tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 1, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EDT
over six million jews. he pledged, quote, there will be no israel in 25 years, end quote. 70 years after the murder of six million jews, iran's rulers promised to destroy my country, murder my people and the response from this body, the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here has been absolutely nothing.
if iran's rulers were working to destroy your countries, perhaps you would be less enthusiastic about the deal. if iran's terror proxies were firing thousands of rockets at your cities, perhaps you'd be more measured in your praise. and if this deal were unleashing a nuclear arms race in your neighborhood, perhaps you'd be more reluctant to celebrate. but don't think that everyone is only a danger to israel. toa run is only a danger israel. besides its aggression in the middle east and terror around the world, it ran is building -- building ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. remember this. iran already has missiles that can reach israel, so does
intercontinental ballistic missiles are not meant for us. -- they arer you meant for you. for europe. for america. for raining down mass destruction, anytime, anywhere. it is not gentlemen, easy to oppose something that is embraced by the greatest powers in the world. believe me, it would be far easier to remain silent. thethroughout our history, jewish people have learned the heavy price of silence. and as the prime minister of the jewish state, as someone who knows that history, i refuse to be silent.
defending ourselves against those dangerous. we have, we are, and we will. [applause] iranel will not allow to break in, sneak in, or walk into the nuclear weapons club. [applause] i know that presenting iran from developing -- preventing iran from developing nuclear weapons remains the goal of the nuclear -- international community. but no one should question israel's capability to defend against those who seek our destruction. there wereneration, those who rose up to destroy our people. in antiquity we faced
destruction from the ancient empires of babylon and rome. in the middle ages, we faced inquisition and expulsion. and in modern times, we faced progroms and the holocaust. yet, the jewish people persevered. and now another regime has arisen, swearing to destroy israel. that regime would be wise to consider this. today representing israel, a country 67 years young, but the nationstate of a people nearly 4000 years old. yet the empires of babylon and rome are not represented in this hall of nations. neither is there thousand year reich. those seemingly invincible empires are long gone.
but israel lives. the people of israel live. [applause] the rebirth of israel is a testament to the indomitable spirit of my people. for 100 generations, the jewish people dreamed of returning to the land of israel. hours, and darkest we had so many, even in our darkest hours, we never gave up hope of rebuilding our internal capital of jerusalem -- eternal g lucidum. the establishment of israel made realizing that dream possible. it has enabled us to live as a free people in our ancestral
homeland. it has enabled us to embrace jews who have come from the four corners of the earth to find refuge from persecution. europe,e from war-torn from yemen, iraq, morocco, ethiopia and the soviet union. from 100 other lands. as the rising tide of anti-semitism once again sweeps across europe and elsewhere, many jews come to israel to join us in building the jewish future. here is my message to the rulers of iran. your plan to destroy israel will fail. [applause] israel will not permit any force on earth to threaten its future. and here's my message to all the
countries represented here. whatever resolutions you may adopt in this building, whatever decisions you may take in your capitals, israel will do whatever it must do to defend our state and defend our people. [applause] distinguished delegates, as this deal with iran moves ahead, i hope you will enforce it. how can i put this -- with a little more rigor then you showed with the six security council resolutions that
iran has systematically violated, and which now has been effectively discarded. make sure that the inspectors actually inspect. sanctionsthat the actually snapback. and to make sure that iran's violations aren't swept under the persian rug. [applause] of one thing i can assure you. israel will be watching. closely. what the international community now needs to do is clear. iran comply with nuclear obligations. [applause]
second, check iran's regional aggression. support those fighting iran's aggression beginning with israel. [applause] sanctions and all the tools available to you to tear down iran's global terror network. [applause] gentlemen, israel is working closely with our arab peace partners to address our common security challenges from a run -- iran and also the security challenges from isis and from others. we are also working with other states in the middle east. as well as countries in africa and asia, and beyond. many in our region note that isis are our
common enemies. and when your enemies fight each other, don't strengthen either one. -- weaken both. common dangers are bringing israel and its neighbors closer. as we work together to thwart those dangers, i hope we will build lasting partnerships. lasting partnerships for security, for prosperity, and for peace. we never forget one thing. we never forget that the most important partner that israel has, has always been and will always be the united states of america. [applause]
the alliance between israel and the united states is unshakable. [applause] president obama and i agree on the need to keep arms out of the terror property. we agree on the need to does -- stop iran from destabilizing countries throughout the middle east. israel appreciates president obama's willingness to bolster our security, help israel maintain its qualitative military edge, and help israel confront the enormous challenges we face. israel is grateful that this bytiment is widely shared the american people and its representatives in congress by both those who supported the
deal and those who oppose it. [applause] president obama and i have both said that our differences over the nuclear deal are a disagreement within the family. disagreemento about the need to work together to secure our common future. and what a great future it could be. placed --uniquely the promise of the 21st century. israel is a world leader in science and technology. water,r, software, agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, and so many other fields that are being anvolutionized by israeli
ingenuity and innovation. israel is the innovation nation. israeli know-how is everywhere. it is in your computer's microprocessors and flash drives. it is in your smartphones. when you send instant messages and navigate your cars, it is on your farms when you drink berry irrigation your crops. it is in your universities when prize-winningbel discoveries in chemistry and economics. it is in your medicine cabinets when you use drugs to treat parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. it is even on your plate, when you eat the delicious cherry tomatoes. that was perfected in israel, in case you didn't know. we are so proud in israel.
