tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 23, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
consideration doing so. with respect to one or more of these -- >> i've seen no evidence that's he's done that. there pror visions that authorize mandatory detention for terrorist aliens in the immigration and nationality act, section 236a and code of federal regulations 241.14. what actions did you take or the secretary take to invoke those previsions to maintain custody of those terrorists? >> we have at least done so in one case. we do not release someone who we have the ability to detain with mandatory detention provisions. i will assure you that. >> but to your knowledge, secretary johnson has never sent a notice to the department of state to invoke visa sanctions against any country that refuses to take back their own citizens who are required by our laws to be sent out of this country? >> sir, i have -- he has done so once that i'm aware of. i don't know that we've heard from the department of state.
>> how recently was that? >> i know we had it under consideration. it's been whispered in my ear that that letter may not have gone out yet. he's at least considering it seriously with -- remind me the country? >> gambia. >> well, we're into the last month of this presidency and the last months of the secretary's service. this problem is not a new one. it's been going on preceding this administration. don't you think it's time the administration stepped up and started enforcing our laws with regard to countries that don't cooperate with us? >> i know the secretary takes that seriously. he's taking under consideration this, in particular with this one country, there may well be more. >> my time is expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for his questions. >> thank you, chairman. thank you for being here today.
i want to talk about the increase in haitians entering the united states through the southwest border. as a result, the department of homeland security announced today a change in policy toward haitian asylum seekers entering the country at the southern border. and all haitians, not just those convicted of serious crimes or posing a national security threat will be subject to removal. i understand that to accomplish this at the southwest border, haitians will be detained and placed in expedited removal proceedings, whereas previously, they were granted parole. what guarantees do we have that in the aftermath of the earthquake and cholera
epidemices the haitian government will issue travel documents for significantly increased numbers of haitian removals. >> we are in conversation with the haitian officials. the secretary did announce that change today, but let me assure you, mr. conyers, that we do not -- haitians report going to be treated any differently from anyone else. if they have an asylum fear, asylum claim or claim to be a refugee, we will consider those claims along with everything else. i think you know that right now it's the emergency situation that i'm aware of is actually on a california border with some 4,000 haitians there. i just was in the central american region and heard from a number of those countries -- el
salvador, honduras and guatemala -- that they're aware with conversations with their governments in south and central america of 40,000 haitians who are en route to the united states. this is why the secretary made a decision based on what he perceives as, based on facts he's reviewed, that the conditions in haiti at least are improved enough for us to change the policy back to treating haitians just like everyone else. and that includes affording them the rights and privileges our society provides asylum seekers and refugees. >> let me turn to the november 2014 priorities memo directed to the department of homeland security agents and officers to prioritize the immigration enforcement of individuals with serious criminal offenses. can you talk to us about
i.c.e.'s efforts to locate, detain and deport individuals with a criminal history? >> yes, sir, i'm happy to. obviously, one of those other things that we are focused on, who out there, fugitivewise, do we need to focus on as a priority because we can't get to everybody. but as a priority, to focus on those folks who are out in the community that we know need to be apprehended and returned to their countries. we have a very strong unit that works on only fugitives. they review records. they prioritize those fugitives baseod the nature of their crimes, how long ago their crimes occurred, and they are out there on a constant and daily basis in the early hours of the morning trying to find folks where we have at least information on where we can encounter them and take them
back. we've had quite a bit of success in that regard. and we also have operations that occur on a focused basis like "operation border resolve" this past -- earlier this year where we are trying to locate those folks that are fugitives and have escaped our system and we need to get them back. >> let me tell you that we have a number of other questions that i'm going to send you, and you can respond in writing, and we will incorporate them in the record. >> yes, sir. >> i think that would be the easiest way with me with only 15 seconds left to begin this discussion. i think we need to become more familiar with the details of the
strategies that you are using, and i want to encourage you to help us locate and detain and deport those individuals with a criminal history. >> yes, sir. again, one of the secretary's priorities, and why ae are doin that. >> all right. thank you, mr. chairman. >> chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman from tex amr. smith, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, i'm going to use my question time to make a statement because after eight years of asking obama administration officials why they refuse to enforce our immigration laws, i am confident that the committee still won't receive satisfactory answers today. the president's immigration policies continue to put innocent americans at risk. the administration has ignored laws, failed to enforce laws, undermined laws and unconstitutionally changed immigration laws. among these dangerous policies is the president's
unconstitutional executive amnesty which requires immigration and customs enforcement officials to release criminal immigrants into our neighborhoods where inevitably they commit additional crimes. over the last three years, i.c.e. has released 86,000 criminal immigrants into our communities. they have been convicted of over 230,000 crimes which include homicide, aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, driving under the influence and other serious crimes. over 30% will be arrested again for killing or injuring more innocent americans. the administration's intentional release of criminal immigrants amounts to the largest jailbreak in american history. and every day, americans across the country are paying a steep price. last year, i.c.e. deported 235,000 illegal immigrants, the lowest number in ten years. this was only 2% of the 11
million illegal immigrants in the country, and of these, only about 70,000 were interior removals. under the current administration, i.c.e. has started counting turnbacks at the border as additional interior removals in an attempt to pad their deportation figures. previous presidents did not count turnbacks as deportations but then no president has done so little to enforce immigration laws. investigation of immigrants who overstay their vis as has disappeared. at least 40% of the illegal immigrants entered illegally and overstayed their vises. yet i.c.e. only deported 24,000 in 2014. this is less than 0.1% of the total number of visa overstayers. in addition, the administration has done nothing to hold any of the 300 sanctuary cities accountable. these local governments violate
federal law when they refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the apprehension and deportation of illegal immigrants. congress mandated the cooperation of local officials in an umigration enforcement bill in 1996. i know. i wrote the law. tragically, the number of sanctuary cities has exploded during the obama administration. director saldana couldn't name a single instance in which i.c.e. tried to prevent a jurisdiction from becoming a sarche ining sa criminal immigrants. the lawlessness of these districts has had disastrous consequences. last year, juan francisco lopez sanchez, a five-time deported career felon shot and killed kathryn steinle. he was sent to prey on innocent americans because of san francisco's sanctuary law. unfortunately, similar tragedies
have occurred across the country as a result of these laws. so add these casualties to the current list of americans who have become victims because of president obama's immigration policies. these facts and figures demonstrate that enforcement of our immigration laws runs contrary to the obama administration's amnesty agenda. until the immigration policies of this administration are overturned, illegal immigrants will continue to victimize innocent americans. mr. chairman, i have a minute remaining. i'll yield that back to you for a question. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. i want to follow up on a statement that mr. smith made and put it in the context of what mr. conyerss observed, and that's that your organization operates with limited resources, yet in fiscal 2014, you gave back to the department of homeland security $113 million in funds that were specifically
appropriated for detention and removal. why did you give this money back? given the problems that were just cited by mr. smith and the fact, as mr. conyers noted, you have limited resources to begin with. >> absolutely, sir. that is something, this whole issue of how we manage funds for specific categories in this case is extremely important to me and to our folks in the enforcement and removal area, as it is obviously to you. last year, it is very difficult for us to anticipate the number of people coming across the border from one year to the next. it goes up and it goes down, even over the course of a year. >> i understand that. mr. smith noted there are over 250,000 individuals in this country who are not lawfully present in the country and have committed crimes in the country. so that number continues to rise, and, therefore, while it may be difficult to predict how many are coming across the border, it's not difficult to
know you have 250,000 who are already here who shouldn't be here and, therefore, should be, until they are deported, in detention facilities or using resources to detain them and then remove them. >> and we are, sir. that's is exactly what we're trying to do. this enforcement priority approach that you have -- you and i disagree on as to its wisdom focuses not on the release of criminal aliens but the apprehension and remove alf criminal aliens. our statistics alone with respect to the beds, those are filled by people with one or more convictions that we are preparing to remove from the country. the last number i saw was something like 84% fit into our top priority. so we manage these beds as best as we can. last year we had some bedded that were not filled. this year we had the opposite problem. we have more people in beds than
we can afford but we're working hard to manage that problem through the end of the fiscal year. >> i'd recommend that when you have limited resources and you have a huge problem that's not addressed you not return money back that could be used to keep americans safer than they are now. at this time it's my pleasure to recognize the giantlewoman from california, miss loftgren for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this hearing comes just days after the bombing and attempted bombing in new york and new jersey. the allege d perpetrator ramann has been arrested. the investigation is ongoing and i know you cannot comment on that pause it's an ongoing investigation. i would note that there's a classified briefing for members of congress this afternoon. i certainly intend to attend that. but i just think it's important to say what the case is of the
