tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 22, 2015 4:00am-7:01am EDT
previously run-ins with the law. he and his family testified before the senate judiciary committee. later in the hearing, officials from immigration and customs enforcement and the u.s. citizenship testify. departed. ms. oliver has established a foundation in her husband's name to help kids in school. our second witness, ms. grace huang, she is public policy program coordinator for washington state coalition
against domestic violence, a nonprofit network of domestic violence founded in 1990. our third witness, mr. michael ronnebeck, he was shot down by an undocumented immigrant. u.s. immigration and customs enforcement released grant's alleged murderer who was awaiting deportation. grant was born in iowa but resided in arizona and had two brothers and a sister. our fourth witness, the reverend gabriel salguero. reverend salguero and his wife are the lead co-pastors of the
lamb church of the nazarene, new york, and also founder of the national latino evangelical could hings. and mr. jim steinle of pleasanton, california, the father of kate steinle, who was gunned down 20 days ago while walking on a pier in san francisco alongside this father. her alleged killer had seven prior felony convictions and had been deported five times. sanchez was shielded by san francisco's sanctuary policy which allowed for his release in march despite an i.c.e. detainer placed on him. six person chief j. thomas manger. chief manger has been chief of police, montgomery county since february, 2004. chief manger also serves as president of the major city of
chiefs police association. our seventh witness is dr. brian mccaan. mr. mccaan's brother, dennis, was killed in 2011 by a drunk driver who was in the country illegally and driving without a license. u.s. immigration custom enforcement had placed a detainer on the drunk driver but he was released under cook county, illinois, sanctuary city policies. our final witness, ms. laura wilkerson of pearland, texas she's the mother of josh wilkerson. josh was 18 years old when he was kidnapped and murdered by his high school classmates, an illegal immigrant after offering his classmate a ride from school. josh's murderer was sent to life in prison and will be eligible for parole in 30 years. i want to thank all of you for being here.
as i expressed to you privately, our condolences, i say so now publicly, you're very brave to come forward in testimony and we welcome that very much, and we'll start with ms. oliver. you -- i know you folks have been told about a four-minute rule. the red light comes on. if you have a longer statement it will be put in the record. that doesn't mean just exactly when the red light will come on i'll gavel you down. please cut it short because this is a very important hearing. we want to get the witnesses in but the most important thing after you tell your stories is for us to hear from the administration and to question the administration. will you start, ms. oliver? ms. oliver: good morning. i just wanted to first state that i'm honored that the bill has been named after my husband, deputy oliver, as well as detective davis who were killed
on october 24, 2014. over the past nine months, my life has changed dramatically because of the loss of my husband. sacramento county sheriff deputy danny oliver. danny oliver was a special person that knew that treating people with dignity and kindness resulted in stronger, healthier and safer communities and he worked every day to help make that a reality for communities that needed it the most. as a 15-year veteran of sacramento county sheriff's office, danny oliver was not a man to boast or gloat of his professional accomplishments. in fact, when he was given a standing ovation at a community meeting he felt unsure how to deal with this overwhelming approval. danny felt he was doing his job and that was all that was needed to feel accomplished. my husband's last shift with the sacramento chef's office ended by doing something he did countless times before in his
career. he was policing his community and trying to make a difference. danny was a pop officer, problem oriented policing officer. his job was to identify possible community challenges and try to get ahead of them. he put himself into harm's way every day. on friday, october 24, 2014, my husband and father of two approached a car on his beat. but this time it was the last time. the last thing my husband attempted to do as a pop officer was to ask the man inside the car how his day was going. but he never made it to the driver's window. at about 10:30 a.m., that man was in the country illegally and armed with numerous illegal weapons. he aimed one outside the car of a parking lot of motel 6 in sacramento and he opened fire. killing my husband with a shot to the forehead. i can honestly say that not a day goes by that this has not affected me. it may not be visible always.
it may not be written in bold for all to see, it may not even be recognized but it's always in the background of my mind. sorry. sometimes daily. sometimes moment by moment as it should be. many people asked if i gotten past that terrible day and i say no. honestly, i don't think i'll ever get past that day. i lost the man i was married to for 25 years. each day i look for parental backup for rearing my child who's 12 years old and i fill that loss. -- feel that loss. each day my child meets milestones. recently my daughter got endaged and there will be a marriage he will not be at. there will be weekly family branches that we have held. i no longer have my husband by my side. i was with him since i graduated high school 25 years ago and we watched each other grow up.
we made careers together and we raised two children. we could just look at each other and know what we needed. perhaps it was support, a loving smile or even i'll talk to you when we get home look. it is hard to build this trust and understanding, but we had it mastered with ease. but because of the actions of one criminal, this all ended on october 24. my life will never be the same. unlike law enforcement, there are few professions that consistently send our loved ones into harm's way. it's frightening, always knowing that each time they walk out the door it could be the last time you see them. at the same time not many professions consciously or intentionally give the order to take a life through the use of deadly force in order to protect others who can't protect themselves. an awesome responsibility that my husband understood clearly and this continues to be -- to create a lot of ongoing dialogue within communities throughout the country as we see a lack of -- as we see a lack of -- as we
see a lack of continuity among law enforcement groups and communities that they serve. every single day law enforcement at the state, local and federal level put themselves, their loved ones, their communities that they serve at risk when they are forced to release criminals who are illegal, who pose a threat to community safety. all in violation of current laws that require deportation. in just the last two years i.c.e. released back in the nation's streets 76,000 convicted criminals who are in this country illegally. there are 169 criminals in the united states who are here illegally right now. that means there are 169,000 people in our streets who have criminal convictions and were lawfully departed but who remain here to commit other crimes, to possibly kill someone else's loved ones. the sanctuary cities have resulted in another 10,000 potentially deported illegal
immigrant criminals being released by local law agencies since january of last year. and 121 of these criminals have been ordered deported in the last few years and yet were released by i.c.e. i have now -- and have now been charged with additional homicide offenses. the man that killed my husband danny oliver, was deported several times for various felonies before killing my husband on october 24, 2014. however, due to the lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies, he was allowed back into the country and in one day he committed another crime. only this time his illegal crime status impacted many in a direct and profound way when he shot and killed my husband. it would be remiss if i didn't also mention that it wasn't my -- it wasn't just my life that was changed that day. that same criminal eluded hundreds of officers from sacramento to auburn california, during a six-hour crime spee that left david
michael jr. dead, a motorist in serious condition from a gunshot to the head. many lives changed on october 24. today, i honor my husband. sacramento county sheriff deputy danny oliver, and the other fallen heroes throughout this nation who are always with us in our hearts and in our memories. i wonder if i would even be here today talking to you about my loss if the government -- if the government better enforced immigration laws. unfortunately, this is now my reality. thank you for honoring danny and the others who have made the ultimate sacrifice. i hope by being here today and telling you about the grief my family has unnecessarily endured i can help save the life of someone else's friend, husband or father. i hope that my husband's death won't be in vain. i hope i can be here to make a
difference. my life has changed and saddened. please put policies in place to make sure that criminal aliens who are in this country illegally are never allowed to dictate the life of a true humanitarian like my husband deputy danny oliver. senator grassley: thank you, ms. oliver. ms. huang. ms. huang: thank you, chairman grassley and members of the committee. i'm grace huang, deeply honored to be here regarding federal immigration enforcement on victims of domestic violence. a show of violence in our communities is challenging complex and deeply emotional. as someone who worked for survivors of violent crime for over 22 years, i know how important important it is for people to feel that they can prevent future tragedies and i want to extend my heart felt condolences to the families here today. over the years, over the years in my work at the coalition i've had the honor to work with --
work in helping families make it -- work in the advocacy process in advancing effective policy solutions through and open and honest dialogue, i hope we can find solutions that make our communities safer for everyone. one crucial thing we can do is to build strong police and community relationships which means establishing an environment of trust. if victims and witness does not feel safe coming forward, the police cannot do their jobs and we are all less safe. congress has affirmed that principle that immigrant victims and witnesses should feel safe to come forward by creating the u.v. suffer victims of crime in 2000 in the violence against women act which was recently re-authorized. i thank you all for everything you have done to make women in our communities as a whole more safe. i ask that you remember these lessons as you work to address this new challenge. as a victim advocate i'm deeply concerned that mandating local police cooperation with
immigration enforcement will strengthen the hands of violent perpetrators, helping them silence their victims and witnesses. i'm also concerned that vulnerable immigrant victims brave enough to step forward will face detention, separation from their children and swift deportation. this was what many communities encountered with the cure communities and the chilling affect it had on police community relations with both dramatic and counterproductive. one example of this chilling effect is the case of cecilia, she was sexually abused by a family friend at the age of 5. her parents, who were undocumented, were terrified of reporting the crime to the police after having been told by friends and family that they would be reported to immigration if they stepped forward. a year later that same perpetrator sexually abused another child. in the end, after the father of that child contacted cecilia's parents, they went to the police together and the perpetrator was caught and prosecuted but because of their initial fear to report, another child was harmed. when immigrants are afraid to come forward with information about a crime, the entire when reaching out to police to
address domestic violence may end up in deportation, law enforcement is effectively removed as an option for safety, which has life-threatening impacts. for example, one client, maria so distrusted the police that when her abuser tracked her down after she fled to another state she tried to call her lawyer instead of calling 911. it was midnight, he was pounding on the door and she was frantically calling over and over the closed office of her attorney who was of course not at work. for maria the idea of calling the police was simply not an option that put her life in danger. imagine being so fearful that even though somebody is trying to break into your house you cannot turn to the police. as victim advocates, we're concerned that immigrant survivors are caught up in deportation cases when their demand for cooperation. it is not unusual for them to be deported. for example, in california cindy, a taiwanese, was arrested and convicted of domestic violent crime charges and spent
a month in jail. she bit her abuser when fighting him off while trying to rape her. although the jury determined the force to defend herself was greater than the assault. because she was not automatically referred to i.c.e., she was able to continue her studies, become a productively member of society. police policies limiting local police cooperation with i.c.e. may provide just enough respite for cindy for them to access the resources they need. we in the domestic advocacy field appreciate the work that congress has done to support a coordinated community response to domestic violence. proposals that are under consideration now to limit funds to so-called sanctuary cities will allow violent crimes to go uninvestigated and leave victims
without redress. federal funding of law enforcement supports critical training, equipment and staff that assist victims all over the country every day. without such funding there will be cases that go uninvestigated, protection orders that will not be served or enforced, rape kits that will not be tested, the child abuse -- sexual abuse victims that will not have trained interviewers. these victims are not limited to immigrants. we recognize the fact there are victims, both with lawful status and those without, that are harmed by some immigrants. we all want justice for victims and to prevent future crimes. we urge congress to proceed with measured, thoughtful policies in order to enhance the safety of all of our communities. thank you. mr. ronnebeck: good morning, distinguished committee members. grant ronnebeck, a 21-year-old son, brother, nephew and grandson, he was a bright young man with an infectious love of life. he had a positive outlook on life.
grant had no enemies. he was a friendly, outgoing, loveable guy. as a 21-year-old american, he was just starting out in life, starting to realize his dreams starting to follow his heart in matters of career choices and just discovering his life's opportunities. his desire was to work his way up into the job he loved working for the quick trip corporation as he had for the previous five years, or possibly later to become a member of the law enforcement community. he loved four-wheeling in the desert or around his home near mesa, arizona, spending time with friends and family and watching the broncos play during the football season. he was a pretty typical young american man, but to us he was a very special family and community member. at 4:00 a.m. on january 22 2015, just six months ago, while working the overnight shift at his quick trip store, grant assisted a man buying cigarettes.
the man dumped a jar of coins on the counter and demanded those cigarettes. grant tried to explain that he needed to count the coins before he could give the man the cigarettes. the man pulled a gun and said you're not going to take my money and you're not going to give me my cigarettes. grant immediately offered up the cigarettes to the man who shot him point blank in the face killing him. seemingly unaffected, the man coldly and callously stepped over grant's dying body, grabbed a couple packs of cigarettes and left the store. after a 30-minute high speed pursuit through the streets of mesa, arizona, the man was taken into custody. inside his car were the cigarettes and two handguns, one of which was believed to have been used to kill grant. the alleged murderer is an illegal alien. according to a news article dealing his 2012 arrest, he was a self-proclaimed member of the mexican mafia and says he has ties to the drug cartel.