strides our country has made in such a short time. we are so proud, that our small country is making such a huge contribution to the entire world. yet, the dreams of our people, -- enshrined p for eternity by the great prophets of the bible, those dreams will be fully realized only when there is peace. as the middle east descends into agreementsel's peace with egypt and jordan are two cornerstones of stability. israel remains committed to achieving peace with the palestinians as well. [applause]
israelis know the price of four. -- war. i know the price of war. i was nearly killed in battle. i lost many friends. beloved brother. ware who know the price of can best appreciate what the blessings of peace would mean for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren. immediately, to and immediately resume peace negotiations with the palestinian authority without any preconditions whatsoever. [applause]
unfortunately, president ab bad said yesterday that he is not prepared to do this. i hope he changes his mind, because i remained -- remain committed to a vision of two states for two peoples in which a demilitarized palestinian state recognizes the jewish state. the peace process began over two decades ago. efforts ofe the best s,x israeli prime minister the palestinians have consistently refused to end the conflict and make a final peace with israel. you heard that rejection yet again only
yesterday from president abbas. how can israel make peace with the palestinian partners, who refuses to even sit at the negotiation table? israel expects the palestinian authority to abide by its commitments. the palestinians should not walk away from peace. , i know it iss not easy. i know it is hard. but we all it to our people to it to our people to try, to continue to try. because together, if we actually negotiate and stop negotiating about the negotiation, if we actually sit down and try to resolve this conflict between , notecognize each other
you as a palestinian state, as a stepping stone for another islamic state, but something that will live in peace with a jewish state. if we actually do that, we can do remarkable things for our people. [applause] the u.n. can help advance peace by supporting direct, unconditional negotiations between the parties. the u.n. want help peace -- peace, won't help advance peace, by trying to impose solutions or by encouraging palestinian rejectionism. , distinguished delegates, should do one more thing.
the u.n. should finally rid itself of the obsessive bashing of israel. examplejust one absurd of this obsession. in four years of horrific violence in syria, more than a quarter of the million -- quarter of a million people have lost their lives. that is more than 10 times, more than 10 times the number of palestinians combined who have lost their lives in a century of conflict between us. this assembly adopted 20 resolutions against israel, and just one resolution about savage slaughter in syria. talk about injustice. disproportionality.
20, count them. one against syria. frankly, i'm not surprised. to borrow a line from yogi berra, the late great baseball player and part-time philosopher , when it comes to the annual bashing of israel at the u.n., it is deja vu all over again. [applause] enough. after i stayed here for the first time, i am still asking, when will the u.n. finally check its anti-israel fanaticism at the door? finally stop u.n.
slandering israel as a threat to peace, and actually start helping israel advance peace? the same question should be posed to palestinian leaders. art workingou st with israel to advance peace and reconciliation, and stop inciting hatred and violence? , here is a good place to begin. stop spreading lies about israel's elected intentions -- alleged intentions on the temple mount's. israel is fully committed to maintaining the status quo there. what president abbas should be speaking out against are the actions of militant islamists, who are smuggling expos -- explosives, and trying to
prevent jews and christians from visiting the holy sites. that is the real threat to these sacred sites. [applause] 1000 years before the birth of christianity, more than 1500 years before the birth of islam, king david made jerusalem our capital. and king solomon built the mount. on that yet israel will always respect in aacred shrines of all, region plagued by violence and by unimaginable intolerance. in which islamic fanatics are trying, are destroying the ancient treasures of civilization, israel stands out as a towering economic enlightenment and tolerance, far from endangering the holy sites, it is israel that ensures their safety.
[applause] because unlike the powers who ruled jerusalem in the past, israel respects the holy sites and freedom of worship of all jews, muslims, christians, everyone. [applause] that, ladies and gentlemen, will never change, because israel will always stay true to its values. these values are on display each 'sd every day, when israel parliament vigorously debate every issue under the sun. sitsisrael seeks justice, in her chair as our free 6 -- fiercely independent supreme court. when our christian community continues to grow and thrive from year-to-year, as christian
communities are decimated elsewhere in the middle east. a brilliant young israeli muslim student gets her valedictorian address at one of our finest universities, and when israeli doctors and nurses, doctors and nurses from the israeli military, treat thousands of wounded from the killing fields of syria and thousands more in the wake of natural disasters from haiti to nepal. this is the true face of israel. these are the values of israel. these the middle east, values are under savage assault by militant islamists, who are forcing millions of terrified people to flee to distant shores. a fewes from isis, hundred yards from iran's murderous proxies, israel stands in the breach, proudly and courageously defending freedom
and progress. israel is civilizations front line in the battle against barbarism. so here a novel idea for the united nations. theead of continuing shameful routine of bashing israel, stand with israel. stand with israel as we check the fanaticism at our door. stand with israel as we prevent that fanaticism from reaching your door. ladies and gentlemen, stand with israel, because israel is not just defending itself. more than ever, israel is defending you. [applause]
>> i wish of the prime minister of the state of israel for that statement just made and request [indiscernible] . >> on the next washington journal we talk with kyle about tax proposals. then immigration trends. we will talk to the author of a report. and a discussion about americans household finances and health insurance coverage with jennifer day of the u.s. census bureau and washington post correspondent. washington journal's live with your phone calls, face the comments and tweets at 7:00 a.m. eastern time on seas. -- on c-span. on q and a. >> the supreme court is about
more than just its opinions. to understand it fully, you need to know about the justices backgrounds, personalities, foibles, personal dynamics with each other and with their clerks. law journal supreme court correspondent and author of a companion book to c-span's upcoming series landmark cases, tony mauro on the cases and that supreme court's new term. that is sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. start the newhey term, c-span debuts the new series, landmark cases, historic cases. we take a look at the real story behind the famous marbury versus madison case, delving into the hated political battles between johning thomas adams -- adams, thomas jefferson and john marshall. >> john marshall established the court as the interpreter of the constitution in his famous
many happy returns 60 million join in our chorus to music o mamie with music to mamie with love ♪ >> mamie eisenhower new how to manage a staff. her favorite color was pink, hich was in her wardrobe and accessories. mamie eisenhower this sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's original series, "first ladies, influence and image."
looking at the private lives of women who influenced the presidency and the white house. on american history tv on c-span3. >> immigration officials testified at a senate hearing to admit more refugees from syria and neighboring countries. witnesses from the department of state and health and human services discussed the screening of the nd costs proposal. senator sessions chairs the two-hour hearing. thank you all for being with us, thank you senator durbin for being with us. we had a vote going on, so we
had to vote early and then come by. i'm sorry we did not get to start quite on time. i would like everyone present to be able to watch the hearing without obstruction. if people stand or speak out of turn, it is not fair nor considerate to others, and officers will remove those individuals from the room. before we begin with opening statements, i would like to explain how we will proceed. we have one panel of witnesses today. i will make an opening statement, followed by opening statements from senator shumer or grassling or durbin. following their statements, we'll begin the first round of statements. when each senator completes questioning, we will have a second round of questions. if there are no objections, i will start with my opings statement.
