tv Hearing Focuses on Immigration and Gang Membership CSPAN June 30, 2017 8:00pm-9:55pm EDT
. >> announcer: tonight on c-span3, a look at threats posed by a international gapg known as ms-1. that followed by a hearing on the children's program and future medicaid. and ale later portions of the national security form. the senate judiciary committee raernl held a hearing to examine threats posed by a gang called ms-13. the witnesses included representatives from the health and human services and the justice department. they discussed tactics used by the criminal group to aroute minors and what the federal government is going to counter
the threat. this is just under two hours. good morning everybody. norm hi we don't start until the ranking members here but people have scheduling problems today, and i've consulted with the staff and i can go ahead without waiting. thank you sir for being here. senator kennedys coming. the topic of today's hearing involves the ms-13 crises that's growing and spreading in communities across the nation. the atrocities of these criminals are not new. the group has existed since the 1980s and has made a reputation for itself as a perpetrator of extreme and often gruesome violence.
this organization has been dubbed the world's most dangerous gang. and some say, it would be a terrorist organization. but, you wouldn't expect anything less from a group whose model happens to be "kill, rain and control." . unfortunately over the last two years this terrifying model has become a vicious reality for many communities across our country. so far this year, the gang has been publicly linked to dozens of high-profile killings, rapes and assault across the country from washington, d.c., metro area, to houston, texas and name a lot of other communities as well. undoubtedly there are many many more that simply haven't been reported. let me give the committee just a few examples of this group's
absolute brutality and inhumidity. ms-13 has been responsible for nearly 20 murders on long island just since 2010. with victims including high school aged children, as young as 1. the group is also considered responsible for an additional 32 violence acts including eight attempted murders. in january, two gang members, both of whom are unauthorized immigrants murdered a 22-year-old man from new jersey to maryland with a promise of sex, where he butchered that person and left him in the woods near gooet berg, maryland to rot. in march, two ms-13 members were charged with kidnapping and
sexually assaulted three teenage girls for several weeks and eventually murdering one of them in what has been zroibed as a satanic ritual. in march of april, a string of ms-13 murders weapon across virginia with a murder of woods. woods was found space down, ms-13 subpoenas had cut his hands and throat before stabbing him 16 times. now, while these examples are horrifying their far from isolating, according to the department of justice. ms-13 regularly conduct gang activities across 40 states, in the district of columbia and their violence touches nearly every major community in america. what's even more troubling than
the recent search of ms-13 gang violence is the fact the organization has a new and more disturbing recruitment strategy, targeting uncompanied alien children. one child who was targeted by ms-13 and ultimately lost his life from their violence. as "the washington post" reported friday afternoon, danny san tin ya miranda was just 16-year-old when he was ab hended at the border. he traveled to the united states without his parents and like other minors he was sent with the federal government to live with a sponsor, in this case appear uncle. daniel was enrolled if a local school where he was, according to reports, sucked into tensions between ms-13 and rival gangs.
this led him as 13 gang leaders in el salvador to order danny's assassination. and he was shot to death at school bus stop one morning. danny's tragic story is all too common example of ms-13 rootless targeting of children. it is well known that ms-13 targets and recruits children as young as 8 years old. unaccompanied minors are gang candidates for gang recruitment. their illegal status and central american heritage alone make them vulnerable targets for ms recruitment. while their illegal status and central american heritage are key factors in the targeting, without a doubt, the failure of the current system for handling these children is also the
blame. the current system is with abuse, system mask errors and lack of effective cooperation. today wile hear from agencies who share responsibility for allowing these children to fall through the cracks and become target for ms-13 recruitment. to help us get to the bottom of the crises, we have asked representatives at the table, the justice department, health and human services, and the department of homeland security to appear today and to give us their point of view and answer our questions. in the report, it's found the customs and border patrol has allowed many ms-13 gang members to enter the united states, according to the whistle blower documents obtained by chairman johnson, the obama administration know ghi released at least 16 known ms-13 members
in the communities after their apprehensive. many of these members were uncompanied children. once an unaccompanied chirp is apprehended, the refugee settlement is suppose to find these children a sponsor. ultimately the sponsors themselves are in the country illegally and many of them have criminal background. because of the lack of post-release oversight many children have been placed in dangerous situations including illegal work inviermts and sometimes even prosecution rings. this combination of events, trafficking and apprehension at the united states border, and placement with inappropriate sponsors makes unaccompanied children vulnerable to gang recruitment. with promises of a cultural community and an escape from often heroin and isolating
living conditions at home, measuring s-13 hidalgo county bad an alternative option for too many young people. in in spite of ample evidence that unaccompanied children are a prime target for ms-13 rekrums, none of the government agencies here today have any statistics about how many more of the gang entered the united states and has recruited unaccompanied children. the end results of the government's total failure to establish an efficient process and meaningful oversight of the placement of these children have led to the current ms-13 crises. today's hearing is a step in plotting the path forward. throughout the course of this hearing we're going to ex mother how customs and border patrol and the office of refugee resettlement can better pop late
to ensure the safe and proper placement of unaccompanied children and decimate ms-13's recruitment in setting. we're also going to hear what steps immigration and custom enforcement and the justice department is taking to eliminate this situation on the back end. at the end of this hearing i fully expect the government and witnesses to be given a better understanding of what needs to be and must be done to end this threat. to many innocent americans and immigrant lives are at take stake. thank senator frankens, say what have you want to do. >> well, before i begin i'd hike to thank you mr. chairman for calling this hearing and focusing an attention on an issue that has significant implications for public safety. gang violence, particularly violence perpetrated by ms-13
and its rival, the 18th street gang, threatens the safety and security of our communities, most especially our immigrant communities. after police in los angeles arrested close to two dozen ms-13 gang members last month, lapd chief, charley beck explained that gangs like ms-13 prey on immigrants, in mar on undocumented immigrants. he said quote, they ex start them, problem them, rape them, they murder them. but chief beck also made clear that quote, without immigrants cooperation as witnesses, none of these arrests would be possible. now chief beck knows, and i expect that ms-13 knows as well that members of our immigrant communities are far less likely to seek help from law enforcement if they know that
the miff that respond to that call is going to check the papers. i think it's quite clear that fighting ms-13 doesn't just demand a coordinated effort opponent of state and local law enforcement, fighting ms-13 requires a law enforcement officials have the trust and respect of the communities targeted. i hope that today's witnesses are able to speak to how we are working to maintain that trust and respect, notwithstanding the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies we've seen emerge from the trump campaign, and sadly the trump administration. i also think it's important to acknowledge that some members of our immigrant communities came to this country to escape the violence and conflict that ms-13 and other gangs inflicked upon them in their home countries.
sad sadly, for central american immigrants, those from southern countries, gaud may la, and hon did you ev duras, the -- all too narrow. recent studies have demonstrated gang violence, specifically gang violence targeting children is a significant factor in some family's decision to leave their home country if search of safety and security here in america. so i hope today's witnesses is raible to help us understand how ms-13 east activities in central america force children and families to make the long journey here. i also hope today's witnesses can help us understand how addressing the root cause, root causes of this violence in central america fits into the
federal government's efforts to fight ms-13 here at home. thank you mr. chairman and again i appreciate you're holding this hearingism. >> thank you. for the benefit of the committee as well as witnesses, i'm going to have one of my colleagues, chair from 11 to 11:25 so i can go and ask questions on trade and finance committee down the hall. i should be back. we all need to remember the two-hour rule would be in place db no i guess we'll be done by the time the two-hour rule go into effective. i'm going to sprous the pam and i'd like to swear you after that then i'll take your testimony. karl rojas, acting chief of the u.s. border patrol. miss rojas has a long career in law enforcement.