facts that are currently known. it's clear that the facts as we know them indicate this is a case about terrorism, radicalization, national intelligence, law enforcement, but it can't be about immigration bedding because ahmad khan ramadi came to the united states as a little child and how you'd vet a 7-year-old, it just doesn't make any sense. he came -- his father was a small business owner. his father contacted the fbi two years ago to express concern about his son. and i hope to find out in the classified briefing why the fbi kind of blew that off. but we will find out. i hope that people around america won't conflate that situation with the syrian refugee situation that is unfolding. we know that dhs has a dedicated
office to counter violent extremism, and i hope to hear more about your efforts in that regard as time goes on. but i would just note, looking at the record of refugees from afghanistan, there were virtually no refugees from afghanistan until 1980 in the united states. and refugees came into the united states at about 2,000 to 4,000 a year until 1990. it's interesting going back into the record, there was a congressional task force on afghanistan. some of our colleagues, dana rohrbacher who i serve on the science committee with, was a member of that committee and former members like don ritter, republican from pennsylvania, and marcino, a republican from california, orp that. it was a bipartisan committee. charlie wilson was on that. and one of the things they said
was that the united states had a moral obligation to the people of afghanistan because of the pivotal role they had played in defeating the red army at a time when communism was on the march around the globe. so i think as we look at this situation, and this individual who came to the united states as a little boy, it's important to remember that the refugees were admitted as part of the fight against communism at that time. now i want to turn a little bit to detention in i.c.e. i've mentioned in the past my concern about for-profit, private detention facilities. i'm glad that the department is looking at that. i realize the change can't happen overnight, but i do believe that for the same reasons the department of justice has decided to go in a difference direction, namely, the private facilities are more
expensive. they're less accountable. they fail to meet constitutional standards. i'm hopeful that we will be in a position to move in a different direction in i.c.e. just as the doj has after that report is received in a few months. having said that, i continue to be concerned about the situation of women and children in custody. we know that mothers and children have been on a hunger strike at the facility at burkes, and i'm concerned and wondering why we couldn't provide monitored release for those women and their children. obviously, you can't just -- these are individuals who are appealing an adverse decision. they're in a different posture than the women and children in the texas facilities, and yet some of those little children have been essentially in jail for over a year. you know, 5-year-old, 6-year-old
kids. that really is not in keep with american standards. and i'm wondering, director if it's possible to take a look at what forms of accountability, whether it's bond, ankle monitoring, placement in a facility that is more home-like and less traumatizing for children could be looked at for this population of mothers and children. >> congresswoman, i share your concern. this is not the business we were in not that long ago. we were not in the business of family and children. this is a phenomena that has increased over the years as problems have occurred south of our borders. but i do take very seriously how long we detain families. as you know, the average length of stay is now in the teens with respect to our family facilities overall. i am familiar with the cases that you're referring to with respect to longer term
detentions. i will say that those -- while i cannot comment on a specific case, i'm happy to cover that with you to the extent we can and are allowed to specifically where we have a waiver of privacy, but generally speaking, the folks we're talking about are subject to mandatory detention, outlined here in this statute. and when they are losing their appeals, and we are preparing to remove them, we don't detain them for the purposes of punishing them -- >> i understand that. but i will follow up with you off agenda because there are provisions in the law that would allow them to be held in an accountable fashion. i want to turn now since i don't have a lot of time left to the issue of solitary confinement in civil immigration proceedings. we have had a lot of information about the use of solitary confinement in america. i mean, whether it's in criminal detention or juvenile detention and, unfortunately, in civil
detention. solitary confinement does tremendous damage to people. it actually, the psychologists tell us it can actually make a person mentally ill to be in solitary confinement for an extended period of time. i have come across cases, and we've been in communication with your department about the use of solitary confinement for young people that seemed frivolous to me and have been changed. i understand the president has directed departments to end their practice of restrictive housing and the department was required to submit to the white house by september 1st a report on the use of solitary confinement. do you know when that report will be made public? >> i think it will be any day now. i don't know exactly where it is, but i am -- i have been advised, and we kept track of, i think it will maybe even be
early next week before week's end next week. that's our best estimate right now. >> i have many other questions, but i see, mr. chairman, that my time is expird. so i will yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentlewoman and recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i appreciate this hearing, and i would like to associate myself this morning especially with that of mr. smith from texas because i think it's important that we have been at this now for almost eight years. and the numbers don't look as discouraging perhaps as they did a year ago, but there's not hope on the horizon either. and i look at the numbers that mr. smith has rolled out, and i didn't hear them disputed but 86,000 criminal aliens released on to our streets. streets and f the years that we have -- and i remember testimony that came here before this committee, oh,
for years, and shortly after i first arrived in this congress, and they would be the testimony of how many people died in the desert trying to get into america. do you have any of that data in your memory to give us an ideal scope of how many died in the desert trying to get into america? >> oh, my goodness, sir. i've heard of those. tragedies. but i don't have that at my fingertips. >> i remember the witnesses that came in and testified and we saw numbers of just the arizona desert in those years that would say, 200, 250, then the next year it went up. we saw numbers that went over 400 a year just in the arizona desert. brooks county texas has a lot as well. and i began to think about that and i began to think about how many americans died at the hachhand of those who made it through. we did at least two gao studies at my time in congress.
apples to apples is hard thing to arrive at. very difficult to unravel this. but i've met a number of the people. and it's heart breaking to me to think of the many people suffering a loss of a loved one because we didn't enforce the law. and when i look through this list of those who have been released by ice and i see in this particular list i looked at a little bit ago, 101 released to committed homicide. and how many others along the way. what's the price to americans? so i recall donald trump making, highlighting some of the people in his statement before the convention in cleveland and he made a statement that there are thousands of americans grieving because they lost a loved one at the hand of someone whom have been encountered by law enforcement in america, including ice, who have been released on to our streets. would you agree with that statement?
>> that there are thousands? >> yes. thousands of people who are suffering the loss of a loved one. >> i don't have the exact number but i don't disagree with you, sir. and if i may, congressman, let me tell you, i am a prosecutor. i come to this job as a prosecutor. i am used to trying to keep the community safe and i have not discontinued that in this job. i am trying to make the moment out of the money i have. i told you earlier that 84% of people -- >> sorry, the click is ticking on me. i don't dispute what you said. but you have to get your orders from on high. and so if this is matter of conscience, then i ask you now, have you come before this congress and told you what you needed for reinforces and what do you need for officers, what do you need for prosecutors, what do you need for judges, what do you need for prison beds. i never saw it said we want to
enforce 100% of the law. the data is that this president has given orders from on high to release these criminals on to the streets of america and if that's egregious to you, why haven't we heard you push back against the president and why haven't we heard that progress? >> i really have tried to make this clear but there is no discretion in these releases other than for about a third of the number you're talking about so when we continue to repeat that administration is releasing people willy-nilly on the streets who have criminal records, we've talked about that's the united states supreme court, that's not ice. >> i would like to ask you, do you recognize these names. sarah root. >> i do. >> brandon mendoza. >> i do. >> dominik durden. >> yes. jazz shaw. >> yes. >> his father, jamil.
>> yes. >> tessa trancha and alley coonhart. >> yes, i do. >> i'm glad that you do. the immigration laws that we vr here to be enforced, if we have to lay out standard then it is a hundred percent and if we have to put the resources out there to do that, this congress, i believe and the next congress, will be prepared to do that. we need to restore the respect for the rule of law. americans are dying every single day because of our failure to do so and because of turning people loose on the streets that don't return back again. and i see face after face of grieving americans. they are in the thousands over the time i've watched this tragedy. i'm glad you are aware and you recognize these names and i appreciate the personal part of this but we need a fresh start on this immigration law in this country. thank you very much. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. king. before i recognize the young woman from texas, i am sure you know that fewer than 10% of the criminal immigrants released
back into our communities are this jabba das cases. so don't give the impression that you don't have a choice. you do have a choice on over 90%. >> no, sir, that's not correct. would you like me to give you the numbers exactly? >> that is a figure we got from you. >> that can't be. i would have signed that letter probably. >> okay. we can come back to this. the gentle woman from texas, recognized for her questions. >> let me thank the gentleman for yielding to me and let me thank you for your service to the nation. thank you for your service as a u.s. attorney. and your commitment to law enforcement and your compassion and passion in the leadership that you've given.