the hearing today will focus on the refugee settlement program for 2016. we will examine the economic and security implications of the administration's plan to boost the number of admission of refugees to 200,000 over two years, including a large increase in syrian resettlement. before addressing the policy question of whether or not to admit additional groups of refugees, we should consider the broader immigration stances we have in our country. this week marks the 50th
nniversary of the 1965 nationality act. pugh has done some exhaustive study on the act, and here are some of their findings from the department of d.h.s., department of homeland security. immigration, including the children of post-1965 immigrants have added 72 million to our population of 330 million. one-fifth of the world's immigrants live in the united states. no other country has taken in more than 1 in 20. we have taken in six times more immigrants than all of latin america and 10 million more than the european union who has a more than 50% greater population. so we permanently resettle more than 500,000 immigrants from the middle east since 9/11.
today 1-7 people in america are foreign born. we will soon eclipse the highest levels roareded in the country. 6-10 in the ays, 20th decade witness immigration declines. every decade of the 21st century we will see rapidly rising immigration, with each new decade setting records. pugh polls show that by by a more than 3-1 margin the public would like to see immigration reduced rather thn increased. according to rass musen only 7% 300,000 ssen, only re-- support
knowledgible experts have linked the huge increase in the foreign labor supply to the crippling wage stagnation and joblessness that's affecting many of our workers. the situation in syria is a serious one, but it cannot be solved by resettling large numbers of people from that area. it would be more appropriate to effectively support the refugees in locations closer to their homes with the long-term goal of
being able to return them safely to their homes. that is why the middle easterns clearly must take the larger lead in resettling their nation's refugees. it is not sound policy. to respond to the -- it is not sound policy to respond by remove moving millions from their homes. resettling in the region is more likely to produce long-term reforms. 3-24 seeking immigration in europe are not from syria. in a september 23 "the washington post" article this is what they report. "there are well dressed iranians speaking farsi who allege they are from persecuted iraq.
there are pakistanises, albanis, kosovars from countries with plenty of poverty and violence but no war. it would come as no surprise if many migrants are pretending their someone else. the prize, after all, is the possibility of benefits, residency, and work in europe." close quote. so we will have that same problem here. and we do have that problem here. the ceiling was posed at 75 million admitted in the next fiscal year. they said they -- 75,000. they plan to accept 80,000 next year and 100,000 the next year. once here with refugee status, those refugees can claim any job and collect any federal welfare
benefit. research from the department of health and human services office of refugee resettlement indicates that 75% of refugees receive food stamps and more than half receive free health care and cash benefits. for refugees from the middle east, the numbers are even higher. more than 90% of middle eastern refugees draw food stamps and about 70% receive free health care and cash welfare. refugee settlement also comes with security risk. as we witnessed with the surge somali refugee ommunities in america. anyone must who wants to resettle must ask the difficult questions about assimilation and community safety. this is certainly true with respect to countries like syria where we have little or no
information about who the people are. no background information, no ability to determine whether they are radicalized now or might become radicalized after their arrival in the united tates. the f.b.i. assistant director for counter terrorism did not have, quote, the systems in place on the ground, close quote, to properly screen refugees. hat's pretty prite fright -- that's pretty frightening, actually. with law enforcement struggling to combat radicalizeation and
schools struggling to keep up. senator durbin, thank you for k with us. senator durbin? >> thank you very much, senator sessions. my mother was an immigrant from lithuania. she was brought to america at the age of 2 with her brother and sister. my grandmother carried them off a boat in baltimore and put them on a train to what they considered to be the promised and, east st. louis, illinois. my grandmother did not speak
english very well, but she was lifemined to have a better for her familiar and her children. as her son, i ended up with a full-time job. when you reflect on my story, it isn't just mine, it is america's story. it is who we are. we are a nation of immigrants. on the issue of refugees, there are two members of the united states senate who are the sons of refugees. one is president of the united states. i want to put this in context. we are talking about real lives and real people. today we are talking about the worst humanitarian crisis of our ime. this refugee crisis has almost 60 million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes around the world. syria is the epicenter.
when they ask me what i think of when you say the two words "vietnam war, instantly my impression is a photo image of m a little girl with napal naked running down the road crying. what is my image of this syrian crisis? a 3-year-old syrian boy who drown in the mediterranean. i looked at that little corpse that washed up on the shore and thought, that's my grandson. that's the image i take from the syrian refugee crisis. more than four million syrians have registered as refugees, including almost 2 million clirn. thousands are unaccompanied and separated from their parents. they are not economic my grants. they are refugees fleeing from
their lives. snrarr says, "no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark." the syrian crisis places great strain on many countries. the tiny country of lebanon, population 4.2 million now hosts 1.2 million registered syrian refugees. more syrian refugees than any other country in the world. that's almost 30% of their population. jordan going through the same type of strain. do we have any obstacle gage in -- do we states to have an obligation to address this? i think we do. the united states is the most nerous donar to the syrian
refugees than any other country in the world. after last year's hearing, i held a hearing on syrian refugee crisis. so far the united states of --rica has accepted about 16 1,600 syrian refugees. a small number. may i join with 13 other to admit at ng least 16,000 by the end of 2016. the administration is now looking at 10 ,000. why does it take so long? because our vetting process is very careful. it takes 14 to 24 months after the initial interview for a refugee to be admitted into the united states. this notion that we just throw
our doors open and say come on board is not true at all. i've gone through a classified briefing, and the back grouvend checks we impose on these people are very serious and they thorough, and they take a long, long time. germany has announced they are taking 800,000 refugees. their average time for vetting four months. ours is 18 to 24 months. we are careful. if we are going to show we have a heart, we are also going to be thoughtful about it, too, and do everything humanly possible to prevent a dangerous person from come -- coming to our country. what is the lesson. there is a lesson from world war ii, isn't there? maybe the ship called the st. louis? they came to our shores. they said if you don't take us, we will go back to our homes and die. we didn't take them. hey returned to the holocaust.