she began with the riley county police department, man tat tan, kansas, onned the border patrol 1997. she has held numerous positions. in 199 #, border patrol agent in charge. in 2009, deputy chief patrol agent. 2011. chief patrol agent in 2013. and depth commissioner and responsibility, 2015. scott lloyd is director of office refugees settlement. mr. lawrence joined his dj from catholic university. prior mr. lloyd served as chief counsel, public policy officer, nights at columbus where he helped shape the organization's humanitarian response and led his policy ethic and minority
victims of isis. mr. lloyd has served on mick's sphere on drug policies and human resources and at the department of health and human services. derrick banner is the acting executive associate director for homeland security investigation. m banner began his comp store in law enforcement in the u.s. customs service where he served as custom's inspector, ama recent enforcement officer. a special agent and a management of meritime smuggling task force. prior to to his current position, m banner served as special agent for homeland security investigations where he led multi agency task forces and crossing criminal activity in the mexican border area. mr. el victims is executive
associate director of enforcement and removal operations in this role he leads ero in its mission to identify and remove individuals who presented danger to national security or mechanic safety. he has over 23 years of federal law enforcement experience and has held numerous leadership positions, such as depth assistant director for investigations, associate special agent in charge and depth special agent if charge with a former u.s. immigration and naturalization service. mr. elvins have also served as unit chief for isis office of investigation training academy. kenne kenneth blaine koe is the assistant attorney general for criminalinging division.
mr. blaine koe has early morninged -- earned a jd. he's began his career in the miami, dade attorney office. he joined the southern district of florida u.s. attorney office '98. m plain koe has held numerous positions, chief of high potential drug trafficking area, acting chief of narcotics and deputy chief of major crime sections in 2008. mr. plain coserved as deputy defense attorney general. would you please stand. do you affirm that the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god?
each has affirmed. thank you very much. >> mr. chairman may a ask a question housekeeping question. you eluded to the two hour rule. >> yeah but i think we're starting at noon are we? >> but is that -- is there an objection to committee's meeting during the days session of the senate? >> only rumors. >> okay. >> only rumors. >> and that's associated with the protest of some of our cheegs over the healthcare issue? >> yes. >> thank you. >> as far as i know it was yesterday i believe. >> mr. chair if i may, for those of you who may not know that's -- if every member were here right now we couldn't finish by noon, so for somebody
at the end of the die yas i hope they don't show up so i'll have an opportunity to ask my questions. this is an critically important subject we should not be cut off the arbitrated subject for issues that has nothing to do with this problem. >> senator under the -- you're protected. miss pro voice, bay eay the wayh of you will probably have more than the five minute statement you have been allocated. that longer statement had been put in the record. i don't cut people off right at five minutes but before the red light go on i'd appreciate if you would go as quickly as you could. proceed. >> thank you. ranking members thank you for the opportunity to appear today to discuss the role of u.s. border protection and protecting the homeland and securing our borders. thanks for the support and leadership of the president, congress and acting commissioner as well as the hard work of men and women of the cdp.
we're making progress to secure our borders but threat posed against the operation. such as ms-13. since taking office the president has issued executive orders and intended to secure our border and enforce immigration laws especially as they relate to etos. immedication of policy have led to historic decline in illegal crossings along the southwest border. one of the greatest challenges we cap to face along the swes border are tcos such as the criminal organization, ms-13. when the u.s. border patrol encounterers known gang members ore aliens who admit to known -- and the border patrol electronic system of record, bio mettic information is collected for all
aliens over the age of 14. the system elects finger prints and run record checks on detainees and ensuring their prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. we encounter unaccompanied alien children with suspect t afacilities to ms-13 creates champs. all are -- court orders and policies pursuant to the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act of 2008, once a child is determined to meet the definition of a uac, cbp is required to transfer the uac into the carry and custody of health and human services within 72, except in unusual circumstances. if a uac is expected of being a member of or affiliated with a gang the communicating is conveyed to an i.c.e. field
office juvenile coordinator and office of review yes and resettlement. when a placement request the regenerated. secure replacement is requested for any uac who has a gang affiliation. of the more than 250,000 uacs apprehended since 2012, approximately 160 are suspected of having gang afilgs inchuding affiliations with ms-13. the department unit of effort initiative enchuding the tafgs forgots have strengthen processes toen able the operation to impress ctos. the -- against tcos and elicit networks by sex offenders and seizing weapons and narcotics. with the support of congress, cbp will continue to work with
our law enforcement partners, leverage their capabilities and continue to target individuals and organizations inchuding ms-13 who's criminal conduct jurn mines community, the integrity of immigration system and all board security. we'll take steps to prevent the proindividulal of the president's executive orders which support the department's efforts to disrupt and dismantle teos that afortifying the netwo the region and beyond. members of committee thank you for this opportunity to testify on this important issue. in closing i'd like to take a moment to mention that although illegal immigration are trendingdown ward the aat all time on border patrol agents are on the rise. they are one of the most assaulteding a if the country. border patrol agents were
assaulted 360 times. despite the champs of the job, the men and women of cbp work tirelessly to protecter or borders and the american people. i thank the members of the united border patrol for their hard work to ensure our nation's secure. i'm proud to serve alongside them with honor first. i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> dangerous job that your colleagues have there, you've done that and served them well. mr. scott or mr. lloyd. >> chair grassley, distinguished members of the committee. it's my honor to appear on behalf of the healthy and community services. as though our director coordinate the efforts for h hs
and i also receive the other gone to alien children program. since joining in march one of my top priorities to -- i want r&r and our apparepartners today whe we can in providing care for the children. this year we have begun working the area of community safety which is one of the administration's top priorities. i already have an eye on this issue within my fist month was cop fronted with reports of alleged violence against former uac, which serves to cop firm may we know already. homeland security and juvenile justice are not orr's area of expertise we cannot fulfill or mission. the goal of this initiative is
to equipment uac to with the tools they need. we have expanded our interagency work with the department of homeland court and the department of justice. our interaction partners have the expertise to share best praiks and help encure our evidence. trainings for our staff and grantees. local dhs staff, our training all our post-release services providers and who will notify, and who to notify if they become aware of ms-13 and other gang activity. we are working to enhance our day-to-daikon suddenly tagss with dhs. 24 hours behalf we release someone from custody we notify the uac and we ask for dhs input
regarding the safety of the release for the uac and for their community. we notify dhs again 24 hours after the minor's released. we're also reviewing the ways we communicate with dhs to strengthen our decision making on the use of uac. when we release uac from our care we alert sponsors to the potential danger of gang recruitment activity to they're prepared to help the uac avoid it. the community safe initiative will continue to be a top priority for us. in the coming years we hope to enhance our screen tools. to -- and to put into mace gang prevention, educational programs in our facilities. in addition to our activities in the community safety initiatives we are assessing our policy through the lens of the safety of the american communities and individual uac.