i take particular offense to the suggestion that a life-long professional such as yourself would in any way seek to release individuals that should not be released. so first question that i ask, is it your purpose, as director of ice, to release people without authority, without legal authority, that are judged criminally and just to release, is that your purpose as administrator, the director? >> it's not congresswoman. >> i'm just going to ask a series of questions. as i do so, let me also take this moment to thank the 19,000 ice employees everyday that are on the front lines that are assisting and protecting this nation. we should be grateful for their service. i work with i.c.e. employees.
i happen to have my office in the federal building in houston. and i want to acknowledge many of them as they work throughout our community. that, i think, is very important. i also want to make the point that we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. it feels to me that the line of questioning this panel seems to ignore that this nation was built on the hard work of immigrants. and some who came not willingly. i know that in my history. but what i would make the point is that we do better when we work together. and i was at the border when we had the surge of unaccompanied children. and i associate myself, by wait, the comments of my colleague, congresswoman, as it relates to detention but i will not ask that question and i saw the
transfer from the border personnel into i.c.e. and the responsibilities that occurred. and i understand what you're saying about not being able to project the numbers that come across regularly. so i want to put that the record. but i also want to take note that those who are undocumented in the country have dropped under the obama administration. dropped from 11 million. and it may be continuing to drop. i also want to make the point that i see nothing in the leadership of president obama or secretary johnson to in any way adhere to the illegal releasing of individuals that should not be released. so let me raise these questions. there's been reports, of course, that there were 858 individuals that should not have been naturalized that were. i just want to ask you a yes or no question. inspector general has provided two recommendations. that i.c.e. finished uploading
into the digital repository the fingerprints it identified that dhs resolved these cases of naturalized citizens who may have been ineligible. are you in the process of doing that? >> yes. >> do you do it willingly? >> of course. >> do you acknowledge 858 is the number you deal with perspectively millions in this very large country of individuals that come under i.c.e. authority over the years? >> yes, ma'am. >> so out of 858, you are now correcting that process and my understanding is that the inspector general is satisfied that you are doing that, is that correct? >> yes. >> and let me follow up with this, the majority has raised questions about the release of individuals with the criminal history. i understand you cannot talk about specific cases, but can you give me general examples of the reasons why an individual might release from i.c.e. custody, what are the reasons why a judge would grant release from custody, and in the context of release of individuals with the criminal history, what types of crimes are we talking about?
are these violent felons, individuals with minor traffic offenses mostly, or individuals whose only crime is reentering after deportation, which i know there are many. according to data from i.c.e., opla, i.c.e. exercised pros cuetory discretion and individuals with a criminal history, understanding that you cannot discuss that, can you give examples of the kinds of cases they may be. number two, we have had over the last couple of days tragic incidences in new jersey, new york and minnesota. all initial public reports suggest that in new york, new jersey and minnesota, they came as young children and completed their primary and secondary education in the united states. this is a collective effort by all of us, members of congress, department of homeland security. on this question do you have any thoughts as to how i.c.e. can work with other law enforcement agencies to prevent homegrown
terrorist acts like this? but the point i want to make is that individual actors of the terrorist incidents of the last three days were in fact individuals here in the united states although they visited other country possess. can you answer the first one and second one, and i'd appreciate it very much. again, thank you very much for your service to the nation. >> thank you so much, congresswoman. this is the point that i was making earlier. ever decision we make and this is why we go about our business in the most appropriate and efficient way that we can, given the limited amount of dollars. $6 billion sounds like a lot of money. but when you're talking about the vastness of our country enand the immigrants in our country, you have to figure out a way to use your discretion to prosecute wisely with the first emphasis on public safety. so this statute lays out the laws, regulations, with respect
to how we make those decisions. on apprehension, there's a section there. there's a section on who we must detain and who we can detain and a section on bond and who we release on bond. if it's up to us and often it's not, it is sometimes the court will actually order a release on bond. i want to repeat and advise every member of this committee because i want you all to know this important fact. we do not -- we do not ignore any immigrant who has a final order of removal and that for whom we have a travel document. that person is going back to their country. we need those two things, though. so when we're talking about removals, and with respect to this detention issue and releases, the release is two thirds of these releases are out
of our hand. this is what ways telling congressman smith a little while ago. we have sabadas and an immigration court system which has a half a million case backlog which is going about their business as efficiently as they can, i'm sure, but can't get to everybody. so we will use our discretion to look at all the facts and circumstances of a case. do they have a serious criminal conviction? if not, how long -- if so, how long ago was that conviction? what is the amount of time that they have been in the country? do they have citizen born relatives or children? so many factors that are included in our review of those people and we make the best decisions we can. >> director saldana, let me interrupt you. i'm looking at your official figures. if these are incorrect, i hope you will correct them by the end of this hearing. but what we have from you is
fiscal year 2015, 11%, only 11% cases, 37%, 7,293 discretionary. you put those individuals back in our communities where over 30% will be rearrested. >> 7,000. right. >> that's correct. that's just in one year. >> you're looking at only one number. you should look at immigration judge decisions -- >> no, no, i've got that in front of me. so the dabadas case is 11% and the other is 37%. i welcome her to correct her figures. the gentle woman's time is up -- >> can i yield back. i appreciate her answer to my question. again i want to emphasize the discretion and so, the young
people who were here in the united states came in college is a reputable decision by i.c.e. and others that these individuals don't fall into that priority and are not dangerous. prosecutorial discretion is within the law in the context of directive saldana. thank you so very much, i yield back. >> thank you ms. jackson lee. and the gentleman is recognized for his question. >> thank you director for being here today. thank you for sharing your time. i was reviewing my materials last night regarding this hearing today. and i came across the core mission of i.c.e. i found it interesting. it is to protect america from the cross border crime and illegal immigration that threatened national security and public safety. i.c.e. has been delegated the
statutory authority to detain illegal aliens who are illegally present or otherwise violated imgrag law. obviously this policy, this mission that you have, is extremely important to this nation. and accordingly, you have been delegated substantial enforcement power to fulfill your mission. and i noted earlier that you said you came into this job with a prosecutor's state of mind. that's how you think of your job. and i appreciate the fact that you do that. because i think you recognize that we are a nation of laws that responsibility is to enforce the law. we know the detainers as sanctuary cities, they refuse to accept detainers or request notification for aliens in their custody charged with state offenses.
does the existence of sanctuary cities threaten your ability to fulfill the mission that was just stated? >> as i said in my opening statement, sir, we have to have the cooperation of local law enforcement in going about our job. because they're inclined to encounter these folks first, then we are. so the 23 you're talking about, actually that was my effort as manager of this agency to try to identify what jurisdictions are having the most negative impact on our ability to get prisoners transferred to us who have criminal records. or otherwise meet priorities. and so identified 25 at the time. we have worked incredibly hard and i say "we", i can't take the credit. i'm going to have to give some
to the secretary and deputy. >> director, i'm low on time. so sorry. we have five minutes. i don't mean to interrupt you but my concern is as a former prosecutor, i'm wondering how you can continue to square the distance of sanctuary sifties with the duty of a prosecutor to ensure justice an constitutional duty of the state of equal protection of law? it's specifically stated in the 14th amendment. so i know that you're got all this great team in place. but it just seems to me that the policy of sanctuary cities prevents you from your core mission. and that's my concern. that's my concern. but it's also a concern of the folks that i represent. and the constituents that i represent. i'm from a border city, detroit. it's not lists in the list, but they tell me that poll spip it
troubles me to know that i live in a border city and the policy worries me for my constituent and but it also worries me for one of your core objectives which is to represent i.c.e. officers and to protect i.c.e. officers and i'm concerned that the existence of sanctuary cities puts your officers at risk. along with the citizens. puts your officers at risk. i don't know how that can't be an issue with your office and with those officers on the street who really are -- their hands are tied. >> and i think i mentioned earlier, i worked with a hundred counties in my u.s. attorney job. i had a hundred different sheriffs and other law enforcement officials i had to work with. these cities that you're talking about, sir, have their own laws. either the state passes them or
there's a local ordinance over which i have no control. all i can do is to use my best persuasive powers to work with them, to try to bring them back to the table. the fact we have 17 who are working with us of the 25 that i had on that list and three more that are beginning to work with us, it's a result of very hard work on the part of all of us at i.c.e. so i will continue to do that. i'm not going to give up on anybody. >> i appreciate that. i know my time's up. but i want to ask one more question. if you were running the shop, and you've decided that you've looked at this and i know you've had experience here, obviously, would you continue the policy of sanctuary cities? >> i.c.e. does not have a policy of sanctuary cities. >> you are part of the enforcement process. obviously you would work in the environment of these cities where sanctuary cities exist. so you are a critical part of this process and enforcement of
our lou laws. >> and i'm trying to gain back the trust of those communities who have given up on working with us. i will not give up on them. >> i take this as you -- >> i want to work with every local law enforcement agency there is. >> thank you, sir. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. now we yield to mr. johnson. >> there is a history of free and cheap labor to create wealth for owners of the means of production in this country. there's been a concerted effort throughout the years to attract undocumented workers from south of the border who provide cheap and reliable labor. at the same time, america has prosecuted a drug war south of the border, also here in america. in the inner cities. it's been a complete failure here in america and it's a
complete failure, the drug war, south of the border. it has resulted in the destablization of governments and fostered armed violent gangs, vying for control of the drug trade. the more violent the drug war becomes, the greater the profits for the most violent drug gangs who can eradicate their competition. who gets caught in the middle? the innocent citizens in central and south america. the top three most violent cities do to criminal violence in the world are located just south of our borders, venezuela, honduras, el salvador and the fourth is in mexico. it has produced a humanitarian crisis.
