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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 2, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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>> if you missed any of today's speech by governor maggie hassan, you will be able to -- by governor nikki haley, you will be able to watch it again on coming up in a couple of minutes we will show you a recent congressional hearing looking at immigration policies. a programming note, we will open up your pollack -- the phone lines to get your thoughts on the topic when the hearing wraps up. later, more from the c-span cities tour. we go to wheeling, west virginia for more historical sites. we will travel national road, the first federally built mccarthynd recount joe 's speech that he delivered there in 1950. that is all coming up today on
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c-span. now, here is a look at the city tour stops for this weekend. >> working with cable affiliates , this weekend we are joined by charter communications to learn more about the history in literary history of grand junction, colorado. the mining of a certain mineral had long-term importance in colorado. >> especially here in mesa county we are surrounded by morrison rock. within it we find a lot of dinosaur bones and fossils. that has really intrigued scientists for a long time. but the other thing that we also find is a mineral or a rock called carter tight -- card a tight -- carnotite. it contains radium, and was used by marie curie to help cure cancer. it also contains the navy him --
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frankly field. -- which strengthens steel. uranium, as we know, is one of the best sources for atomic power and atomic weapons. >>, -- congressman aspinwall was largely responsible for the legislation for the area. >> he fought the battle for water for western colorado, by making sure that we got our fair share. how did he do that? well, beginning in his state then going on to his federal career, he climbed up the ladder of seniority and was able to exercise i think more power than you might normally have. certainly in the united states congress, where he was able to make sure colorado and western
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colorado would be treated fairly. his first major's test was the passage of the colorado river storage project in 1956. >> see all of our programs from grand junction saturday, 7 p.m. eastern, on c-span2's "book tv." and sunday on c-span3. now, i hearing looking at immigration enforcement policies . a california father recently called on congress to approve legislation to get undocumented felons off u.s. streets. his daughter was caught -- shot and killed on the san francisco peer earlier this summer by an undocumented immigrant. the woman's father and other for tougherd immigration enforcement. the immigration and customs enforcement agency and citizenship agency directors testified in the second panel. senator chuck grassley chairs
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the committee, patrick leahy serves as the ranking member. the hearing is one hour 15 minutes long. a reminder, we will open up the phone lines to get your reaction at 5:15 p.m. eastern. senator grassley: for the benefit of the audience and witnesses. generally, and in this case, too, senator feinstein is the ranking member for this hearing and she and i will make opening comments. then, we'll impto our first panel.
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this committee continues to honor its pledge to conduct oversight over the implementation of the laws congress has passed as well as the policies and practices of the executive branch. today, we will focus on how this committee's immigration policies and practices are hurting american families. the committee will hear powerful testimony from a number of relatives who have lost loved ones as a direct result of the administration's failure to deport aliens or its tolerance of sanctuary policies. i'll begin by extending a special welcome to our witnesses, especially family members of victims. i hope you will accept our deepest sympathies for the losses each of you have suffered. thank you vutch for your willingness to share your stories -- you very much for your willingness to share your store
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us under difficult circumstances and to pay tribute to those, no longer with us in body, are surely with us in spirit. today, we'll honor josh, kate, dennis, kenny, grant and many others whose lives were tragically cut short because of the administration's lax immigration policies. we had many families and relatives who wanted to testify today, but unfortunately we had to turn them away because we were limited in time and space. however, we welcome all testimony for the record and encourage them to commemorate their loved ones with stories written letters to this committee. we will examine the administration's policies from top down. we'll look at how federal benefits are being granted to deportable criminals by u.s. citizenship and immigration services while criminals are
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being released by u.s. immigration custom enforcement and how enforcement of the laws can be better achieved. we will look at how we can improve cooperation between government agencies and we'll look into how we can improve cooperation between the federal government and state and local law enforcement agencies. after all, we all work for the same taxpayer, we ought to be cooperating. we'll look at sanctuary jurisdictions and try to understand why policies protect criminal aliens are in place. in the past few weeks, we have learned that there are thousands of detainers placed each year on federal agents -- by federal agents on undocumented immigrants with criminal records that are ignored. according to government data, between january and september, 2014, there were 8,811 declined
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detainers in 276 counties, 43 states, including the district of columbia district of columbia. of the 8,811 declined detainers, 62% were associated with over 5,000 individuals who were previously charged or convicted of a crime or presented some other public safety concern. and nearly 1,900 of the released offenders were arrested for another crime after being released by sanctuary jurisdiction. this is obviously disturbing, not only to me but to most americans. there's no good rationale for noncooperation between federal level and state and local law
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enforcement. public safety is needlessly and recklessly put at risk when state and local officials provide sanctuary to law-abiding immigrants just to make a political point. this administration in too many cases has learned a blind eye to enforcement, even releasing thousands of criminals at its own discretion, many of whom have gone on to commit serious crimes, including murder. the administration has also granted deferred action to criminal aliens who have committed heinous crimes after receiving this relief from deportation. i have written to secretary johnson about four specific cases in which such individuals have received president obama's
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deferred action for childhood arivals, and that is referred to as daca, in this town. one of these beneficiaries was a known gang member when he applied and received daca. then went on to kill four people in north carolina. another daca recipient used his work authorization to gain employment at a popular youth camp in california where he was recently arrested for child molestation and distribution of child pornography. i'm still waiting for responses on some of these cases. further, the administration's completely failed to do anything about sanctuary cities while -- all the while challenging states that took a more aggressive approach to enforcing immigration laws.
