Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 22, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

9:00 pm
1999. mr. wagner began his career in 1991 when he joined the customs nervous as an inspector there. he has worked at the new york and new jersey for. i appreciate you joining us. i look forward to your answers and questions here at our next speaker is james spero. a special agent for the awful low, new york area. he serves as the ice division. acts as assistant special agent and charged in the field office. am i pronouncing that right, mr. spero? mr. spero: yes, senator. distinguished members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss isis efforts to improve security along the northern border. dhs principal investigative
9:01 pm
agency, investigations disposition to leverage is broad statutory authority to support order enforcement. it works in close ordination with dhs components and u.s. inter-agency partners, as well as our counterparts in canadian law on arsenic, to target transnational -- canadian -- it applies a full range of tech weeks, including leading and for dissipating in joint u.s. and canadian task forces, undercover operations, controlled deliveries identification and title iii electronic intercepts to identify and disrupt criminal operation. nearly 1300 special agents and 100 intelligence research
9:02 pm
specialists operating along the border. in fiscal year 2014, the seven special agents in charge officers covering the northern border often in joint cooperative investigations with auto, state local, tribal, and canadian law enforcement sees more than 237 million dollars in cash and monetary instruments. nearly 26,000 pounds of marijuana. do thousand pounds of cocaine. -- 2,000 pounds of cocaine. check to see -- ecstasy. nearly 1400 weapons and firearms. over 55,000 rounds of ammunition. about 8400 weapons components. the special agents made over
9:03 pm
500,000 criminal breasts resulted in nearly -- indictments and presently over -- these statistics reflect the impact of our coordinated law enforcement investments and investigations along the northern border. additionally, he maintains the largest investigative footprint of any u.s. law enforcement agency in canada. office is located in ottawa vancouver, toronto, and montreal. further enhance national security by serving as a liaison through agency partners and counterparts. our partnerships are essential to join operations and information sharing along the northern border and beyond. one example, how we participate with joint terrorism task force. we bring its unique authority
9:04 pm
and experience to the task force to help the tech security -- to protect security and our flagship task force program or best created in 2005 as a mechanism to address the threat of cross-border crime. in 2007, we began to deploy units along the border. a prudent and possible platform from which dhs investigates and targets transnational transnational organization owns -- organizations. best units differ from other task forces. currently, there are for best units operating along the northern border. the participation and
9:05 pm
integration of foreign law enforcement personnel who have the ability to conduct cross-border investigations with hsi. also addressing criminal activity of both sides of the border. one successful collaboration with partners is an hsi investigation that targeted a cocaine smuggling organization involved in the illicit movement of cocaine and bulk cash within canada, the u.s., and mexico. investigators estimated that this organization was responsible for the smuggling of cocaine into canada with a street value of over $60 million. through successful collaboration , a high-level target was sentenced in may of 2014 to 84 months of incarceration.
9:06 pm
this individual was arrested in 2010 with attempting to export cocaine across the lewiston bridge port of entry from new york into canada. the 97 kilograms of cocaine seizure is to this day the largest seizure in the history of the port of buffalo. in conclusion, ice remains dedicated committed to this mission. we look forward to continuing to work with this committee on these efforts. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i will be pleased to answer any questions. senator johnson: thank you. would you like to give your opening statement our wait until the end? >> i thought i was off the hook. i will give it now. members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to
9:07 pm
appear today to discuss our security and facilitation efforts of ports of entry along our border. u.s. international boundary delineates to from a nation with a long history of soul troll -- cultural and economic ties. we ensure that our northern border operations protect and commerce between our countries pit u.s. and canada is connected by land ports of entry and daily flights by commercial aircraft and numerous recreational vessels that cross the maritime border pit ensuring a flow, we have more than 3600 officers and 190 agriculture specialist stationed on the border and ensuring dangerous goods individuals are intercepted -- dangerous individuals are intercepted. we deployed radiofrequency
9:08 pm
identification technology. it requires a passport or other secure document to enter the u.s. it allows us to -- we continue to deploy next-generation license plate readers and large-scale and small-scale imaging technology, as well as a variety of handheld technology including radiation monitors. dhs and canadian agencies are collaborating to enhance cross-border operations. as part of this effort, we made significant -- the was government has invested over $400 million to rebuild and improve more than 30 ports of entry along the northern border. each year, approximately some did 2 million enter for business tourism, school, and
9:09 pm
to visit family and friends. many facilitate lawful travel and increased security. cbp develops operations designed to be contributed to travel and not barriers. identifying and separating low risk travelers from those who may require additional scrutiny is a key element in our efforts to facilitate international travel. trade traveling is equally significant. the combined into a trade investment between the u.s. and canada totaled billions of dollars. u.s. and canada are you touch largest export market. -- largest export market. we could promote economic growth
9:10 pm
along the northern border. in 2011, the u.s. and canada signed of the on the border initiative. it has a quick and interest and participates in seven others. i would like to have a few congressmen's today. -- accomplishments today. we have launched a pilot for primary colgrove -- cargo processes. phase one of the pilot was completed in washington and british colombia. phase two between buffalo -- also concluded. for land, air, and marine travel.
9:11 pm
1.1 million travelers and increased approximately 80% since 2011. canada and the u.s. are striving to provide secure supply chain that's a lies were safe and economically process moving of cargo -- provides safe and economically process of moving cargo. his easter dress at the earliest opportunity. and adopt standards for security screening we continue to harmonize programs. we are expecting to launch a fully automated harmonization process along the joint application for the cross-border highway programs by fall of this year. this allows companies interested
9:12 pm
to submit a single application and one partner account instead of two. we have engaged to increase security through public either partnerships. the part of buffalo and a bridge authority to replace 18 radiation port monitors at the cbp inspection lanes in northern new york. a nonsense will increase security and efficiency by providing procedures that will reduce -- this will increase security and efficiency by providing procedures. your secret opportunity to testify. i'm happy to him -- thank you for the opportunity to testify. i'm happy to answer questions. senator johnson: next is mr. rodriguez. he worked at the dea. in 1997, selected as the
9:13 pm
director of a drug trafficking area program in seattle, washington. in 2010, the [indiscernible] you get used acronyms in this business. mr. ivory guess. mr. right rate -- mr. rodriguez. rodriguez: we coordinate and do joint operations with more than 115 international, federal, local, and state agencies are out the northwest. we help agencies identify threats and implement strategies to address them. the transnational criminal organizations operating both sides of the u.s.-canada border consider that continue -- continue to move drugs weapons
9:14 pm
and bulk cash. this includes caucasian groups ethnic east indians coming asia organized crime groups members of the hells angels motorcycle club. also, those headed by consolidated organization targets. the strong foothold of the pacific northwest. these include -- these are not limited by organizations. the location rendered susceptible to drug smuggling and production. 13 official ports of entry. a significant proportion of international borders has dense forest and promote lands that are susceptible to drug related
9:15 pm
drug activities. public lands that are jason to the border -- adjacent to the border -- most of the area on both sides is sparsely populated and has dense forest of public land. make it across about detection -- they could make it across without detection. maritime and air struggling and terrorist activities. one quarter is the main transportation route into the pacific northwest. multi agency investigation show they continue to exploit the report areas along the washington -- exploit the areas along the washington areas.
9:16 pm
the criminal organizations in the eastern region of the state take advantage of the remote areas of the border and a lack of detection equipment such as radar and the lack of critical infrastructure to increase the use of these rural routes. narcotics are often concealed onboard commercial trucks and compartments. helicopters, airplanes, boats are used to smuggle. cocaine and marijuana seizures and idaho consider -- thursday mistreated increase in the frequency -- there was an increase in the frequency.