of families, unaccompanied minors, making their way from central america or through central america, from central america through central america, through mexico, up to the u.s. border. now, this confluence of man-made consequences intentional foreseeable consequences, comes at a time where this congress continues to enforce a 34,000 bid mandate on your agency. in other words, we have created a private prison industrial complex that feasts on this confluence of foreseeable consequences. with respect to the 34,000 bed mandate, does your agency --
what is your daily average occupancy? >> well, last time i checked, and the last couple of days, we were at a little bit over 34,000. something like 3421, something in that neighborhood. >> and you generally keep the 34,000-bed requirement filled; is that correct? generally. >> yes. generally speaking. let me just be sure i'm understood on this point. we don't put a person in a bed because we have some kind of a quota. we put a person in detention because it's necessary to have them in detention in the process of removing them from this country. so i don't -- so my effort is not -- >> okay. and i know you've been interrupted quite a lot. and i've got to follow suit, too, because i want to get my questions in. the 34,000-bed mandate, does it
include women and children humanitarian cases coming out of central america to escape the drug violence? >> it's a -- the requirement is not to have the beds filled, it's to have those beds available. >> those beds are available for that group of people, is it not? true? >> there is a group of that, a small group comparatively speaking, that are families, women and children. >> and also, for things like the targets of operation border guardian, central american families where children live, those raids result in people filling those 34,000 beds. is that not correct? >> i will have to disagree with the word "raised." those are focus ud operations where we have gone through a file and identified people who have final orders of removal and
are ready to be removed. >> these include children who have been brought to this country by their parents at an early age. they didn't give consent. they just came with their parent. they're innocent. but yet they get swept up in operations like operation border guardian and they get put into the private prison industrial complex to fill the 34,000-bed mandate. is that correct? >> no. children are not put into detention. they are turned over to our department of health and human services. >> so the children are not part of the 34,000-bed mandate? >> children, i'm talking about people under 18 years of age. they are turned over, the system with respect to kids, is to turn them over to health and human services who find a suitable placement outside of the detention system. >> if they're in the detention
system, they are part of the 34,000-bed mandate? >> the gentleman is out of time. but you may answer the question. you may answer, director, if you'd like. >> the children are -- what you're talking about is children who are with their parent. >> yes. >> typically woman. that is part of, i think the 34,000 is a separate number. that's adults. we a we are allocated money for families and children. so, no. the 34,000 you are talking about is families. and these we have in two institutions in texas and the burks facility, about a hundred bed, maybe a little less in pennsylvania. >> thank you. >> gentleman from georgia yield back. the chair will now recognize the gentleman from california, mr.
issa. [ inaudible ] >> first of all, our colleague from michigan asked a couple questions you answered them. but i didn't hear one answer and i would like to ask again if i could. he said when the sanctuary cities or jurisdictions in some cases, because some of them aren't cities, they are counties and things, but when they failed to honor i.c.e. detainers, he asked, wouldn't that put your officers and people they are trying to in some cases detain or arrest, doesn't that put them at risk as well? >> i've testified before, yes, sir. that's one of my concerns about not having this cooperative relationship is we have to go out in early morning hours in order to find people, unfortunately many times in their homes. >> thank you. i just didn't hear the answer to that. obviously, if a local community has, you know, got them arrested, made sure they don't have a weapon, patted them down,
safe there, as you said in the early morning hours your officers has to go out and pick them up again, they're at risk. they might now have a gun. it might be dark out. you don't know what's going on. so your officers is at risk and the person they are trying to detain could be additional risk. so the point is that the sanctuary cities are putting people on both sides at risk by having this policy. >> and unfortunately, there's some -- and fortunately there is some good news in this area, that's what i was telling about having turned at least the minds and hearts of at least 17 of the top 25 communities. so now that's one of the point we make with respect to the communities. help us here. these are law enforcement officers who are facing additional risks. >> i think the public has the right to know, what are some of the larger cities we're talking about that are sanctuary cities? >> i think we provided that. i think one of the congressman
mentioned san francisco. >> san francisco. boulder, colorado. philadelphia. >> i can provide you a list, sir. i think we have provided it to the appropriations folks. >> your support staff is nodding in the affirmative. boulder is one of the larger -- >> it may well be. >> this is something that's a national issue. i think the public has the right to know who some of the cities are that are abusing the process. and okay -- i've got a couple other questions. let me move on. given the recidivism rate for criminal aliens, it's difficult to understand why aliens who are repeat offenders of crimes are far too often released back into our communities. how does i.c.e. address the increased danger posed to our citizens and what steps has i.c.e. or any other governmental age a encys taken to decrease the chance that an alien will
reoffend? >> well, public safety, as i said earlier, is my primary concern. this is the top of our mind. i have personally worked with our field office directors in the terminations of pros cue tollal discretion and in those areas, 37% where we do of criminal releases that we've had that are at our discretion, i want to make sure that they are looking at all the facts and circumstances pertaining to a particular individual to make sure that we don't have people who are a threat to public safety release under our discretion. again i point out, two thirds of the people released that have criminal records that you all have mentioned have been at either the instance of the supreme court and in the abadas case or immigration judges letting folks go. matter is out of our control. >> thank you. i think i have time for about one more question. hopefully the answer, too. criminal alien gangs such as
ms13 are growing rapidly across the nation, as we know. ms13 gang-related violence and murders have risen sharply all over the country. department of justice siz there are 13,000 in the u.s. and over 30,000 in central america and mexico. and i happen to be in guatemala and honduras and costa rica recently and you know, one of their points is one of the reasons a lot of the young people are coming up here is they are trying to get away from the gang activity. so one of the main things we can do to keep them from coming up here is to help them fight the gang activity. i think there's some mer knit that. it's not the whole answer, but i think it's part of it. with the continued surge of unaccompanied minors illegally entered in our southwest border we can only expect gang membership in this country likely to increase. aggravated felons are supposed to be enforcement priority under guidelines.
yet isis office, principle legal adviser closed removal cases against at least 44ing a revated felons since 2014. these individuals were released from custody and i.c.e. will not seek their removal. what is the purpose of enforcement priorities if i.c.e. chooses not to adhere to dhs guidelines? >> those guidelines are exactly that. as i said earlier, just like a federal judge releasing someone based on all of the facts and circumstances relating to that person, we do that also with regard to the discretionary releases. if you have someone who turned away from gangs, who is clearly trying to make their way in this country, having rejected that lifestyle, that may be an explanation for some of those 40. i don't know exactly the 40 individuals you're talking about. but we look, sir, we look at all the facts and circumstances, gangs have been part of our special operations that we've conducted.
we yielded about a thousand gang members in our last operation and they are now in removal proceedings on the way out of country. so it is definitely an enforcement priority. but that doesn't mean that every person who has had the moniker of being associated with a gang or gang member previously would necessarily be detained if in fact their situations like i described where someone is trying to turn away from that lifestyle. >> what about the aggravated felons? >> gentlemen is out of time. but you may answer the question. but you may answer the question. but you may answer the question. >> same thing with thing a ree t aggravated felon. if they are released -- i found like a broken record, i know. was this a felony that happened 30 years ago, aeb the person has been in the country for 50 years? i don't know. but our people are trained and they have consistent training over a period of time with respect to what to look for,
what information to give. i have given -- i have set up a review panel within headquarters to look at every criminal release. and to make sure that we have done it properly. and that there is actual lay reason for the prosecutorial discretion if it is being exercised in that case. >> thank you. the gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes the lady from california, mrs. chu. >> thank you. the immigration and naturalization service released operating instructions on persons during labor disputes. the document has been used since its release and has been a valuable. in particular, the guidance laid outweighs in which immigration officers could avoid annoyingly becoming involved in a labor
dispute. for instance, if information may have been provided in order to retaliate against employees for exercising their rights. i think it's important to know your agency's policies for interaction with workers during employment disputes. i would like to know why this document has not been made public. >> the document that you're talking about having been revised? >> yes. >> if it contain essencetive law enforcement information with respect to our procedures, our approaches, to apprehension or things like that, that is something we would not disclose to the public. but i'll tell you, congresswoman, we have involved nongovernmental agencies, in the drafting of so many of our
policyes. with respect to detention, reform on family centers. i've got an advisory committee on that very issue. i will take a look that and see specifically why it is we have not released it and certainly get back to you on that. >> well, i find it curious that you're saying it could be law enforcement sensitive because the document was made public for so many years, since 1996. >> and that's very unfortunate. i have made it a point to be careful with respect to our law enforcement sensitive information. that is not something i disagree with necessarily. we shouldn't be disclosing certain procedures but i don't know if this specific report falls within that. >> the working group created by president obama's executive action on immigration was charged with not only affecting different policies but upholding the value of trarns parncy.