in vietnam i think some 400,000 ended up coming to the united states. soviet jews allowed to come to this country to avoid persecution 200,000. when it came to cuban refugees the numbers are now about 650,000, including as i mentioned earlier, the fathers of two of our colleagues in the united states us, one of whom is running for president. we resettled refugees from the former yugoslavia. the reason i want to raise that point is because there is something that must be said. we have talk bd many muslims who have come to the united states and become an important part of our country. in my condo building there are bosnian ms. n -- limbs who are so proud to be part of the united states and
proud to be part of this country. we will enter a letter signed by 400 faith -- let me close by saying on an economic basis, it is true. many of these refugees come here dirt poor and need a helping hand. the statistics will also tell us at that changes very, very quickly. as soon as they can command enough of the english language, they are off and working. -- let john shall shall shalikashvili. i didn't mention steve jobs. the son of a syrian immigrant. i would hope today that as we reflect on this issue we reflect on history. i would like to introduce the
members of the subcommittee to hasam alustrum. he fled his home in 2013 after his house was shelled by a missile from the syrian army. he moved into another house with five other families, and that house was shelled as well. he moved to another neighborhood, but barrel bombs were being dropped in that neighborhood. he fled syria with his wife, suha, and two children. after a difficult journey he nded up in jordan where he replied for refugees status. he came here on june 16 this year. he now works two jobs. he moves furniture during the day and he's a baker at night in order to support his family. mr. alustrum is not a terrorist, and he's not a fiscal drain on our country. we should be proud that our country has welcomed him and his family.
that is what our country is about. that's what i hope my colleagues will understand. >> thank you, senator disturb-in. thank you to your guest who you introduced. we are looking for a good sound policy and does so in a smart and effective way. ley, do you have a statement you would like to put into the record? >> i may have a statement i would like to put in the record. >> i have to leave a little early, but i want to put my statement in the record as well. senator durbin mentioned the work we have done to get more refugees in our country. just coming from a state that senator franken and i represent.
we are so proud of our mung population. we took in this mung population that fought on our side in the war in vietnam. they are now in our community and thriving. it is a major part of our state's fabric of life. i think people have to remember that when we talk about this issue because as senator durbin aid, 90 of our fortune 500 countries were formed by immigrants. i hope we think about that when we consider this refugee issue. thank you, mr. chair. >> all right. if the panel would stand, raise your right hand and take the oath. would you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? [witnesses answer affirmatively]
mr. durbin: you may take your seats. first we have mr. bart let, director of the refugees admission office of the u.s. department of state's bureau of population refugees and migration. he previously served various state research violation and in a variety of positions with the peace corps. next we have barbara strak. as chief ofhe uscis deputy affairs in 2005. she previously held positions with the national immigration forum. the former immigration and natural zation service, couge counsel to private practice of
aw in washington d.c. and with the department of homeland security. next we have mr. matthew emrich from the u.s. citizenship and immigration service, also with homeland security. before selected as acting social director, he served as dreptti associate director of fdns and has over 21 years of immigration, law enforcement, and intelligence experience. before his civilian government employment, he served on eight years active duty in the u.s. marine corpse. he has also worked in baghdad as a delloyd senior for the multinational services in iraq. finally we have mr. bob kerry. ffice of refugee resettlement.
mr. kerry served as vice president of resettlement and migration policy leading the agency's advocacy on refugee and anti-trafficking and community development policy issues. he also served as chair of the refugee council u.s.a. so this is a good panel with much experience in it and lead key agencies that are critical how we handle the refugee program. plmbart let, if you would give us your opening statement. mr. bartlett: thank you for holding this hearing and thank you for the opportunity to appear before you with the department of homeland security and health and human services and to update you on the measures we've taken to protect refugees around the world and provide new homes to some of the
most full nerable. according to the united nations high commissioner for refugees there are nearly 22 million refugees in the world. the vast jort of refugees will receive support in the countries to which they fled until they can voluntarily and safely return home. the united states contributes to the programs of unhcr, the international for red cross and other international and nongovernmental organizations that provide protection and assistance to refugees until they can return home. in 1202014, some 126,000 refugees voluntarily repatriated to their country of origin. that's the lowest recorded number since 1983. an even smaller number will be resettled in another country.
l the -- the united states welcomes over half of these refugees. since 1975, americans have welcomed over three million refugees from all over the world. the united states admission's program reflects the united states highest values and aspirations of compassion, generosity, and leadership. resettlement opportunities are refocused on refugees that have immediate needs for durrable and lasting solutions. while maintaining our leadership role in humanitarian mission, an integ radical part of this mission is to ensure that refugee status goes to those not a threat to our country. we are currently looking for defecting fraud for those seeking settlement in the united states. we are more -- our research is
more intense than any other .pplicant to the us -- u.s. we collaborate closely with the help of disease control to protect citizens of the united tates. the program will grow to serve refugees, 10,000 of which will include syrian refugees. the program enjoys substantial support from state and local government. the program resettles refugees o 48 states, 173 cities in 304 sites. as a public-private partnership it requires the support of american non-governmental organizations, charities, faith-based groups, and thousands of volunteers and supporters of the program in
this program has consistently benefited from the support of d.h.s.ues from uscis and as a whole. including the fraud detection and national security directorate. as reflected by this panel today, we work closely across departments. the refugee resettlement program has forged strong and deep relationships with colleagues in the national enforcement communities and we continue to benefit from their expertise, analysis and collaboration. it simply would not be possible to support a resettlement program of the size and scope the u.s. maintains today without this critical interagency infrastructure. as you know, the united states has a proud history of helping refugees from around the world.
uscis remains dedicated to fulfilling this mission. an integral part of this is to make sure that help goes to those who are eligible and do not present a threat to our country. we continue to employ the highest security levels to risks to our country. -- these y includes are being applied more broadly to all nationalities, including syrians, which represent a growing portion of our case load. a refugee applicant is not approved for travel until all security checks have been obtained and cleared. we conduct individual and
personal interviews with applicants to determine their ligibility for refugee status. we place great emphasis on providing highest quality aining to our adjudicators this involves detailed training, ncluding special training on training in which outside experts participate. officers assess the credibility of applicants and determine if their testimony is consistent with known country conditions. given the remote and sometimes difficult locations, uscis coordinates every quarter. in a kip cal quarter, we will elow 116 staff in 16 or 17 locations.
as a result, we have met the refugee ceiling of 70,000 for a third year in a row. uscis is prepared to work closely with the state department and other interagency partners to support refugees of 85,000, including at least 10,000 syrian refugees. we will continue to look for opportunities to tream line our operations wlile maintaining our national security. when i meet with new officers, i talk about the long-standing helping. of we are committed to preserving this american hall mark. i would like to thank the subcommittee for this opportunity to testify, and i would be happy to hear your questions.