9:17 pm
ecstasy smuggled from british columbia to washington continues. canada is the primary source of it. precursors are smuggled from china into canada where it is processed. it is a tablet. recent investigations indicate that it is also being smuggled in -- cocaine continues to be smuggled into canada. 101 kilograms received at the northern border in the state of washington compared to over 800 kilograms that were received in 2008-2009. shipments are known to be sent to canada from areas outside the u.s. ball cash seizures -- bulk cash
9:18 pm
seizures demonstrates the fluctuation in year-to-year. efforts are guided by the 2012 national nor kartik strategy -- narcotics strategy to reduce the threats on both sides of the border. the strategy at jesses joint efforts in the area of intelligence -- addresses joint efforts in the area of intelligence, as well as in mary time lanes -- maritime domains. we will continue to foster cooperation amongst federal state, local, tribal, and international law force agencies along the washington ridge and border. we believe we share and participate in important roles
9:19 pm
in both intel sharing and the enforcement initiatives of training and analytical support to conclude -- thank you for being able to testify today. senator johnson: thank you. the u.s. attorney for the northern district of new york that covers 300 miles of the u.s. and canada border. he sits on the attorney general advisory committee or he serves as the cochair of a committee of which he leaves the northern border working group. is there narcotics chief and organize crime coordinator. >> [inaudible] sorry. thank you. u.s. attorney for the judicial district along the northern
9:20 pm
border know that border security is a critical component of our national security. i work with federal, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies and our canadian counterparts to combat the crime that threatens it. the four districts of the largest volume of border crossings and criminal activity is western washington and western new york and my district . at northern district of new york shares 300 and 10 mile border with canada and includes eight of new york's 11 fourth of entry. a huge volume of people and goods pass through the district from major population centers of eastern africa -- central canada. it straddles the border with portions in new york, and terrio, and quebec. smugglers export the circumstances to cross the border search of sicily --
9:21 pm
surreptitiously. the volume of traffic, the acceleration of trade and travel, and jurisdictional provisions. the prevention of terrorism remains our number one priority. my family and i felt the impact of terrorism having lost my 21-year-old sister in the skies in a bombing of pamn-am 103. two men a conspiracy to murder for the benefit of the terrorist group, they plotted to do real a passenger train traveling between new york and toronto but were thwarted by a joint investigation that included undercover work by an fbi agent. u.s. attorney office works closely with each 12 joint terrorism task force operating at and beyond the border and the canadian hunter parts to spot and stop terrorism understanding
9:22 pm
our vigorous enforcement of the criminal code and child exploiters and those who smuggle drugs, guns, illegal immigrants come and cash reduces the threat of another attack. our national effort to combat crimes includes initiatives from collaborations such as integrated enforcement teams and task forces all led by dhs and dea drug task forces. they are expanding eastward. after establishing regular operations on the maritime borders in washington and michigan -- drug organization's boats, helicopters, snowmobiles, and vehicle compartments across without detection of their illicit cargo. for example, we recently
9:23 pm
dismantled a ring that transported hockey backs filled with canadian marijuana across the seaway and is seized 16 handguns headed for canada. another group we dismantled on obtained ecstasy in montreal and regularly delivered 50,000 pills to wholesalers in new york and austin returning -- boston and returning with cash in several kilos of cocaine. in the fight against human trafficking and the smuggling of young romanian women through the u.s. through montreal for prostitution, usually resulted in charges in canada and the u.s. we cooperated to call that child exportation like a case where defendant was charged a candidate when he tried to bring in child pornography, but didn't show up for trial. we took the case. the consent -- he was sentenced to jail for transporting nearly
9:24 pm
4000 images and over 100 videos of graphic child pornography. as these cases illustrate, the existing enforcement teams and task forces that hasn't ethic and successes -- has had significant successes. it has left them short of true integration. beyond the border declaration it included a commitment to build on existing bilateral law enforcement programs to develop the next generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement operations. with our counterparts, we are addressing the issues associated with the enforcement. the vital work of advancing border security goes on. and it was the border of operations leadership team. it brings together operational leaders with border missions for their insides and actions and measures to enhance efforts to eradicate cross-border crime. we are confident that our
9:25 pm
bilateral commitment to border security and mutual respect for national sovereignty and shared tradition of protecting both public safety and individual rights will strengthen our efforts to achieve more integrated cross-border enforcement. we are committed to continued vigilance using the full range of investigative tools and laws available to us. agencies are poised to capitalize on the historic opportunity to forge bonds with our canadian counterparts to increase our effectiveness. thank you for the opportunity to discovery the challenges we are facing at the northern border. i look forward to answering your questions. thank you for your testimony. senator johnson: we are china get some sense of where main problems occur. we have many borders. i would like to go to you. talk about in general the a sick
9:26 pm
extent of the problems. the stats i have is that on the southwest border we have thousands of apprehensions of people crossing this country illegally. obviously we have a much larger border. the bigger problem is coming from the southern border. we have had contradictory testimony on this. that apprehension is about sunday five percent is what we believe we are apprehending. i realize it is difficult to get that number. >> effectiveness rate is primarily used on the southern border. we have to find the threat among other things. on the northern border, that is not necessarily the case.
9:27 pm
we're using an effectiveness rate likely due in the southern border to the northern border doesn't make sense to us. we take a look at our strategy. where should we deploy our resources? we looked. take a look at approximately 90% of the canadian population. you take the 4000 miles. people seek entry. you need to operate. it is very concentrated in some areas. we try to match those areas should it is driven primarily by intelligence. >> is your sense that we apprehend a higher percentage on the northern border versus the southern border or less? ask anyone who wants to chime in on that. >> we'll measure that sir. my sense it is act or higher than the southern border because of the flow rate.
9:28 pm
>> went out in terms of drug trafficking? do we have any statistics in terms of the total number of tons coming from the southern border versus the drugs being trafficked through the northern border? 10%? 5%? >> i do not have the percentage off the top of my head. it is considerably less in terms of the smuggling that occurs on the northern border what we've seen at the southern border. >> with had testimony from a gentleman on the southern border . estimate somewhere between 5-10% of all drugs. 95% are getting through. do we have a similar type of interdiction rate on the other border? anyone want to answer? or do we simply not know? >> i'm not familiar with the methodology on that. we look at seizure rates along the border versus the southern border.
9:29 pm
we don't measure in terms of a comparison to differentiate threats. >> in terms of the drugs flowing through, we have had contradictory testimony on the southern border. one witnessing the majority of drugs go through the ports of entry. other witnesses say they go around the ports of entry. to have any sense of the northern border where the drug trafficking is occurring? they are smuggled through ports of entry. i they coming through the other -- are they coming through the >> anybody want to try to answer that one? mr. spero? james spero: it is bidirectional.
9:30 pm
it is going from the united states into canada. as far as the difference between whether or not we are making investigations of drugs being interdicted either at the port of entry or between the ports. we are seeing both. the case i spoke about during my oral statement was a case where the tractor-trailer that was being used by the drug smuggling organization to get cocaine from the ontario -- where the drugs are being stored at the warehouse -- is actually being transported across the united states and the report of buffalo. it is supposed to be delivered to canada. that particular method was a trap, i concealed compartment under the floorboards of the tractor-trailer. it had that particular -- had a
9:31 pm
particularly -- particular delivery been successful, it would've gone to the port of entry. likewise, we still see smuggling -- i believe it was mr. hartunian and mr. rodriguez about them coming through the ports. we get referrals from the border patrol, who made those introductions between the ports, as well as we do from the office of field operations making those interdictions at the ports. sen johnson: one difference is the bordering country. we have far greater cooperation between the nine states and canada than we do with mexico. we have signed an agreement on
9:32 pm
land, rail, air transport which will require legislation on both sides of the border. chief fisher, can you speak to the difference between cooperation we have with the mexican government versus the canadian government and what an enormous difference that makes. chief fisher: information for us is the key. in particular, with canada, we have found information is really good, it gets better. i have agents embedded with the rcmp in canada. having a border patrol agent in canada only bolsters our ability to understand the evolving threats and helps us secure the border on both sides. sen johnson: that type of model we have with canada, if we could implement that with mexico, it would make a difference? chief fisher: yes, it would.