our revised policy incloud clarification on which youth need placement in one of our security facilities as oppose to one of our staff securities. the policies now address the situation of uac who self-report ms-13 or other gaeng involvement. in addition -- all releases from secure and staff secure facilities. another important step in the safety of rehose is to improve the assessism of sponsors. prior to to my arrival the action has made a number of improvements if this area. for example the decrease of db is documents or limit the type of documents orr accepts the -- the household members or any adults listed in a response sort care plan. the -- also clarify how we -- and the sponsor-child relationship.
these changes help protect to children from trafficking smugglers and others who wish to do them harm. if orr sense sponsors are using documents -- we report them to u.s. general and homeland security investigations. in the area of home studies, o rrk r decreased home study. we now require home studies for uc a 12 years of age or younger being released to nonrelatives and response sorts. contact the child and the sponsor shortly after release which is a critical adjustment period. to accomplish this o rrk r niche tiff safety well-being to call 30 days after release. if the case manager has a concern about the child's safety and well being they must report it to agencies. to remove children from unsafe situations, orr report concerns
to follow up. if closing i want to thank you for the opportunity to update you on our services and look forward to working with you on our community safety initiative, our continuing improvement of policy procedures and all facets of uac program. ais i'll be happy to appearance any questions. >> thank you mr. bennet. >> chairman dasly and members thank you for opportunity to appear behalf you today to discuss the -- of the front lone home and women of the investigations. in their efforts to ininvestigate, disrupt and dismantle gang activity in the united states. my oral statement will focus on zpating gang violence specifically ms-13 gangs in the united states and abroad. as we know ms-13 is a trans
national criminal organization that includes members in the united states and el salvador. where gang leadership direct and control sells, often referred to as clicks year in the united states. ms-13 perpetuates numerous violences within hs i per view and threw our investigations we have researched and investigated ms-13 communication and financial networks. in determining that its primary source of income is generated through extortion and prosecution. they also generate makeup through drugs weapons and human trafficking. in response to the gang epidemic, hs i initiated operation community shield which provide our criminal statutory criminal enforcement authorities, and partnership with fascinate with local and
foreign law enforcement agencies to combat the growth of gapgs throughout the united states. through this platform hs i -- to -- operations. since its inception, hs i and its partner agencies have made over 57,000 criminal and administrative arrests of gang members, leaders and associates. including more than 7,000 ms-13 gang leaders and associates. at the same time that hs i per sues domestic criminal investigations we're also pushing out the border by capitalizing on our international partnership with foreign law enforcement officials and we accomplish this through the use of our transnational criminal investigative units in operation citadel to work with host country law enforcement to identify potential bad actors along the elicit path ways, and
at the same time exploiting generations with the goal of gang clicks here in the united states. hsi's most recent surge operation project of new dawn, which is the largest gang history in this agency resulted in 1,378 arrests. of those, almost 1,100 were gang members or associates. 903 were charged with criminal offenses and 192 were arrested administratively for immigration violences. the majority of the arrest tees were affiliated with ms-13, the bloods and the krips. enforcement actions occurred around the country with the greatest opportunity taking place in houston, newark, atlanta with the new york area. this surge operation could not have been successful without the cooperation and participation of our federal state and local law
enforcement partners and the department of justice. as directed by the department's executive order, hsi will continue to devote and give resources to disrupting and dismantling these organizations. thank you again for the opportunity to appear behalf you today and for your continued support of the men and women on the front lines in hidalgo county si in executing their law enforcement missions and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. bennet. now mr. elvins. >> good morning. i greatly appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the responsibility of the office and enforcement and removal operations with the u.s. -- and enforcing and combatting gang activity. the 6,000 dedicate t officers enforce immigration laws in a fair and effective manner by
identifying, arresting and detaining and removing ail yans who are illegally present in the united states or otherwise vile our immigration laws. the enforcement of these laws is critical to the safety of our country. despite the complexity and immense db of this mig, the men of ero commit their duties professionally and i'm pleased to have the pleasure of representing them here today. ero lays a critical role in the removal of gangs in the community illegally. as a enforcement dealing with title eight we are able to target other gang members. enabling these public safety threats to be removed from the communities they are victim mizing and return to their home countries. ero is an invaluable partner to
international federal states and local law enforcement actions. to illustrate, in fiscal year 2015, i.c.e. removed 2,000 members and gang associates and in 2016 we have removed 2,078 gang members. one such programs on international front is the security lines for fugitive enforcement are safe which provide a platform for e rrk o to combat the issue of foreign criminals fleeing to the united states after committing violent crime it is their countries. operating under the oro as well as mexico, safety proven to be a vital bilateral vehicle. through these distributed by the safe program to ero future
operations teams here in the united states, in fiscal year 2016, ero facilitated the arrest and removal of -- and hilbertoed to that this year and return these criminals to their home states to face justice for their crimes. ero has a role of addressing the issue of unaccompanied alien children. uac, who are nationals of noncontiguous company countries are placed -- southwest border come from honduras, el salvador and got amalia. the tra hires dhs to transport them within 7 # hours. in fy-16 dh -- and fy-17 through
jup third welfare transferred 25,370 uac. in accordance with the tcpra, isis stores each uac removal is coordinated with the foreign government authorities creating an opportunity -- prior to to departure, and ensuring that a government official and december knee signs were custody. thank you again for opportunity to testify before you today and for your continued support for the men and women of ero, i'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> now mr. plan koe. >> good morning members of the committee. it's a measure to be here this morning on behalf of the department of justice to discuss deputy's efforts to target dismantle and eliminate ms-13. reap reports are -- members who
are intended to intimidate rivals, brutalize communities and kpapd the gang influence and control. the department of justice is bringing its full commitment of law enforcement authorities to bear on this issue. the department's response take several forms, one, investigating and prosecuting u.s. ms-base and gang members. two targeting international gang members in their home countries as well as united states. and thee, attacking border criminal activities such as smuggling to prevent dangers criminals from entering the yoits if the first place. given this the department work collaboratively. let me first turn to our domestic work targeting ms-13. through task forces such as the federal bureau of investigations, the fbi, safe street and gang task forces,
home land security, hs i task forces such as operation shield, and those fonded by the organized crime -- the department has dismantled criminal organizations across the united statesen chuding ms-13 chicks. the divisions organized cosme and dpapg session, the united states attorney office, the hs i continue to work collaboratively. recent prosecutions in the northern district of georgia, the district of maryland, the district of new jersey, the department's commitment to bringing the justice to these communities and these acts of violence against ms-13 is obvious. in these districts prosecutors secured the of 22, 13 and 14 ms
members. many received life sentences while others received sentences of decree kads in prison. eastern virginia secured the guilty marie of a ms-13 member who admitted his participation of a murder in a gang in additionuation. our work does not stop at the bored ir, the fbi, hs i and our organized crime and gang section lead investigations into foreign based ms-13 leaders responsible for violence here in the united states. for example, the fbi's trans national anti-gang tag units located in el salvador, got amalia and honduras supply generated information to method for ms-13 investigations. in a series of these cases prosecuted in the district of maryland between 2006 and 2010.