this seems to fall right into the ideal of being transparent. so i would have to say that i truly am puzzled by this lack of transparency on this particular guidance. especially when it's a change in the negative in terms of reducing the information available to people. also, if you won't publicly release this new version of the operating instructions, are there alternative ways of allowing advocates to fully understand how isis policy in this area has changed? >> absolutely. there's ways to communicate with the general public and immigrants in particular. and we will look at that with respect to this particular document. you've given me an opportunity to talk about my community relations officer and our office of community engagement that we just stood up recently for that very reason that you're talking
about. i want an open line of communication. not only with law enforcement, shares, police chiefs, but also with members of the community. chambers of commerce. immigrant advocates. i have personally met and so has my senior adviser who is actually here, with a number of groups across the country, to try to explain our policies and why we go about our business in the way we do. we're not trying to hide our policies. in fact, rather than hide, i'm trying to inform folks. where our priorities are. who should be concerned and that's top of the list is criminals and gang members and the like. and who is not a priority on our system. i'm with you on transparency and open communication. i wish i could get out to more
places. but i have a long chain that leaves me in washington often. but i have now a community relation officer either in route or already on board in every one of our areas of responsibility. 25 of them across the country with the exception of hawaii. >> at the very least, can the immigrant it labor rights advocates have meetings with your top administrator so they can explain how isis policy in this area has changed? >> we will certainly communicate on the policy with them. along with where we apprehend people, sensitive locations, all these other issues we try to deal with the advocate community on. >> thank you, i yield back. jz gentle lady yield back. now the chair recognizes the gentleman. >> thank you for your openness and candor on a number of subjects. i've got one more. i.c.e. policy of releasing removable criminal aliens under
priority enforcement program and the use of prosecutorial discretion led to some tragic consequences. no one doubts that we've had multiple and they generally make national news for obvious reasons. but reports indicate that 83% of aliens released nationwide between 2012 and 2016 were convicted felons and 30% of them committed serious felony offenses such as rape, child molestation and attempted murder. after the release from i.c.e., again 30% committed additional felonies after their release, given the danger from of recidivism by these individuals or another way of putting it director, consider that in your discretion you've been wrong 30% of the time and people have died, people have been raped, people have been molested, isn't it in fact time to change that
discretion to make it less permissive? >> i'm not sure where that is coming from, congressman, with respect to we've been wrong 30% of the time. if you're talking about total releases, that's one number. but as i explained earlier, two thirds of those releases are not at our discretion. only about 37% are. and in those cases, we take very good care in reviewing files to ensure that there is a basis for that release. we don't -- the women and men of i.c.e. do not want to see a single immigrant go back and commit a criminal act. we're doing the best we can. are we perfect? we're not. i have to admit that. >> let's look at it another way. under rodriguez currently, if you do not foresee finishing adjudication of a case after six months, you're obliged to release a nonleg immigrant, someone who came here illegally, who you're atimting to deport,
and when you release them they generally disappear and unless you catch them again, they don't know up. is that correct? >> many times. >> so for this committee, committee of jurisdiction to change the law, even to change the constitution, if needed, isn't this a problem that currently either you do not have the tools to adjudicate a case within six months or the courts are not available to you for an expeditious six months and you're forced to release knowingly people who enter the country illegally, are appropriate for deportation often violent criminals and yet you're forced to release them undercurrent supreme court decision and ninth circuit, right? >> that's true. >> so if we look at both side of the aisle here and we look prospectively into next congress, isn't the most important tool we would live you a pair of tools.
one, the ability to adjudicate cases in less than six months so you do not come up against the mandatory release and sufficient assets to in fact ensure that you never have to release somebody simply because you don't have the capacity to hold them? >> that certainly would be helpful and if i could add to that point and i would love to sit with anybody who is looking at this issue in particular, to assist in any way i can, but with respect to those people required to release the supreme court decision, many of them and probably the majority are because we can't get travel documents. that's why from the country to which they need to be repatriated and that's why we are working so hard with those foreign governments to try to change that. >> let me do a final question in my remaining one minute, and that will leave you plenty of time for an answer. i also serve on foreign affairs and my colleague and i serve together.
wouldn't it be at a bare m minimum, appropriate to provide through your assistance through secretary johnson that in fact there be an outcome. meaning visas granted by the state department should be withheld by countries who refuse to take back the individuales who have committed crimes, done other wrong things and for which we want to return their home country. isn't that quid pro quo that could assist secretary johnson to use his authority to deal with countries that do not cooperate and isn't that something to which they have to deal with? >> he has taken under advisement how he should exercise --
>> has he made that request to secretary of state? >> as i said earlier, i believe he has one seriously under consideration. i don't know that letter has actually been exchanged. but i do know he is aware of it. >> thank you. mr. chairman. >> the chair yield to the lady of california. >> i would like to make a request for unanimous consent that immigration and refugee service and national law center human rights first and immigration assistance and american immigration council be placed on the record. >> without objection. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. deutsche? >> thank you, mr. chairman. director saldana, thanks for being here. i want to go back to something that the chairman had asked initially when he asked about the 34,000 beds that congress said must be filled and the
reliance on private facilities to fill those beds and as you're aware and our homeland security appropriations bill congress requires detention foolishly, i believe. requires detention of 34,000 people each day with no regard for actual need. this requirement is referred to detention bed mandate, costing more than $2 million per year or 5.5 million per day. the cost of holding someone in detention is approximately $159 per day per person when in many instances there are other ways that the person can be monitored at significantly less money. significantly less to the taxpayer. i want to go back. i have serious concern about the conversations between i.c.e. and contract companies that mandate a fixed number of people be locked up at specific centers. the gao raised concerns about the cost and lockup quota. like the center for cons
fusional rights also have spoken out against them. the lock of quoted provisions. referring to contracts as guaranteed minimums and mr. contracts i.c.e. pay fes for a minimum number of beds even if they aren't use all to make sure the private companies receive a profit. after july 14, 2015, i submitted several questions for the record on guaranteed men mum detention bend paid in contract with ice and private companies. and it was confirmed that contracts between i.c.e. and private detention have the minimum detention beds these contractual provisions containing lockup quotas are entrenching the mandate of the local level and encourage local ice officials to keep people in detention. over the summer a report by the u.s. commission on international religious freedom was released describing a very disturbing
statement from an i.c.e. official at head quarters who described that bond rates are determined in different areas based on bed space. rates are lower when there are fewer beds available and nowhere to detain the individual and vice versa. it is extremely troubling that bond rates are set for people based on the availability of detention bed space in a locality, instead of whether or not that person is a flight risk and whether or not they are violent. i just have a few questions. does the statement for the i.c.e. official accurately describe how bond rates are set? >> no. >> that statement was incorrect. could you elaborate? >> yeah. the bonds are set either by a court or when those cases where i.c.e. has discretion, we look at the facts and circumstances of the case and set the bond amount at a number that will ensure that person's appearance for their day in court.