9:33 pm
sen. carper: the question that was raised is an important one. the extent we can strengthen a relationship with mexico and peru our confidence in the information they can provide -- and in proof -- improve our confidence in the information they can provide us. maybe a couple of you, i want to talk to you about force multipliers. i mentioned the assets we were able to deploy between ports of entry. drones on mexico, drones in canada. we have fixed wing aircraft along our border with mexico. we had an inspector general's report come out and it raced series questions about the
9:34 pm
efficiency. the drones we were using on our southern border, when does it fly above a certain velocity, certain kinds of weather where they can't operate. they have systems on board that make them far more effective. we saw some aircraft used along the mexican border that we sent out with binoculars as opposed to a vader system on board. i want you to talk about how effective some of those force multipliers are, how effective they are on the northern border and what can we do to mission they are even more effective? i don't know we need to add a whole lot of people. what we need to do is to the point of more effectively. >> you raise an interesting and
9:35 pm
very important point in terms of our strategy on the northern barty -- border. a lot of times they look at our border diplomas with an eye towards our south and ask why they are not the poor that way. technology, whether it's handheld, ground sensors, remote video surveillance systems, the type of technology that we have deployed along the southern border is the same along the northern border. our posture in response to some of those may be different here it however our ability to increase situational awareness is the same in terms of our strategy and of limitation. what is exciting on the northern border because of the vast terrain, because of the remoteness and some of these locations and our inability to access the immediate border whether because it is a lack of and for structure, roads, or impediments of the terrain. we have and will start the collection along the southern border which was started back in
9:36 pm
march 2013, utilizing unmanned aerial systems additional vader technology and synthetic aperture radar. we have targeted about 80% of the northern border, from the field cheats identifying remote locations roster starting collection against those areas to be able to do a before and after picture. think of it in terms of a 30 mile stretch along the northern border. the unmanned aerial system with a ploy and take a series of videos along those remote areas. 24 hours later that unmanned aerial system along with the same technology will do the same flight. those before and after videos will be sent into a computer, what we call a processing expert tatian and disseminating cell, an analyst with take a look and see if there have been incursions across that border from the first picture to the next picture. that gives us a sense of whether or not if we have incursions.
9:37 pm
two, or if they are emerging threats or if there are areas where their own activities for a variety of reason which tells is not -- where to not deploy technology so that we can focus on those areas where those crossings are more likely to occur. >> i was mentioning in my opening statement that we have a 4000 mile border with canada, plus 1500 miles with canada and alaska. do you have any idea how many drones we have? >> we >> >> we have nine unmanned aerial systems. we do what is called federated flights. we can move those unmanned aerial systems from the northern border to the southern border based on identified threats. and because of the capability
9:38 pm
we can run federated queries. we also have certificates of authorization to be able to move across the northern and southern border based on threats. >> at any given day, we might have two, 3, 4 drones along the border. >> primarily that would be too. we would be able to argument that. >> how often do we have them in the air? >> that i don't know, sir. as you indicated, weather permitting, like any other man system, the weather is going to be a limiting factor in the readiness rate on windows can fly. >> i want you to answer that for the record. >> i will do that. >> starting with you mr. hartunian, giving us good advice , what should we be doing more of? i must say i am impressed by the
9:39 pm
work you're doing. we will be taking up appropriations soon. anything that you would especially bring to our attention would be helpful. hon. richard hartunian: thank you for that question. the first thing you're doing is calling attention to the northern border. there are a lot of challenges we face up there, that is you can tell i think we are doing good work. we have great geographic challenges, big space, but as i think about some of the things that could be helpful to us in our work with the canadians, we have had great challenges that have come about in recent years as a result of the explosion of requests for information formally. we are seeing more and more of those. information in investigations is frequently needed from computer systems and e-mails, and while we are taking a great step to improve our informal information
9:40 pm
sharing efforts and protocols we are still seeing an explosion and other requests. support for our office of international affairs in our effort conga -- efforts congress working with us. >> for the record -- >> thank you for that response. sen johnson: senator booker question mark sen. heitkamp: sen. booker: booker? sen. booker: your leadership is essential to the safety and security of our nation. it is clear that the scale differences in the challenges and threats are between the northern and southern borders. it is not the same scale on the northern border, and we understand that.
9:41 pm
this committee has held numerous hearings that focus on the southern border. i am happy that we are having one here. as you enumerated in your written testimonies, there are still tremendous threats along our northern border. the fact that it is so porous and i asked for that picture to be put up there, this vast -- over 5000 mile border, with incredibly diverse terrain has areas that are to amend is the poor's, as this picture right here demonstrates how easy it is to cross undetected, really illustrates the need for the urgency for the threat. i am not calling for any fence but also what i am looking for is a proportionate focus on our northern border threats. mr. hartunian, you illustrated the nature of these threats, a train incidents 1997, a man was
9:42 pm
convicted of guns trying to detonate a bomb in a new york subway station. 1999, the millennial bomber was stopped at port angeles, washington. the list as you all know of terrorist threats and incursions from the northern border are real, are substantive, and should be taken seriously. and so, we have tremendous cooperation, and i have been grateful for our canadian borders. our governments work well together. i am concerned that cooperation is not going as far as it could be. for example candidate has not shared no fly list information with us, which to me raises some concerns for people that they have put on the no-fly list. i want to ask that question
9:43 pm
specifically about the no-fly list. what efforts are we taking to obtain that information from canada and to ensure the safety and protection of americans from terrorist who may try to enter our country across the northern border? you can be answered by anyone. >> i can't speak to that issue directly, but i can to you that your point is well taken. public safety and the threat of terrorism is our number one priority. we have to be mindful of that. we are concerned about that every day, and to address it, i think we have been working closely with the canadians. one of the things that we have been doing is to integrate more closely with canadian prosecution teams. we have been talking to them more frequently, meeting with them, and sharing information not just between the agencies come up with the agents and the prosecutors. it's a very important point that you make. sen. booker: just knowing who
9:44 pm
they put on a list to stop them from flying, it seems like something it would be common sense to share with us and the people that have concerns about. >> senator, i am not familiar with their position on that. i will tell you that in the realm of criminal cases and criminal work, we have had good luck with interaction and sharing. sen. booker: mr. fisher, do you know about that information? chief fisher: i believe john wagner is prepared answer that question. deputy wagner: the fbi owns the watchlist for the u.s. government could as users of that watchlist or any other information we could glean from countries, we would welcome that information. we do have a fairly robust sharing procedure with our counterparts in canada, this ebsa, the canada border services agency. we have officers embedded in each of our targeting centers
9:45 pm
where we go through airline manifests to identify national security threats, and we have protocols to exchange information in cases when we see that. most of the watch list individuals we see traveling art through commercial aviation still. a preponderance of watchlist individuals are still coming be a commercial aviation. we have seen the incidence over the past number of years focused primarily on commercial innovation -- aviation. we do see a couple hundred at your cross to the northern border as well. sen. booker: are the canadians forthcoming with their watch lists, or are we knocking that information. not only do we have a northern border issue, but 40% of our so-called undocumented immigrants are coming from airplanes, airports, overstays on visas in general. i would think that would be important information to share. deputy wagner: we set protocols to exchange when each of us identify a threat through commercial aviation targeting.
9:46 pm
we have protocols to exchange that information and request additional information. that is where we have our liaisons situated and physically present at each of our different targeting centers to be able to facilitate that extent of that information. we also do a lot of what we call rule sharing or joint rule creation, we sift through the reservation data information and create rules on what were looking for, what we would consider to be activity that we would want to look closer at. we sit down and come up with the two of us so we can go through a north american approach on how we do that. sen. booker: i'm going to submit the records i have -- the questions i have for you regarding racial profiling and excessive force issues, which looks like i won't have time to ask your, but i would like to cement than them get those responses. velasquez and i want to ask is
9:47 pm
the resources we are applying to the challenges and you are exiting external leadership and commitment with our canadian partners, and externally partnership. the canadians to be praise, but i am concerned about the personal challenges, including only 2093 border stations agent on the northern border, compared to the 18,000 on the southern border. that means 2000 border agents responsible for 300,000 people who cross the canadian border each day. do you all share my concern that we need more resources targeting the security of the northern border, given the vastness of the terrain and the large amounts of people that are coming through? are we resource short? >> yes. we have articulated those needs in the administrations 2015 and 2016 budget requests. at least at the ports of entry
9:48 pm
and the workload in volume and attributes a staffing number to a conference that. i would be happy to follow up afterwards on how that methodology works and what those numbers are. sen. booker: thank you. >> if i may, senator. one of the things that copayments your investigation is that when -- from sister agencies and our counterparts in field operations at the port or between the ports under chief fisher an increase in border patrol and specters is logically going to result in more interdictions, which could also result in more referrals for investigators and more investigative work. we would ask that the committee -- and it would not just affect us. as we undertake more investigations, that would affect mr. hartunian and the doj
9:49 pm
prosecutorial resources. we need to look at it as integrated agencies, how each one affects the other. >> thanks senator booker. senator sasse. sen. sasse: i would like to talk about the term operational control. there was operational control of 32 miles of the canadian border. we have abandoned that definition. what operational control meant then? why we abandon it? and if we have the same metric, would we be a 32 miles or a better place question mark -- place? >> operational control was defined in our previous strategy as the extent to which we were able to identify, develop, and track, and bring to a law enforcement resolution all
9:50 pm
injuries along the border. the fundamental premise in the 2004 strategy was predicated on deterrence. you want to prevent the entry all across the border. we started getting additional technology like border mile fence, which we measured in a linear fashion, and we started posting border patrol agents and technology in the same manner. operational control as a default equaled the amount of technology departments we were doing. if you have five more miles of fence and cameras, it was acceptable based on our internal definitions of the levels of control to be a will to combat operational control. the difficulty came into different areas. first, we were measuring the inputs. we were not necessarily measuring the outcomes of those appointments. secondly, at some point in time, those resourcing capabilities ran out. we could not as an organization come back to this committee or others and say that we cannot gain any more operational control based on our definitions
9:51 pm
unless you give us more staff. we amended it the president not measure what we needed it to measure. we switched to a risk-based approach to take a look at measuring a probability of individuals coming across the border versus the mere possibility, which the previous trade -- strategy was predicated to be able to secure the border and a fashion. sen. sasse: if we had more than six minutes, i would want to unpack whether that last point you made was a risky based -- risk-based approach and whether that was reconcilable. it sounds like we have a baseline budgeting approach around here. many of us are new, and we can ask new guy questions. whether or not you think the threats are driving your budget requests or whether you're over year what with the congress tolerate is what drives the requests. i think senator booker asked a lot of great questions about the relative threats between the northern and southern border.