evidence seized in maryland which -- communicating with maryland based measuring s-13 members here in the united states. based on that review, the tag unit provided information to u.s. prosecutors to help identify defendants, locations and relevant information to their i want investigations. the department's in country presence in the northern triangle, not only generates intelligence useful in both domestic and foreign investigations, but it also allows departments to fight ms-13 at its source. for example, with state department funding, the criminal tuitions, office of overseas assistance and training deploys five department of ewes prosecutors to serve as resident legal advisers in also solve dar, guatemala and hon do you remember ras where they have mentored foreign parts,
targeting ms-13 and financial efforts in leadership structure. in the last month lon, law enforcement in el salvador aided by department of ewes prosecutors made oaf 90 arrests of prosecutions of ms-13 and other gang members. we must stop those individuals who circumstance come vent our border patrol walls to bring gang members into the united states. therefore the department to our human rights and prosecution section works with our immigration partners to facilitate departments -- national security threats. thank you very much, and i appreciate and i will take any of your questions. >> thank you. we will have five-minute rounds. i'm going to start with a separate question on the same subject for miss roe voice, mr. lloyd and mr. banner and if he
wants to join in, mr. el bans. one of the greatest currents that i've had regarding the care and custody of unaccompanied minors is a fact that no one takes responsibility for these children after they're placed with a sponsor. your agencies repeatedly pass the bucket to each other, as a result children are allowed to disappear. when these children disappear without any real super vision they're as a rule rational to join dangs like ms-13. some children are being abused and workshops under grooefs conditions. so miss roe voice do your agency -- or does your agency contend to maintain that it has no longer monitored or jurisdiction over unaccompanied minors once they're transferred
to office of refugee -- refugee resettlement? >> thank you senator. so mr. chairman the key function is i know you know for cvp we're the inner vick fors at the border whether it is office field operations or border patrol agent. so our main focus on the immediate border and bored r security, once we appear helped unaccompanied children, or are -- so once we do identify someone as an unaccompanied child as i said, we try to expedite but definitely within 72 hours we do transfer them over to hidalgo counh hs. and the president they become h hs east responsibility and our focus go back to our immediate border security if you think. >> so you just said that at that
point you don't have jurisdiction over them. now mr. banner and el vince do you continue to maintain you don't monitor or have jurisdiction over unaccompanied children until they on tape the finalized order of removal. >> yes, sir that's correct. under the tcpra the caring and custody of the uac falls under the responsible of h hs. once i.c.e. has made the transfer over to hidalgo county hs we follow the case as it goes through the immigration course. if and when the final order is issued by a judge we effectuate that order. we don't have authority to do do anything with that custody. >> and mr. barner if you want to ad to that? >> thank you senator. i'd hhi's point of -- is the point it become involve in a criminal investigation that
we're conducting. so several of these investigations can be long-term in nature investigating types of crime thai engaged in, typically trafficking, prosecution and narcotics, but we work very cozily with state and hole partners when we do identify minors who may even be at risk of violence or recruiting to have the maximum outreach that we can at that point without jeopardizing the criminal investigation. >> mr. lloyd do you cap to maintain, except for the 30 o-day follow-up call after you place an unaccompanied minor with a sponsor, you don't have an obligation to monitor that person? >> that's the historical condition of ori but we're reviewing that closely. i wouldn't say it's entirely clear, at least regarding category two and throe, sponsors
that would be those worth placed with close relatives or unrelated adults. with respect to category one, i think there's a hard jurisdictional stop there where with the definition of unaccompanied alien, child is one where the parents are not available or missing. and so in that case, if we've handed off the child to the parents then we view that as the end of our jurisdiction and now it's in the hands of the parents if that relationship starts to break down, then it's state job protective services that would step in at that point. >> so, i think we've heard it, this is a period of time, a whole period of time when children are being monitored by no one, so, legitimately and retornadicly raise the questions that we have to deal with, what
is we going to do about it. now mr. lloyd suggested that they're viewing something. who should be monitoring these children up to the finalization immigration hearing? that's something either congress has to work on or the agencies have to work on because there should be this proper follow-up. senator franken. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. blanco, in my state of minutes former minneapolis chief tim dolan used to say victims are less likely to dial 911 if they know the police officer in response to that call is going to check their papers. and statistics bear this out. a 2013 study from the universe of illinois found that 44% of latinos report that they're less likely to call the police even when they are the victim of a crime boss they believe that
officers will use the interaction as an opportunity to check their immigration status. 45% say their less likely to voluntary information about crimes they've witness. and this isn't even confined to immigrants. 28% of latinos born in the united states say they're less likely to call the police when they're the victim of a crime because they fear police will ask them about their status or the status of people they know. now, that study was conducted before the 2016 campaign, a campaign in which then candidate trump made scapegoating immigrants the essential pillar of his platform. i suspect if the same study were conducted today after the administration has repeatedly condemed study with immigration enforcement, the stdy would find
that even fewer latinos are willing to call police when they face danger. you've worked in law enforcement for a long time. you've been a u.s. attorney, and you've worked closely with other u.s. attorneys. do you agree in order to effectively fight ms-13, police need to have strong relationships with our immigrant communities? >> thank you, senator. yes, i've been in law enforcement for 28 years and seen a lot of things and worked with a lot of things, senator. i can tell you it is important for the law enforcement to have the respect and trust of the community and the community to have the trust and respect of law enforcement. but there are a whole host of reasons meme may not want to call police and much of it has to do with the fear they have of violent crime gangs, not so much of the police. but it's an interesting dilemma they have when they call the
police and because they have to give their names and these victims are outed to the ms-13 and other gang members. and that to me is the fear they have of calling the police not really the other way around. they're really scared of these people. they're terrified of many of them live in these communities. so many of these people are ones ms-13 gangs are targeting and they're generally the immigrant community. that's what i've seen. >> this kind of confirms some testimony i've heard from thomas manger, who is police chief in montgomery county, maryland. he has some experience dealing with ms-13. here's how he described the gang's current tactics, quote, before they extorted iljuimate businesses such as the illegal liquor stores or brothels, we have begun to see extortions of
legitimate latino businesses. mr. blanco, to me the tactics that chief major describe show ms-13 adacting its strategy in order to capitalize on growing distrust our immigrant communities have in law enforcement. the gang seems to be exploiting that anxiety. in your view, what can law enforcement do to counter that strategy? >> i think, senator, your suggestion of having that sort of unity with our law enforcementp community and the immigrant community is going to be very important. many of these immigrants don't understand how our law enforcement works. and they equate our law enforcement with the countries they came from, which is very different. the integrity and the diligence of which they work is incredible. and i think that association with that immigrant community is going to be very, very important. one thing to note, though,
senator, is they're not only going after illegitimate businesses, which is common amongst criminals. as you mentioned they're going after legitimate businesses, immigrant community individuals and they know one thing. because they know one thing, back home they have friends. and that is where the ms-13 structures from. and that a very powerful tool they have. >> my time is up. >> thank you for holding this important hearing. and thank you to each of you for your service to our country. and i personally believe you could use some help, that's policy makers from the members of congress because your hands are being tied in ways that make our communities dangerous not through any fault of your own but through the wrong policies.