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i recently sent a letter to attorney general lynch and homeland security secretary johnson about sanctuary cities. i urge them to take control of the situation to ensure detainers are not ignored and undocumented individuals are safely transferred to federal custody and put into deportation proceedings. i implored them to take a more direct role in the matter, and on those letters i have not received a response. but this isn't a new issue for this administration. i wrote to then-secretary napolitano and then-attorney general holder in 2012 and asked them to intervene in cook county, illinois, another sanctuary jurisdiction. nothing happened. in fact, since then the administration officials have publicly stated that they neither believed detainers have to be honored nor that they even want them to be mandatory. enforcing the immigration laws in this country is not a voluntary or trivial matter. real lives are at stake. things cannot continue this way. we are a nation based upon the rule of law, and if that rule of law isn't respected, only chaos will succeed.
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that is why i'm introducing legislation today that will hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable. it will require the executive branch to withhold certain federal fund fg they refuse to work with the federal government in transferring criminal aliens. my bill will require them to cooperate on criminal aliens or risk losing law enforcement-related grants that are distributed by homeland security and d.o.j. my bill will also require mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence in addition to possible fine for individuals who enter the united states after having been deported. current law does not require prisoner time and caps to possible prison sentence at two years. my bill is aimed at individuals who ignore our laws time and again. no more people should die at the hands of those who break our laws just by being here. no more families should have to go through what these families and others have gone through. again, i'd like to thank our
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witnesses for taking the time to be with us today. your strength and determination to change the unacceptable status quo won't go unnoticed. i will now turn to senator feinstein and after she does, i'll introduce the witnesses. senator feinstein: thank you very much, chairman grassley. i want to say our ranking member, patrick leahy, would be here but there's an urgent family appointment that he had to keep this morning. and so i sit in in his stead, and i know this is a hearing that he very much would have wanted to have attended. yesterday, i had occasion to meet with the steinle family, and jim steinle is sitting front and center at the dock. and what i saw was a very hurt family but very resolute and very concerned about doing the right thing, whatever that may be in the case like this. so i want to voice my very clear sympathy and condolences to the
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family members that are hear today. i can't think of anything that's harder to do than what you're going to do today, and i think your strength in doing it is noted and very much appreciated. it is very clear to me that we have to improve cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement. the overriding concern and a deep belief of mine is that convicted felons should not be removed from the country -- should be removed from the country but not released onto our streets. when immigration authorities ask that a state or local law enforcement agency notify them of an impending release of an alien with a serious felony record, that request should be honored. i strongly believe that local law enforcement should have
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notified the immigration authorities in the case of the accused murderer of kate steinle. the man who killed kate is a classic case of the multiple felonies and prior deportations. and a simple phone call would have been enough. but that did not happen. in fact, the san francisco county sheriff adopted his own policy on march of 2015, just four months ago. the memo states, sfsd staff shall not provide the following information or ask access to i.c.e. representatives, end quote. one of the items listed in the department's memo is, quote, release dates and times, end quote. in other words, the sheriff's department barred its own deaf utes from en-- deputies from informing i.c.e. about an individual's release date and
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time. that, i believe, is wrong. i believe it is not required by san francisco's ordinance as the mayor has made clear to the sheriff in a letter dated july 14. and mr. chairman, i would like to put that letter in the record, if i may. senator grassley: without objection, so ordered. senator feinstein: i agree with the mayor, and to prevent a similar tragedy i hope and expect that my home state of california and the city of san francisco, in particular, will agree to take part in the department of homeland security priority enforcement program, known as p.e.p. this focuses on felons and others who are high priorities for removal from the country. under p.e.p., i.c.e. can request notification of an alien's release date from a state or local -- from state or local custody, and so that they would have the opportunity if the
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circumstances warranted to take custody of that individual itself. in some instances, p.e.p. also allows for i.c.e. to lodge a detainer request with local law enforcement asking that they hold an alien for up to 48 hours. it seems to me that a simple notification to i.c.e. could have prevented kate steinle's death. i have urged mayor lee and the board of supervisors to participate in this new program, which the secretary announced late last year. this program prioritizes those who threaten our nation's national security. i'm pleased that mayor lee is taking this request seriously and is in the process of communicating with the department of homeland security about participating. we all know that most undocumented immigrants are
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otherwise law-abiding, hardworking and just want to provide for their families. i believe that deeply, but that's not the element of the undocumented population we're talking about today. i'm currently working on a bill, as is our chairman and i think others in this committee, that would require state and local law enforcement to notify immigration and customs enforcement of the impending release from a detention center of an illegal alien who has previously been convicted of a felony. if i.c.e. requests such notification. this bill is a work in progress, and mr. chairman, i look forward to hearing the testimony today and to working with other members of this committee so that we might produce a bill that is worthy of consideration and passage. and i thank the chair. senator grassley: thank you,
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senator feinstein. our first witness, ms. susan oliver, ms. oliver is a widow of deputy danny oliver, a police officer in sacramento. danny was killed while on duty by an undocumented immigrant who was previously arrested on two separate occasions on drug-related charges and twice 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
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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 nazzzeen, 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 mr. jim steinle of pleasanton, california, the father of kate steinle, who was gunned down 20 days ago while walking on a pier
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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,
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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.