the news article states that in august of 2012, he was arrested with two others after kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman and burglarizing her apartment. she was allegedly held naked and against her will for a full week prior to escaping. he took a plea deal and pled guilty to a charge of felony burglary for that incident. he was sentenced to two years probation and turned over to the immigration and customs enforcement agency due to his undocumented status in the united states. he never served any time in custody related to that offense. i.c.e., immigration and customs enforcement agency, released the now convicted felon on a $10,000 bond pending a deportation hearing. in the two years since then while awaiting his deportation hearing, he has had two orders of protection filed against him, including one from a woman who
claimed he threatened to kill her and pointed a gun at her boyfriend. i.c.e. was reportedly notified about the protection order by a judge. he was still allowed to remain free in our country. in addition to him, i.c.e. reported they released 66,564 other criminal aliens back onto the streets of our country in 2013 and 2014. and another 10,246 as of march 2015. this group included aliens convicted of violent and serious crimes, including homicide sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault. at least 123 american citizens have been killed by these convicted aliens, including my nephew, grant ronnebeck. there have been a number of immigration bills, among those grant's law, for my nephew
kate's law, for kate steinle, the davis oliver act for law enforcement officers danny oliver and michael davis, and jemeil's law for jemeil shaw, all americans killed by illegal immigrants. each of these potential laws have a specific component that would help protect american lives. i ask that each of you give consideration and priority to passing these important bills into laws. it is my family's greatest desire that grant ronnebeck's legacy will be more than a fading obituary, a cemetery plot or a fond memory. instead, we want grant's death to be a force for change and reform immigration policies of this great nation. in closing, i am asking you, our elected leaders, scholars, lawyers to make these changes, to rise above your political differences, to set aside your
personal interests and to use your resources to make sensible immigration reform a reality in the coming months with the safety and security of the american citizens first and foremost in mind. senator grassley: thank you, mr. ronnebeck. now, reverend salguero. revernd salguero: my name is gabriel salguero. together with my wife, jeanette, i am the pastor of the multiethnic lamb's church of the nazarene, where immigrants police officers, whites, african-americans and asians worship together. i'm also the founder of the national latino evangelical coalition which represents are some of the eight million hispanic evangelicals living in the united states. i offer my sincere thanks to chairman grassley, ranking member feinstein and the other members of the committee. i'm honored to be here today. i want to begin by saying that
i'm heartbroken by the senseless violence and tragedy that we are discussing here today. i prayed and asked the lord to bless these families and provide grace and comfort to each family member here today. i could only imagine that every family member, friend and community member continues to reel from the shock, loss and grief at the remembrance of these lost loved ones. my prayers and sincere condolences go to each of you and your families. nothing i can do here today will heal that grief, but your families will remain in my prayers. i pray for an end to violent acts such as these and i pray that those who would commit such acts face just consequences and redemption. i am here to speak about my belief that we should take care to ensure that while we work to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future we do not harm entire communities in the process. faith organizations, including my evangelical community, have historically played a critical role in promoting community
trust and providing safe haven to refugees, those fleeing violence and other immigrants facing daunting challenges of opportunity in the united states. i do not believe that these tragedies we discuss here today are the result of policies that seek to promote trust and cooperation with immigrant communities. the values of sanctuary churches in the united states are deeply rooted in safety, family unity and trust. these values are critical in the promotion of healthy, vibrant and nonviolent communities and they are the foundation of hundreds of communities across the country who have chosen to embrace local law enforcement policies that foster and protect trust. these policies should be designed to prevent dangerous crimes, not encourage them. in the midst of our collected grief, i pray we avoid criminalizing or casting collective blame on entire communities for the actions committed by one or even a small number of individuals.
in order to uphold our criminal justice system and ensure our communities feel safe enough to come forward and interact with law enforcement, cities across the united states need to work on their role in collaborating in an effort to ensure both survivors of both domestic violence, human trafficking and other serious crimes will cooperate with law enforcement and come forward. if we fail to create smart policy that promote trust, victims and witnesses will remain silent due to their fear that they or their loved ones face deportation after seeking protection from the police. silence can create fear and expose all communities to greater risk. we as a nation should focus on solutions that will make our communities more integrated and, yes, more safe. i believe that legislation targeting immigrant communities will just lead to more crime as it may silence many of the more
than 11 million immigrants who will fear cooperation with police at the risk of deportation. i urge congress to resist politicizing the murders and the grief of these families with sweeping measures and to instead work with local communities and churches and others to ensure community safety. let's work together to reform our immigration laws. faith communities should work to keep families safe, to keep families together and to keep children with their parents. faith communities should not permit our grief to turn us against each other or against entire communities. yes, our immigration system is broken and it needs reform, but we should not move forward with reactionary legislation that does not address the real issues at hand. the real solution to our immigration challenges is broad, just and humane immigration reform, which would place undocumented immigrants on an earned path to citizenship, get
many people on the rolls that way we know who the criminals are and who isn't. allowing them also, those hardworking immigrants to contribute to their families communities and country. as a pastor, i want to avoid scapegoating entire communities by passing legislation that focuses solely on deportation and not on integrating hardworking families in the united states. so let's work together to promote community safety. we can and should look at state and local policies carefully. i encourage communities to carefully tailor their policies to keep people safe. i encourage the federal government to carefully review its own policies and work with these localities across the country to ensure that our systems appropriately meet the goals of violence prevention against all community members. but i do not encourage us to force states and localities to pursue a one-size-fits-all policy. as we continue to mourn and pray for these families, let's work
together to find real solutions that promotes peace and security, not fear and not collective punishment. i pray for an end to senseless acts of violence. i pray for every policymaker here and beyond to make rational and deliberate decisions. pray for reform that promotes thoughtful community safety policies, immigration integration and commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform. i pray for the comfort of each of the families speaking here today and those who are not here. and i thank you, again, for inviting me here today. senator grassley: reverend salguero. now, mr. steinle. mr. steinle: first of all, on behalf of my family, i'd like to thank the members of this committee for the honor to speak to you about our daughter, kate. all children are special in their own way, and kate was special in the way she connected
with people. we called it the kate effect. kate was beautiful, kind, happy, caring, loving and deep in faith. kate had a special soul, a kind and giving heart, the most contidgeous laugh and the smile that would light up a room. kate loved to travel, spend time with her friends and most of all spend time with her family. in fact the day she was killed we were walking arm in arm on pier 17 in san francisco and enjoying a wonderful day together. suddenly a shot rang out, kate fell and looked to me and said help me, dad. those are the last words i will ever hear from my daughter. the day kate died she changed her facebook cover photo to a
saying that said, whatever's good for your soul do it. that was true -- that truly describes kate's spirit. after graduating from california poly, she went to work for a title company and saved her money so she could see the world. she traveled to spain, thailand, amsterdam, dubai, south africa just to mention a few. she even made her way to the slums of dubai, india, to reach out to friends. she spent time with a woman's family and came back a changed person. everywhere kate went throughout the world she shined the light of a good citizen of the united states of america. unfortunately, due to disjointed laws and basic incompetence on many levels, the u.s. has
suffered a self-inflicted wound in the murder of our daughter by the hand of a person that should have never been on the streets of this country. i say this because the alleged murderer is an undocumented immigrant who has been convicted of seven felonies in the u.s. and already deported five times. yet, in march of this year he was released from jail and allowed to stay here freely because of those legal loopholes. it's unbelievable to see so many innocent americans that have been killed by undocumented immigrant felons in recent years. in fact, we recently came across a statistic that says between 2010 and 2014, 121 criminal aliens who had an active deportation case at the time of release were subsequently charged with homicide-related offenses. think about that. 121 times over the past four years an illegal immigrant with
prior criminal convictions that later went on to be charged with murder when they should have been deported, that is one every 12 days. our family realized the complexity of immigration laws. however, we feel strongly that some legislation should be discussed, enacted or changed to take these undocumented immigrant felons off the streets for good. we would be proud to see kate's name associated with some of this new legislation. we feel if kate's law saves one daughter, one son, a mother, a father, kate's death won't be in vain. senator grassley: thank you, mr. steinle. now, chief manger. mr. manger: chairman grassley, thank you for giving me a chance to testify.
i come here to represent the major chiefs association which represents the largest cities in the united states. as cops we see the good and the bad every day. we're witnesses to the immense benefits of immigration, that immigration brings to our nation but we also see the sinister side. our priority in local law enforcement is exactly what i think you'd want and expect. the safety of our communities across the nation and our priority should be the prevention of crime and the protection of the public that we are sworn to serve and that's every resident of our community. in order to do our job, local law enforcement has to have the trust and confidence of the communities that we serve. if we fail, if the public or any segment of the public does not trust the police and will not come forward when we need them or when they need us. i want to talk about the major city chiefs association policy with regard to immigration.
i want to start by making a statement. i want to be very clear. while we do not believe that local law enforcement should be saddled with the responsibility of immigration enforcement, we do believe that it is our duty to cooperate with i.c.e. in a manner that is consistent with our duty to protect the public. to this end, we've developed a policy which i think strikes the right balance and i'm pleased to share some of the aspects of that policy this morning. first and foremost, immigration is enforcement is a federal responsibility. it is today and has always been. local agencies cannot be expected to take on these additional duties. secondly, we must secure our borders. immigration is a national issue and the federal government should first act to secure the national borders, preventing any further illegal entry into the united states. federal agents must consistently enforce existing laws, prohibiting employers from
hiring undocumented workers. we are united in our commitment to continue arresting anyone who violates criminal laws of our jurisdictions, regardless of their immigration status. those individuals who commit criminal acts will find no safe harbor within any major city but will instead face the full force of criminal prosecution. the decisions related to how law enforcement agencies allocate their resources, direct their work force and define their duties to best serve and protect their communities must be left to the control of local governments. the decision to have local police officers perform the functions and duties of immigration agents should be left to local government. this shall not be mandated or forced upon them by the federal government through the threat of sanctions or holding police assistance funding. the major chiefs supports the program that has been developed
by the u.s. department of homeland security. d.h.s. listened to our concerns and they included us in the development of this new program that includes procedures for notification to i.c.e. by local police agencies. montgomery county, maryland, serves as an example of how the new program works well. while it's not our policy to inquire or investigate immigration status we provide electronic notification to d.h.s. whenever we make an arrest. likewise, we provide notification if such person in our custody is to be released . this is a modeled policy of major city chiefs and the policy of montgomery county. local law enforcement is cooperating with d.h.s. through the know notification provide sess but not engaged in routine immigration enforcement. in our view this notification policy represents a balance that the judiciary committee should consider. with recognition of immigration enforcement as a federal
responsibility, we ask the committee to resist initiatives that would seek to force routine aspects of federal responsibility upon local police. finally, regarding federal funding, federal assistance programs at the justice department and homeland security were established to strengthen criminal justice and domestic security, not to compel local agencies to perform federal duties. their purpose was to help local police, not require we take over the job of federal agencies. it is right to call upon us for actions to protect the public from crime and violence. but it's wrong to demand that we engage in matters related solely to immigration enforcement. by withholding federal funds to coerce performance of federal duties by local police. this is not why these programs were established. we welcome this dialogue and commit to our partnership with this committee. thank you. senator grassley: thank you, chief manger. and now mr. mccaan. mr. mccann: on behalf of the mccann family, i want to thank
you, senator grassley, and other members of the committee, for this opportunity to share with you my efforts to return justice to our family after the violent death of my brother four years ago and about six weeks. denny was crossing on chicago's north side to visit with a client of his. he was a commercial insurance broker. the restaurant was named el cid's and he and the owner would frequently dine together in the evening. as he was crossing a walk that was at the international marker, this kid, chavez, came by drunk as a skunk and dragged him for about a block and a half and killed him. he was charged with aggravated d.u.i. and two days later i.c.e. issued the detainer, a bunch of us, family -- i guess a week
later for the arraignment and they assured us, i didn't know anything about detainers. they assured the federal government had these holes with detainers and no way would he be able to post bond and leave. his bond was, what, $250,000. so we were comforted -- if you can use that word -- that he would be prosecuted and few people in the neighborhood, a retired judge said he'd get six to eight years. that's some measure of comfort that we were assured of. well, unbeknownst to us, that summer members of the cook county board -- cook county, they're the administrators of justice in my hometown, chicago, they worked tirelessly without my knowledge -- we have this
witness notification system in illinois that's in the constitution. well, nobody notified me what they were doing. and they ran through an ordinance after the august recess in september without going to committee. now, you all know how important committee work is. well, cook county apparently didn't in this case and got it passed 10-5. well, we weren't notified of that. nor was the prosecutor. she wasn't aware of this. somehow there is this lack of communication. the county passes this very important ordinance and they don't even tell the 400, 500 assistant state attorneys. the lady was prosecuting my brother's killer was never notified. so here i am sitting at home the sunday before thanksgiving and i get a recorded message from some kid at the jail and said that chavez left. he posted bond and ran. and who do i call on a sunday? nobody's working.
i couldn't get ahold of the prosecutor. so i got a hold of my niece who was a deputy sheriff in the county and she verified he in fact did get released but i wasn't able to call the prosecutor until the next day. well, she immediately runs to her supervisor and they sent out a couple of cops to look for him. he's gone. the brother said that he never sees him and that he lives in the basement. there are a bunch of lies everywhere. so anyhow, long story short -- we also learned -- and i failed to mention, this kid was prosecuted for a prior felony two years earlier and he was put on probation. and i.c.e. was never notified because secured communities i guess had gotten off the ground in 2008 or something and so the notification -- the system the police use, electronic system,
was -- i'm going way over time here. so anyhow, long story short, we've been fighting for the last couple of years. we have a law suit pending judicial watch is -- has helped us. we worked with the prior i.c.e. guy, morton. he was very helpful. and it's just been a pathetic miscarriage of justice upon my family and hundreds of families across the country. i'm glad that you were able to spend time listening to this. all eyes are on both the senate and the house judiciary committee. i'm convinced this is where resolution rests. the sanctuary jurisdictions are going to get away literally with murder passing these policies and you guys got to do it. and i regret that my senator had to leave and couldn't hear my testimony. but maybe i'll talk to him later. all right. thanks.