for example, ms. provost, reputedly the most dangerous city or most dangerous country in the world back when i visited with senator mccain recently comes under our southwestern border, under current law you can't hold that 16 yooerltd individual more than 72 hours, correct? >> yes, that is correct. >> if that person had come from mexico, a contig ws country, the border patrol could turn that person back at the border, is that right? >> yes, that's correct. >> so as a result of congressional policies you are then required to turn that individual, that 16-year-old over to health and human services and the work that mr. lloyd and his colleagues do. so, mr. lloyd, i know you just got on the job in march, and so
please don't take my questions as being antagonistic or criminal of your conduct or those who have come in with the new administration. but as the chairman pointed out, that 16-year-old would then be placed with a sponsor here in the united states and be told to return at some future date for a court hearing to determine whether they could stay in the united states, whether they would qualify as a refugee or for some other legal status, is that right? >> yes, that's correct. >> and under current law that sponsor need not be a family member and need not be a citizen. it could be an undocumented individual. >> yes. >> and you have no -- there's no legal requirement nor does your organization have the current ability to monitor the situation of that unaccompanied minor in the custody of that sponsor more than a few days after they're
placed, is that right? >> 30 days after we do a check and call with the sponsor and the uac and that -- in some cases we do have post-release services, but that's in limited cases if there's mental health concerns or special concern about the child. and a lot of that has to do with limitations and resources. >> do you know how many unaccompanied immigrant children there are with sponsors in the united states today? >> some age out of that category, but there's about i'm going to guess about 200,000. >> 200,000 minor children in the custody of sponsors, and ms. provost, if you spect this 16-year-old is a member of ms-13
or some other national criminal organization, do you have anything to do other than process them within 72 hours and turn them over to health and human resources? >> no, sir, but if we suspect they're of gang affiliation, we do make notification to hhs. >> if you're placing them with sponsors that aren't even citizens, may not even be family members nobody can really tell us how many of these children are being trafficked, become recruited as gang members, or anything of that nature, can you? >> right. the best we can do at this point, and we've been doing everything we can to tighten it up, but the best we can do is to scrutinize the sponsor who comes forward to sponsor the child. and also while the uac is in care to monitor any of their
behavior to figure out whether they may be prone to criminal act tifblt. >> and my last question is and of the hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors with sponsors here in the united states, each of them has been given a notice to appear at a immigration hearing sometime in the future. >> yes. >> but no one really knows how many of them will actually show up for that hearing and how many of them will simply melt into the great american landscape, is that correct? >> that's correct. our staff is looking at ways to address that, which could include an increase in monitoring, but there's some other ways that have been suggested that there are way tuesday improve appearances at immigration proceedings. and once we have a better indication of that we'll share it with congress. but the situation you've described is correct. >> i'll come back and say you
could use some help from policy makers in my view. >> we welcome any help. >> senator klobuchar. >> thank you, very much. i was at another hearing, so i appreciate it. i'd like to get some reaction from all of you. but you in broad temps with with respect to the agencies with 200,000 plus kids of these unaccompanied alien children that could be recruited by gangs such as ms-13 as he pointed out, have been trafficked as well. what trends have you seen, what consequences are, and what do you think are the most effective measures we could take to prevent this from happening? i'll start with you ms. provost. >> as i stated earlier, and you weren't here, our numbers are
very low of -- that being said, of course, the laws we've been discussing and our continued work in conjunction with partnericize key to success here and working with countries. >> do you share it with them? >> we share the information with icro. we work with task forces, state and local. so information we have there of course we share with them as well as many federal task forces that we work in conjunction to relay the information related to gang activity and gang preventions we have. >> and your number, how many did you say? >> since 2012 we have identified approximately 160 juvenile gang
members that we have apprehended. >> but that larger number was for unaccompanied children. >> for unaccompanied children since 2012 we have apprehended approximately 250,000. >> that's the number. >> i apologize. >> no, no, no. i understand. mr. lloyd. >> senator, in response to gang relations, on june 9th, what we were able to find out of 138 in that population approximately 35 had identified gang affiliation. but my original question, i know i got off on this, what do you think the most effective thing to do to prevent this from happening since this is hearing? >> right now with respect to our program is to equip the hands
who are in custody to have the tools they need when they leave custody to avoid gang activity and any sort of violence. and also if there's past criminal involvement, to give them steps to find a different path. >> okay. thank you. mr. benner. >> thank you. the two most critical things -- the most critical aspect for us is shutting down the illicit financial bathways. so we know ms-13 makes their money through other exploitation crimes. and our focus is to shutdown those illicit proceeds from returning to el salvador where command and control uses that money to operate the international and global gang
organization. so we're doing this several ways in starting with working with treasury in 2012, ofak, they designated ms-13 as an international criminal organization. that helps us. that's a powerful tool -- >> but what could we do to help you more? i know that's a good development. >> so the second part is the pathways that exist within the countries from el salvador to the united states. and we need to shut those down. w we need to put more resources in terms of intelligence analysts in our over seas office to work with the post-law enforcement and be able to share through our intelligence connection. >> okay. mr. blanco, you're nodding your head. >> thank you, senator.
a couple of things. mr. benner is absolutely right. going after the financial structure is important. but the question is what can you do for us? i think we need to take the fight to them and making sure that fight over there is a tough fight. and they're willing partners. so that is one thing that you think you can help us with. the other the resources to identify the bad actors here and remove those bad actors from this country and send them back from where they came. i think that's another thing. >> last. >> real briefly. >> following up on your statement there, there has been a decrease of uac's entering the border and i think that can be attributed to the immigration that has been occurring of late. there was a pull factor from the fault being there was lax immigration enforcement policies. we feel that the more robust
enforcement is preventing a deterrence. >> thank you. >> senator kennedy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for your testimony. very interesting. i understand the legal definition of unaccompanied child, uac, but what ages are we talking about typically? are these older children or younger children or medium? >> from what we apprehend at the border the range is actually extremely wide from a large group of maybe 12 to 17 years old, but we have very young children as well. >> how does a young child get across the border illegally? >> so this is where we look at
trafficking in or coming with other individuals of the family members. i think this comes to the point of certainly working with the northern triangle countries and the benefit it would bring because many of them arrive with -- >> are they alone or are they accompanied by an adult? they are often accompanied. they have other adults in the groups with them or other older children with them at times that are maybe teenage. >> what role do the so-called sanctuary cities play in this program? anybody? i can't see your names here. >> i think one thing from the civil immigration enforcement, obviously those individuals are involved in criminal act tifblt. the largest part is our criminal enrollment program where we go into jails and identify
individuals. having access to those jails, having access to the information on those individuals that are in those jails allows us to take the proper -- >> let me interrupt you because i've only got five minutes. do sanctuary cities contribute to this problem substantially or not? >> they're certainly a factor. >> do you consider them to be a major factor? >> i think there's some major cities in this country where i can't send my officers to go into the jail to be interviewed, and we can't go in there and take law enforcement action against them, certainly that's a problem. >> even if the person arrested is a member of ms-13? >> correct. >> so i want to be sure i understand. these are evil people. very hard to miss them.
there are tattoos all over their body, and i'm sure most local law enforcement officials have a good idea of who these folks are. if they're arrested and they're in a local jail, there are some cities in the united states that would prevent you from coming in and talking to them, interviewing them, saying hey, let's be sure they're a member of ms-13 and get them in jail? >> correct. in order to us to -- in many cases we know who these individuals are. they've been arrested by border patrol or been arrest by i.c.e. previously. but if they don't allow us to take custody of that person, then they're released back into the community. >> and these are known members,
killed people and raped people, children? >> yes, sir. >> which cities? >> chicago is a large one. we haven't been able to get into cook county jail for quite a long time. and obviously there's significant crime problems in the city of chicago. >> what other cities? >> new york city. >> what other cities? >> there's a rather long list. there's some cities that don't give us full cooperation. >> which cities don't give you full cooperation? >> that's a very long list. i'd be happy to get back to you. >> name a couple of them. >> san francisco, we can't get into that county. >> new orleans? >> no, i think new orleans, we're able to get in. >> i just want to be sure because anybody on the panel disagrees with this, because i
understand senator franken's point, if you're in the country you're less likely to call 911. that's a valid point. and you're less likely to be with someone committing a crime. but we're talking about a mebl of ms-13, and for the most part everybody in law enforcement state and local knows they're a member of ms-13. and they know what ms-13 does, and they've been caught and they're in a local jail, and we have cities that refuse to let you come in and talk to them and prosecute them? >> that's correct. we're not asking the state and local agencies to do anything besides give us access and transfer the individual to our country so we can remove them from the country or prosecute them accordingly. >> wow. thank you, mr. chairman.