9:52 pm
i wonder that is a place to pivot to the radiological concerns. dhs had deployed radiation detection equipment across all northern ports of entry. yet, two years later in 2011 the same gao report found it would not be difficult to get nuclear material across the northern ports. i wonder if dhs is so using the same equipment. i wonder if that technology should be called a failure from that point because of the expansive 2009-2011 and if better technology exists today is that some thing you are requesting of us? >> again, i would defer the answer to that question. >> yes, that equipment is still an place and we are working with the detection office to look at the recapitalization and what the right equipment is to purchase and design. we are looking at calibration settings of the equipment
9:53 pm
reducing what we call the nuisance alarms. it is to better focus on what the threats are and what our operational protocols are and response are. >> what would you say to the gao 2011 report that it would not be difficult to get nuclear material across the northern border and is that the case today as well? >> i don't necessarily agree with that. the equivalent functions as it was designed to do. it looks at the -- what it was designed to do, so i'm not familiar with the report. to say it would be easy to do whether it would be open or concealed, or how it would be detected, i would have to go back and look at that. sen. sasse: we will follow-up with a formal question on that as well. when you think about the sources of canadian threats, one way to think about the problem is what can we deter at the border. another is the nature of potential terrorist threats originating in canada changing.
9:54 pm
you can have illegal immigration into canada, legal immigration into canada, home grown terrorist threats inside canada. after the ottawa attacks, the canadian government said that homegrown terrorism in canada was a real and potentially prevalent problem. how do we respond strategically? if there were another instance of domestic terrorism inside canada strategically inside dhs, where with that threat be assessed and how would it change our behavior? >> senator, in my experience the department has since 2003, what we heard so far this morning in terms of integrated planning and execution, sharing of intelligence and information the more time goes on, the more dependent all of us are on fighting the same fight on each other to be of a to do this. no component within the department of homeland security owns the market on protecting america.
9:55 pm
we are so dependent each and every day. it becomes clearer each day when we get our intelligence briefing every morning about the evolving threat, and that is a key thing as a take away. this threat changes all the time. we have to be able to be as responsive and perhaps more predictive as we start seeing the changes, which is the reason why a couple of years ago we transitioned into integrated network operations as a strategic philosophy, which basically means that we are not going to put border patrol agents every 25 meters and a fence in front of them and a camera behind them and try to deter somebody from coming across. pragmatically in my 28 years of expense, that does not work for a couple of reasons. one, as are to teach objective. if you have deterrence is a goal you are always going to fail because some but he will always come through. number two, it is difficult to measure. if you try to figure out if you are deterring more equal this year than last year, he gets very difficult to understand.
9:56 pm
i get mired up in all the statistics to try to understand whether in fact we are winning. when you look at the intent and capability which defines the threat of those adversaries, be them transnational criminal organizations, terrorism, or as a 2011 strategy to combat transnational organizations, we introduced the convergence of tco's. that is what we are try to get better at each and every day. sen. sasse: thank you. i will follow-up with more strategic questions by letter. sen johnson: senator peters. >> thank you for sharing this committee. we are at these center of trade and transactions across our borders. if you look at the volume of trade that goes across the ports
9:57 pm
of entry of the top five in the country, detroit is number two. port huron is number four. so we are the tip of the spear so to speak when it comes to border control. it's a very important issue for my state, as well as for the industry, and that is why i want to thank senator johnson for his cosponsorship of the amendment that i put forward in their recent budget bill to make sure that we are fully funding our ports of entry to make sure that they have the security that they need and the ability to process trade and travel efficiently and that's why i'm going to make a brief pitch to make sure that we continue to get funding for the international border crossing, particularly with our new bridge that we are constructing between detroit and winsor, and port huron. they do a great deal of traffic and have been promised improvements in that plaza which have not occurred. we need to have those. it is vitally important to our economy. i want to thank all of the panelists today. this is an interesting hearing and you have an extremely
9:58 pm
difficult job, and the fact that you have dual purposes particularly when i look at my border crossings in michigan. we are asking you to keep us safe and we are also asking you not to delay as well we cross the border so that we can move trucks for just-in-time delivery for our manufacturing facilities but we have agricultural interests, crops on those trucks that cap brought. they have to go across expedition to get to the markets. that is a conflicting role, one that you do well, but we are asking you to do more when it comes to moving traffic more efficiently. i want to ask mr. fisher and mr. wagner, you have mentioned in your testimony and number of things that are happening to expedite some of the movement of goods and trade. what is working? what it is the that you need for you to do your job of protecting us while also making sure that we can ensure trade is moving efficiently question mark -- efficiently? >> it is a couple of programs
9:59 pm
that we have where we need to push and for the get participation in the trade environment. it is our trusted trader program, linking it to the canadian program, getting more companies and businesses and more tracking copies enrolled in them. it is also building the infrastructure than to support the crossings and allowing us to build on the promise that we can expedite those secured supply chains. it can't be over the bridge structure or through the border crossing, you have to have the resulting highways to feed into that to support that. it's getting a higher percentage of transactions into those programs. with the traveler environment it's the nexus program. it is getting more travelers into those nexus lanes. it is less time we spend on these enrolled populations as we call them. it allows us to better focus on everybody else. his of getting those percentages up, but also having the infrastructure to support, allowing us to deliver on the
10:00 pm
promise that we make to facilitate or expedite crossing. it's working closely with the canadian government, looking at ways to increase the use of facilitative tech knowledge he like the rfid enabled traveler, documents looking at can we get a higher saturation of those types of documents. those save us time at the border, save his resources, we don't have to physically handle the card and reader through the reader. it reads automatically. we have seen great strides on the u.s.-mexico border by getting a higher saturation of rfid enabled lanes. it allows us to do queries automatically as the carpels that. then building the infrastructure and segregating the traffic according to risks and or facilitative technologies, just like the tollbooth, easy pass, exec change, and everyone else. we have the nexis as the easy
10:01 pm
gasoline. the exact changes what we call the ready lane, someone with an rfid document, but not necessarily bedded and preapproved like the trusted traveler program of nexis. and everybody else goes to the side, and it might be a longer wait there because we know less about them, or they have a travel document that does not allow us to facilitate the crossing. it's really pushing that and getting more people involved in the infrastructure to support it. >> we continue to have delays in detroit, and i know you're making great strides to expedite that. it cost money, a lot of money and with the delays based on how the system works now. are there additional resources that you need question mark or is it just a matter of time to implement the systems? >> we have a workload staffing model that takes all of the activity an officer doesn't a port of entry, takes the average time it takes to do it, take sammy times a day is typically done and comes up with the
10:02 pm
amount of hours to run a port of entry and divide that by the available work hours of an officer and come up with a staffing number of what we need to run based on the workload for that part of entry. we can mitigate that need for new staff by some of our business transformation improvements that we make. things like one of our current efforts is the trucks pulled up and they are still paying cash a couple of dollars in change to pay the user feast across the border, rather than buying the decals. we are looking at ways to pay that in advance on line so we are not collecting cash and making change to deliver back to them and the resulting savings and workload savings and time savings translates into staff at some point. the facility's peas, we recognize the facilities are extremely expensive. just between the facility itself the staffing equipment, and the highways to connect it. there is a lot of coordination needed. we would like to see a lot of regional planning to look at crossings as a systems rather than individual privileges --
10:03 pm
bridges or tunnels that sometimes compete with each other for traffic and for toll revenue. we would really like to see regional planning efforts that take them as a system of crossings to working with our canadian cap parts to move that traffic north and south on both borders. >> i am running out of time, but i do have a question related to racial profiling and the justice department's exemptions of the cbp for racial profiling. and some of the border patrol's activities in michigan as well. i will do that in writing and look forward to your response to some various serious concerns that have been raised to me, and i would like to do your response. thank you. sen johnson: thank you senator peters. senator mccain. sen. mccain: i would like to thank the witnesses for being here. chief fisher, congress
10:04 pm
man salmon and i introduced legislation. it was designed to detect illegal entries across the border. gao testified that border patrols access to some federal lands has been limited because of certain land management laws. for example the organ pipe national monument, they did not approve a land manager, did not approve of border patrols requests or plan to install detection equipment, in this case a tower. we see this time after time. the land manager is making the final decision on the installation of this equipment as opposed to the border patrol. can you expect to me why that should be?