so that is the instructions that's out there. that's in writing to our lawyers. and that's the way it's exercised. >> so the statement in the report that the bond is based on bed space is absolutely inaccurate? >> it's inaccurate. >> do you agree that congress requiring that these beds be filled takes away the discretion of law enforcement in a way that we don't do, congress doesn't do to my other law enforcement agency? >> i have the ultimate responsibility for detention and detention centers, sir. the way i con strus that mandate is to have the beds available. the mandate is not to spend x amount of money. i'm not going to put someone in a detention bed that doesn't need to be there. neither am i going to deny to
release someone because detention space is not available if they need to be detained. >> i don't have a lot of time. i understand what you would do. but when the contracts are entered into with private detention facilities, does the detention mandate come into play? do those contracts guarantee to private operators that certain beds will be paid for on a regular basis? >> we have to anticipate there are a certain number of beds available. 34,000 is a number that is obviously part of that mandate of available beds so we we have to have that available whether the beds are used or not. that's the way the statute is written. >> so you would agree with me that congress getting involved to mandate that there is certain number of beds that are filled which is the way it's interpreted by my colleagues here that put that misguided policy into law that having that in there takes away the discretion of the i.c.e. officials and in fact winds up guaranteeing profits for the private detention facilities. >> that's not why we engage in
these contracts with them. and i do not put someone in a detention bed just because i need to fill one. >> i know that's not why you engage. but private companies come to you seven a, we have to have x number of beds paid for. congress says it. and congress says there has to be billions of dollars to spend every year in order to ensure that. we will calculate our fees based on what congress says has to be done regardless of whether you believe the beds should be filled or not. and whether the person is determined to be a flight risk or not. >> gentleman sought of time. but you're welcome to answer. >> i'm sorry, i lost your question there.isought of time. but you're welcome to answer. >> i'm sorry, i lost your question there. ought of time. but you're welcome to answer. >> i'm sorry, i lost your question there.ht of time. but you're welcome to answer. >> i'm sorry, i lost your question there.t of time. but you're welcome to answer. >> i'm sorry, i lost your question there. what is your question there? >> the way the contracts are ge noeshated based upon the $2 billion a year that congress says has to be spent in large part for the benefit and primarily so sm would argue for the benefit of the private detention companies. >> no, i'll tell you, they don't
dictate to us what terms of the contract are. we lettous a proposal that specified terms of the contract. that 34,000 is a useful tool because that's how much money we have in order to set that number. but it's not that bed is not going to be filled unless it needs to be. and we're not going to release anyone who should be in a bed because we don't have a money available. >> so it is not injury determination what beds are needed. it is a determination made by congress that says we will spend $2 billion a year to make beds available that is interpreted by my colleagues as beds should be filled which ultimately will benefit the private companies. it is not -- for everyone who looked that, to take away the discretion of ice officials to decide what should be done here and to say that congress is imposing it so that these private companies can come to you and say, look, congress has to spend the money, $2 billion, here is the money we need in order to build this, doesn't
seem like the right approach. that's all i'm saying. thank you. >> chairman reluctantly yields back. chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona, mr. frank. >> thank you, under chairman. director saldana, thank you for being here. if i can, i want to take up where chairman issa left off. i thought his questions were very profound, very cogent. i suggested in court records that quote many of the criminals that they released were traffic violators or other nonviolent offenders. but mr. issa's comments there show the percentage of criminals released by i.c.e. nationwide from 2012 to 2016 was 83%. i mean, is that right? that's an enormous figure. from my perspective, you know the first purpose of the federal government is to defend and protect its citizens. and that seems like prima facia
evidence that we are failing at least in this area. even if the area is sincere. if 83% of those we are releasing from 2012 to 2016 were felons. that's big deal. i don't know about the 30% recidivism. do you think that's approximately correct, 30% recidivism? >> i haven't done the math. but if you have, i won't quibble with you. >> well, if 83% of those released are convicted felon webs then there is something desperately wrong in the system somewhere. i guess, you know, just in reoffenses, we're showing statistics of around 130 murders or attempted murders since 2010. and according to a letter from
the senate judiciary committee, that's their number. but i.c.e. insisted that reoffenders were isolated examples. these aren't isolated examples. these numbers are staggering. i guess the next question occur says what is ice specifically doing now to prevent the release of these serious criminals on to america's streets? >> as i mentioned earlier, sir, i share the same concern as you did. when i first arrived in this job back now almost two years ago, this was of grave concern to me. we need to be very careful in knows releases. setting aside the fact about two third of those releases are required upon us by either courts or this abadas decision. we make sure that the field office directors and supervisors in the field have taken to
account very carefully all of the facts and circumstances of that case and have made a decision based on facts, not feelings, but based on facts, that that person does not present a threat to the community. so mixed into the numbers that you're talking about are some of these people -- well, two thirds of them, who are not being released by i.c.e. we don't, i will assure you, no one at homeland security or at i.c.e. takes the release of someone with a criminal conviction more seriously than we do. >> but the original question is, what are we doing now to remit gate the fact that 83% of the people we leasing are fell kwon. and some are recommitting. i know you probably just don't know. >> no, i do know. we have given specific training and instruction to the field. things to look for with respect to any decision on a release. that's discretionary. it is based on the entire file.
it is based on the file, facts and cirques. once that decision is made locally we review the decision at head quarters to make sure that it is a well reasoned decision. and not just based on someone who's been careless. as i said earlier, sir, i fall on my sword that we have, best used discretion. i wish we were 100% perfect. >> i understand. sounds like you're making an effort but there is still 130 people, americans, who have died because we made the wrong decision there. let me quickly shift gears. about 140 nations refused to take back at least some of the citizens that come over here, and i know that there's, i think we've gotten a letter from, is it gambia, a hundred percent of them? are there others besides gambia? is that the extent of our
letters? are we saying to any other countries if you break our laws or cross our borders and you commit a crime we will stop giving you visas. is there any other country other than gambia we are doing that with? >> are there any other countries -- >> speaking of letters, i have spent about 126 myself to countries i've met with ambassadors of those countries. i met with those am bar dors in those countries to change their mind. these are obligations under world treaties. we are doing our best to bring those people around. >> well i would suggest that they don't need to change their mind we need to change our mind. we don't offer visas in the future. a very simple equation. the chairman will recognize this young lady from washington. >> thank you, mr. chair. and director, thank you for being with us today.
it's been reported that draft rules are being considered that would create national uniformity for immigration judges to allow child immigrants to -- more time to obtain legal representation. and in light of the ninth circuit's decision or opinion this week, i think these rules are highly welcome step towards ensuring treatment towards the most vuner able individuals, so i wondered if you could share with the committee your officer's involvements in discussions on those rules, if any. as an agency that's responsible for carrying out removaling following legal proceedings, do you have any comments on this issue. >> those rules you're talking about would bind the immigration reports and those come under the department of justice, not the department of homeland security. the immigration reports are under the department of justice. i am sure that at some point being under considered now that
we may well be consulted. i may not wait to be consulted, we may reach out and see if we could have some input, that would be the decision by department of justice and ultimately by the courts. >> well, in a concurring opinion, two judges, one a republican appointee and one a democratic appointee, came together and they said "what is missing here money and resolve. in other words what is missing here is congressional action and the political will to ensure that young children fleeing violence are not facing the complexities of our immigration procedures alone. the law requires fair hearings and i would say that three-year-olds who are alone before judges is not fair what
do you think is needed that reflects at least the basic notions of justice and due process, what do you think we should be doing to make sure that we are making sure those children's rights are protected? >> you know, i've been two weeks ago i was in guatemala. i saw and met several of those children, families, mothers, children, adult men. it's an important significant issue, i'm glad to hear that there were some rules that were reconsidered, i would like -- i agree with you that a three-year-old could not be expected to know what their rights and privileges are, but again, it is -- we will reach out to see if we can be consulted about this. in the end it is the department of justice and i know that's my old department. i know they will take good care of promulgating something fair
and correct. >> do you think that congress has a role to play on this issue? >> no -- >> what would you recommend. >> i've been preaching since like almost the day i arrive that we need comprehensive immigration reform. we can't just be dealing with one issue or the other, everything -- and this should be towards the top of the list, how children's rights are vindicated and represented, should be a part of a comprehensive immigration reform package, i believe. >> and i want to highlight that over 7,000 children have been deported who have come from central america, largely due to notification problems, lack of representation, difficulties navigating the process and so we've impacted many, many children already. does getting this right have an impact on the ability of to properly carry out its mission? >> sure. i want to be sure that i'm clear