>> mr. albens, i think i share senator kennedy's wow. i think i'll be following up too for clarification between county and city and state jails. >> i'll going to try to be quick. first off i just want d to reif force what senator cormen said. you just heard the comments, it's an absurd situation. and here's the sad part of what we're talking about there, if they're guilty of murder or tape, hopefully they'll be incarcerated. they're likely to get back into the community and the communities they're likely to be against are the communities in
their own cities. they're victimizing their own population. it's also a very interesting number of statistics i try to glue together. senator franken, i think he said some 48% of the illegally present population was unlikely to report a crime if they themselves were illegally present. there are 200,000 i believe someone else say unaccompanied children who have been placed with sponsors. and if the staff briefing memo is correct, some 80% of are with people who are illegally present themselves. so if you do the math, 200,000, 16,000, 48,000 of them are among people who are among people who are unlikely to report a crime because they themselves are illegally present. we've got a system right now where we put 80,000 in homes
where if ms-13 recruited them, they'd be unlikely to protect elthem from this criminal activity. y'all can't fix that. we've got to fix that. i want to go down the -- and by the way, i learned as a freshman last year this list is very helpful to give the names. >> i still can't see the names, which i think is probably an osha violation. >> well, these seats are an osha violation. ms. provost, when we talk about help, how helpful would it be to -- along the border, you have the plazas and the car tells right across the border. they have velgzships with ms-13 and other tcos. how helpful would it be for us
to increase our operational awareness and security of the border? and i want to add to this something you said. on the one hand border crossings are down but it the threat to our border security agents are going up. would it be logical to assume there are a hilar share of people crossing the border illegally now and doing it for illicit or potentially illicit border activities? >> unfortunately the violence against our men and women rises. as it becomes more difficult to cross the borders, that -- >> so the human smugglers are going to be better armed, probably more sophisticated, the ones who have been doing it for a longer period of time, maybe higher levels of coordination. so it puts you at a much more dangerous situation. >> yes, it does. >> so it would seem to me we have a debate here about border security. it would seem to me to the extent we put people,
technology, and infrastructure on the border, we're not only addressing a national security problem, but we may also be addressing a humanitarian element in terms of limiting the amount of human smuggling that's occurring to ultimately get into the human trafficking, prostitution, the other things that occur that create the currency that ms-13 uses to run an organization. is that right? >> yes, those resources certainly support our efforts and any impact we can have on these tcos to disrupt and dismantle their operations is key to our success. >> i did want to go to either mr. benner or mr. blanco. i know the treasury added ms-13, i think, in 2012 as a target for potential economic sanctions. have they worked, and what more should we look at to disrupt
their flow? that's one question. mr. benner, i would like for you to get to equitable sharing. i think you and mr. blanco may have mentioned how coordination with state and local enforcement who don't know what sharing is. that's where state and lel law enforcement are able to benefit from the asset to go beyond what they would normally do when they're cooperating with federal authorities. how important do you think that program is? >> as far as equitable sharing, that's one of the most valuable tools we have in law enforcement to support the resources that state and local communities actually dedicate to our task forces -- absolutely. >> just to be clear, we have 30 seconds. >> we know the state and local
activity in their neighborhoods better than we do. and the ability for us to reimburse and support through our state and local overtime fund and asset sharing is invaluable. >> senator whitehouse. >> senator cruz has asked me to yield my time, so i'm happy to do that. >> thank you, i appreciate it. ms-13's motto is to kill, tape, and control. and just a few months ago this horrific fact was driven homan my hometown of houston where in march ms-13 gang members were charged with kidnapping three teenagers and murdering one in an apparent satanic ritual aaccording to news reports. after the girls were kid napped and before the murder the three
girls were forcibly held in an apartment and drugged and repeatedly sexually assaulted. i want to ask each of them, this is not an isolated incidence but rather part of a larger problem. and so from a federal perspective, how bad is the ms-13 situation in the state of texas? how big a threat is it, and what more do we need to do to protect against ms-13? mr. blanco? >> senator, thank you for your question, and thank you so much for your leadership in mice area. this is an important area for us. the threat is area, not only in texas. it's in every urban community, every rural community. and that's why indepartment of justice along with our colleagues at dhs and fbi where everyone else is taking this seriously. what you can do, senator, i think we've talked about this a
little bit today. you can help take the fight to where it iminates from, work with our overseas colleagues and make sure these folks never get here. i i think we also need to take a look at the juvenile people now. get them while they're young. make sure weave programs in place to let them understand how bad it is to be in the gang and the detramentes of that as well. >> indeed a significant number of them came as unaccompanied minors. >> senator, i don't have those specific statistics. perhaps my colleagues do. but i can tell you, this it is a combination 3467 you have ms-13
members who are u.s. citizens. but the command structure is in el salvador. they're giving them instructions to be even more ilnt. >> ms. provost in your written testimony you stated cvp has faced many challenges including large flows from mexico. ms-13 took full advantage of these flows of foreign nationals in the united states by hiding these populations to enter our country. as a result american citizens have died. would you elaborate on that testimony, please? >> well, certainly and as i mentioned earlier with the numbers we have coming through and specific to the state of texas, across the boarder since 2012 we have apprehended
approximately 5,000 individuals with gang affiliation of some sort, the majority of them being adults versus unaccompanied children. and approximately 3,000 of those come through the state of texas. but that makes sense with the amount of traffic we've been having along the border, that being our highest traffic areas. as i know you know senator ari, in texas the last few years. so that is a concern for us. that is why we work very closely with our partners in i.c.e. and our task forces. it certainly is a great concern. >> have any known ms-13 members who are illegal aliens been released in the united states in recent years? >> yes. once they've been through uacs
and come into custody after border patrol has made thatphension, i.c.e. no longer can hold them under era. >> are those reports accurate? >> i've seen that intelligence report, sir. i believe it's accurate, yes. >> well, has the trump administration released any known ms-13 members? >> i couldn't answer that question. i don't have the information. >> well, i'm going to ask you to answer that question. this committee needs to know the answer needs to be no. and if you are releasing known ms-13 members, it needs to stop. >> well, we don't release anybody, anybody that's uacs. we turn them directly over to uhhs. so once they're over there, i
can't speak to what happens to them. >> i would ask you to follow up in answer to senator kennedy's question. i would like to know specifically what cities, what sanctuary cities or otherwise have released known ms-13 members? that's highly troubling, and i would suspect other members of this committee would like that information as well. >> thank you. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chairman. let me ask a couple of questions for mr. blanco, if i may. a couple of years ago we did a significant case against a latin kings group. and the way in which that group was operating was a little bit like a bunch of people who decided they were going to start selling hamburgers and call themselves mcdonald's, ie, this was local people who gave themselves the name latin kings, but they weren't very directly
connected with was then mostly a california and prison-based organization. and indeed one of the ways we were able to make that case so effectively is by having a very brave undercover agent go in and pretend to be a real latin king and get them to say what they were up to. so that has educated me to the difference between the actual network itself and others who for purposes of intimidation or self-aggrandizement or whatever model themselves or take the name of the organization. with respect to ms-13, how is that playing out? or is it truly a very sort of corporate style essentially controlled organization or like our latin king's group, are loose franchises setting up that can operate independently? >> thank you, senator, for your