head quarters at the f.b.i. terrorist screening center. we rely on these every day connections to share information with our law enforcement and intelligence partners at the head quarters level, both proactively and when asked, and these kecks also reinforce the established information sharing agreements that exist within the security check rubric. before refugee applicants are scheduled in the field, syrian cases are reviewed by a refugee ffairs division officer. all cases that meet certain criteria and referred for additional research and review. fdns intelligence conduct classified research on referred cases and synthesize assessment by the interview officer. this information provides case-specific questions
regarding regional activity and is used by the interviewing officer related to the applicants eligibility and credibility. thout this review process, fdns engages with law enforcement and intelligence community members to obtain additional clarifing information or to deconflict to ensure d.c. ns activities will not adversely affect law enforcement investigations. hen we note issues, we use standard interagency protocols or provides information to existing records. we draft reports that alert agencies in the intelligence community of information that meets intelligence requirements. we work closely with our law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify
options for new screening opportunities to enhance the existing process. we are doing this con taggantly. in addition to the checks i've described, refugees that travel to the place i've described travel to the point of entry. the screening at the point of entry are conducted by the national security transportation administration. the humanitarian crisis in the middle east is severe and we are reminded on an lom almost daily basis for the atrocities that have been occurring from some ime now and are occurring now. we may maintain the treth of our program in our national security. i look forward to your questions. sessions: mr. carey.
mr. carey: in my testimony today,ly describe the role that h.h.s. plays in refugee esettlement. since the passage of the act, more than 300 million refugees in the country have been provided safe haven in the united states along with freedom from persecution and displacement. l departments of homeland security and state work together to respond to needs of refugees through the u.s. refugees admissions program.
in fiscal year 2015 more than -- these programs assist refugees, ylees, victims of torture, foreign-born victims of human trafficking, and special immigrant visa holders to employed as self-sufficient after their arrival. at an extensive public-private partnership network. our programs are designed to facilitate refugees' life in the united states. we strive to provide the benefits necessary for refugees. we offer time-limited support
for individuals not eligible for other public benefits. through programs administered by states and other non-profit organizations, we provide cash eight ations up to months. also foster care programs for refugee miners, certain ninors granted juvenile status and lep for thoses who have been a part of some severe form of human trafficking. even language instruction, case management, social adjustment services, and interpreter services. these funds are allocated prior to two years prior to arrival which accounts for refugees and other entrants movements to other states as well. our programs also support developmental, these focus on
financial literacy, matching savings in support of core purchases and business start-ups that employ thousands of individuals. a portion of new entrants participate in the matching grant spram. -- ugh this program self-sufficient within their first four months in the u.s. 6 -- u.s. in 2013 they reported economic self-sufficiency rates of 76% for refugees at 180 days after arrival. given the proven success of arrival, the president's budget proposes a 22 million increase to the $216 matching grant program. finally i would like to share with you the story of one refugee.
this family was forced to leave. due to family members employment and threats to delr lives. starting over was a challenge for rick as it is for all refugees. ' applied for more than 7 hookup hundred jobs while attending english language classes. his first job in the u.s. was working at a grocery store. a car ears later he owns dealership. his business has been open two years. and he now is helping other refugees and individuals from the community to buy their first cars. his determination to succeed is representative of the determination i see of so many refugees in our country. despite unimaginable hardships and problems, they arrive not seeking handouts but trying to
r. carey: the matching grant self-sufficiency rates include people employed 180 days after arrival. senator sessions: they may be eligible for food stamps, medicaid, and other assistance programs. isn't that correct? : refugees adjust to legal resident status after one year. during their tisme assistance they are eligible as other individuals would be during their first eight months in the united states. senator sessions: i'm trying to clarify this so we can fully understand it. as i understand it from 2008 to 2013 refugees from the middle east, for example, 91% are eligible and receive s.n.a.p., food stamp benefits, and high percentages receive cash benefits, housing benefits, and
medicaid. shark? -- is that correct? mr. carey: those figures include refugees receiving benefits during their initial resettlement period as provided through states and local governments. i think we should know that because they are immediately available for the same aid programs that we provide american citizens and that most of them will be starting at lower incomes and become igible for health care and other benefits. mr. bartlett, in general, it is important for me to ask my staff, how does this really work? maybe you would be the one to
ask. refugees typically go about 90% to the u.n. who then give them and send at number least some of them to the united states' nine resettlement office around the globe. is that correct? usnrartlett: first of all, form of gest assistance overseas. it is not just about getting them here but giving them an opportunity to go home, should they choose to. they work with unhr and are our primary partner. one thing i would like to say in
response to helping people u.s. has hetched -- senator sessions: does some of that go to the u.n.? mr. bartlett: it goes primarily to the united nations and a host of n.g.o.'s. we wo work with them because they know how to do the jobs. senator sessions: and we are the largest contributors? mr. bart lefment tt: that is correct. there does come a point in time where the strain on the hosting countries -- jordan, turkey, lebanon, the big three -- becomes immense, and we want to do our part through resettlement. at that time, the unhcr, because they have field level people working in camps where they have p ngo's doing that, identifies
specific people, specific families who they consider most vulnerable. senator sessions: the u.n. would send it to your people, you them,then eval -- valuate or take information from them, and then it goes to homeland security who does personal interviews. is that correct? >> yes, sir, that's correct. i know you have a good plan there, mr. emrich, but there is no place to check. then if they are approved, their air fair is provided to the united states? >> not only do they go through security checks but they go through health exams. we do that not only for the
health of the refugee but also for the citizens of the uts us -- united states. once they arrive, they sign a promissory note to pay back the lone. we have an 80% repayment rate, and that money goes back into future refugee programs. senator sessions: mr. carey, we just need to be aware when we talk about the cost of the program -- and we have a billion dollar cost, colleagues we are not talking about the new stress on medicaid, food stamps, housing hospitals, the allowances they may be entitled to, and other costs of that kind that have not been provided. is that correct? you are not estimating that, mr.