on this. our whole involvement with unaccompanied children is to process enter into the country and turn them over to the department of health and human services who looks after their needs and where they are while their cases are being heard, so it's a fairly minor role with respect to children, but obviously we have concerns at heart and we believe that we need to have their issues treated differently and sensitively because of their age. we have very little involvement with the with children, underaged children. >> again, the law requires for young children who are seeking refuge across our borders. so thank you and my time has expired. i yield back mr. chair. >> the chair will now recognize
the gentleman from texas, mr. rat cliff. >> thank you chairman, director, it's good to see you, i appreciate you being with us this morning and appreciate the candor of your testimony that's not something that we always get in front of this committee from some of the administration officials that have been here. i want to start out by asking you about a specific immigration case that tragically impacted a family in my northeast texas district at the hands of a man who was for, at least the second time in this country illegally back in april a van driven by that man served from his lane into the opposite lane and drove a car being driven by a 42-year-old man by the man of peter, who was a fire captain from wiley, texas, in the car with mr. hackie was his four-year-old daughter, elly, and his two-year-old son, grayson, all three of them were killed. now mr. cantaro was a mexican
citizen who entered the united states illegally the first time where he entered in 2006. i don't know how many times he reentered the country illegally, but we know he was back for at least a second time in 2016 and obviously with tragic consequences. now i want to start out and go on the record to thank you director for being responsive personally when i called your office immediately after the incident, i didn't expect to get a call back directly from you and i received one and what you told me during the phone call about what i.c.e. was going to do and able to provide the hacking family with the small, but i think very important token of assurance and justice wouldn't be ignored. i'm grateful to you and i know the hacking family is as well
and i want to go on the record to that point. i think the fact that i felt compelled to urgently pick up the phone and call you really speaks to the larger problem. i felt compelled to do that because i was aware of a similar accident that resulted in illegal alien posting bell and fleeing the country so i was really acting out of fear and i'm sure you can understand why i wasn't about to let that happen to one of my constituents. again, i want to thank you for issuing the detainer so that we know if he's somehow released r, we have the comfort of knowing to go into federal custody. let me ask you about that specific case, he's been charged with three counts of manslaughter by the collin county d.a. and awaiting trial on those charges, but can you
provide me assurance that hacking families and my constituents the say insurance that he'll also face federal charges for illegal reentry. >> yes, and thank you for your kind remarks, congressman. as i told you, i made a commitment regarding. he is from my state of texas as well. i mean, he was -- the accident occurred in my state of texas and the victims were from texas. we have a detainer on him and we'll be hearing, we have no problems from collin county, you're familiar with the area with respect to cooperation on those. we will keep an eye out on the trial and he'll get a long sentence we'll proceed further
there. >> i will for the record say this speaks to the larger issue that my constituents care about border security to that point. if you're perfect in your job with respect to enforcement of our immigration laws if someone like can simply walk back and forth across an imaginary line and commit more crimes i think we're doing american people a grave dwisservice. having said that, an issue where you can play a role in addressing situations like this that are frankly happening far too often is with respect to the 287 g program. if county and local jurisdiction want to participate in the program to assist i.c.e. and enforcing our immigration laws, why is isn't i.c.e. leaping at the chance to do that? the reason i say that, thehere e
jurisdictions where application to be part of that have been pending with ice for a number of yea years. >> since i've been on board we've reviewed the jurisdiction. i have signed letters approving some in texas, so we -- we are open for business with respect to that, we do look carefully at the jurisdiction, make sure that they understand what their role is, what our role is -- but we will accept those requests and review them and then, to the extent that they will be appropriate partners with us under our requirements under 287 g, we will engage them. >> can i take it then from the testimony that the backlog
that's there that i understand is maybe due to manpower as opposed to -- >> actually, i can pretty much assure you, we can talk about specific jurisdictions as follow up to the hearing, sir, but i can assure you that we've been back to anybody -- since i've been on board, we have been back to anybody who indicated an interest to inquire whether they still had that interest, some of them do not, so we can't do anything about that. but respect to those who have, once they pass our requirements, we certainly will take a look at that to become our partners in that program. >> i'm glad to hear that. thanks, director, i yield back. >> gentleman from texas yields back. >> in your individual testimony you related to isis who are engaged in immigration proceedings with respect to the issue of human rights abuses and
that screen for human rights abuses. i'm working on a piece of legislation that will give them human rights abuses, human rights abusers who commit crimes against humanity if they end up in the jurisdiction of the united states. so can you tell me what your process, that screening process that you described, looks like, what you do to prevent those who have committed human rights abuses from entering the united states. >> well, we have a tremendous network of visa security posts where somebody is trying to come in on a nonimmigrant visa, that's one of the issues that's top of our list of things to consider. i've got a unit with the office of principle legal advisers, our lawyers, specifically focused to identification apprehension and prosecution of human rights violators. they are -- i would love for you to meet them, especially if you're working on this legislation, they are about their work and very.
>> and i would very much welcome the opportunity to meet with that unit, it will be very helpful. the second thing i want to ask you about is to extend the work that the department has done for taking a deeper look into how lgbt immigrants face particular challenges in the detention process and for issuing guidelines on how to address and deal with lgbt individuals in detention, but, of course, as you know guidelines are only as good as the people who enforce them, would you tell us a little bit about what is taking place, what efforts are taking place to
enforce and enhance the guidelines for lgbt individuals in i.c.e. custody and what training and custody is underway? >> we have a policy group that has been involved in looking at that guidance? we -- any time we issue guidance like that, we make sure that everyone who touches those cases where there might be a concern that someone is detained and that we look at those cases and make sure that people understand what our guidance is, that we must must be sensitive to these issues, we must look through the appropriate environment.
>> i think we all remember, director, the stories from the summer of 2014 when we were receiving a large number of unaccompanied minors ae cross our southern border. i know that time they put into place policies to deal with unaccompanied minors, can you tell us what those policies are today. are we ensuring that these young children that have experienced unspeakable traumas or facing abuse or violence if they returned home, are they getting the help that they need with i.c.e. i know some of this is not in your jurisdiction, do they have access to counseling, to counsel and i recognize as i said some of this is not within your jurisdiction, but to the extent you can inform us to the best of your knowledge what's happening
to these children who are without parents when they're coming? >> both our sister agency, which may be the first point on this when they see them at the borders points of entry. and our agents are trained dealing with these folks for the limited time these young people, these children, babies in many cases -- i know because i've had a couple of conversations with them they're responsible for their well being until their cases are determined. but, i am happy to, certainly, pass your inquiry along to them so they can provide you some more full explanation, because i'm not, personally, familiar
with everything they do there. thank you for that director, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back, the chairman will recognize the gentleman from utah. >> thank you -- director, thank you so much for being here. it was march 18th of last year that two appeared before the oversight committee and you admitted that in fiscal year 2014 i.c.e. had released 30,000 aliens with criminal convictions in fiscal year 2013, 36,007 criminal aliens were released. now -- and then you directed in 2015, i.c.e. released some 19,723 criminal aliens, as of february 11th of this year, 124 illegal immigrant criminals released from detention since 2010 have subsequently been charged with homicide. two had homicide related convictions before they were released for the first time, so the question here is one of the
rate of recidivism, do you have any updated stats on the rate of recidivism of the criminal aliens that you're releasing back into the public? >> you know, we've looked at that and i know i've had it. i've had some -- some information that relates to that, sir, but i don't recall it just off the top of my mind. >> yeah, i understand that it's hard to recital the statistics in prom impromptu over several hour hearing, what's a reasonable time to get back to us on that? >> pick the date? >> someone is going to kick me if i'm -- >> i'm happy to do that. >> i'm pretty sure that within the month we can get it to you, i'm going to get it to as quickly as i can. >> can we say by the end of the month. >> this month? >> i don't think so. >> okay. >> it's eight days away.
>> i don't know why it would take a month. >> but at the outside. >> i will get it to you as soon as i can. >> this is a prime concern is people that are here illegally and they commit a crime, they get convicted of that crime, as opposed to deporting them, so last time we were together in our oversight hearing, we talked about the ability, it's what mr. frank is in part talking about, in the country to accept those. what countries are not accepting the deportation of criminal aliens? >> we have a list of 23 countries that we referred to as recal saw trant. we just compiled that list recently because we want to keep a record of those who are not working with us. >> can i get a copy of that?