question. it's a very important question. they are not loose. they are highly structured. and they're structured in a way that i think in modern times you can see how they adapt. it's about money, about power. >> so there's a considerable amount of command and control throughout the outfit. >> yes, sir. >> and if someone is running around declaring they're part of the gang, what are the consequences? >> well, that's a very important thing to them. it's a brand. >> i think like very many local states we have police departments that have to deal with gang problems. our police departments very much want the flexibility to be able to address these gang problems in the way that they need to as a law enforcement priority. and they have concern that
unrelated immigration priorities might intrude. and if you need to give somebody's mother a pass because they're a cooperator with you, they want to make sure they've got the flexibility to make sure that they're law enforcement effort, which requires an enormous amount of community information to be effective, is not impaired. is that a reasonable judgment on their part, and is that something that the department of justice wishes to support? >> senator, that certainly is a topic of a lot of conversation. as you know, you were the u.s. attorney in rhode island. and in these kinds of investigations, there's a lot of those goes into it. there's a lot of factors. and we do have ways and procedures we work with our counter parts at dhs to work with what you're talking about. >> because if you have a valuable cooperator that has perhaps infiltrated them into the group and the equivalent of
a double agent almost, you don't want to shut them out. >> and there are ways to make sure they're covered -- >> but that's the department's job. the people running the investigation -- >> along the prosecutor. >> yes, the prosecutor together. >> there is a process in place that takes care of that. >> very good. well, i appreciate all of your work on this problem. the ferocity of some of these gang organizations is horrifying. >> it is. it's getting worse, too. >> thank you. >> senator durbin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. lloyd, i'd like to ask you about a program called the central american minors program that was established under the previous administration in 2014.
so the children from the northern triangle facing threats of extreme violence often from ms-13 and other gangs could go through security screenings in their own countries and safely rejoin their families living in the united states without making a dangerous solo journey. approximately 11,000 children have applied in these three countries. since the program started 2800 have been admitted. could you tell me the status of that program today? >> i would have to defer to my colleagues at the department of state. that's where the program is housed. and apart from incidental contact and various information sharing, i wouldn't be able to give too much information on that. >> i'm told this program has been stopped by president trump's executive order, stopped all vefgy processing before
federal actually stayed the order. so i guess we all share a feeling, both sides of the table, ms-13 is reprehensible. they're exploitation and criminal activities on either side of the border should be stopped, and that we certainly want to protect their victims. in your capacity dealing with refugee, does it sound to you like a classic definition of a refugee to be a minor child when is facing threats of extreme violence or has been a have victim of extreme violence of ms-13 from a country like a northern triangle? >> aside from the strict legal definitions the category is very similar. that's why they're housed under the office of refugee resettlement. they're a similar population. >> so the policy of the administration to halt this program, to protect these
children from ms-13's criminal activities, doesn't seem consistent with the message i'm hearing over and over in this hear, that we care about the victims in the united states and other places. and we care enough at least understand this program instituted in 2014, to offer them ref augwith their families in the united states. so there's a disconnect here between, quote, getting tough on immigration, getting tough on refugees, and really caring about what ms-13 is doing in these northern triangle countries. i don't ask you to respond to that because that's my own editorial comment on that, but it is troubling to me to deal with that. i wasn't here when there was a big zgsz about the city of chicago. and there was a chain, and i was proud to represent it. and i will tell you this, make no mistake if ms-13 gang members are involved in criminal activity, they're going to be prosecuted. we're not going to look the other way.
they have the same reaction as a lot of other communities. come on, yungal sam, where's the money? you want us to play immigration agent for the united states of america, then come forward the training and the resources to make it happen. i don't know what the discussion was before, but we're not looking the other way when the comes to criminal activity by these gangs or any other gangs. in fact, we've gone to the point of asking the new president who has pleaded about chicago, please help us, send us some resources. we're stretched to the limit with what we're trying to do. and it's easy to be critical in these hearings, but when i talk to men and women in chicago and other places, they're looking for a helping hand and the centers and the president, can you help us? so far we haven't seen it. it's basically stepped away from federal assistance to law enforcement agencies. so it's great to tweet your outrage at crime in chicago.
it's another thing to step up and join us to try to stop it. and that invitation is out there as well. let me conclude as well, we have a broken immigration system. this is the closest we've come. and hope we'll take up what is necessary to reform our immigration system to improve it. we passed a bill several years ago, bipartisan bill that wasn't even considered by the house of representative. i hope we'll try again. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i share the very strong dedication that are at the forefront of implementing by cracking down on these gangs because of their reprehensible activities and terrorizing people in communities, particularly latino communities and elsewhere. and i think that the law
enforcement strategy here has to be designed as you know better than i to elicit information from people who would come forward as law enforcement always depends on participation by victims and survivors and others who know first-hand what the gangs are doing. so i was troubled to learn that in the recent anti-gang operations, project new dawn, which was a 6-week operation under operation community shield and produced 13,078 arrests, about 20% of those arrests, in fact i think about 200 individuals had no criminal backgrounds or connections. my question first is to mr.
albenz, why were so many immigrants who are not gang members and who had no criminal background arrested as part of this anti-gang operation? >> i'd like to defer this to mr. benner. that was a homeland security run operation. >> thank you, senator for the question. so of the 280 and what we would term administrative arrests, the activity they would have been involved in may not have been up for prosecution at that time. so of the almost 1100 criminal arrests, those are cases, senator, where the aristy was either facing a federal charge or a state charge. and they were being taken into custody to face those charges. the rest of the total of 280 in the administrative realm very
well could have some levels of criminality. we are still prioritizing our efforts in terms of -- >> well, when you say some kralty, do they have criminal records, committing a criminal act? why were they arrest snd. >> so i'm sure there are many inclusive in that but -- >> i don't want to take time going through speculation. i'm not in way question your good faith in responding, but i'd like to know why those 280 were arrested beyond just saying there may be some element of criminality? >> so i can take that back and do a deep dive into those 280 and be happy to brief you, senator. >> thank you. the ms-13 gang, as i understand it, are not involved in alcohol narcotics trafficking, is that correct? >> senator, what you mean by
trafficking, they're not traffickers, as you would expect mexican and quant mallen car tells, but they do distribute drugs. and they do make money off of distribution of drugs. federally what we talk about trafficking amounts, we mean a lot of. but they're involved in everything. it's a business for them. they're making money. >> are they involved in human trafficking? >> yes, they are involved. >> is that their principle activity? >> i think it's one of their activities. but principle activity i believe it's more extortion, robbery, just threats against individuals here domestically, that they then send the money back to -- >> many of their victims undocumented immigrants? >> i think some of their victims are undocumented aliens.