carey? then ey: they are eligible for services on a means-tested basis in the communities in which they resettle. senator sessions: do they have to wait a year before they become eligible for food stamps and medicaid? >> they are eligible for services for eight months under he o.o.r. program. >> thank you for calling this important meeting. thank you for being here. thank you for your service past and present. i want to go back to trying to understand whether we have the resources and coordination necessary to do this safely.
before i do, i can't help but point out that a lot of this crisis is created -- if we talk about the syrian situation, but we are talking about far beyond. this is 10,000 or so syrian refugees. but in the case of syria we have a despotic regime, and i think a policy there that has finally led the syrian fleem to believe they simply cannot live with any sense of comfort and safety within this country. it is already playing out in the hundreds of thousands. if you look at what the e.u. is doing, it is a crisis. and in some cases it is a crisis because of fails policies of the united states trying to stablize t.
now mr. carey said we are going to increase the number of efugees to 75,000. then a couple weeks later, he said that many go as high as 100,000. he was more or less setting a floor for the syrians in particular. we know this is a larger number, somewhere between 85,000 and 100,000. i'm trying to get the math to ork. i don't think any of you are being told your resources are going to increase when you have more refugees. so at the most fundamental level, i'm trying to figure out how you absorb this within the current rate of funding that you have without something giving. one of those things that may
give could be the very important thing that we all have an obligation to ensure, and that is the safety and security of the homeland. there is going to be handoff between the various agencies. how do we make sure with this increased pressure that we don't make a mistake that could put our homeland at risk. and i will start with maybe homeland security? >> i was going to start with numbers, because that's perhaps the easier part of the question. just to be clear, our goal, the target, the ceiling is 85,000. within that 85,000 we are striving to admit 10,000 syrians. that is not a cap. have, y question i
secretary carey said, it is a ceiling. it is not a ceiling, it is a floor. that suggests to me language that could mean more people over time. >> the president signed a bill for 85,000. i think if that were to be raised, that would need to be re-signed at a higher number. the higher number refers to the aspiration too do 100,000 refugees in fy-2017. we know it will take more to ring in 85,000 refugees. we are looking across our programs to see where we can gain efficiencies. i can guarantee you there will e no short cuts on processing. at this moment in time, there will be no shortcuts in terms of our responsibilities to the american people. strack: essions: ms.
ms. strack: for operational purposes i had anticipated an increase from 70,000 to 75,000. you are probably aware that we uscis are a feep funded agency. the money that supports my program are paid by applicants for other immigration benefits. so everyone who applies for a green card or natural zation piece of that fee supports the refugee and asylum fee. having spoken to our office at hief financial officer, he has informes us there is sufficient funding in our examination fee account to cover the 85,000 anticipated admissions into
reprioritizing programs. as mr. bart let said, in no way are we cutting any corners, are we changing this security checks or cutting back on the elements that we think are integral to he integrity of the program. >> i would like to echo what mr. bartlett and ms. strack had said, we will not cut corners. these parameters were put together with the intelligence community partners and the security regime was set up with that all input, and i have heard no discussion of making any cuts o it for any reason.
i would like to point out that the grants of refugee status are discretionary so if they doubt, the case is referred for further review, and if there is a national security review, that individual's application is denied. >> as the refugee situation continues to evolve, the administration is assessing its capacity and resource needs for fiscal year 2016 with an increased number of refugees it will be important to fund this out at a sufficient level. >> if i may relate it to accountability. i understand you are working with the decisions that have been made. but it seems to me if we went from 75,000 to 85,000 in a couple weeks, given the growing crisis where people's lives are at stake, it is going to go up again.
we cannot only answer this in terms of the commitment we made but in the likely commitment we will make going forward. i share some of the chair's concerns about the growing government. more than anything else, i have had to have a sad discussion about an immigration decision that led to a young man that murdered people in my city of charlotte because the handoff wasn't done properly. it was someone granted status. it was not specific to this, but it speaks to the various agencies working together, using the data effectively. in this case, it refers to the geaths of people that live in my city. i would like to know as you all move forward, you are passing the baton in many cases, who ultimately owns the
responsibility, as we process 85,000 or 125,000, what agency, or who ultimately owns the responsibility and we have to come back and there is a lapse? mr. chair, that's my final question. thank you for your indulgence. ms. strack: that responsibility falls to -- we approve that. we would not approve that if we have derogatory information on that application. as mr. emrich mentioned, we have discretion so we can deny a case when we feel that's appropriate even if there is not a interrogatory security check but there is information that we think makes that individual not a good candidate to come to the united states. there is another check when the applicant comes to the airport. >> senator, if i could say one
thing, this program is certainly not linear. we have been planning for some he 5000 and now we have 85,000 so we will be building the program so that arrivals will be peaking at the end of the year. we will have an opportunity to review how we do this to make it more a session and be more effective than it is now. you make a very valid point. 100,000,-- if we go to the next year as proposed, secretary kerry, our formal -- former colleague, i am told that in consulting with the judiciary committee last week, that it will be substantially increased over 80,000. this is not the bottom number. the problems we are facing from
security is here now. this is not a scare tactic. i'm reading a minneapolis paper, interviewing a coach with a lot of kids playing ball, the coach is known as ishmael. he says there are monsters out there and he goes on to say that more than 20 young men left the sum i'll he immigrant community from 2007 22009. 9. to 200 disappearances began again in the past year to the islamic andes fighting in iraq syria. i'm just saying that we know this is serious. you do not have the ability to do efficient checks. thank you for being with us and for giving me this moment to make that point. you really appreciate
calling this hearing mr. chairman. i know that congress has a responsibility and the president does as well that we reviewed this every year. i was chagrined to learn that we have not done this since 1979. i just have a couple quick questions. we have a perfect case study in iraq where there were systemic problems in the screening of iraqi refugees -- refugee applicants here. the fbient hearing, assistant director told the house homeland security that -- the administration has learned the problems it had with the iraqi refugee admissions effort. and you tell us what sick -- what specific measures have been taken to remedy these problems and what we have learned from that exercise that we can apply here?