senator grassley: thank you, mr. mccaan. and ms. wilkerson. ms. wilkerson: thank you for allowing me to tell the story of my son, josh, and his murder. my son's name was named joshua wilkerson. in 2010, he was beaten strangled, tortured until he died. he was tied up, thrown in a field and set on fire. his killer, hermillo morales was brought here illegally by his illegal parents when he was 10 years old so he fit the dream kid description. he was sentenced to life in prison which means it will be 30 years until he will be up for parole. he will be a 49-year-old man who i don't expect to be deported and i just hope he doesn't come to live in your city. we had to hear this kid from the stand muttering about in my
country, in my country, never to finish that sentence. he went on to tell -- we listened to tell us repeatedly that his killing skills took over, that josh had kicked his dog, his killing skills took over. his parents somehow managed to provide lessons that he acquired so he acquired a black belt in mixed martial arts. joshua who had never been in a he didn't speak a lot but when he did you listened to him. like i said, he never been in a fight in his life but somehow the killing skills were the martial arts his parents gave to him. we got an autopsy report that reads in part this body is , received in a gray body bag. there's a tag on his toe that bears the name joshua wilkerson. he is a white male weighing 100 pounds.
he is tied up with braided rope 13 loops around his neck with a , slip knot. it goes behind his back during -- through his back loop it goes , to his hands and his feet, behind his body. he has multiple fractures in his face. and nasal cavity. his throat and his voice box are crushed. he was kicked so hard in the stomach that it sent his spleen into his spine and sliced it in two. so it was painful. the medical examiner said it was torture. this body has significant skin loss on his buttocks, abdomen, penis, hands and his face.
he has one stick of gum and a tardy slip in his pocket. this was our family costs 9/11 terrorist attack by foreign invader whether you want to recognize it or whether you do not. this government continues to fail or even recognize that we have an issue. americans are dying daily at the hands of criminals that we don't even know are here. you are officially notified today there is a problem when this happens. you can't deny it any longer. you can't ignore our families, our american families. you are elected by americans not any other country. you should be for americans. if you want to sit quietly on the sidelines, you have thrown your hat into the ring already. your silence speaks volumes. you're either for americans or you're not.
i will not give up control another one of my children so , that a foreign person can have a nicer life. i am not going to do it. you don't understand the pain. it's so deep in the soul in the place that you don't even recognize you have. there aren't words to describe the pain to someone who has gone -- who has not gone through it. i'm not giving up another kid. city policy screamed to the criminal element of all illegals in this country, there is a criminal element, it screams to them come to our town u.s.a. we'll protect you from our terrible policemen, we'll protect you from these tough american laws that you, because you had a hard life, are not able to go through the same motions that an american did. they are buying into that fact. it's going to take another life lost by senator, congressman
the president, even another of today's heroes, someone from hollywood, before someone in a position moves on this. i urge you you're in a position to do something about this for americans. i thank you to mr. trump for getting a message out about the nation in two minutes that for 4 1/2 years solidly maria espinoza at the remembrance project and countless families like my own have been trying to say for five to six years. it feels good to be heard, whether you love him or whether you don't, i felt heard. our family is shattered. it's shattered. it will never be the same. we'll manage. we'll go on. we function. we put on a happy face. my kids have changed, the surviving kids. everything about us has changed. it's by the grace of god that in our broken hearts we have a
stream of memories of the loving relationship that we had with joshua. joshua had a very deep, intense spiritual relationship, leaving us four, five scriptures in the weeks before he died. i'm ok with where josh is at today. i don't -- it's not just about missing josh. it's about what you're doing to the entire family. not just our immediate family. his friends, the teachers, the community, our extended family. it's incredible. i can't even explain it to you. america lost that day. you lost a good citizen that was on the brink of becoming who knows what? he mentioned going into the air force like his older brother who had to come home for two weeks and bury -- was out defending this country, americans, and we had to bring him home for two weeks to bury his little brother when he wasn't being defended , right here at home. it's absurd to me. thank you for your time. i do want to say, too, just a little bit of rebuttal about
they are not scared to come , here. we are inviting them. sanctuary cities say come on down. you can have a pass in our city. you're tying policemen's hands. i'm not mandating to ask them where they are from. but if they pull somebody over for a reason valid cause, and , they are investigating vetting them for something, they have a right to ask them. they have a right to ask me , stop me on the freeway where , are you going, where are you coming from? do you have drugs? i'm going to answer those. in 15 minutes it will come out in the wash i'm ok to leave. why are you creating a class of people who seem to say we can't do that. they are not afraid to come here. they are not afraid to traipse across the desert. i have been to the border. i stood there with border agents and watched them come across from jet skis. i will finish quickly. sympathy has never trumped a law in this country, ever. you sympathize with me. can i go break a federal law? anyone? anyone here like to let me do that?
every one of them here threaten national security because we don't know who they are. so they are a threat. we don't know who -- they make a decision to come here. they are not scared. they are invited by sanctuary city policies. they are not scared to stand in line for a handout that every american here has paid into the system for our children. if need be. they mistrust police because they come from countries that mistrust police. they are not scared here. i want you to know that our family is broken forever. we are forever broken. thank you. i thank you for your time. i don't want the sympathy. i want you to do something about it. everybody sitting here is in a position to do something. just throw your hat into the ring for americans. quit sitting silent because it's going to help you get a vote. throw your hat into the ring and take care of american families.
thank you. >> thank you. senator grassley: first of all thank you for your testimony. , i heard frustration and anger about our immigration policies. we can learn a lot from you about how our immigration system needs fixed. and for me that starts with border security. can i ask my members, because we are here for oversight of the administration. how many of you have questions that you want to ask of this panel? if none of you want to ask questions of this panel, then i will dismiss them after thanking them. thank you-all very much for
senator grassley: could we have order. >> thousands of people. senator grassley: today costs hearing deals with a very special issue. i trust that members of the public here will act accordingly. i want to note at the outset that the rules of the senate prohibit outbursts, clapping and demonstration of any kind. this includes blocking the view of people around you. please be mindful of those rules as we conduct a hearing. if it isn't abided by, i would have to ask the capitol police to remove anyone who violates the rules.
before our next panel's seated i would like, i would ask ms. saldana and mr. rodriguez. before i introduce you, i would like to ask you to affirm. do you affirm that the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god. >> i do. senator grassley: leon rodriguez is director of u.s. citizenship and immigration services. he was confirmed by the senate
on june 24, 2014. director rodriguez was born in brooklyn, new york. graduated from brown university and earned j.d. degree juries doctorate degree from boston college. sara saldana is assistant secretary for u.s. immigration custom enforcement. she was confirmed by the senate december 16, last year. she was born in corpus christi texas. graduated from texas a&i university and received her juries doctorate from southern methodist university. director rodriguez, would you please begin. and then we'll call the other director. director rodriguez: thank you, chairman. thank you, ranking member, thank you members of the committee. in august of 1988 i was sworn in as an assistant district attorney in brooklyn, new york. kings county, new york. at the time i was sworn in, new
york city like many other large jurisdictions throughout the country, was witnessing unprecedented crime rates. high homicide rates, high sexual assault rates, high robbery rates, high narcotics trafficking rates. it was into this environment that i started as a young 26-year-old prosecutor. among my assignments as an assistant district attorney were homicide investigations, sex crime special victims prosecutions, organized crime investigations and prosecutions. during my tenure as an assistant district attorney, i sat by the side of many hundreds of victims of violent crime, family members of victims of violent crime including homicides. , i witnessed the same kind of grief without limit that i saw
among the crime victims' families that you saw here this morning. i witnessed the sense of profound injustice that was felt by those families. i did everything i could as an assistant district attorney to honor the oath that i had taken in august of 1988 and have frequently remembered throughout my many years of government service, frequently remembered and felt the grief and sense of injustice that i saw in those years in brooklyn, new york. i learned another lesson as an assistant district attorney and that has been in law enforcement one size does not fit all. one size fits all is the surest way to let violent criminals go free, to let the worst crimes go unaddressed. it is for that reason that there are homicide detectives who
specialize in homicide. those detectives are not asked to go and arrest the individuals who jump the turnstile at the subway. the daca program, the deferred action for childhood arrivals program, provides a way to take young people who came to this country not of their own volition, but were brought by their parents. it takes such young people who have not been convicted of a criminal offense, who do not present a threat to national security, who are not members of gangs, and while they are pursuing a course of study or have pursued a course of study and does nothing more than to delay their deportation and to offer them work authorization. let me be clear about one of the points i made here. those individuals are not
supposed to have committed and been convicted of a prior felony, significant misdemeanors, or multiple misdemeanors, and they may not be or have been a member of a gang. now, several of you are well aware there were situations in my agency where that policy was not understood. and as a result in a small , number of cases, approximately 20, individuals who were identified in law enforcement databases as gang members were afforded deferred action nonetheless. that is unacceptable. we took decisive steps to correct our procedures, to retrain our staff, to ensure that that bedrock requirement of the deferred action for childhood arrivals program was fully understood. as a result, a number of those individuals have had their
deferred action terminated. in a small number of cases we determined that the individuals actually were not gang members at all after thorough investigation. but you have my pledge that we will conduct our business at uscis, u.s. citizenship and immigration service, in a way that prevents gang members from ever receiving deferred action. now, having said that i realize the topics that we are here to talk about are important and grave ones and i look forward to what i think is the very important dialogue that the chairman, you have convened today. senator grassley. thank you mr. rodriguez. ms. saldana. secretary saldana: thank you senator grassley, ranking member feinstein, and other members of this distinguished committee. like you-all and everyone in
this country i am greatly moved , by the stories i heard this morning anti-tragedy that is have occurred and the pain, the very palpable pain that's been inflicted on the families that we heard from today. to them i say i am so sorry for the loss each of you has experienced and i know many of you have shared those condolences as well. and i say that not only as a director of immigration and customs enforcement, but i say it as a mother, a sister, an aunt, and a grandmother, one of my grandchildren being here today with me. i can only imagine what such a loss would be like. and i want to say that, for over a decade first as a prosecutor then as a united states attorney for north texas and now as the head of immigration and custom enforcement, the largest law enforcement agency in the department of homeland security, i am committed to do all i can to prevent violent crime. i have been and i continue today to do so.
i consider myself a law enforcement officer and have for several years. and while the things we did as prosecutors will not bring back the victims of any violent crime, there is some very small solace that i gained, at least in bringing the perpetrators to justice. and i'm very proud of that work. as you know, the men and women of i.c.e. play an integral role in public safety and national security. tragic situations like the ones that the family members find themselves in are deplorable and highlight the need to continue our work to focus on the apprehension and removal of convicted criminals who pose the greatest threat to public safety and national security. this is exactly what our priority enforcement program is designed to do. we spent months talking with all kinds of people from all of the stakeholders that are interested in our program in designing it.
and our objective is to take custody of dangerous individuals before they commit further crimes and before the release into the community. as has been said before, it's not a one size fits all. we have been working across the country to bring people to the table to work with them to reach their communities and the needs of the communities when it comes to public safety. just as senator feinstein has done in san francisco, i am asking for the help of each one of you and those other members of the entire senate, to assist us in this effort to try to have jurisdictions who have not cooperated with us in the past to start doing so now. now. and i urge you, quite frankly, as part of all that to help with respect to a comprehensive change to immigration law.
it is complex, it is broken, this is the -- these are the statutes and codes of regulations that our folks have to deal with every day. and it is -- i implore your help in that regard. secretary johnson has made it clear that our borders are not opened to illegal migration. as such, i.c.e. through our enforcement and removal operations directorate, e.r.o. is dedicating our resources towards the removal of individuals considered enforcement priorities. we are making some progress. along the southwest border this year, apprehensions are 110 thousand. that i see as significant. 34% from last year at this time. our interior enforcement efforts are also paying off. of those people detained in our detention centers, 96% of them meet our top two priorities.