10:05 pm
one, if it's true. two, if that should be. chief fisher: i'm not going to dispute your report and what g-8 oh have found -- gao may have found. there are decisions that have been made within the department of interior. they are perhaps antithetical to the policies or the approach we would take. sen. mccain: it seems to me that there should be a clear decision , which it should be your organization, not the land manager. during the hearing, chief fisher , general kelly, commander of the u.s. southern command issued a warning about the threat that budget sequestration poses to security along our southern border. general kelly warned that the potential threat of terrorists
10:06 pm
crossing our southern border is extremely serious and called the budget cut the catastrophe that could effectively put us out of business. mr. wagner and chief fisher, do you agree with general kelly's assessment of the fact of sequestration and the ability to control your borders question mark >> -- importers? chief fisher: i think that is accurate. sen. mccain: how about being able to carry out your duties question mark -- duties question mark -- duties? chief fisher: we have finite resources. sen. mccain: then tell us whether it matters or not. chief fisher: it does matter. sen. mccain: how serious does it impact? chief fisher: at times, very serious. sen. mccain: mr. wegner? deputy wagner: i concur.
10:07 pm
it is an additional challenge that can be distracting from the mission. sen. mccain: you can just managed to it, right? deputy wagner: we have no other choice. sen. mccain: am i not making myself clear? i want to know the effect of sequestration on your ability to do your job. deputy wagner: it makes it more difficult. sen. mccain: how much more difficult? deputy wagner: the entire process, getting a budget six months into a fiscal year makes it more difficult, looking at cots mexico were difficult. sen. mccain: how about your ability to secure our borders? deputy wagner: we do the best we have -- sen. mccain: i'm asking how it affects your ability to enforce our borders. what is the matter with you today? it is a straightforward question. i want to know how sequestration affects your ability to enforce our borders. deputy wagner: it makes it more difficult and more challenging. i don't have a number. sen. mccain: ok.
10:08 pm
chief fisher, general kelly also said and i quote "terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the united states. " that is general kelly's testimony last month before the armed services committee. do you share that view? >> yes, i do. sen. mccain: would you elaborate? chief fisher: yes, senator. i mentioned earlier terms of the 2011 strategy to combat transnational criminal limitations, and particular the convergence. that strategy looked at the possibility of organized crime and terrorism basically coming together to be able to exploit what abilities along our border and other areas as well.
10:09 pm
we see that as an emerging threat. our shift to take a look at risks and risk mitigation as opposed to just putting order patrol agents and fence everywhere was the reason for that as well. sen. mccain: are you seeing apprehending people coming across, particular our southern border, but also our november order, that are not from the traditional countries that we usually see immigrants. i'm talking about mexico, central america, are using people coming from any other parts of the world that you are apprehending. >> yes, senator. on average over the last three years, because of the volume of a we see individuals that are representative from over 140 different countries. sen. mccain: 140 different countries? could you give us examples that would surprise the average citizen? chief fisher: the vast majority is still with the contiguous countries of mexico on the southern border, central and
10:10 pm
south america. i think we saw of increased activity predominate from countries like guatemala, el salvador, and hundreds in particular. i beg your pardon question mark -- party? sen. mccain: chinese, africa, sub-saharan africa? chief fisher: yes, sir. i have the list. sen. mccain: would you police admit that for the record and the numbers of those from these -- part of this is international human smuggling operations, but also it could be a disturbing factor to all of us to see how far away many of these illegal immigrants are coming across the border. does that concern you as well? chief fisher: it does. sen. mccain: are you expecting another large number of children showing up on our border -- on
10:11 pm
our southern border in the next couple of months. chief fisher: i am confident that based our -- on where we are halfway through this year that we would not see the level of a company did -- level of unaccompanied children sen. mccain:. ? chief fisher: it will be down over the preceding two years. sen. mccain: i think the witnesses. sen johnson: senator ernst. sen. ernst: gentlemen, i appreciate you being here today and thank you for our service in protecting our great country. today we have heard a lot of testimony about shared efforts between canada and the united states, and i do believe that they are a strong partner for us. i know senator booker mentioned sharing the no-fly list information. that would be very important,
10:12 pm
but are there any other specific initiatives that we need to look at as far as joint activities with canada? anything that in your mind, and maybe chief fisher if you could address is or mr. wagner, specific initiatives that we need to take a hard look at and implement? >> yes, senator. i briefly mentioned the teams where we have embedded physically in space where we can share information. equally important, not just the sharing of the information, is being able to figure out what we are collectively going to do with that information on a particular threat. if you take a look at the two countries and the jurisdictional authorities and associated authorities that go with that, we are a lot stronger in doing that. the extent that we can expand not just the concept, but those teams, i think we will be better for doing that.
10:13 pm
deputy wagner: as they develop additional targeting and information sharing systems they are working on a system much like our system for the so waiver travelers. -- the visa waiver travelers. it's a north american approach and consistent targeting and identification of national security factors. then, sharing and exchanging is the ways in protocols on how we can address those at the earliest possible opportunity. sen. ernst: yes, go ahead. james spero: just to expand on their answer. one of the things i would like to call attention to is that we had talked about a lot of the leadership committees and collaboration that's going on, whether it is beyond the border
10:14 pm
executive group or the cross-border forum or both. those are as i said before -- those are great ways for us to strategize, identify threats both with interacting with our canadian partners, but one of the things that i wanted to expand on is that in addition our border enforcement security task force's are making a big difference. they are the operators on the ground who actually are doing the investigations, making search warrant zumba sides of the border, and making the arrest, and identifying, disrupting, and dismantling the transnational criminal organizations. it is a great model, a model where we give our title 19 cross designation or deputize canadian law enforcement as customs
10:15 pm
officers. that way they can come into the united states and conducted side-by-side with us joint investigations under our close supervision. to have that connectivity investigator to investigator agent to agent coordination, collaboration, and working the cases together is proving to be a successful model. sen. ernst: these are all initiatives that canada is open to and they are working well with united states court to mark is at a correct assessment? go ahead. >> i would like to highlight some of the other work going on in the pacific northwest. we have a u.s. coast guard initiative, officers are cross designated to operate in each other's waters. i also wanted to highlight the
10:16 pm
fact that the state of washington and the province of british columbia do a yearly meeting with their law enforcement representatives to share issues, problems, and resolutions on our cross-border trafficking. i think those are unique to help operate. we also engage in a mutual discussion with them on a quarterly basis at our joint management team, which has the oversight of the best programs. and we have a yearly meeting, project northstar in spokane, in which we will sit down with our canadian colleagues, as well as our state and local officials and federal agencies, to strategize and if a mental strategies in the near future. sen. ernst: that's great. i appreciate the collaboration we have with our neighbors to the north. through this process, have you seen any joint initiatives where the canadians have actually pushed back or they don't wish
10:17 pm
to collaborate with u.s. authorities? are there any of those instances out there? anybody. >> i would not say that. the only reticence is sometimes ensuring of target information. they have certain privacy rules which they have to abide by, and so sometimes that can be a little bit difficult. i think we talked about one information format that is provided. i think those are overcome in the field with operational matters and between the different agencies. sen. ernst: ok. >> from a prosecutor's perspective, we have made great efforts and strides to bring our prosecution teams together to address some of the challenges that we face when we do cross-border operations and investigations. sometimes there can be
10:18 pm
challenges sharing information. we have to make sure we are in compliance with rules of the country. sometimes we have to make charging decisions, who are we going to charge and in what jurisdiction over going to charge them. there are different considerations that come into play based on the law of canada or the united states. we have come a long way in bringing our prosecution teams together. bringing our canadian provincial prosecutors and crown federal prosecutors together with our u.s. attorneys to work some of those differences out. sen. ernst: that is very good. it's good to know what works, and if there are challenges out there as well. thank you, general and paid my time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for the introduction and the opportunity to talk about a border we don't talk a lot about in this committee, which is the northern border. it is interesting that senator mccain is still here because one
10:19 pm
of the challenges that we have on the northern and southern border is after we have deployed more resources at the ports of entry, we have opened up rural america, whether on the northern or southern border, to mischief. thanks that used to happen to the port of entry now could in fact and are happening on the southern border in very remote locations, which creates huge disruptions to local communities, to rural america. i recently hosted the deputy secretary in north dakota, and i want to applaud blue and green. we gave them a great look at how cooperation works in north dakota. your folks have been just absolutely fabulous on the northern border incorporating with local law enforcement cooperating with canadian officials, cooperating with local chiefs and shares. it is seamless. the applause is all around, but there are challenges. in minnesota, the challenges are wooded.