let me briefly let me briefly the nature of the checks we do now and how they have changed. the checks are multilayer. both biographic information and not just one data element but multiple biographic elements and fingerprints, therefore biometric data. the checks are not just at one time. they are done over a. -- over a period of time and in some cases continuously throughout the process. they touch against a broad range of u.s. government holdings. checkngerprint checks
against the of fbi fingerprint holding. the checks against the dod fingerprint holdings which include bigger prints that have been obtained overseas. it also checks against the dhs fingerprint system which contains records of any time the u.s. border, their fingerprints are captured and that goes to the dhs system. >> may i interrupt you? interact, we also had background checks and we talked to people on the ground in iraq when we had a lot of troops on the ground. have that in syria. is that not going to create a tremendous shortfall in addition to the technical checks you are talking about? mr. emrich: we have added a specific inter-agency check were ine time that we iraq and we can brief you on that in detail in another setting.
an additional think that we have done for this population is the enhanced review that i described. contactvidual comes in with unhcr coming he provides his story and at that time, all of his family members and the is registered as well as their family members. that individual is interviewed again at the rsc. so at the time that our folks are reviewing the application, they have already been talked to twice. they have had a very good incentive to provide accurate information to the unhcr. if that registration -- that is how they get food rations and housing. discount the to importance of the interview because this is a face to face
encounter where the refugee officers have been specially trained in the country conditions. they know what questions to ask. they know what questions to ask an individual leaving syria and about military service and about possible bars. there -- if they are a national security concern. we have individuals with a lot of expertise who can inform questions there. >> i need to go on to this last question. i apologize mr. bartlett but i want to get back to one thing. that is the definition of a refugee. if someone leaves syria, and we
know there is a major humanitarian crisis there. we have been talking in the senate about the causes of that. but what i would like to do now -- if they leave syria and they go to turkey for a year and then apply to the u.s. are they bite definition -- they by definition considered a refugee? d i think i need to work -- for two dhs because they make the final definition. ms. strack: the definition is u.n.ined in the definition. if they have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of suffering persecution on the basis of race, religion, or being a specific member of a group. laws a bar under u.s. against resettlement if they have been resettled in another country. there is another -- there is
quite a bit of law surrounding being settled in another country. example, if your children cannot go to school or if you are in a tenuous circumstance, that would amount to not being firmly settled. it is a fact specific circumstance. a short way of thinking about it -- that starts looking like firm resettlement. anwould investigate that on individual basis and look at what the laws are in the country of first asylum. applications, how many are excepted versus rejected? ms. strack: worldwide, our average approval rate is 80%. right now, it is higher than but are syrian applicants it is likely to come down. right now, it is running a little over 90% for syrian
applicants. that percentage is based on all of the cases that have been decided yes or no. it does not include cases under review or on hold. we think a number of the on hold cases will turn into denials. when we have a little more experience with the caseload, we expect the percentage to come down a little bit. >> thank you. this is very important. i read in my opening statement what the europeans were finding where you have a nicely dressed iranian speaking farsi saying he is from iraq. indians who do not speak arabic that say they are from damascus. tunisians, albanians, -- who are apparently trying to get in as syrian refugees. 90% ofnow approving those who apply.
here in the washington post --icle it goes on to say there was one story where there are shady characters in the group also including admitted sympathizers,s one person with a fresh bullet wound who when asked his occupation seemed confused. one said army, the other responded drivers. there are other reports of a syrian passport being available for purchase. you face a difficult problem. the former head of the association of the cia as
officers has told us that the agency has become a rubber stamp. there is no way they have the ability to do what is asked of them. that youu have said have not changed any of your procedures that the procedures are just not going to do the job. let us talk about that. honestly. the director of national intelligence mr. klapper recently stated that we do not put it past the likes of isil to infiltrate operatives among these refugees. he further stated that it is a huge concern of ours. --do you he is correct think he is correct? i guess i would like to talk to about what our process is. >> i am just asking if you are concerned. he said that we do note it -- we do not put it past isil to
infiltrate the refugees. you are supposed to be evaluating these people. is it a concern to you? ms. strack: yes sir. and that is what the background is, that is the relationship we have with the intelligence community. they share information with us about what they see as risks. we have been describing to you the methods and procedures that we had to try to mitigate those risks. the i speak briefly to the may i speaksue -- briefly to the document issue? we think there is a dip -- we are not working in europe. not resettling refugee applications out of europe. primarily turkey and jordan. the incentive for other nationalities, for non-syrians, is different in those countries of first asylum. the second piece is that i did want to say that we do not rely
on any single document. in general, worldwide, we see a difference between syrian refugees. some are highly documented. others are not. we think documents are informative. we look at them. but no single document is taken as a gold ticket for refugee approval. >> i am sure that is true. we are also told that european officials said not long ago that a million are in north africa waiting to cross the made -- the mediterranean. there are a lot of people who would like to become a refugee to the united states or europe. them.ve to sort through what if they do not have any documents? what you refer to then? in general, we have
found with syrian refugees, and the same with iraqi refugees, they have many documents. that includescess our training. we involve the law enforcement community, the intelligence community, and we invite them to come in to train our refugee officers. if someone does not have documents, for example, they might tell us that their documents were destroyed when a bout -- when a barrel bomb fell on their house. we will check with the intelligence community or open source information to find out if that was realistic. place athappen at that that time. we have a multifaceted approach to this. we have reduced the number of interviews that we ask our officers to do of syrian cases because we recognized that they are so complex and we want the officers to be able to explore all of that information, often researchby the upfront that has been described. try to dodication to
right with the abilities that 2011,ve, but in february over the house committee of homeland security, the fbi assistant director michael steinbach expressed significant syrians with screening refugees. i do not see how this could be denied. i don't see how it can be glossed over. in syria- that concern is that we do not have systems in place on the ground to collect information to that -- to vet. the concern would be that we are vetting database is that do not hold information on those individuals and that is a concern. he went on to say that you are talking about a country that is a failed date. it does not have any infrastructure. , thef the data sets police, the intel services that normally you would go to to seek information do not exist.