76% of them meet our top priority. i believe our people are doing a good thing and focusing where they should be with respect to these criminals. you know the enforcement work and the investigative work that our other side of the house does, homeland security investigations. very fine work with respect to transnational crime with very good results. one in particular i want to point out with respect to gang enforcement. we have an operation recently called operations all fire which netted 32,000 criminal arrests. and 1,000 gang members in that particular group. some charged with criminal offenses. and it is very meaningful work as well.
i do know we are going to focus on the enforcement and removal side and i stand ready to take any questions of this committee. senator grassley: i thank both of you very much for being here. most importantly i want to thank you for coming and listening to the testimony of the first panel. i'm going to ask questions then senator feinstein will and then because the finance committee's meeting on taxes upstairs, i'm going to have to turn over the meeting to senator sessions, if he'll do that, please. start with you, mr. rodriguez. you said that certain actions of people in your department was unacceptable in regard to daca. and that -- so a natural follow-up of that is, somebody didn't do their job right in this particular case, somebody probably didn't do their job right and we know that people have died as a result of it. so then if it's unacceptable who's been fired or disciplined
for providing daca to gang members? director rodriguez: senator, there was action taken to correct and counsel individuals who did not understand back in 2013. the proper manner in which to utilize the text database which is the law enforcement database that identifies an individual as gang members. we have undertaken extensive efforts to ensure that both the policy, that very clearly excludes gang members from deferred action and the processes of our agency are fully understood. i would also add that we have run the entire population of deferred action daca recipients back through the text database to identify all those instances
where gang membership was not handled appropriately by our officers. so there has been counseling in appropriate instances. senator grassley: since there were 323 how many were changed , after review? director rodriguez: as i indicated, of the nearly 700,000 daca recipients, we identified 20 cases in which an indication of gang membership appeared in the law enforcement databases for individuals who had previously received deferred action. eight of those individuals have already been terminated. others have been turned over to i.c.e. for appropriate handling. few cases we actually determined that notwithstanding the identification as gang members
in the database, they were not after investigation gang members. senator grassley: what process if any, do you have in your agency in place to learn about daca's recipients' criminal activity in order to immediately terminate the benefit? director rodriguez: we obviously have ongoing contacts and discussion above all with i.c.e. we are notified in situations where individuals have either been convicted of a crime or where information is discovered that they are gang members when we receive that information we act on it. we are also in the middle of the daca renewal process right now. some individuals have been identified as being gang members during the course of that process and of course have been denied renewal and other appropriate action taken. senator grassley: does the
agency require an interview in every daca applicant who has a criminal record? director rodriguez: we do interviews in those cases where , in order to resolve an outstanding issue, for example one related to either criminality or gang membership we do utilize interviews in those cases to resolve those concerns. senator grassley: ms. saldana, in you told the house you march, supported mandatory detainers. the following day you changed your position. sanctuary cities as you have heard today do very little to protect the public safety. they are in place to protect certain groups of lawbreakers but there are real consequences. can you tell the family members here today, including the steinle family, that you don't think state and law enforcement officials should have to abide by detainers of criminal aliens? secretary saldana: i'm not going to say that, senator grassley. what i am going to say is that we are working very hard, very
hard with respect to a whole host -- there are about 200 last time i checked, of jurisdictions, when i say jurisdictions i'm talking about counties, cities, all over the country, who have declined to cooperate with us in the past. as the secretary testified last week, senator, we are making some progress. we have actually identified the top almost 50 jurisdictions that we have had little progress in the past couple of -- in the past couple of several months, and we are going and meeting with those local officials to try to engage them in why the p.e.p. program is actually different from their experience was with secure communities. you heard from some of the witnesses this morning that there is some fear out there and some concerns about even the
impact on local law enforcement if there is a feeling of distrust between a community and law enforcement. my answer, the question to me was, would it be helpful? clarity is always helpful to law enforcement. but what i would like to do , since we just rolled out this program, we have been working on the design and implementation of it for months, we just rolled out this program, i want us to be given a chance to work with folks. as u.s. attorney my whole existence relied on relationships with state and local law enforcement. i had to work with sheriffs, d.a.'s all across north texas to try to get them to work with us. and it's a mutual cooperation. they help us and we help them. and i'd like to continue those efforts. senator grassley: can you admit, yes or no, that sanctuary cities pose a problem to public safety? secretary saldana: i don't know
exactly what sanctuary cities definition is, i do know and i have said this in the past, sir, so has the secretary, that not cooperating with us does expose our officers to greater risks because now they have to go out at large and try to recover some of these convicted criminals. and it's a resource expenditure much greater than it would be if we could just get these people from the jails directly into our custody and through the process. senator grassley: senator senator feinstein: thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me thank the two witnesses and the very moving witnesses we heard in the prior panel. i would like to put in the record, the record of lopez sanchez because you see the
felonies and you see the number of deportations and you really see the failure of the system. so the question really comes what to do about it. it's clear to me this man who was convicted and served time in more than one state, deported five times, kept coming back and this is how it ended. it shouldn't happen that way. and maybe the price on deportation is too low. because it doesn't seem to be a deterrent at all, at least in this case. mr. ronnebeck said the following. i.c.e. reported that they release 66,564 other criminal aliens back on to the streets of our country in 2013 and 2014 and another 10,246 as of march 2015.
this group included aliens convicted of violent and serious crimes, including homicide sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. then it goes on and says 123 americans had been murdered by one of those released criminal aliens. including mr. ronnebeck's nephew. are those numbers correct? secretary saldana: they are. senator feinstein: ok. then how does it happen that of those numbers an additional 123 americans have been murdered by them? secretary saldana: how is it that happened? or how is it -- senator feinstein: yes. it seems to me that we've got one size fits all that you do for the worst felon what you do for someone without that kind of record.
secretary saldana: and you really struck on the heart of our efforts in talking to jurisdictions who have not been working with us in the recent past. we try to tell them, work with us. let's look at your statutes. let's look at what you passed. and let's see if, one, we have to urge you to try to tweak it or, two, if we can work within it in whatever ordinance, or legislation there is. i truly believe in my heart of hearts that we can bring reasonable minds to the table to work -- that's why we talk about one size not fitting all. it's because we are trying to accommodate the needs of the communities that are so different. west coast, north and south. i come from texas, our problems there are not the same as the problems in california or new york or in the heartland. that's one of the beauties of p.e.p. again, i need local -- senator feinstein: let me ask you what should happen to somebody convicted of seven felonies in this country in a number of different states and
someone who has been deported five times and comes back to eventually commit a heinous crime? what should -- how should that be prevented? secretary saldana: my belief is in developing those relationships, in communication here. there was a three-way law enforcement communication. the bureau of prisons. and immigration and customs enforcement. i'm doing all i can to try to -- look into and we actually have directed my senior staff to start opening doors and there have been conversations already with the bureau of prisons which is overseen by my department, to try to talk about at least with respect to federal agency to federal agency what we can do better. i invite your thoughts. senator feinstein: one last question. supposing the sheriff did consult with you, the city did consult with you. the record is still there. seven felonies, five
deportations, and he came back and he's tried a number of different states and managed to commit felonies there, too. what would happen to them? what would you do with him? secretary saldana: we would probably with someone with that kind of a record, we would, if he came into our custody present him to the u.s. attorneys' office for prosecution. senator feinstein: on what? secretary saldana: illegal re-entry. there are escalating punishments if you have, depending on your criminal record. we can do that. right now it's up to 20 years depending on the nature of the person's background. senator feinstein: are there cases where you have done that? secretary saldana: oh, yes. senator feinstein: can you tell me approximately how many where somebody with multiple deportations and multiple felonies actually goes, based on the last deportation, to jail, to federal prison or a long time? secretary saldana: we present presented in every occasion that those facts arise.
unfortunately, the prosecution decision isn't up to us. it's up to the u.s. attorney's office. they have their own priorities. i can't quibble with that. we do present it every time we see those facts. senator feinstein: there are members here who have bills that would like to put a minimum sentence on deportation that's violated. in other words, the individual comes back. what do you think of that? secretary saldana: i've got to start with, quite frankly, i would like rather than a piecemeal approach to this tremendous problem a more comprehensive approach to reform. but if we are just looking at that, i'd like to take a look at that language and what the statute provides. this fellow in this case served several sentences for illegal re-entry and substantial, the average sentence is 18 months to two years n this case we have 36, 56, 46 months this individual served. obviously it did not deter him. senator feinstein: right.
my time is up. i will put in the record two different copies of the criminal record, mr. lopez sanchez. senator sessions. senator session: thank you senator feinstein. and you made some important points. i would note that san francisco proudly calls itself a sanctuary city. they are not hiding it. they are proud of it. they directed their police chiefs and police officers to act in that accord, too. we are focused, i think, more today on the sheriff's department who even the mayor has concluded acted improperly. i would offer for the record a letter just a week ago on behalf of the san francisco deputy sheriffs that work for the sheriff there, and that letter
to the sheriff says this, as evidence by the tragic death of kate steinle on july 1, to coordinate much less cooperate with law enforcement agencies, recklessly compromises the safety of sworn personnel, citizens, and those who merely come to san francisco area. this association hereby demands the department immediately rescind the directives and comply with the statutory and contractual obligations to meet and confer in good faith. they go over, say moreover, it is the association's sincere belief that any changes that the department might pursue should honor ms. steinle's life by directing the department's flawed philosophy so the people of san francisco, citizens visitors, employees alike are safer in the future. ms. saldana, you are a in charge of filing these detainers and dealing with these issues, do you agree with that letter from the deputy sheriffs of san
francisco? secretary saldana: i would agree with the essence of what's requested. let's do what we -- senator feinstein: could you put on the microphone. secretary saldana: let's get cooperation. let's do all we can because we are all in the same business. senator sessions: you're exactly right. this is all about protecting public safety. isn't it a fact, ms. saldana everybody who would like to come to the united states is not entitled to be admitted on their demand? secretary saldana: that's why we have these statutes. senator sessions: make evaluations on people. if they get here legally or illegally and evidence dangerous tendencies they can be deported? secretary saldana: that's certainly laid out in the statute. senator sessions: that's required in certain instances by the statute. said they shall be deported. secretary saldana: yes, sir. senator sessions: i think we
have a serious problem here and i believe it's directly from the top of this administration and i believe you have been directed to carry out administration policies. when you are asked about the sanctuary city reform, senator grassley said, you said absolutely, amen. and the next day did you have a conversation with someone and decided to change your statement on that? secretary saldana: as i said before, senator, truly, my response was a straight out law enforcement response. what i did the next day was to clarify. i am not going against what we have, all our efforts in establishing and now implementing the p.e.p. program. we want to work with those jurisdictions. that's what i have always done is try to set up relationships with -- senator sessions: i agree. united states attorney, you gave a law enforcement response. which is this is unacceptable. every jurisdiction in america that i know of participates in a
detainer policy that honors detainers from other jurisdictions. they don't ask whether the case is a good case or not. they don't retry the case. united states, federal, state, or local jurisdictions places a detainer hold on a prisoner that's honored. isn't it historic and really unbelievable act that major cities in this country are refusing to comply with that basic requirement of law enforcement? secretary saldana: this is why i needed the next day to clarify sir, that, yes, we need to get there. but we've got this program that we are about to roll out and it's all hands on deck. we can't afford not to work together in this area. senator sessions: what if they don't cooperate? what if they just refuse as they refused before? didn't your predecessor call on chicago, cook county, to stop its sanctuary policies?
secretary saldana: i'm sorry, sir. i wasn't following that. senator sessions: he made a clear statement about it. and it was a call on them to change. now the administration apparently has changed and stopped pushing it. and now after this -- these events that have achieved so much publicity you're beginning to talk about it again. mr. rodriguez, you represent the citizens on immigration services. your council president has made a series of statements, he's a head official, saying, quote uscic adjudications officers are pressured to rubber stamp applications instead of conducting diligent case review and investigation. the culture at uscis encourages all applications to be approved, discouraging proper investigation into red flags and
discouraging the denial of any applications uscis has turned into an approval machine. he goes on to say uscis officers who identify illegal aliens that in accordance with law should be placed into immigration removal proceedings before a federal judge or prevented from exercising their authority and responsibility. goes on to say, ms. saldana, the i.c.e. officers' morale is reported to be the lowest in the entire federal government. they file a lawsuit against your predecessor, the office association did, claiming that they are being ordered to violate their oath to enforce the law. what actions have you taken to end this and create and meet with the officers to create a system in which they are encouraged to follow the law not
inviolate the law? secretary saldana: i listen, senator. i have been to several of our offices across the country. i wish i had time to do all of them in my first year on the job. but i do go and i do listen. i meet with union officers. i meet with employees top to bottom. we discuss what our mission is. and how it's so important and how commonsensical it is to focus on the most heinous crimes convicted criminals. i get a very good response. so i -- by the way, i may not be a named defendant in that lawsuit, i think i have been replaced. i take those allegations seriously and i work with our employees across the country to discuss it. senator sessions: i never seen the kind of morale problems that i see from the statement to you,
mr. rodriguez, and your official actions. and you, ms. saldana, and your predecessor. this is not healthy. it's very bad. and it's a product of the trends we are seeing of nonenforcement rather than enforcement. senator feinstein: senator durbin is not here -- excuse me, senator schumer is not here, senator feinstein: senator durbin is not here -- excuse me, senator schumer is not here, senator durbin is here. i call on him. senator durbin: thank you very much, madam chair. first, i was not able to stay at the hearing for brian mccann's testimony. brian mccann is from chicago. i agreed to speak at a alzheimer's association research meeting. came back, got him on the phone. we are working with him through the f.b.i. to try to help bring this fugitive to justice who is responsible for this terrible tragedy in this family. i want to put that on the record. let me see if i could put some
perspective on this for a minute. there seem to be two or three basic elements here that we ought to keep in mind. first is the belief of local law enforcement that if they are called on to enforce status crimes, that is persons who are here undocumented, that it could infringe on their ability to maintain order in a community. every time a police car drove by folks in a certain neighborhood thought they are looking for undocumented people, those folks are less likely to step up and cooperate with police to find real wrongdoers, real criminals so that they would be brought to justice. that seems to be a starting point i have heard over and over again. ms. saldana. secretary saldana: i agree. i heard it also because i met with quite a few officials. and they have a tough job. we all have a tough job. i recognize those arguments. one jurisdiction oregon has been sued, and other jurisdictions, and in these days of tough financial budgets i can
understand why people are concerned about being exposed to constitutional challenges like they have been in some of the laws. senator durbin: what the president has proposed in daca or referring to young people dreamers who were brought here as children and undocumented and dapa for those millions here undocumented, working, raising families and such, in both instances the president has insisted that there be a criminal background check before they are even given a temporary, a temporary permission to stay to either live, go to school, or work. is that not true? secretary saldana: certainly. and my colleague, director, can seek more clearly to this. yes, that is my understanding. senator durbin: director rodriguez, of the 680,000 who have successfully applied for daca status, dreamers, who were able to stay, of that number, i
am told roughly 323, about one in half of one percent, have -- either engaged in crime or had a criminal record to the point where they were disqualified from the daca program. director rodriguez: that is a correct. most of those were as a result of criminal convictions, some of them were because of information received that they either were gang members or presented threats to national security. senator durbin: they were disqualified from the program. director rodriguez: correct. by the way senator, i would cite that as an instance where we did not rubber stamp. as my union head suggested. we certainly dug into those. senator durbin: and the president's proposal when it comes to the millions undocumented, they, too, will not only be subjected to background check before they are eligible to stay and work on a temporary basis, they are subject to review every time that permit comes up to see if they committed a crime, is that not true?