10:20 pm
in north dakota, open prairies, miles and miles. the farmers are borrowing -- farming around the boundary posts. this is not what you see on the southern border. one of the big challenges we have is getting staff in remote locations. i think you both can say that the challenge -- i think we are down a number of border protection officers, and i think we struggled to get border patrol to stay on the northern border. my question to you is, what are you doing within the department of homeland security to secure additional incentives for workforce to stay on the northern border? >> thank you. we recently commissioned an internal workgroup to look at that. we have a lot of places that are hard to fill and retain staff at. we are looking at what the options are at our disposal now, rio location incentives,
10:21 pm
bonuses, paid moves promises of limited assignments there of a couple years, and then looking at what is the right options to offer. >> are you meeting with any internal resistance in making pay adjustments or incentive adjustments to secure staff on the northern border? >> no, we haven't. it's finding the budget funds to do it and figuring out the right approach. >> we are back to budget constraints giving us a less secure border, i think is the point senator mccain was trying to get out? i know you don't want to say that, but -- >> i'm happy to say that. >> we would like you to say that. >> the staffing needs as part of the annual budget, we did receive more officers two years ago when the process of hiring them, but the needs to remains for 2624 more.
10:22 pm
these would be distributed amongst the workload and staffing model. >> i think we would be foolish to say that we can manage the borders, either the northern borders or the coastal borders which we haven't yet talked about, or the southern land border without additional resources, be it additional aircraft that can monitor the border, basically transport folks in north dakota. we don't have any capacity for detention there. we have a huge number of what i would tell you are on document and workers who are working in construction in north dakota, who are pulled off roofs and construction projects only to be on this construction projects and next day. i understand that the lack of capacity, but i also think that we have to be realistic about the squeeze that we are putting on rural borders. we are trying to take care of
10:23 pm
it, whether it is san diego mcallen, el paso, we see the problems there and ignore other areas to the west. and so, you guys have to help us work through this, because as we push the envelope and put more and more restraints on those border crossings, we are going to move the bad guys to rural america, whether it's on the southern border of the northern border. the other question that i want to broach quickly, because i think the focus here is people coming to this country, but we have a fair number of people who are crossing into canada from this country, and that causes concerns for canadian officials. mr. wagner, i was interested in your exchange with senator booker, because it seemed like you were two ships passing in the night. do the canadian officials not share their watch lists with us? deputy wagner: i don't believe we get their actual watch lists. >> why is that? deputy wagner: i don't know.
10:24 pm
>> is that because we won't give them ours or they have privacy regulations. deputy wagner: the fbi manages it for us. we are consumers and users of it. >> what i heard you all talking about is this externa cooperation you get from canadian officials come and sometimes the laws don't allow to be seamless, but i can't have you as a former attorney general for my state, when we used to do intelligence briefings on the northern border with local law-enforcement, whether it's break-ins, burglaries, drugs the royal canadian mounted police were always it is events. i can't take you locally that it works very well, and it sounds like you believe that it works pretty well kind of country to country. if you're going to make any changes in that relationship what would you recommend? any of you question mark -- any of you? >> the information exchange and the access to the information that you have internally within
10:25 pm
your organization or your country. we exchange a lot of information with the canadian government the land border, our entry records are serving as their records as well. we can also see who left the country. in the commercial aviation environment, we are doing joint rules correction and targeting efforts to look at threats to north america not just the united states or canada, but it's -- what axis did they have to be able to share with question mark -- with us? >> are we sharing list for folks with deportation with canadian officials? >> i don't know. >> i will submit some additional questions, but i do once again want to give you a high five for all the great work that is done in north dakota with constraints on resources and for the extraordinary cross-border
10:26 pm
cooperation and local government cooperation. you guys are doing a great job out there. you folks should be proud. sen johnson: i wish i would have been here for your questioning. this affects your stay quiet a bit, what's happening on the border. g fisher, i do want to go back to your question from senator mccain in terms of what is going to happen this year with the unaccompanied children. we should not be minimizing this. yes, it is down from last year, but lester was a humanitarian crisis. i don't know what you call it. where are we at in terms of the total numbers compared to last year? 67% of lester's problem, correct? >> just so i'm clear, it was my -- was not my intent to minimize that flow of last year.