>> absolutely. >> and then we have a longer list, with respect to those that are not particularly cooperative that we have a difficulty, while we may have some, them honor some, maybe they don't take others back, so we can provide that to you. >> since last year, there are provisions in the law that the state department must act on and the frustration that the state department has been empowered by the united states congress, in fact, directed by the congress to not allow them to grant visas from those countries so that, why should a country be able to allow -- why should we be issuing visas in a country to come to the united states when we're taking our criminal aliens and saying, look, this person is here illegally, we should go back. if you have 23, what has been shared with the secretary of homeland security and consequently what has gone on to the secretary of state for
action under the law. >> i am pleased with the fact that the chief of the bureau of counselor affairs, the individual who worries about all her conflicts and embassies across the world, i have been meeting with her seven times, personally, as we go over information relating to what can be done on these -- >> can you please update us to where we're at in that process, you have given information to the secretary of state, but the secretary is required, under the law, to act on that. i need exposure to what has been given to the secretary of state, where in the food chain we're breaking down, because we need action taking on these countries, i do believe that some of these countries face the consequence. the other countries might set out and take it, you know, to pay attention, so i've got to hit one more thing and i've got
only three minutes left of my time here. so, i believe -- and lack of identity documents in the refugee from homeland security, again, i don't mean to play gotcha, but i want -- i would like to know if you're familiar with this document and get your reaction to it, there's some very troubling aspects to it. i don't know if you're immediately familiar with this document, i would like to confirm its authenticity with you, but i need to understand if this is something that you're familiar with. >> gentleman is out of time, but you may answer the question, director. >> somebody just handed me a document, i presume it's the one you're talking about. i have never seen this document before, i don't know how long you've had it, but i -- >> i haven't had it very long. mr. chairman, i just hope that if she -- the director can get back to us about its
authenticity in any comments, particularly, the first -- the first two sentences in the second paragraph are extremely concerning to us. >> thank the chairman for his indulgence. >> the chairman now recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. peters. >> i will like to begin two articles dated the 21st and 22nd of september and tribune to highlight the urgency of the situation facing hatian immigrants in san diego. >> thank you for being here. i had some questions on that topic. since 2010, hatian entrants have been given a special refugee status. just this morning secretary johnson that he, yesterday, announced enforcement -- and consistent practice guided by his memorandum dated november 20th, 2014, the justification for this change in policy seems to be rooted in what -- "sufficient improvements" to the situation in haiti.
however, my understanding his position of the haiti government that they do not have the ability or capacity to accept the reason of these individuals, toward hatian entrants? >> that was announced by the secretary today and one is the changed conditions that he has perceived based on the facts and information that was available to him, since that terrible disaster -- in 2010. at one point beginning then, the then secretary of homeland secretary stopped deportations of hatians. it was -- they let up a little bit on it a year or two later, but since then, it culminated in today's announcement. the other aspect of it the
number of hatians at borders seek an entrance. treating them the same as anyone else will still afford him congressman rights that are provided by statute with respect to asylum and refugee status. they will be looked at in terms of their claims, probably immigration courts will make a final determination. but it doesn't -- it doesn't take away or strip those rights. they will still have them. >> do you think i.c.e. has the funding and capacity necessary to detain in process the hatian migrants waiting at the southern border? >> that -- those and the other increased numbers of families from central america are really taxing our resources. >> so in san diego we've welcomed about 4,000 hatian entrants and the communities stepped up to accommodate the individuals, are you of assistants available to our community to help with temporary
housing of folks like this? >> well, i'll tell you who has always stepped up in this regard, is religious organizations, i am just so impressed by both on the border that i visited myself personally and also in san diego that i've been to personally also these organizations step up to help and i know that we will advise and work with organizations to assist with respect to their some humanitarian aid that can be made available to those people that need it. >> any sense of what we'll need at the border and housing like this. >> i don't -- i really don't know, sir, i haven't studied it to that extent. i certainly can converse with you more later with respect -- >> when you stu --
>> yes. >> finally just raise the issue with respect to zika, we have people migrating from and through areas known to be home to zika, active zika zones, obviously, the community and the nation has to make sure that these people get access to care as quickly as possible and obviously congress has to do its part, i'm optimistic we'll do something about that soon. but it takes an average of four weeks for these entrants to receive benefits. do you have any light of the about zika transmission. >> in general, as part of the -- taking people who are coming through areas with active zika problems. >> i know there's medical screening that's done by our sister agency and ourselves, with respect to the bigger picture on the overall public health concern, i wish i could
help you on that, congressman, but i really not familiar with all of that. >> so how would we -- do you have any suggestions for us and how we would reduce that four-week timeline between when people ask for help and get it concerning zika. >> i appreciate you being here today and mr. chairman i yield back. >> thank you. >> gentleman from california yields back, chair will now recognize the gentleman from texas. >> it's good to have you here. first, let me say, i know in may you suffered what every parent i hopes and prays they never have to endure, so our thoughts and prayers have been with you since we found out about that. i know michael has to leave a tough spot that will never be
filled. and i know that's got to be tough to continue on, we appreciate your continuing to do what you can. >> thank you congressman, i appreciate that. >> so that's something every parent, i know, shares. i want to share with you about an experience i had earlier this year in -- down on the border in the mcallen sector that had taken over, as i understand, being the busiest. and, of course, i know you're aware that's a wider area of the rio grand, i hear people talk about areas where you can walk across and obviously that's not one of them. you don't make it across, unless you've got help and normally it's one of the rafts that coyotes are bringing across. but, as i'm sure you're aware, the state of texas had appropriated millions of dollars, they've got four boats down there on that section of
the rio grand and those boats are extremely well equipped and all the nights i've spent on the border down there, one some months back, was on the fast boat and has the thermal technology. we had night vision, so we were able to use the night vision but the thermal technology was just amazi amazing. >> we went down the river and we would spot people when it's 2:00, 3:00 in the morning when people are gathering up along the edge of the river behind trees, bushes, among other things. you know they're probably going to try to cross. and we know that there were homeland security employees along the way, some border
patrol. and when we would see somebody like, okay, there's two, maybe three, looks like they're carrying something, they're squatting, they're -- looks like they're trying to bring something in, not people. and that's communicated to homeland security personnel. and there's balloons down there they send up and they can focus in and use the technology and, generally, we would get the response back, yes, we have that -- those individuals spotted. there's 16, 17, 18 people, they're not carrying anything, they look like they'll try to come across, as we spotted things that was conveyed to homeland security personnel and the balloons, the technology, the cameras would zoom and they would find who we had reported. we went down to a bend in the river and turned off the engine
and waited for a long period of time and the federal employees finally communicated stay right where they are. they know you're down there somewhere where you can get back to them before they cross. why don't you go on back to your dock and we'll intervene when they try to cross. and so they ask, is that all right with me, i said you're the guys in charge. so we went back to the dock. as soon as we got back to the dock, we got the report that when they heard our engines going far enough away, that the groups that we had seen came across and they were happy to report that they had gotten all of the 18 that came across that we had spotted with the thermal and that the people that appeared to be bringing large amount of drugs in, they hadn't
gotten them. they're somewhere on the u.s. side, but they got all of those that came in and i said to the texas dps, what, they didn't intervene and tell them to go back before they got on to american soil? and the texas guy said, that's what they do, they let them come on to u.s. and then we got to report they had all been successfully processed in. and with no intention of deporting them any time soon. now, i know they have been around, what, 160,000 or so that have been turned back that are being counted as apprehensions and deportations, but are you aware of i.c.e. just taking people that were caught red-handed coming in illegally and then in process rather than being deported.
>> i suspect that would have been our sister agency, as you said. >> border patrol. >> right. >> then you had i.c.e. people backing them up. you know you've got a lot of i.c.e. folks there. >> if there were drugs on them, and we had our hands on them, we wouldn't have let them go. >> they were never captured, that's the point. but, any way, it's now on your radar and it really needs to be dealt with and i appreciate the chairman's indulgence, thank you. >> gentleman there texas yields back. director, i want to thank you for your patience this morning. i'm last. i'm going to bounce to a couple of different topics. so. >> so i'm going to -- we're going to start with visas and schools. would it be helpful to your student efforts if all schools
that accept foreign students were required to be accredited. >> it make as difference, sir, of course. it makes a difference to have accredited institutions that will have -- be partners with us in the -- in our efforts to keep track of students who are coming in from foreign countries. >> how much of an issue has it been or have you seen these kind -- visa mills where you bring students here with no expectation that they actually pursue an education. >> well we had a tremendous case announced i was there at the press conference with my former county that was just a academic mill, very proud of that work done by our homeland security investigation agents who had a elaborate undercover operation going on and there were multiple -- 18, 19, for example -- for some reason is coming to mind of people that
were involved in that. it's a matter we take great interest in and focus our investigations on. >> we can ask for alien detention and less money for fugitive operations. is it true that your request for less money and if so, why? >> i will not ask for money in those areas. >> okay. there's another report that at least in previous years, occasionally, i.c.e. attorneys will not appear for hearings in
front of judges, that probably strikes you and i as being unusual that the governing attorney will not be there. have you heard that? was it a practice or is it a practice? >> that is an issue that i'm sure would come to my attention that were in any way systemic. has one missed a hearing here or there, i wouldn't be apprised of that. but i assure you that i have met so many of these attorneys, i can't imagine that being a practice and a report that's really valid. i'm not familiar with the report you're talking about, but our lawyers wouldn't just ignore a court setting. >> that's why i ask and i make no presumptions as to the validity of that report. but if you could have someone, not yourself, but just somebody check to see whether or not that is currently an issue or was an issue in the