director rodriguez: that is correct, senator. it is a multistep process. biographic and biometric checks that are conducted on all such individuals to eliminate criminals, eliminate threats to our national security, eliminate gang members from access -- senator durbin: on both these programs, daca and papa, there's been general opposition on the other side of the aisle. what the president has proposed for regular criminal background checks about these people living, undocumented america has been resisted. that's been a starting point in each of these proposals. yesterday i spoke to jeh johnson, secretary of homeland security, he just visited in chicago to meet with some of our political leaders to talk about the specific issue that brings us here today. what do we do about those who are convicted of crimes and also undocumented? and they are working now to come to an agreement through the p.e.p. program there be an
understanding certain levels of crime will result in reporting. they have not reached an agreement. don't get me wrong. but they are moving in that direction. can you explain to me the difference between a civil detainer and criminal detainer and whether that is significant to our conversation here? director rodriguez: senator, i think i'm a little -- i do have some insight into those distinctions based on prior positions i have held as a federal prosecutor and also county attorney, but given it's director saldana's portfolio i may defer to her. secretary saldana: yes. quite frankly i'm not familiar with the distinction that way. more importantly it seems to me when there is a criminal case that's been presented to the united states attorney, they have accepted it, there will be a criminal warrant and a detainer notice sent to the person who is in somebody else's custody, and that has -- it's a
court order. it is not administrative. which is the large part of what our function is. our function is civil and administrative. there are some groups of illegal immigrants that we do refer to the u.s. attorneys for criminal prosecution, but that's only where -- that's the only place the criminal documentation would arise. senator durbin: if we are dealing with someone who is incarcerated and been found guilty of a serious felony, no questions asked, it's over the line, serious felony, from your point of view, what you're asking is that before they be released and their undocumented status there be a report to your agency? a notice. secretary saldana: please advise us with respect to the notification part where there is not -- we have not established probable cause or we have a detainer. senator durbin: we are dealing with a question of illegal re-entry, illegal re-entry, may occur, if i'm not mistaken
someone who has been deported from the united states and attempts to return. even if there is no criminal history other than that action of returning after deportation is that correct? secretary saldana: that is right. the u.s. attorneys across the country are not necessarily enforcing those because of their priorities. it's just too low level. senator durbin: the suggestion we make a mandatory minimum five year sentence for people who have been deported and come back across the border with no other criminal -- no criminal history and no other history from the government's point of view, that seems to me to be an invitation for a lot of prosecutions. secretary saldana: we are stretched on our resources already and focusing on convicted criminals. to expand it to just illegal entries or re-entries would be a very big problem for us. senator durbin: thank you very much for.
senator sessions: thank you. i believe senator lee has yielded. senator cruz. senator cruz. senator cruz: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, senator lee. thank you to the witnesses for being here. the testimony we have heard today is powerful. ms. saldana, you are a texan. you were a prosecutor in our state. you had a good reputation as a prosecutor. but you are serving an administration that consistently refuses to follow the law. we heard this morning the very real consequences of that. now, in march when you were testifying before the house, you were asked about sanctuary cities. cities like san francisco that defy federal law and because of their defiance of federal law, kate steinle is no longer with us, she was murdered because of the refusal of local officials to recognize federal law. you were asked in that house
hearing should federal law compel state officials to comply with federal law? and your answer, and i want to quote, verbatim, was, thank you, amen. yes. in my view, that was the former federal prosecutor speaking. and giving an answer. yet the next day you issued a statement retracting what you said and saying, in fact although you said amen, which is a pretty powerful statement from the heart, you didn't, in fact mean the federal law should force local officials to comply with federal laws. i want to ask you what political officials pressured you to change your statement? secretary saldana: not a single one. this came from the -- the original statement came from my heart.
the clarification came from my heart. i don't mean to quibble with you, senator. i respect you greatly. i will say this, the question was not asked, the question was very specific. would it be helpful for detainers to be mandatory? the law enforcement response there is clarity is always helpful. but i wanted to be sure that people were not reacting to that as an indictment of p.e.p. or working with communities. and that's what i'm committed to do. senator cruz: let me make sure i understand your testimony correctly then. you said then it would be helpful, as in presumably helpful is good, beneficial, something you support, so are you saying, then, that i.c.e. supports making it mandatory to comply with detainers? secretary saldana: no. senator cruz: you just said it's helpful. but you don't support it. secretary saldana: clarity is always helpful. but cooperation and working with our state and local partners something i have always done, i
will continue to do and i'm committed to see it through with respect to these jurisdictions. senator cruz: it is difficult to work in an administration where you're required to take a position where although something would be in your own words helpful, you nonetheless don't support it. let me shift to a different topic. in the year 2013, how many criminal illegal aliens did the obama administration release? secretary saldana: in 2014, it was a little over 30,000. senator cruz: how many murderers? secretary saldana: in that year, sir, i can't remember the number right now. but i know that we had -- the statistic was said earlier the four-year period, there were 121 persons who committed crimes. i can't provide you the number. senator cruz: how many rapists? secretary saldana: i am not sure right now. i have to pull that number.
senator cruz: how many drunk drivers? secretary saldana: same answer. i can break that down for you. i think we are working on that right now. it's been requested before. senator cruz: yesterday, how many murderers did the obama administration release? secretary saldana: senator, i don't know the answer to that question. i want the american people to understand our job and our mission if i may. we don't release people willy-nilly. we release people pursuant to these statutes and regulations. there are only a limited number of crimes that we are -- we are required to detain people. it is mandatory. they are spelled out here very clearly. many of them related to drug distribution and conspiracy. the rest of the people, as you know very well, the law requires us to release some of the -- a small percentage of the total. also the immigration courts have half a million case backlog, they have the proceedings they go through. they will order release because many of these folks challenge
their bond or their detention. but the rest, and i think it's like 49% this past year, in the rest where i.c.e. has discretion, where this statute has given us discretion, we have very well trained, very experienced law enforcement officers who look at the entire case just like a magistrate judge or a federal judge does -- senator cruz: ms. saldana. i want to know your testimony here, when i ask you how many criminals i.c.e. released in 2013, you are off by a factor of three. you said 30,000. the correct answer is 104,000. there were 68,000 criminals, criminal illegal aliens that i.c.e. declined to begin deportation proceedings against despite the fact as senator sessions observed, the federal law you are holding up there they shall be deported, the obama administration refused to deport them. that's 68,000.
in addition to that, there were 36,000 in deportation proceedings with criminal convictions that the obama administration released. i would note among those were 193 murderers with homicide convictions. 426 people with sexual assault convictions. were over 16,000 criminal illegal aliens with drunk driving convictions. released by this administration because this administration refuses to follow the law. and secretary saldana: those numbers i'm looking straight at them. you asked me, i thought, about 2014. that is 30,558. and the good news is at least that was down from 2013, when it was 36,000 -- senator cruz: you are admitting the 68,000 criminal illegal aliens that i.c.e. did not begin and deportation proceedings, you add those together it's over 100,000. secretary saldana: that's right.
on all done pursuant to this statute that the congress has outlined. senator cruz: you heard the testimony from the victims' families. i introduced case law in the senate, a mandatory minimum of five years in prison for anyone apprehended with an illegal re-entry. does i.c.e. support case law? secretary saldana: i sure would like to look at that. i'm not sure if it was introduced -- senator cruz: last week. secretary saldana: i'm willing to look at any proposal along those lines and consider and work with you -- senator cruz: i would like to know that you are so sorry for the losses, but the obama administration continues to do it. when i asked you who was released yesterday, you don't know.
there's a reason the american people are so upset. if present a obama had the kurds of his convictions, he would come and look in the eyes of these men and women who lost their sons, their daughters their mothers, that sisters their brothers, and the administration would stop releasing murderers and rapists. it is within your power to follow federal law. this administration refuses to do so. that is altogether unacceptable. thank you. >> thank you, assistant secretary for your work. i know senator grassley had to step out for another hearing. i wanted to thank him for bringing together the first panel of witnesses. i thought their testimony was moving and i know from being a former prosecutor how difficult it can be the for victims and their families to come forward.
i'm sure some of the families are still in the room today. i thank you for being willing to come forward today. senator klobuchar: i also want to thank senator feinstein for her frankness in the criticism of the sheriff and her own state clearly. there should've been cooperation and they should have been working with ice. i think it is a very important to remember that there are some of us letter will in to look at these policies and look at them in a way to figure out what is best to help public safety. deputy secretary, you talked about some of the work that is being done to work with these local jurisdictions. i've listened to the head of the major city chiefs talk about the policy, which he made clear was cooperating with ice. clearly that did not happen in the case in san francisco. are there other sheriffs and other law enforcement people that have taken that position and have policies where they are
not going to -- i understand the mayor said that was not what happened in san francisco, but they're not going to work with you and notify with you when a repeat felon is being released? secretary saldana: the last time i checked the number of communities that passed some ordinance or legislation, it was a little bit over 200 -- about 208. senator klobuchar: do they very? secretary saldana: tremendously. senator klobuchar: what i'm talking about here is the most glaring thing that someone who has been deported several times convicted of lengthy felonies that there was no notification as to either try to deport him or as you made the better point for someone who is a repeat felon like that, bring them to the u.s. attorney's office. do you know how many have that policy that was as severe as what the sheriff did in san francisco? secretary saldana: maybe a handful. we have identified the top 49
which have not been cooperating with us that would have the greatest impact with respect to their immigrant populations in their communities. we have made real progress. as the secretary testified last week, 33 of them have now said over the efforts of the secretary of the deputy and quite a few officials that they will work with us. in some manner, we are working with them. senator klobuchar: it just seems like in a case like this that it is mandatory that something like this it's reported. that is what i'm trying to grab. secretary saldana: it's a very common sense approach and i agree with you. i think that cap covers that. these are severe detainers and dangerous criminals that we are targeting and that we will work with these jurisdictions to say, can't we all agree on this category of individual and this criminal history? senator klobuchar: when we establish cases, i was just
reading one where we convicted a man of murder and he hacked his wife into pieces. he was from russia and he was making requests to go back to russia. my successor is saying no to that. i remember the pressure you would sometimes get, not necessarily from defendants, but from family members saying send them back to the other country. i think of as a argument clearly for sending out sentences in the u.s. for public safety. you brought up the u.s. attorney's office and they cannot handle all these cases. when there are these serious ones with a number of felonies, i would think that they should become more of a priority when it comes to these prosecutions. has there been discussions about this with the justice department at all? secretary saldana: yes. i actually met with the deputy attorney general and discussed where we can work together to strengthen this. i met with the border and immigration subcommittee, the
u.s. attorneys, and we have discussed specifically what you can do to help us make an impact with respect to some of these cases. they seem very interested and cooperative. senator klobuchar: i've been a supporter of copperheads of immigration reform and i think there's a lot of focus on things we need for an economy with that bill and allowing anywhere from engineers on to be able to get green cards and stop training our competition. there is many important things in that bipartisan bill. i think one of them that you know is more money for the border more money for enforcement, those kinds of things. do you think that would be helpful as well to have some kind of comprehensive immigration reform? either of you can answer this. secretary saldana: it is essential. senator klobuchar: i talking from a public safety perspective. secretary saldana: it is like one of these very wise victims indicated this morning that when you hear something that simply stated he wanted why do we get
bogged down? that would put aside political interest and let's get to work. on a better immigration system. comprehensively. senator klobuchar: you want to add? >> i would. one of the issues we heard about this morning is the notion that individuals who are here illegally -- we don't know who they are. they are not registered. they are off the grid essentially. what the deferred action programs and more helpfully comprehensive immigration reform provides is a way to know who those people are. to hold them accountable. director rodriguez: to know who they are in those rare instances where they did commit crimes. that is one example of many where public safety would be promoted by immigration reform. senator klobuchar: the last thing i want to bring up is this
different issue to meet and i do not want to get scrambled into it. the program for victims of crime and we have worked hard on this. i know i've had many experiences where people would be preyed upon because they thought it had power over them because of a family member or something else could be deported. the program has been helpful in bringing cases, as one of the witnesses pointed out who works in the domestic violence area, could you speak to that? secretary saldana: i prosecuted human trafficking cases. we often requested visas. i'm happy to say that many of the victims involved in some of these cases actually ended up staying in the country and applying for residency and ultimately, i'm sure citizenship. and they will make extraordinary american citizens if they get to that point. senator klobuchar: thank you
very we look forward to working with the. -- working with you. >> thank you for coming here and your willingness to serve our country and your willingness to talk to us today. i believe that the great majority of those who have come to united states in violation of our laws have probably done so for very sympathetic reasons and have probably been living their lives in a way, aside from an illegal manner in which they chose to enter the country, are otherwise living good lives respectable lives. senator lee: this fact does not and i do not think ever can invest them with the right to citizenship. it certain cannot override the need that we have to ensure that u.s. citizens are protected from violence, including the type of violence that might result from
someone who came here who should not have come here, someone with a known criminal record who has been allowed to remain here in violation of our laws. i've spoken at length in other hearings and on the floor of the senate about concerns i have about the use of illegal remedy known as parole. for those who are not steeped in immigration law, parole is a very narrow exception, one that allows a person to enter the country temporarily. the law governing parole within immigration context is fairly specific. it points out that this needs to be narrow. it needs to be urgent for the
public benefit on the other hand. this temporary parole is meant to allow people to enter the country for temporary finite occasions such as the need to get medical treatment. that would be an urgent humanitarian reason to allow someone to get parole. or if we are talking about significant public benefits, we might add to that the hypothetical of someone needing to come in to testify as a witness in a trial. but these things are temporary and their time sensitive. the temporary nature of perl and it's now nature is very important. once you have been paroled into the country, you have removed an otherwise present and significant and legal impediment to gaining access to citizenship. parole is abused and granted excessively or outside of the framework of what the law allows this you can understand it really create a giant gaping hole in our immigration laws.