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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
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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
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deal with this overwhelming approval. danny felt he was doing his job and that was all that was needed to feel accomplishments. 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.
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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. 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
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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
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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 possible 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
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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
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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 hong 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
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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. hank hank thank you, chairman -- 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 20 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
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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 witness doss 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
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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
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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 all righted -- 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 community is less safe. 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
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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 a jury -- the jury determined the force to defend herself was greater than the assault. was siddy was not automatically
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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
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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 want -- 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 committees. 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.
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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 oufer 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 and 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
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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 ens forcement 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
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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 rekilled 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 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
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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.
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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 nations 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 heart broken 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
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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
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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 emgrace 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
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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
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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
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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
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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 urge 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
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with people. we called it the kate effect. kate was a 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.
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she traveled to spain, thailand, amsterdam, dubai, south africa, just to mention a few. she even met her way -- 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 unconfidence 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
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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
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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. mankmank chairman grassley, thank you -- mr. manger: chairman grassley, thank you for giving me a chance to testify. i come here to represent the major chiefs association which
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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 priorities 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
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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 forse most, federal -- 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 ax will find no safe harbor or -- acts will find no
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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
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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 our 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 modeled 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
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duties. their purpose was to help local police and this was, 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 we lated 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 grassries, 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
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client of his. he was a commercial insurance broker. the restaurant was named el sid'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 drug 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 -- see, i didn't know anything about detainers. they assured the federal government had these holes with
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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 use that word -- that he would be prosecuted and few people in the neighborhood wanted a -- 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 -- my knowledge -- we have this witness -- 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.
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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 day -- 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 a hold of the prosecutor. so i got a hold of my niece who was a deputy sheriff in the county and she verified he in
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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,
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we've been fighting for the last couple of years. we have a law enforcement 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 mischaracter 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
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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
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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 had never been in a fight in his life, very quiet, old soul. 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
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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's a white male weighing 100 pound, he's tied up with braided rope, 13 loops around his neck with a slip knot. it goes behind his back during his back belt 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
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two. 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's 9-1-1 terrorist attack by foreign invader whether you want to recognize it or whether you do not. this government continues to
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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'm note going to do t 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 through it. i'm not giving up another kid. thanks for 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
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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.
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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
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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 states. you're tying policemen's hands. i'm not mandating to ask them where they are from. but if they pull somebody over for 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
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something 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 race 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.
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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: personal thank you -- 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 coming and lending your expertise to this hearing. i'll call the next panel. senator grassley: could we have
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order. senator grassley: could we have order. today's hearing deals with a very special issue.
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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. senator grassley: before our next panel's seated, i would like -- i would ask ms. saldana
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and mr. rose, would you come, please. before i introduce 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. thank you very much. 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
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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's 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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senator ghastly: 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 be like. and i want to say that over -- for over a decade first as a prosecutor then as a united
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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
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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 the -- 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.
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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. i likewise 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, 76% of them pete 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
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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. of thousands 1,913. 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
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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
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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
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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, home were -- 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.
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others have been turned over to i.c.e. for appropriate handling. several others continue to be adjudicated. in a 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 appropriation 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
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criminality or gang membership, we do use -- utilize interviews in those cases to resolve those concerns. senator grassley: ms. saldana, you told the house you 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 free throw text 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
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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 -- 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 they -- if there is a feeling of distrust between a community and law enforcement. my answer, the question to me
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was, would it be helpful? it 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,
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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 feinstein. 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
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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,
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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 numb numbers an additional 123 americans have been murdered 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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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 counsel president -- 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
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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.
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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
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rather than enforcement. 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 his 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 working for
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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. sail dana. 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, referring to young people, dreamers who were brought here as children and undocumented,
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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 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 correct. most of those were as a result of criminal convictions, some of
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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. 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
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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 proposal. 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 threw 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?
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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 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
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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 problem 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.
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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 senator sessions: thank you. i believe senator lee has yielded. 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.
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had you a good reputation as a prosecutor. 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.
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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 high 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
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as an indictment of p.e.p. or working with communities. and that's what i'm committed to >> 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. 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 t let me shift to a different topic.
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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 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


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