10:27 pm
it's more of a statistical anomaly last year. for us people come across the border for a variety of reasons, and we see what happened last year and sell texas with the department of homeland security. i should also mention that each and every year over the last three years, we have seen increases from individuals, from central america, coming from the ports of entry. the change last year was not necessarily a seasonal trend. that continued the way it has been over the years. what changed was the volume. what we did do with the secretary's leadership is start looking at after july, when the number started going down, looking back and saying how can we be better prepared, not just to react to it, but really better predicted. the other interesting thing for me to see was how the secretary approach this. the department of homeland security was one of three
10:28 pm
departments that had equities and jurisdictional authority to respond to this. when you take a look at health and human services that is a very big piece when it comes to unaccompanied children. you look at the department of justice and what we do across the border between the three different apartments -- departments. that was the first time in my expense that we started seeing peaks of volumes along the border. >> i just have to stop you. you use the word statistical anomaly. it was more than that. it was a humanitarian crisis. it was one that was field by the actions of this government, this administration. i don't have the chart here that we have used another hearings, but we have a chart that shows the number of unaccompanied children coming from central america declining. i think under 10,000. again, i don't have the exact numbers. you had deferred action on childhood admissions, and then
10:29 pm
that shot up. it was cause-and-effect, very clear. a trip down to texas, i want to commend customs border patrol and the really tremendous efforts that they put forward to address that you manager in crisis, but it continues. at a 60% or 70% level question mark it is still a problem. just having met with general kelly, and i don't want the words in his mouth, but he is confirming what is my sense. no matter what deferred action chocolate admissions says. no matter what deferred action on parents. no matter what those executive actions say, it's what is the reality. the reality is if you are a parent or child in central america and you send your child or come up and get into
10:30 pm
that is what the coyotes are telling them, even though we have a communications strategy to say, no, no, this doesn't apply to you. the reality is it does apply. and i have to admit, as i have delved into this problem, and you are custom and -- and border protection, you could maybe be named custom and border processor, and that is certainly what i saw in mcallen texas and as long as we have even sent us people to come into this country because they realize they are not point to be able to day, as long as we detect them apprehend them, and then process them with a notice to appear and then the dispersed around america into the shadows, and we are going to continue to have that problem, so we need to recognize that reality and start addressing it. this is pretty good staff work here. they have given me my chart
10:31 pm
which pretty well shows the reality of the situation so this is far more than statistical anomaly. this is something that our immigration laws actually cause and until we are willing to admit that reality, we are not going to stop it. we are going to continue to have this human crisis -- maybe it is only a 60% or 70% level, but it is still a humanitarian crisis from my point. do you want to respond to that at all? tell me if i am wrong. senator? >> thank you, sir. sen. johnson: it is the insatiable demand for drugs in
10:32 pm
our country and what that has spawned in the last 50 or 60 years. really our demand has caused so much of this problem, so much of this crisis, so i went to get some kind of sense of what is happening on the northern border. i go every year of fishing to canada. i have gone through those ports of entry. a bunch of folks with fishing boats. and understandably don't have statistics we don't have the information. and there is a real disparity whether customs and border patrol is talking about 70%, 75%, versus agents on the ground saying it is only 30%, so i want to get a sense of what is
10:33 pm
happening on the northern border, and i realize you do not have exact information. but is the human trafficking the drug smuggling the terrorists, are they going to come to the ports of entry, or they going to be coming through the areas in between the ports of entry? i mean, can anyone address that question? mr. spero? mr. spero: some of this is from our state and local partners. we understand that one day, the vulnerability can be at the port. one of the ways that we look at national security is it is our job to make sure that we are investigating criminal fraud
10:34 pm
cases when it comes to people either pretending or appearing to make them selves appear that they are eligible for an entry visa to come into the country whether that is a student, who is coming in under a different name, or does not intend to go to school or whether it is a worker who claims they are going to be working at a particular job in a particular industry and purchased that visa, or whether it is in the interior, where the fraudsters are trying to go to one of our other sister agencies, immigration services to obtain a permanent residents -- residents or even by some kind of fraud, so there are the participation on the joint terrorism task forces, where we can bring -- agents can bring our title viii -- the immigration authority, our abilities to investigate fraud or a title 19 customs -- we are
10:35 pm
looking at all types of vulnerabilities. we are not just focusing on one, so whether that is people fly directly into the country, right into the country, or maybe on a fraudulent visa, or applied for asylum with some sort of a fraudulent application. that is an area vulnerability, and that is something we take seriously. but also some of our other national security strategies are to make sure that sensor technologies -- using our export enforcement in the counter proliferation section to make sure it is not getting out right of the country. sen. johnson: again, what i am not getting, what i am not hearing is some sense for how much of the problem is coming to ports of entry and whether we have to beef up personnel or fund them in a deficit neutral fashion, or whether they are coming in between the ports of entry, and how do we ever get that information? i realize it is not the volume,
10:36 pm
so we are not document percent apprehensions or anything else like that. chief fisher, will it make sense to utilize the drone flights we have? would it make sense with a given abilities we do have, would it make sense based on the anecdotal arrest and apprehension rate to do some level of statistical sampling, some kind of measurement to get some kind of information so the policymakers, who are going to be tasked with allocating those scarce resources have some sense of where the problem does lie on the northern border? i mean, do you understand the issue, the information i'm looking for in terms of where the problem lies and what we need to do to really assess the extent of it and direct proper solutions? chief fisher: i believe i do, senator.
10:37 pm
the metrics we have, we try to figure out what is the dynamic there, what is the business model of the prolific networks that operate in canada that are exploiting the u.s. border? that is in terms of that threat. that is likely to be different than washington and detroit, so for us -- or at least for me to simplistically say it is just at the ports of entry and between the ports of entry, it really depends on the area of the border and we do have methods to be able to inform our judgments on where those redeployments should go. sen. johnson: i am not asking for simplicity here, because it doesn't exist. it is incredibly complex and it
10:38 pm
is sector by sector state, and i understand the montana border is completely different than the canoe area up in minnesota, lake superior and detroit. i mean, this is a vast, vast border, and all kinds of differences, so i guess what i will ask you yes, let's do a briefing. i want to understand the complexity. i would to understand what you do know about. anecdotally people with the canoes are they flying the small planes, are they catapulting drugs across the border like with a canon? it is unbelievable. i have delved into the situation. the number of methods, the ability to avoid detection, the drug cartels, blocking off the bridges to these kids so they can funnel them and put pressure and overload the system over here so they can divert the customs and border patrol so they can smuggle the drugs over someplace else, trust me, i
10:39 pm
understand the enormous complexity of the situation, but i don't have the information ok ? i know it is complex, but i do not know how complex. i do not know that anybody does but if we're going to start crafting solutions to provide better border security, we need to better understand the complexity of it. i was kind of hoping senator ayotte wanted to come here and offer some questions. if she does not get here in time, let me first of all offer you all the opportunity to make a final point. this is something that senator carper has done. i have learned from it. certainly if i was a witness, i would be going, i want to make this point, so this is your opportunity. if senator ayotte, we will go to her, but if she does not, we will close the session. chief fisher: thank you for the opportunity. it was brought up in terms of
10:40 pm
effectiveness in what our office reports versus what may have been in the recent past articulated specifically. i know there have been a lot of questions, and for the sake of brevity, let me just say this. one, i have seen what was mentioned in terms of a host of things, the effectiveness rate. what the policy is based on presumably what i have directed to the workforce in the field, among other things. let me state for the record that none of that is based on truth. it is true, however, that mr. cabrera is entitled to his opinion. he is not, however entitled to his own set of facts, and i will not now but with your staff be able to clear that and tell you what the policy is by my handwriting, that the transition has been over the last couple of years, and what i expect from each and every border patrol agent in uniform as it relates to data integrity and reporting
10:41 pm
if in fact, there are any allegations of misconduct, but thank you again for the opportunity, senator. sen. johnson: i have a key understanding of how difficult it is to get this information. it is not like a manufacturing setting where it is right there. this is a normatively difficult. we are trying to wade through that and try to describe his buses possible the reality into ascertain the truth, knowing that you are never going to get the full reality or the full truth. again, we certainly do appreciate your service to the nation and doing what you can to grapple with a very difficult situation. deputy commissioner waggoner? deputy wagner: what it means to the office of operations, we have a huge workload of not necessarily just enforcement work. there is the regulatory functions. there is what you mentioned but
10:42 pm
of the commercial vehicles that cross the border, we are welcoming our citizens home, welcoming visitors, tourists business travels -- travelers, making sure they comply, but every truck this has to be the great majority of those transactions that are good law-abiding companies and visitors, and it is layering our enforcement processes on top of that without stopping or hindering that movement back and forth and really ferreting out those bad actors and things from coming in, and that is what we tried to apply. really a dedicated and targeted effort based on our analysis and cooperation with our foreign partners and our partners within the governments at the federal state, and local levels to be able to best do that so we do
10:43 pm
not stop that commerce, because that would be just as devastating as an attack. sen. johnson: i agree, and thank you for your service. special agent spero. s.a. spero: being able to pin down or identify exactly where the threats are, but for a minute, in immigration customs enforcement or homeland security investigations, their point of view, where our focus is to attack transnational criminal organizations, no matter what they are doing, because what we are finding is that these organizations are smuggling guns, drugs, people, weapons. it is the routes that we are trying to identify and attack, and that is why we feel like the attack strategy put us on the right path.
10:44 pm
we are not focusing on the individual committing the crime. when we stop that seizure, we make that big seizure, or we get a referral, that is the beginning of the investigation for us. that is not the end. it does not stop there, and what our strategy is is to attempt to identify the scope of these organizations, whether it is territory organizations or other criminal organizations so that is reaching back and using our international foot, identify the bad actors or the members in those source countries in those transit countries, here in the united states, if the united states is the ultimate destination country, but also working with our canadian partners, so we are kind of changing the way that we measure success. i understand that the old methods of straight indictment's, convictions, and arrests and seizures and comparing them to the previous years were matching up with what the resources are.