the president has cleverly and surreptitiously spread the role of parole wide enough to give da ca and dapa access to citizenship, when it would otherwise be unavailable to them. we are now seeing the president expanding that program yet again the use of parole. as vice president biden announced in november the department of homeland security and department of state are establishing a refugee parole program that would allow those who fail to get refugee status to enter the country under parole. i reiterate parole is meant to be a temporary admission to get past the border on a case-by-case basis, either for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. it is not a substitute for refugee status and should not be used to permanently relocate non-refugees the united states
where refugee status is not available. second, the president announced in a report released last week that the department of homeland security will propose an extended parole program for entrepreneurs. our stores are valuable. we love entrepreneurs in our country. we have a lot of designed specifically to encourage more entrepreneurs, not just in the united states, but from other countries. we like entrepreneurs. any program that encourages entrepreneurs to come into united states should be established by statute bylaw not shoehorned into a narrow exception that is meant to allow the administration to step outside the normal process, only under ordinary circumstances. so, mr. rodriguez, we will start with you. do you believe these programs are consistent with the limited intent and temporary nature of statutory text regarding perl --
parole? director rodriguez: thank you senator for that question. the short answer is yes, i do. i do precisely for the point that you made, which is that these are programs that are meant to be limited. they are meant to either afford a permanent immigration benefit or meant to be utilized by everybody. senator lee: you would agree with the characterization? you would agree that they are limited? director rodriguez: that is correct. these programs are limited. when we talk about the central american miners program, it is a limited number of individuals who will be able to seek parole. there are very specific requirements, very specific circumstances which afford people that parole. parole, as you say, is a temporary program. senator lee: you agree it is to be temporary and to be limited. when we look at the daca
application for advanced parole, there is a form called i-431. it defines the statutory term, significant public benefit. as referred to the need for someone to come into the country to testify at trial. it defines that to include semester abroad programs in meetings with clients. do you think that is a fair interpretation of the statute? is it fair to shoehorned meetings with clients or semester abroad programs into significant public benefits, something offensive to give somebody the right sense of the country to testify at trial? director rodriguez: understand what we are talking about when we are talking about advanced parole. these are individuals who are participants in a deferred action and not a parole program whose ability to temporarily remain in the united states is under a deferred action program. senator lee: if it is not a
parole program, why are you using parole? director rodriguez: that is the manner in which they are able to reenter the united states. it permits them to temporarily leave the united states and then returned to united states. senator lee: when they return, they have had a significant impediment that would otherwise exist to their pathway to citizenship lifted? director rodriguez: it does not make them qualified for a legal person that -- permanent resident status or citizenship. like anybody else, they need to have an actual basis. senator lee: correct. it's not independently adequate but it remains an impediment that otherwise would be there. that would impede them from getting a green card but for the use of parole. isn't that correct? director rodriguez: it is correct to appoint, sir.
they need to qualify for the basis for lisa or citizenship. advanced parole will not make them qualified. senator lee: it will make them qualify, but it is a condition precedent. you have distorted the slot. you have manipulated it beyond what the statutory text will bear and that does cause me great concern. i see i am over my time. thank you very much. thank you, mr. chair. >> center better -- senator better. senator vitter: i want to thank legislation bringing forward to stop sexually cities and that local law enforcement has to
cooperate with immigration enforcement. i thank you. you have been very active on that and the full committee chairman, senator flake, and others who are working with me on that. hopefully, we're going to move that soon in committee. thanks to you both for your service. miss saldana, the white house through the press secretary recently suggested that the murder of kate steinle was made possible because republicans refused to pass the large immigration bill, which included amnesty during the last congress. do you agree with that? secretary saldana: sir, i declined to engage in this political discussion. i'm just interested in law enforcement and making the immigration laws in force. senator vitter: do you agree or disagree with that suggestion? secretary saldana: i have no opinion one way or the other. i'm focused on a very important job under the immigration laws.
i would prefer to work on that and answer questions related to that them political questions. that just does not advance the ball forward. secretary saldana: i agree that it does not advance the ball forward. senator vitter: i agree that josh earnest statement was wrong to the victims. how is your action to block sanctuary city policies do the priority enforcement program anymore effective that it has been do you secure committees program? obviously it has been completely ineffective do that. secretary saldana: lots of controversy and litigation arising out of them. the differences are significant. as we talked to more jurisdictions, you will see more clearly that distinctions are material. for example, one of the problems in that case was that there was no basis to detain someone at the state or local level beyond 48 hours, which is what our
request was. to detain 48 hours beyond the underlying offense called for. under cap -- pe wepe, are only asking for 48 hours unless we have probable cause with indications of violence to evidence that we can show to local jurisdictions. then we ask for detaining that person for 40 hours. secretary saldana: senator vitter: under these new policies to stop these abuses from happening, i'm glad we are finally doing this. under this new policy, what is would happen if and when a local jurisdiction does not comply. ? secretary saldana: this is one of the things i'm considering. i along with the victims this morning do not want to see their lives go without being addressed
-- senator vitter: i hope we can all agree about that. the bottom line is that there is no consequence now. nothing happens to these local jurisdictions. this is a brand-new day brought on by these horrific incidents. what is going to happen to these local jurisdictions? secretary saldana: time in the middle of looking at that. senator vitter: you don't know anything's going to happen to them? secretary saldana: we're going to work towards that. i want to talk to more jurisdictions to see if they are cooperating with us. once i understand that local problems, i think i can help them better to help figure out a solution. i do not want to one of these people that comes in and says i'm the federal government. senator vitter: after you asked three times pretty please and they do not comply, is there any negative consequence? secretary saldana: i'm looking into that and working with the secretary to see what we can do with that. senator vitter: you have not determined yet there is any negative consequence?
secretary saldana: the program has been in effect three weeks. we have just started. we ask for a chance. senator vitter: there was some victims families here that asked for a chance and their chances gone in terms of their family member. this is been going on for years and you still are not prepared to say that there is ever going to be any negative consequence to those jurisdictions. when is that going to change? secretary saldana: i presume when you all a copperheads of immigration reform. perhaps a can be addressed there. senator vitter: now we are going to the josh earnest line. secretary saldana: what, sir? senator vitter: ridiculous. now we are going to the political line you justice about. secretary saldana: copperheads of immigration reform to me is not political. it is essential legislative effort. senator vitter: an absent congress passing that bill that
you and the obama administration prefer. you don't think right now that we can stop sanctuary cities from flaunting federal law? you don't think right now that there can be any negative consequences when they do not properly cooperate under existing federal law with immigration enforcement? secretary saldana: that is what i understand you all are working on. senator vitter: are you working on it? you have the authority to do that now. secretary saldana: sir, not according to certain jurisdictions. it just failed that a court in oregon ruled against us on mandatory detainers. even citing the language that says that, i'm looking forward to looking at the legislation being proposed to address these questions. i want a solution, to, sir. senator vitter: we have been asking for a solution to sanctuary cities for years good that has been absolutely no effort from the administration before.
now there is a promise of an effort, but still today, after these tragedies, you are not prepared to say that you support any negative consequence to sanctuary city jurisdictions if they do not properly cooperate. i eagerly await you all to finally say that. to finally say i'm a yes, there needs to be some consequence because that is the only way it is going to stop throughout hundreds of jurisdictions throughout the event state -- united states. secretary saldana: senator, i often your assistance to try to resolve this. senator vitter: i'm asking for your input right now. what's of the negative consequence be that you will support? secretary saldana: i'm hopeful that i do not have to hit somebody over the head with a federal hammer and work with the state and local jurisdictions which have their own specific problems to a trust. i think you understand that, senator. that is why i like to work with you. senator vitter: the biggest thing i understand is that you are not prepared today as we
speak even after these horrible tragedies to support a single negative consequence against a sanctuary city jurisdiction if they do not properly cooperate with immigration enforcement. that is unfortunately the biggest thing i understand. if that is incorrect, please tell me how. i'm eager to head that could -- here that. secretary saldana: that is incorrect. senator vitter: tell me what you propose. secretary saldana: i would like to work with you on that to see what we can help communities is that up -- as opposed to put roadblocks in the way in their community policing. senator vitter: and would you tell us what you would support in that regard right now? secretary saldana: i'm so focused in trying to help our program that i would be happy to work with you with any legislation you would proposed. senator sessions: thank you, senator vitter. there was nothing in the gang of eight conference of bill --
comprehensive bill that would fix the sanctuary problem. it was one of the loopholes in that legislation. senator perdue. senator perdue: thank you very much. this is a tremendously important crisis, as i would call it, not just an immigration crisis. we heard from six families this morning, there are many other thousands out there who have similar experiences, including in my home state, with similar tragedies. we both got to work together and solve this thing. we heard this morning that between 2000 and 2014 that over 100 convicted criminal aliens were released and then subsequently arrested again for murder after they had been released. those convicted criminals were in our communities because the government let them go free instead of deporting them. in 2013 alone, i.c.e. released over 36,000 criminal and illegal immigrants into american
communities. these illegal aliens had almost 90,000 convictions on their records. including 193 murder convictions and over 16,000 drunk driving convictions. all told, and i know this is a debatable number, but all told according to the center of immigration studies, there are over 340,000 criminal illegal immigrants walking the streets right now. i would argue this is a national emergency. it's absolutely outrageous, in my opinion. i don't think there are innocent parties in this debate. in 2000, my home state, we had a 16-year-old kid killed by an illegal immigrant. today, 15 years later, the perpetrator of that crime is still at large. this is unconscionable when you hear the stories of these families, but we could bring thousands in here. it's time for us to do something. i just have a real quick question, director saldana, and thank you for your service in texas and now nationally, but if
you had this perpetrator in california in your custody, i want to ask you again for clarity, what's i.c.e.'s policy how would you have treated this particular instant where it was -- they were released back to the custody of the authorities in san francisco? director saldana: the difference between a criminal warrant in a notice sent to tenant from eyes -- and a notice of detainer from ice is that the orders when we get when we get a judicial warrant and a criminal warrant -- senator perdue: and what if they don't? director saldana: we take them to court, then, and say this individual, this jurisdiction has failed to honor this court order. i mean, that has teeth, right, when it's coming from a federal judge or even a local judge?
and then we ask other jurisdictions to honor our criminal warrants that we get in our investigation. so to us it's a mutual benefit and we would honor that criminal warrant typically. now, the secretary testified last week on something i know he and i are going to have many more conversations about and that is what more could be done to try to ensure that we have -- where we have a jurisdiction that's not cooperating with us that we work, in this case with the bureau of prisons or someone else to try to ensure we get custody of that person? senator perdue: i want to come back to bureau of prisons in a second. this is not a trick question. but i want to know that the policies consistent in your organization about how you would have treated that particular perpetrator because just last week one of your senior officials inside your staff told the judiciary committee staff that in their opinion that i.c.e. would have done exactly the same thing as the v.o.p. in that particular instance and
released that individual back in to the authorities in san francisco, is that correct? director saldana: we have a warrant signed by a judge. we call the jurisdiction and say, are you -- is this still a live warrant, and are you going to pursue prosecution? and we work with that jurisdiction if the dependent what the answer is, we work with that jurisdiction to ensure where we get the biggest bang for our buck? is it the state prosecution or federal prosecution? and that's where that cooperation is so important. and why i truly recommend against forcing these jurisdictions because that breaks relationships. senator perdue: i'm not worried about relationships. i'm worried about results and right now we have cities not adhering to federal law and i think that's a tremendous problem regarding immigration or highway issues. let me change topics. we mentioned p.e.p. earlier.