systems -- is that your responsibility? do you serve -- supervise that? mr. emrich: i do. >> if there is no database to query, how can you have valid information? mr. emrich: there is data that we check against and we would be happy to describe this to you in a different setting. you just tell us under both. you are a public official. do you think there is adequate data, when you query these databases, are you likely to have any valuable information from them? tell you thatwill we often find valuable information and that we check every single thing that is available. >> i am sure you check everything available. mr. steinback is making a plain fact. there is no real databases in syria to check. isn't that right? every thingwe check
within u.s.aware of government holdings. we are either inquiring about, or looking into and we currently check. as far as i am concerned, if we have not overturned every stone, we are in the process of overturning every stone. >> there you go again. overturning everything you can overturned. i do not doubt that. and american police officer checks the crime information center when they arrest someone. you do not have a crime information center. they do not have a computer database that you can access. isn't mr. steinback telling the truth? do you disagree what i read from
him on the things that you would normally check just do not exist. mr. emrich: i would point out that in many countries of the we haveom which traditionally accepted refugees over the years, the united states government did not have extensive data holdings. >> all right. mr. franken, i am sorry to run over. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in prior years come we have admitted far more refugees and we currently do. about0, we admitted 200,000 refugees. in the early 1990's, we admitted over 100,000 per year. last year, in the midst of the
humanitarian crisis, we admitted fewer then 70,000. it seems to me, that the numbers we are bringing in today are pretty modest i comparison. ourlso seems to me that past experiences have demonstrated that we can resettle refugees in a manner that is consistent with our national security. from our pastaw experiences in admitting refugees and can you describe the measures in place to ensure that those admitted to the united dates will contribute positively to our society? senator, i think there may be several of us on the panel that would like to speak your question. i think it is important to remember in the immediate
aftermath of the september 11 attacks, there was a pause in refugee resettlement and it was a desire to make sure that the best screening available was in place. in the wake of that situation. for two years, the united states refugee resettlement program had very low numbers. those of us who work in this field for a living consider disappointingly low numbers but it was necessary at the time to make sure that those appropriate safeguards were in place. having those safeguards in place, we have worked very diligently on an interagency basis and again with strong relationships with law enforcement, national security, and the intelligence community, so we are able to have the program grow in a way that we think is responsible, has integrity, and is consistent with our national security obligations. >> anyone else care to jump in on that?
in addition to 9/11, with the correct response, and the obligation we owed to many of those iraqis that worked for us, we also layered on a new check. that was when a new check was developed with two agencies. it impacted our arrivals but we did that with a sense of responsibility to those we were bringing here as well as those we were bringing them to, our communities. i think you are correct that we have had larger programs in the past. infrastructuree we work with now is a little more complicated. it intention is to grow this if thousand program to 100,000. beyond, we years will see but to do it in a way that is responsible to our communities. >> before i run out of time, i
want to ask this question. which i think speaks to the in a hearing and subject different way. i am not sure if anyone has asked this. i went to a floor -- i went to the floor and gave a speech on something else. i think it bears repeating that approximately 4 million people have fled violence in syria and that is roughly 70% of the country's total population. percent of the country's total population. families, any with children, are braving these treacherous journeys in order to escape persecution. up anr durbin brought individual and the picture that i do not think anyone who has seen it will ever forget.
and like senator durbin, i have a grandson. that image reminded me very much of. do you mind if i go a few seconds over? you do? ok. i will do this as fast as i can. i never know when you are kidding. [laughter] i just want to know why he got the louder laugh. [laughter] >> timing. [laughter] sober subjecth a
-- many of our partners in the toare formulating a plan redistribute some 100 on -- some 120,000 among migrant states. the u.s., on the other hand has only accepted 1500. although the administration plans to expand the number two 10,000, i have joined with colleagues including senator durbin. , quite aned the letter while ago, urging the administration to resettle 65,000 by the end of 2016. this is what i want to ask. i think these numbers are important in the context about
the debate of national security. director bartlett, do you think that strong leadership from the united states on this issue will boost our standing in the region? and shouldn't we be concerned that a tepid response here lends credence to the kind of narrative that our enemies -- that our enemy been about the united states in their efforts to settle -- two so discord -- to sew discord? i would say our leadership has been strong in the region. our footprint in the region initially was emergency response. he will have asked us before why we have been slow to resettle. we have not been the only once to resettle affirmatively. peoplee for the syrian
and i think the hope of the international community is that people can go home and that is really all that any refugee wants. they want to go home to syria. only about two years ago, the unhcr as an situation said it has been too long, the countries that are hosting these refugees are bearing too much of responsibility and we need to help. the unhcr was very aggressive in setting a high benchmark for all of us. we joined early on. we did not announce a number. we said we are open for referrals. at the moment, we have 19,000. we are going to continue to accept those so that although we have a 10,000 entrants goal for the next year, we are not limited by that goal and we will continue to accept referrals from unhcr as this tragedy continues. >> thank you. i would submit that i'm way over. submit thatement --
that is something to be thinking about. ms. strack: senator, if i could add very briefly. senator durbin mentioned in his opening remarks that we do have a long process in the u.s. program in order for someone to come into the program. our average passing time -- i don't think any of us are satisfied with those average processing times and i can tell you that i have very strong direction for my deputy secretary to look hard at the places where we can affect efficiencies without cutting corners in any way in order to see that we can be more efficient so that when those referrals do come to us, we are able to process them effectively and efficiently as much as we possibly can. senator franken, i would note that in 2013, the united states -- issued when
todred 17,000 green cards migrants of muslim countries including 70,000 to migrants from just middle eastern countries. we admitted 40,000 designated refugees. i think we have been generous. i just wanted to make that point. senator blumenthal. : i wantedumenthal o to thank senator franken for his athletic questions and comments. issueright that this deserves the most sober treatment. i beg to differ, mr. bartlett, we may have stepped up more recently, that we have done far less than we should have in the region. having visited some of those , i think the united states
could and should have done more and now can and should do more. not just because it improves our standing in the region, but it sense of self-worth as a nation. we are a nation of immigrants. many of those immigrants are refugees might my father who came to this country in 1935 to escape persecution in germany at the age of 17. he spoke virtually no english and had not much more than the shirt on his back. knowing almost no one. this country gave him a chance to succeed just as we well countless other refugees in the future as we have done in the past with refugees of many other countries. the need for this program is as serious and urgent as ever because there is no shortage in ,he world of inhumane dictators
territorial conflicts, environmental crises that contribute to the largest refugee crisis since world war ii. my view is that we need to improve and speed the screening techniques. the american people need to be satisfied about the efficacy and accuracy of those screening tests. i have proposed a number of performs, three in particular. expanding the p3 program which gives resettlement applicants with u.s. families the ability to skip the referrals from the unhcr and apply directly to the resettlement support center. second, improving the timing and security of medical and security screenings to en t