10:45 pm
it is not necessarily the best way to determine success, so we are moving towards a model. yet implemented a model where we are looking at -- what are the cases that we are doing that have the biggest impact on border security, public safety and national security so i absolutely, i want to thank you for holding this hearing and bringing the attention to the northern border and certainly for giving me the opportunity to represent the men and women of immigration and customs enforcement and homeland security investigations. i know they are out there every day, trying their best to enforce the immigration and customs rules of the united states. sen. johnson: thank you for your service. mr. rodriguez. mr. rodriguez: we talked about this for the northern border. i want to make sure we don't overlook our challenges that we face, and to that aspect i think are most critical support
10:46 pm
that we provide our partners is the intel analyst support, so we talk about agents, and i do not when to leave that component out. as far as the need for it. the analysts play a critical role in our investigations. secondly i want to point out a few gaps that my partners wanted to make sure we mentioned which is that this continues to be a problem, especially in those remote areas that you are familiar with, as well as our radar coverage, especially over in the cascades, where we have these deep canyons and we cannot get radar down in there, so that is also one of the gaps that we need to address and finally as far as looking at specific organizations, we measure our success with the number that we dismantle and disrupt, and again, a third of our numbers are multinational poly drug organizations. it is impacting not only our
10:47 pm
southern border but also our northern border, and we are seeing more and more of our southern border coming up, and as i mentioned trafficking meth and cocaine from the united states into canada. sen. johnson: they are businesses and looking other products and product lines, and it is an enormous problem. i also to comment on the radio and what we hope is complete operability or interoperability. it is consistently mentioned to us as a problem. it probably is not the sexiest technology here, but it is an important one, and we definitely have heard that message. mr. hartunian? mr. hartunian: those are the
10:48 pm
threats we face, and we should think about it. we do it and a couple of ways. first, we have to have really robust prosecution regimes, and i think all along the northern border, i know them all and their offices. they work hard. they bring good cases, and now that we are staffing back up after some of our lean budget years that we experienced things are looking up, and the future is bright for us. robust enforcement is certainly very important. the second thing that we need is close collaboration between our law enforcement agencies and with our canadian counterparts, and we can use some assistance perhaps, with some of our doj law enforcement agents is, having resources to work in some of these formats atf and pga in particular, but we have to work towards integration, i think with our canadian counterparts, and we are taking steps to get
10:49 pm
there, and finally as you described, and this is an important point, we have to identify some root causes and have to take an approach to the drug problem we have into the crime problem we have, and that means to do other things other than just prosecute and incarcerate people. we can't just do that. we have to take a more well-rounded approach. we have to spend effort on reentry and on prevention, and i think the attorney general's smart on crime program is, i think, well designed to take a conference of approach towards our problem, so thank you for the opportunity to be here today. i appreciate it. sen. johnson: thank you, and we are working on a hearing on these incarceration rates. i did want to ask you a question, because coming as a district attorney in the northern sector, when we were down -- we just did a sunday,
10:50 pm
just driving ran with people off-hours, and local law enforcement was telling me that the fight over prosecutorial jurisdiction isn't the fight that i would have expected. i am hearing people, they want to be able to prosecute that criminal. that is not the case in the southern border because it is so expensive to prosecute and people's budgets are strained. basically, they are fighting over having to not prosecute individuals, and as a result anecdotally, we were told that unless, for example there is at least 500 pounds of marijuana no prosecution. that is the southern border. what is the jurisdictional battles -- what is the type of prosecutions kind of threshold the discretion that you use? mr. hartunian: we do have
10:51 pm
thresholds. we work closely with our district attorneys particularly along the four-county border along the district in new york, and we have a case that perhaps does not rise to the level of federal prosecution, we will consult with our state counterparts, and the case may end up being prosecuted in state court. i think we work collaboratively with them. i would not say there is a competition or a desire to hand cases off. my experience is that we work very well, that we have a particular interest in needs and priorities, and i think we can meld those together quite well. sen. johnson: i have got four minutes left to vote. to close out the meeting? i am kind of a rookie here. let me just say again thank you all for the time you took. i read the testimony. it is all very thoughtful. i know there is a lot of work in detail that goes into it, so
10:52 pm
thank you for taking the time to come and testify. very thoughtful answers to our questions. i want to take my colleagues. this is a very well attended hearing. this goes to hell importantly we view this problem, but it also speaks to the complexity. there is an awful lot of questions that need at least some answers, and i know those answers are very difficult to get to. i want to thank you will turn it over to our ranking member carper. sen. carper: thank you. at this point in time, the finance committee has been in a markup on the trade promotion authority, so trying to be in two places at once, not doing too well, and we are voting. it is a full morning. i want to ask a question that goes back to something -- i do not know if chief, you said it, or if mr. wagner said it, or
10:53 pm
maybe it was you mr. hartunian. the matter of native american american lance was mentioned between our border with canada, and we have a similar situation along the border with mexico, and at times i have heard from the mexican border that sometimes the drug smugglers human traffickers use that land as a conduit to get through and try to get cooperation of folks who own that and live on that land. the lever raised this, would you just chime in about how this is of interest to us in the north as well as in the southern border? mr. spero: there certainly are
10:54 pm
some complexities, and one along the northern border near the mohawk indian reservation that mr. hartunian and i share jurisdiction with its just plainly geography, sir. is tough terrain, and it is ripe for smugglers to exploit in all seasons, and then certainly, you have that added. sen. carper: where is that? mr. spero: it has territory both on the canadian side and on the u.s. side, and the geography itself poses a lot of challenges towards law enforcement. on top of the geography, in addition to the jogger for there is some political sensitivities with the native population. wanting to maintain as much sovereignty as they can, so sometimes it is difficult for us
10:55 pm
to conduct -- we have to overcome that challenge of gaining their trust. in some cases it is a very close-knit, small population, and again, that poses some issues or challenges for us that are somewhat unique, but on the other hand, one of the things that is getting better from our standpoint, and we are making a lot more progress, our border enforcement security task force. we actually have the mohawk police representatives participating on that task force as well as the saint regis police officers on our task force. they have been -- there are members who have been designated so they are essentially deputized customs agents and they are working with us to help reduce those longer abilities.
10:56 pm
in reality all of the challenges we met. the smuggling organizations know what they are also and they try to do their best to exploit everything, so we are try to do a better job. you know, with our outreach on the indian reservation, our close coordination and collaboration with the native police, the american police forces on the reservation, and working to do everything we can to mitigate that threat, sir. senator carper: ok. chief, let's go down to the southern border with mexico. do we have a similar situation there on the southern border, and how to figure out how to work with the native americans to be able to secure that portion of the border? chief fisher: yes, the reservation on the southwest border, the geography takes on the western portion in arizona, both in tucson and what we call the west desert.
10:57 pm
that does extend in the united states and into mexico, and so when we look at the border in terms of trying to identify likely routes of entry over the years, as we has built both primary pedestrian fence and vehicle barricades, it is always challenging to try to work with the tribe, work with the leadership in the tribe, and letting them know, if they will allow us to put some in federman's along the border or bring infrastructure technology -- allow us to put some impediments along the border or bring some infrastructure, technology. until infrastructure and technology started to manifest around the reservation, which, obviously, the path of least resistance came through a nation. the vast majority of trafficking across the southern border came through arizona, and the vast
10:58 pm
majority of that came through the nation. they realize the vulnerability and we are working a lot better with them. as a matter of fact, we are currently in the process of developing integrated fixed towers. the first phase of that, as you well know, was in no gallas -- nogallis. we currently have authorization from the tribe to be able to move into deployment of integrated fixed hours to cover a vast region of that reservation, so that, for us, is something that has been a long time in coming, sir. senator carper: ok. the last question i will present to all of you today goes back to something i oftentimes say. find out what works, find out what doesn't work, and do less of that, and this was presented to the finance committee a couple of years ago. there was a hearing by alan
10:59 pm
blinder, when he was asked, what should we do about deficit reduction, with health care, rending and health care costs, and he said here is what i would do. find out what works, do more of that. and then find out what does not work and do less of that. and maybe we can take a minute or so a piece and just talk to us again about what is working on the northern border that appears to be working, that is replicable particularly along our southern border. maybe just pick one thing. what is working on the northern border that is worth replicating and exported to the southern border, and maybe some of your best practices from your experiences and observations on the northern border that would be smart to try on the southern border, and mr. hartunian do
11:00 pm
you want to? mr. hartunian: yes, thank you sir. what is working. i think our opposite along the border are working very hard. they are really working hard to get the job done, but it is certainly a critical component. i think what works on the northern border is close collaboration with the canadians, and while that might be a bit more challenging in mexico i think it can be done and close collaboration between the prosecutors of both nations and that is something we are seeing happening more and more. we are working to improve that make that happen more frequently, and i think that is certainly an important approach that we could take. senator carper: thank you, sir. is maybe one of the reasons we work better with the canadians is we have less concerned about that information finding itself in the wrong hands, in canada? mr.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on