several senators sent a letter to secretary johnson a couple weeks ago. we still haven't received a response, by the way. we're concerned about p.e.p. i really believe that we said to the secretary that it is pretty clear that p.e.p. will release additional, maybe thousands of additional criminal aliens from federal custody. and i'm really concerned about what effect that could have, just like we heard this morning. let me ask you this. with regard to these communities and p.e.p., given that these communities did not previously honor i.c.e. detainers or cooperate with federal immigration at all, why do we have confidence that they're going to work with us on p.e.p. and why do we think that is going to be a better approach? director saldana: because of the differences we had with the new p.e.p. program. i mentioned one earlier. we're removing the objection, the constitutional objection that we're detaining people or asking them to hold people without a basis. they have already completed their state or local sentence
and now we're saying, ok, don't hold them 48 hours in the typical situation. just give us notice of 48 hours before. we've got some differences to communicate to them and to show them and i think it will make a difference in many cases. i don't know -- i don't know if i remember if i shared with you, senator, i'd like you to know this, we have identified the top 49 jurisdictions that would have the greatest impact based on their illegal populations. and 33 have already said they'll work with us one way or another. and 11 are still in the process of considering it. we're going to keep working that. and that will have a great impact. senator perdue: director rodriguez, i'm sorry. i'm almost out of time. i want to talk about the martinez case with regard to the exception relative to gang membership and potential loophole. this thing's pretty obvious to me. we talked about this in an earlier committee hearing but i'd like to get your opinion. isn't this just another loophole for someone to falsely claim a threat if they were to go back
home they are under threat therefore they should get asylum here? director rodriguez: it is certainly argue that you -- our view that you should not use your prior criminalality to claim a particular social group. we think rulemaking is the right path to resolving the right way to handle this issue and we can certainly meet, senator, and talk about solutions to the issues you presented. senator perdue: thank you, mr. chairman. senator sessions: senator flake, we're going to senator tillis or are you going next? senator tillis. all right. thank you. senator tillis: thank you. director saldana and director rodriguez, thank you for your be -- thank you for your service. i know you have a tough job. a lot of people have quoted some numbers, but i want to make sure we unify around what i think are very, very important numbers. the center for immigration studies estimates that there are some 347,000 criminal immigrants
at large today. according to march 2 report, i.c.e. weekly departures and detentions report, there's 168,000 convicted criminal immigrants who had final orders of removal but are at large in the united states. now, in 2013, i think that senator perdue mentioned there were some 36,000 aliens released. now, they represented a total of 88,000 convictions. 193 homicide convictions including one killing of a police officer with a gun. 426 sexual assault convictions. 303 kidnapping convictions. 1,075 aggravated assault convictions. 1,160 stolen vehicles. 9,187 dangerous drug and convictions, and 1,670 drunk
or drug driving conditions. after they were released -- now, that's what -- that's what they mounted. are by the way, that's on average, if my back of the writing napkin math is right releasing someone who is and will convicted of a homicide, some two or three times a week. now, after these people were released, 1,000 were convicted in of another crime following their release. this is a significant problem. those stats were only for 2013. we could quote stats before and what after that. it's a serious problem, and i think it's something that the sanctuary cities need to recognize. director saldana -- director saldana: quite a promotion. senator tillis: i'm not so sure. [laughter] senator tillis: i'm a little bit confused about the p.e.p.
program. i understand that you're trying to work with local law enforcement. but to a certain extent, it seems to me that we are really excusing the fact that they're not really reading, at least the spirit of the law, and some would say the letter. we talked about if we passed legislation and be very specific about the mandatory requirements and you don't want to do it. it seems to me you're concerned with the relationship damage that could be done by forcing them. is that accurate? director saldana: well, sir, as i said, our local law enforcement relationships are vital, not to just what we do in immigration. i mentioned homeland security investigations earlier. we rely on our local law enforcement partners to assist us with crime that is part of the homeland security investigations. senator tillis: i understand that but shame on them if they all of a sudden not going to cooperate on other matters of homeland security because we
want to take a very specific direct stand that they should obey the law. that to me is like we'll do a favor here and cut them some slack. that's their job. that's what they're sworn to do. director saldana: just because i worked in law enforcement over a decade, i want you to understand. most of the jurisdictions work with us every day. thank goodness they do. and let me set some context here. i think i mentioned a little over 200 jurisdictions that have passed some kind of ordinance or legislation not to work with us. there are thousands of jurisdictions that do already. i'm very proud of my home state of texas that has 254 jurisdictions in it and we have very good relationships with 99.9% of those. please, do not assume that these 208 represent the total number of -- the vast majority of jurisdictions out there. senator tillis: i do understand. we need to keep in mind that
numbers i went through are significant, and each and every year there's roughly the same sorts of numbers. this is a significant challenge. i don't feel like, what i consider bad actor cities, sanctuary cities, shame on them. they need to cooperate with you all. we need to be able to do your job. they need to help you do your job. not because of some favor but because that is their responsibility. now, the last question that i have relates to the daca program and, director rodriguez, this may be appropriate for you. i asked the secretary when he was here if he felt certain -- you're probably familiar with the rangel hernandez quadruple murder down in charlotte, 20 minutes where i lived, this is a guy who had some affiliation with gang violence and he was one of the cases that i think
spurred you all's review of the other actions. are you absolutely certain that we've scrubbed those who have received deferred action and that we don't have another hernandez out there waiting to happen? director rodriguez: i'll take that as really two questions. so the first is, am i absolutely certain? i am satisfied that my staff engaged in a very thorough process of running the entire daca cohort back through the law enforcement databases that we use to identify gang membership. i do believe that the label of gang member in that database is a reliable label so that if the individual's identified, that gives us what we need to either deny them outright or to conduct further investigation. so that as we speak today that does leave me with confidence that as of the date that we ran
-- we did that review that we were able to address all cases of gang membership. if we have future cases where people either become gang members or commit crimes, we will address those as we have. we will terminate daca in the manner that we have in other cases. senator tillis: thank you. thank you, mr. chair. senator sessions: senator flake. senator flake: in response to a letter i sent to you along with chairman grassley, you mentioned in the morano case he posted $10,000 bond after his immigration hearing which means that he became obligated to report to i.c.e. upon demand. and at the time the most recent criminal offense, i.c.e. had not triggered his obligation to report on demand. he was released from custody in january of 2013.
he was arrested for murder january 22, 2015. over two years. was there any contact with i.c.e. during that period, between i.c.e. and him? director saldana: he was in proceedings. that's then -- he's involved with the court, with the immigration courts. whether i.c.e. had some communication with him in that two-year period, i don't know senator. senator flake: do you know if the immigration court or anybody had contact with him? director saldana: i have not looked at that specifically, sir. senator flake: is it typical to go to full years without that happening in all? director saldana: it could happen. senator flake: i.c.e.'s obligation to report, you mentioned you didn't see him because there was nothing that triggered an obligation to report. has that policy been changed in terms of triggers for reporting?
in light of this case and others, has there been any change? director saldana: not that i'm aware of, sir. senator flake: how many times has i.c.e. revoked bail for those that have been put out on bail like this? director saldana: oh, it happens with some regularity. i can't give you a percentage, but i can give you for that specific period. senator flake: one thing striking about this is the lack of cooperation and coordination and even notification between federal and local officials in response to the letter that chairman grassley and i sent to you, you mentioned that i.c.e. is working to implement a new initiative called the law enforcement notification system, or lens. you mentioned that lens has been deployed in 11 states and full implementation is expected by the end of the year. what's stopping that from being implemented in the other 39 states? director saldana: because we
have to work with each state office that gets notices out to their counties and communities. some, like mine, have a lot of counties. it's complex. we have to make our systems compatible to talk and so we started with three states as test cases. texas being one of them. and it worked pretty well there. we expanded to the total of 11 and there's a period of time that you have to work out kinks because we want to be sure to get this right and that's what we've been going through right now which is the test program. , we passed that. we expanded that to the 11. we're liking what we're seeing. i think we will be there by the end of the year. senator flake: is this being handled with a little more urgency now? director saldana: i would like to see it done earlier than the end of the year. i will stay on it. i assure you, to make sure it gets done as quickly as we possibly can. senator flake: so by the end of the year, you believe that we will say in all 50 states we have better notification
requirements? director saldana: yes, sir. senator flake: in director rodriguez's testimony, he mentioned that 43,370 new daca requests were denied. 414 renewal requests had been denied. of these, you know, 44,000 denied requests, how many have been deported? director saldana: of what request? i'm sorry, sir. senator flake: there are 43,375 daca requests that were denied and then 414 renewal requests if somebody is not able to access daca, then they are still eligible for deport sayings or --for deportation or that is demanded, how many of those have been deported? director saldana: whether they're daca or not eligible, sir, we look at ours the same way we do anybody else.
daca doesn't give them a free pass. we have to look at them on a case-by-case basis as to what's the next step, whether we detain someone, what level of bond we place, if we release them, that kind of thing. it's all done on the whole fact and circumstances surrounding that individual, including criminal history. senator flake: if they've done something or have an offense that makes them ineligible, you would assume they're being looked at now. can you give me a ballpark of how many of those have been deported of the 44,000 daca cases that people who were not able to access daca? director saldana: i will get us an accurate number for you. i'd rather not throw out a ballpark. senator flake: director rodriguez, in the case of the
murder of kate steinle, mr. sanchez was here in the country illegally. obviously he had been deported five times. that means he was able to come back across the border illegally five times. obviously border security is something we're very concerned about in arizona and this committee is extremely concerned about. there's one program that we've had, operation streamline, in arizona, a secure -- or a secure consequences program. it's helped significantly in yuma. we've been able to bring repeat crossings down significantly. yet, the department of justice seems to be now backing away from that program. what are your thoughts there? director rodriguez: well senator, as you know, i administer the immigration benefits structure. i don't operate border security. i certainly support border security. i'm sure they commissioner can
address those concerns you have, sir. senator flake: we want to make sure that the programs we have are working continue. we have one working in arizona and we're very concerned it's not being fully implemented. the fact that mr. sanchez was able to so easily return across the border five times in the case, you know, in california is very disturbing but not surprising, frankly. so i thank you for your testimony. appreciate it, mr. chairman. senator sessions: thank you, senator flake. well, the streamline program i don't think either one of you operate that but i hope you'll fight for it because backing away from it, as senator flake said, is very much a retrograde step. we're also familiar with the
287-g. ms. saldana, you talk about cooperating with federal and state and local officials. your department, homeland security has dramatically weakened the 287-g program which trains local law enforcement officers how to properly and legally assist the homeland security in carrying out its function. do you support the 287-g, and what's the status of that? director saldana: well, yes. i'm not sure what you mean with respect to weakening. we welcome any 87-g partners. senator sessions: just check the record and see if there hasn't been a me minute ution of the 287-g program which needs to be expanded regularly. director saldana: it's not because of us not wanting that partnership. it's because jurisdictions have withdrawn or not coming to the table anymore. senator sessions: we think it needs to be advanced and should be.
what the american people know and what the victims of violent crimes know is that this administration has consistently and steadfastly placed the goal of amnesty above the goal of public safety time and time and time again, that's been the fact. and you're just functionaries in that system. you're asked to do a system but within the rules been given by the political leaders and it's just not right. it's wrong. we need to do more about that and we need to see that end. if this administration has spent one 10th of the effort on enforcement in protecting people from crimes and punishing people who are criminals who violate our immigration laws rather than on amnesty, we'd be a lot safer today. many of the people that have been injured, robbed or killed by illegal aliens would be alive today. that's just fact. everybody knows it.
so i'm concerned about it. ms. saldana, chris crane is head of the association -- i.c.e. officers association. 7,000 officers. they have -- they're the ones that filed a lawsuit against your predecessor saying that he was ordering them to carry out out policies that required them to violate their oath. to enforce the law. i never heard of anything like that. the statements, mr. rodriguez, that your officers said, 12,000 led by chris -- ken polinkis, are just stunning in their criticism of supervisors and political leaders. morale is down. and it's because we're not doing what they're paid to do. and they know it. mr. crane says, ms. saldana, i.c.e. is crumbling from within. morale is at an all-time low.
as criminal aliens are released to the streets and i.c.e. instead takes disciplinary action against its own officers for making lawful arrests. it appears clear that federal law enforcement officers are the enemy, not those who break the laws, closed quote. he goes on to say, i.c.e. officers requested a meeting with president obama and are still waiting. in that time the white house has met with big business, big labor, illegal alien activists. the administration has ramped up its nonenforcement directives, putting officers and the public in danger. every day dangerous and violent criminal aliens are released back into our communities, closed quote. that's the true facts of the situation here, and you can do better if you had leadership that would let you do better. we could do so much better. we've added thousands of officers since last dustup in 2007 over amnesty. and we ought to be in a position that we can make real progress.
