> i've got to say, the great state of texas does a great job skoopting with us we're spending an awe -- cooperating with us. >> we're spending an awful lot of money doing the job that the federal government should be doing. i want to talk about 287-g program and what the sheriffs have found is that if they have the revenue to pay for somebody and a lot of the small counties, brooks county, small county, very little property value, they don't have the ability to pay for a person, y' all give them the training for free but they have to pay the salary for the person.
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what has been found effective in the program in addition is you get a jailer in that program where they can actually access the computer and information database directly and then they're able to determine. i would encourage you to work on growing that program. i'm working with the appropriatations to make sure you all have the money to continue to make that work. my final question is, we talked, i'm going to get back to discretion for a second, and you don't make the decision for all, everybody there. i mean it is delegated down the line. how do you ensure that it is consistent and how do you ensure that the person who has that discretion isn't of a disposition to say oh, just let them all go. >> no, no, sir. they all know my background and they know that it would be fully unacceptable. what we do is we train, we issue directives and policies, make
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things clear. give guidance. we revisit. i had myself, at least once, maybe twice, gotten on the phone with each one of the 24 field office directors with responsibility across the country to say my expectations and to make sure that people have the message of how we go about our business with respect to detention and those decisions, and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in general. it is a challenge when you have 6,000 officers out there who are involved in this. we need to stay on top of it. i've got my field leadership coming in next week. we're going to go through this item by item and talk about the general subject of is the word getting down all the way. so, that is what i do. it is a constantville lance. >> iphone more -- constant vigilance. >> i have more to talk about but my time expired.
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>> we'll recognize mr. carter. >> thank you miss saldana for being here last year it is my understanding that you released 19,723 illegal aliens with criminal records. 19,723. that is the number i've been given. 19,723. >> that number is correct by remember, court order or some discretion. >> and these are illegal aliens with criminal records such as kidnapping, sexual assault, dui, and homicide. >> that's correct. >> you say that some what matter of factually like it is okay. >> it is not okay but that is what the statute tells me, sir. it tells me that we need to abide -- >> it is unbelievable to me that we have released 19,723 illegal immigrants with sexual assault, kidnapping, homicide and dui.
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no matter the america is in an up roar. speak to the united states with respect to some of it. the immigration courts have some -- >> tell me when you can, when you can detain them. what is a priority one. explain what a priority one is. >> a threat to national security. >> so kidnapping, sexual assault, dui or homicide are not priority one. >> yes, they are in the priority if they're convicted. >> if they're convicted. >> yes. >> now, you have me confused here. we've established that you've released 19,723 illegal immigrants including those with those and you tell me you shouldn't have released them? >> no, i'm telling me, you asked about priority one. there is another priority they may be included in. >> there is another priority. so there is more than just priority one. >> three priorities. >> two priorities. >> the second priority includes
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kidnapping, sexual assault, dui and homicide. >> the first could also. the first could because it is persons convicted of crimes. we don't, in the united states, we don't assume somebody is going to be convicted until they've actually been tried. i'm just saying a simple matter of fact. i think that is fairly obvious. >> you go ahead and release them. >> i should remind you -- >> please answer my question. you go ahead and release them. >> if we've been ordered by a court or exercised a discretion in looking at the entire case, we may make that -- why are you releasing them instead of deporting them snl. >> because of all of the structures in the statute, sir. i'm not going to go outside of the law in what i do. i cannot deport somebody without a final order of removal who has had the entire framework, been allowed to follow the entire framework you have provided including appeals and consideration by the courts with respect to the claims of asylum or torture or whatever it


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