some of their victims are u.s. nationals who have family in el salvador, guatemala, and honduras. they intimidate them by intimidating their family back home. >> to make the point that i think senator franken raised depending on cooperation from victims means that discouraging them may actually have a counter productive effect, in other words someone's who's undocumented who's following the law, working hard, playing by the rules as we often characterize them, may be discouraged from coming forward if they believe they're going to be deported or if they believe they're going to be arrested. so i'm wondering whether you have suggested or would suggest any changes in policy. that's a question that could be answered by any of you. that would enable you to be more
effective in going against gang members to elicit more cooperation from victims and survivors. >> senator, i'll take that question forty-first. there are a whole host of reasons, senator, why victims don't want to come forward or witnesses don't want to come forward. i can tell you i have not seen it in my 28 years of practice. one of the thing that concerns them is when they live in the same community of which these people have been released back in the community, that worries them. and that prevents them from coming forward. >> that's the fear of retaliation. >> by the defends, by those people who are committing crimes. that's one reasons. there are a whole host of reasons. >> or by their friends or cohorts? >> could be, could be. >> so all the more reason that they need support from law
enforcement, and i don't know what can be done, obviously, the witness protection program can't be extended to thousands and thousands of people. it's not feasible. but i don't know what more can be done to encourage that cooperation. >> well, i can tell you hearings like this are important. and i can tell you that having communication communications with our dhs counter parts is really important. this is, as you can imagine, senator, is really part of our discussion. law enforcement individuals, every day talk about how we can help victims and witnesses. so this is something that's always on our minds. and i think that's something that's translating into these communities as well. >> thank you. >> sorry. mr. blanco, i want to go back to
something you said in response to senator blumenthal's question. did you say in your 28 years of law enforcement, you hasn't seen the factor of being illegally present as an inhibiting factor of investigations? i'm sure that may have been a little bit of an overexaggeration, but what you're saying is that's not the majority of the cases where people are not cooperating with law enforcement? >> there are a whole host of reasons. that could be some of the reasons, but as you mentioned earlier -- >> i think common sense would say that it is. but again, i'm willing to go back and use the numbers i saw here with senator franken and his survey that he quoted as correct, that means we've placed
80,000 children in households that could be recruiting. mr. albenz, i've never been in law enforcement but i want to clarify something senator durbin said with respect to the countries. and i do want to echo the request from senator kennedy and modified by senator cruz. we need that information. but if you were allowed access to a sanctuary city -- i'm not going to pick on anyone. but if you were allowed access to people involved in gang violence, what happens next? once you get involved with that person, do they get transferred up to federal custody? correct. >> so i'm trying to understand how the request for resources when by definition you moving them to a different jurisdiction, how that has
anything to do with you having access to these shank chaer cities particularly for these criminal offenders the. >> right. when we're referring to sanctuary cities, we're not requesting law enforcement above and beyond -- we're asking for their cooperation to enable us to exercise our federal authorities to take enforcement action. >> i'm just trying to be brief because many of you are going to get a request to meet with me in my office so i can get a chance to get more than five inkremt chances to speak with you. to what extent does that lack of access hamper your broader investigations to go after the criminal enterprise? i mean in some cases maybe you can flip them. in other cases -- to what extent does that cut off a lot of trails to our investigation? >> senator, if we're unable to
receive information, then it hurts our investigations both domestically and internationally. >> mr. blanco, i did not get a chance to let you answer the question about sanctions -- it looks like you were going to say something to that effect. but what other pressure do we need to apply to criminal enterprise. it sounds like you're suggesting that some other nations that have the highest percentage of people coming here and participating in ms-13 or tco should get cooperation. but what other things are we talking about with respect to sanction regimes? >> i think the first step would bow like ofac evaluations, but i can tell you by seizing their assets and taking their assets to either pay back victims of crimes or reinvest back into law
enforcement, that's a critical tool. and you may think ms-13 doesn't have a lot of assets, but they have plenty of assets. >> yeah, we're working on programs to target ofac, using that tool in the financial realm to shutdown that pathway. the remititances coming to the united states to el salvador, if you got enough people earning money through extortion and prostitution, it adds up over time am. and the commanding control of ms-13 is different than many other street gangs. it's very solid as mr. blanco said, very tight-knit, very command centric. so that flow of money back to el salvador is very important to them, because they rely on it to further their operation. so this is an area that i'd like
to brief you and other members on in a more private setting, to not tip our head entirely in our tactics. but it's area we are laser focused on is cutting off the illicit proceeds between here and el salvador. >> chief provost i should have mentioned i spent some time down at the border, and i was very impressed there. i think if we up here listen to what you down there are saying, there's a way to secure the border. and there's a way to do it that will allow your officers to operate in a safer environment. and i think we need to dispense with the we don't need borders, we need fences -- there's a happy medium that the experts on the ground there have said
through people, technology, and infrastructure convince you that can be made more safe. do you think that answer is somewhere in the happy medium and not in the extremes? >> thebirder is very dynamic, sir, as i'm sure you have seen. and that mixture you have mentioned, we know this to be the right mixture. and it varies in different locations. but certainly the type of support for our front line men and women would help reduce the risk to them and their security, help them do their jobs even better than they already do. so that resourcing is -- would be a huge support. >> and i bring that up in ms-13 in the context of the discussion today because i think it's a vitally important way to disrupt their supply chains. it's a vitally important tool and also provides a better level of safety for border security. but it's a part of a multifaceted strategy to make it
very difficult for these murderers and rapist and drug traffickers to be successful. and the last thing before i will have a closing statement that was offered by senator grassley, but when we talk about that was remarkable when was down there, because you hear people up here talk about you have police and law enforcement inties that are corrupt, you can't work with them. a lot of people may understand, there may be some corruption but a lot of it has to do with life threats against those people and their families in the same way you have people entering ms-13 who but for their participation may have their own lives or their family members back in their host countries at risk. i'm not excusing the fact they may be entering into a criminal enterprise, but we have to understand how sophisticated and ruthless the leaders of these
enterprises are. and we need to implement policies that let us, only figuratively speaking, cut their heads off. we have to do that. and we have to implement policies and make it likely to have community policing techniques that make people in the community safer, working with law enforcement work. we have to implement policies that let you get into every jail in the united states and investigate more thoroughly the criminal enterprises that these tcos represent. and we have to implement policies that are reasonable and respectful for illegally present children. that's how you start solving this problem. i'm looking forward to talking with you all more in my office. closing statement from chairman grassley. i want to thank all of you for being here and for your testimonies. as the testimony has shown, ms-13 has grown in size and strength. and the amount of scope of the
crimes they commit are terrifying. at least 40 states have reported ms-13 gang activity and violence. thousands of american communities are being affected by this organization and organizations like them. a big reason for this proliferation is our own federal government's negligence. the administration must do a much better job than the last administration. it needs to be careful not to hastily place unaccompanied minors from central america, some of whom are gang members already, into american communities without proper screening or oversight. steps must be taken to prevent the flow of these minors. the system is fraught with abuse, systemic errors, and a lack of effective cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies. i look forward to seeing each agency represented today to work
together in the future to ensure these minors don't continue to fall into the cracks and become victims of this group's brutality. that will conclude this hearing. the record will remain open for witnesses. i know i have a lot more questions and many of you will have an opportunity to go into my office so we can discuss this more fully. i thank you all for your service and i look forward to your continued participation in solving this policy challenge. thank you all. this meeting is adjourned.