director saldana: senator, may i say something? that's one of the first things that caught my attention when i joined the agency late last year, early this year. i am putting a lot of effort in trying to engage employees in what they do. i will tell you this, though. i have met with mr. crane several times now. i met with mr. trumka, the head of the afl-cio, as well to discuss our mutual -- their concerns, our mutual interests and i will say when i get out in the field, this is somewhat inconsistent with the portrayal that you just described of our employees. they are so proud of the work they do, and they're so proud of being able to focus on criminal convicted aliens and removing them from the country and they go about their business in a very efficient and good way.
and they take pride in that. i just want to mention that to you because that's a fact. i mean, that's what i've seen as i traveled across the country. senator sessions: i believe the facts show that this administration in a host of ways has failed to take strong action to help those officers do their duty and comply with their oath. mr. rodriguez, on the secretary jeh johnson, your supervisor testified recently before the house and you said that comprehensive immigration reform, had it passed, we would know who the criminal aliens are. but that's not so well-said because i don't think anyone that has a criminal warrant out for them or has a history of criminal activities is going to register for any of these programs that you got.
in fact, mr. johnson admitted as much saying, most criminals do not subject themselves to criminal background checks. i agree with that. so you're not saying, are you if we called for people to come and register under daca or the president's executive amnesty that people with criminal records are going to waltz in and file with you so they can be arrested? director rodriguez: so let me point out a few things if i may senator. some may have, to their detriment, in the daca program some had disqualifying criminal records did number and apply and in many cases became subjects of notices to appear. but part of my point also is that those who are not criminals, those who committed no illegal act other than illegal entry into the united
states, who are not murderers, robbers, or rapists, are on the record should they become criminals down the line we know who they are. for the most part, you're right. your ordinary criminal will not register in the manner you described. if i could, senator, invite you to tour a field office with me because if you did that with me you would see what i have seen is that our officers take pride in their work. they feel empowered in their ability to do their work, and they exercise their discretion and the chips fall where they will. meaning if there is a case to be denied, they do that. i've seen them do that firsthand. senator sessions: well, with regard to this daca program and the process of providing legal status to people in the country illegally, isn't it a fact you set it up so there will not be in-person interviews for the people? director rodriguez: yeah, to my point --
senator sessions: experts tell us that an in-person interview is critical to a proper evaluation of a person who's applying for legal status? director rodriguez: and we do in-person interviews in those cases that raise concerns that need to be investigated. senator sessions: well, how do you know if it will raise concern if you haven't met with them? director rodriguez: what i do is look through our files. i know at a time we're reviewing the file there is extensive information about that individual. where our experienced, trained officers can identify, if it's the kind of information about that individual that warrants an actual -- senator sessions: well, mr. polinkis has been very clear in his opinion of how it will work in the real world. it has been set up there are few in-person interviews and he says that denies your officers to make rational choices that can protect the public safety. so i guess you just disagree with him on that. director rodriguez: i respectfully do, sir.
senator sessions: with regard to your process, is it true that over 95% of the daca applicants have been approved? maybe 99%? director rodriguez: i wouldn't be able to tell you the specific percentages other than to say there are a significant number who have been denied or -- senator sessions: you don't know what percentage have been denied? director rodriguez: i couldn't other than to say a substantial number who has been denied. senator sessions: would you say less than one half of 1% is a substantial number? director rodriguez: i wouldn't say the number. senator sessions: you are the director of this program. director rodriguez: what matters to me is the manner in which -- senator sessions: what matters to me, what percentage is being denied? director rodriguez: i can't tell you. i know a significant number have been denied because of these kinds of -- senator sessions: i'm looking at
a sworn statement by mr. polankis in the lawsuit in texas. we've referred to, according to the most recent data i've seen, this his quote under oath, quote, according to the most recent data i've seen, uscis reports a 99.5% approval rate for all daca applicants. the approval rate is high because uscis leadership, you, prevented immigration officers from conducting case-by-case investigations of daca applications. leadership has intentionally stopped proper screening and enforcement. and in so doing it has guaranteed that applications will be rubber stamped for approval, a practice that virtually guarantees widespread fraud and places public safety at risk. so i'll ask you, does this process allow for person-to-person interviews for
even a substantial minority? director rodriguez: as i mentioned, when there are concerns that warrant such an interview, yes, the process does allow for it. senator sessions: it goes on to say, as explained by routing daca applications through service centers instead of field offices all over the country uscis management has intentionally created an application process that bypasses traditional in-person investigatory interviews with trained uscis adjudication officers. the way this will work, someone sends in an email or mails in a document, is that what they do and they are approved based on that? director rodriguez: well there's obviously a lot of information collected. senator sessions: how? how is it collected? director rodriguez: there are specific items that are required as part of the initial request. there are requests for evidence
that are subsequently sent to the requesters. there is a sweep of biometrics checks to answer national security issues. that forms the entirety of the files. if those raised concerns then, yes, those are referred for interviews. senator sessions: let me go further with what he said under oath. for example, new uscis computer systems -- a new uscis computer system to screen applications known as, quote, transformation, has proved to be a disaster as the agency has spent upwards of $2 billion for a system that would eventually allow an alien, now referred to as a customer, under uscis policy, as i previously stated, to upload their own information via the internet for adjudication purposes. closed quote.
so, it will be information sent through some $2 billion computer system by internet and there will not be an interview of most of the applicants. isn't that correct? director rodriguez: i am not sure that -- no, i do not agree with that premise. a few things. i'm believe we have turned the corner on the transformation process. historically, there was a development approach that was not working. we recently launched a program the replacement green card, that has gone very well. it builds the number of functionalities that we can apply to other forms. the use of electronic filing as the means of receiving and then adjudicating applications does not change what programs will have interviews associated with them. that is not set to change as part of the transformation process. senator sessions: look, it's not
going to be an in person entity. -- in-person interview. mr. polankis has said for years now they are overwhelmed and cannot do the proper background check. you need to be defending the people's public safety. if you need more money to do this, you need to ask for it. if you want to rubber stamp the process, keep doing the way you're doing it. ms. saldana, section 1373 of title 8 of the u.s. code provides among other things quote, a federal, state, or local government entity or official may not prohibit or in any way restrict any government entity or official from sending to or receiving from i.c.e. information regarding a citizenship or immigration status lawful or unlawful of any individual. close quote. don't you think that resolutions by city councils or state
governments or sheriffs in certain jurisdictions, directing their officers not to honor detainers or otherwise notify i.c.e. that they have arrested someone that's unlawfully in the country could violate or would violate section 1373? secretary saldana: well, all of that is part of litigation senator. quite frankly i think we have taken that position in litigation, that is the case. senator sessions: they do have to supply information. in other words, you have taken the position which i understand you correctly, you're correct to say cities, you have to comply with this law. secretary saldana: yes. again, is it more practical to work through all this morass of litigation or can we work with these jurisdictions to try to get them to cooperate? i think it's the latter. senator sessions: i understand you're saying that. forgive me if i'm not persuaded.
this has been going on for many years. it came up in 2007 when we had a debate about all of this. and it was wrong then and it's wrong now. it's gotten to be, i think, it's 300 or so jurisdiction that is are sanctuary jurisdictions out of what, 17,000? but some are very big cities. very large immigrant populations. so it's a huge matter, but most cities are cooperating. if you want to know what i hear, the complaints about the federal government enforcement from our law enforcement officers, is that you won't allow them to help you. if they arrest somebody and call your office, nobody comes. nobody cares. nobody responds. and so that's the big problem
we've got in the country, maybe bigger than the other. at any rate, i hope that you will understand, ms. saldana that you're talking with -- is not going to change the situation. do you have any cities that have indicated to you they are going to make a change in their policy? secretary saldana: i mentioned the numbers earlier, sir. just as a matter of focus we have looked at these 49 particular and 33 are working, have come and said they will work with us in some way or another. again, tailored to their needs. we only had five of those 49 say no. we'll continue to work with them. senator session: i'm sure after all the events of the last few months are certainly should be willing to listen about this. but i have serious doubts that we are going to see any change unless congress takes some action or unless this administration takes some action. ms. saldana, i know one problem you have i'm sure is frustrating
to you is countries not taking back criminals that you have arrested and ordered deported. can you tell us the status of that situation? secretary saldana: yes. as you know, the department of state obviously has a vast interest in this and i have worked with the department of state and met with the oversees these relationship, we are working hard to open doors. i went to china a couple months ago, beijing in particular, and china has been a challenge for us. we have signed together a, kind of a standing agreement that they will actually have two people here to help process chinese going back to the country, repatriating from this country. that's some progress. we continue to work with them. i have worked with south american countries. i've visited guatemala and el
salvador and we continue to work with my counterparts there to try to ensure that we have and assign a memorandum of understanding with them. senator sessions: working with them and -- working with them is one thing. but this has been going on for years also. many years. how long have you been in office? secretary saldana: seven months. senator sessions: i can't blame you for all that's gone on. secretary saldana: oh, you can. senator sessions: i want you to know i understand that you have professional training and you understand the world. are there powers and actions the united states government can take without legislation that would put pressure on these countries to accept back individuals who we have ordered deported? secretary saldana: obviously this is in the province of the
department of state, largely because there are relationships with international countries. but, yes, i understand that they have some authorities to do that. as you know, senator, it's a very complex picture when it comes to international relationships and one agency's issues and may not hold sway over the bigger picture in the relationship with that country. senator sessions: i remember the former chairman of this committee a number years ago was outraged by all of this. and actually offered legislation that would mandate reducing -- mandate a reduction of visas from countries that don't comply. doesn't it cost you a lot of money and create huge time involvements in dealing with situations where a country won't take back one of their own? secretary saldana: it's a great challenge, sir. that's where we face issues
where we can't get papers cooperation from those countries, and we have to release them under that supreme court opinion after a certain period of time. senator sessions: under the supreme court opinion, if a country won't take them back and a year goes by? secretary saldana: i think it's actually more like 180 days. we can extend the period of time. but there's a point at which we have to release them. senator sessions: that takes a lot of your officers' and agents time and effort. secretary saldana: it does. senator session: you have to pay to house people in very high quality prisons instead of deporting them promptly. secretary saldana: that's correct. senator sessions: i have a recollection, the customs chief in years gone by, when he shut the border down with mexico over some disagreement over their
responsibilities, caused quite a stir. he just closed the border. i would just say to you, ms. saldana, i think it's time for the state department and your department to stand up and say we are not going to accept this anymore. if you don't accept back promptly people we deport, then you're going to suffer serious consequences. and any relationship that deals in visas is a reciprocal relationship, isn't it? so that if we accept people, and they agree to take them back likewise if they accept individuals from the united states and they deport them, we accept them back. is that a law that requires that or is that just state department agreements with these countries? secretary saldana: sir, i'm sorry. you're way above my knowledge here when it comes to the state department. senator sessions: you don't have to stand up to the state department. looks like we all are. this can't continue. we don't have the money to
continue to bicker with these countries for years and years and years and not get this matter settled. we'll try to work on that. i think legislation would be appropriate, too. although it's not necessary. if the president and the state department stood up and were clear on it, it could be fixed promptly, in my opinion. i may submit some additional questions for the record. we are having some problems getting answers to our records. mr. rodriguez, when do you plan to send us your responses to our questions for the record following the march hearing of oversight of your agency? director rodriguez: as soon as possible. i thought we had satisfied all of those requests. we'll make sure to get those to you. as soon as possible. senator sessions: i don't
believe we have. director rodriguez: if there are outstanding requests, that is -- i am obviously not happy about that and we'll act quickly to respond to that. senator sessions: the record will remain open for one week. if there is nothing further, but i will say one more thing. both of you are good law officers. you know how the system works. and i hope you know that things aren't going as well as they should. a lot of that is because of administration policy. at some point you'll have to decide whether you're going to execute that policy or not. some of the policies, i think, cannot be defended. but i respect your integrity and i appreciate your commitment to your country and your service to your country. the hearing is adjourned. secretary saldana: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its
later, a hearing on policies that encourage investment in broadband infrastructure. live coverage at 12:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. here's what is happening on c-span today. first, "washington journal," live with phone calls. the house is in session working on a bill dealing with disposal of ash from coal-fired power plants. lawmakers are expected to get a briefing on the iran nuclear agreement from secretary of state kerry abdnd the energy secretary. later, democratic congressman beto o'rourke of texas talks about the shooting last week at a military recruiting center in chattanooga, tennessee. republican representative tom
rice of south carolina on highway and mass transit funding. the current bill expires next week. john fortier with the bipartisan policy center on recommendations for making congress work. ♪ host: good morning, everyone. wednesday, july 22. flags at half staff and owner of the five u.s. service members killed by a gunman and chattanooga last week. the white house ordered the flags lowered after criticism from capitol hill. meanwhile, secretary of state john kerry and energy secretary ernest moniz briefing lawmakers on the iran deal. the