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tv   Homeland Security Secretary Kelly Says He Knew Travel Ban Was Coming  CSPAN  February 1, 2017 1:30am-2:08am EST

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president trump's nominee to be the next veterans affairs secretary. wednesday he appears before the senate veterans affairs committee for his confirmation hearing. our live coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span three. you can also watch on c-span.org or listen free on the c-span radio app. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable companies and brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> john kelly briefs reporters on the implementation of the president's refugee and immigration executive order. he explains that he knew about the order and was involved in
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the drafting process. this briefing from the customs and border protection headquarters is 35 minutes. >> good afternoon everyone. the president, as we all know, has issued three executive orders related to our homeland security commission. this will keep our homeland safe by keeping up -- terrorists out of our countries. i would like to talk about what it does and does not mean. this is not a travel ban. this allows us to review the vetting system. over the next 30 days, we will analyze and view our system.
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we will then provide our partners 60 days to cooperate and revise. this way we can make sure the system is doing what it was designed to do which is to protect the american people. this analysis is long overdue and strongly supported by the organization's career intelligence officials. we will speak to that in more detail shortly. furthermore, this is not, i repeat, not a ban on muslims. the homeland security mission is to protect the american people, our homeland, our values, and religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values. it is important to remember
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there are terrorists and other bad actors who are seeking to infiltrate our homeland every day. the seven countries mentioned are those designated by congress and the obama administration is this requiring additional security when making decisions about who comes into our homeland. as my predecessor like to say, it is easier to play defense on the fifth guideline than it is on the one yard line. by preventing terrorists from entering our country, we can prevent terrorists from striking the homeland. we cannot gamble with american lives. i will not gamble with american lives. these are matters of national security. i have sworn to protect and defend the american people and i have directed the department of leadership to implement the presidents orders directly, humanely, and in the accordance with the law. these were issued over the weekend. cbp immediately began taking
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steps. that's customs and border protection, immediately began taking steps to be in compliance. we are and will remain in compliance with judicial order. also with the defense, department of justice, and state. we are going to be making sure all are afforded the rights guaranteed under our law. we pledge to protect the homeland. these executive orders help do that. i am happy to have my colleagues enter any questions, clarifying positions that may be confusing. we have with us today acting commissioner of cbp, acting commissioner of ice, and my senior department of intelligence chief. so, with that -- >> good afternoon. customs border and protection.
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i am here to talk about the implementation of the executive order. upon receiving the order, cbp took immediate action, calling on suspending action for 90 days from the seven affected countries. we routinely make changes and our systems and policies or immigration entry at our border. we acted quickly on friday evening to make the changes with this executive order. first we made changes in our system to identify those passport holders and visa holders from the affected countries. we had a call from our director of field operations to inform them of the executive order and the actions they needed to take. we issued written kinds. we had calls with stakeholders, air carriers and airports. so they would understand how to operate.
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we also, overnight on fighting and saturday, work through a process to be able to waiver travelers in transit or who had sensitive cases that should be considered for a waiver in the national interest that the executive order calls for. in the first 72 hours of the order, one million travelers came through our borders by air. out of this travelers, 500,000 were born nationals. foreign nationals. the people affected by this order, we denied boarding to 721 travelers. but we actually processed 1060 lawful permanent residents of the united states as well as an additional 75 waivers granted to nonimmigrant visa holders. to make sure everyone understands how the process is working today, lawful permanent residents and special visa holders are allowed to board their flights. we have done that of her 1000 times so far in the three days of the implementation. secondly, immigrant visa holders
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and nonimmigrant visa holders covered will be denied boarding before they board their aircraft and will be referred to the department of state for further process. another question that has come up is whether travelers are treated differently. they will be treated based on the passport they present. if you are presented as a united kingdom resident, it does not apply to you upon arrival. i also want to talk about refugees. the executive order's calls for refugees ready to travel where it would cause undue hardship that they should be considered for waivers. we have done that in concert with our state department colleagues. 872 refugees will arrive this weekend we will process them for waivers through the end of the week. we are responding immediately to court orders. -- as secretary kelly ordered, we are responding immediately to court orders. lastly, want to tell you to increase information to travelers, we are our website.
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-- there when you login. there will be faq's giving information to stakeholders and the public as well as a link for individual travelers and a phone number to call. that will be on our website. thank you. >> good morning. i am the acting director for ice. it was a great honor to be contacted in the last couple days to step up in this capacity. i did this because i served to serve my -- i chose to serve my country once again. i have been in the immigration
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enforcement business for 30 years. i started on the u.s. border patrol. u.s. homeland security investigations for over 20 years. now, i am on the backend. i certainly know the immigration lifecycle and how to enforce immigration laws. i came back to act in this capacity because of my concern for the safety of communities. you know, folks, there are jurisdictions across the country where aliens are arrested. criminal aliens have committed crimes and then they are back in our communities. that causes my agents to go back out and knock on doors to arrest people they should have arrested in the community jail. the framework has changed under the executive orders of donald
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trump. at minimum, we will execute them perfectly at ice and we are here to serve. thank you very much. >> thank you. i am the acting under secretary for intelligence. i just want to echo secretary kelly's remarks. this is the fundamental responsibility of our government to protect the national homeland from the various actors trying to come inbound to the united states. this is for us to take a temporary pause to look at how we run things against the national database to look at nefarious actors. i am looking at how the intelligence community, the department of defense, our federal state and local agencies share information and how we run that information against anyone trying to come inbound to the united states to identify these sophisticated networks that are potentially trying to come inbound.
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we're trying to break down those barriers to share information, continue our automated screening and betting prop assists -- and vetting processes. this is a pause to take a look at how we collect data and how we exploited against national security threats. >> too quick questions. first, to the acting ice director. is ice planning to grow into the states and isn't planning to extend the time in which people are held? wouldn't it have been easier if you had guidance before the
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order came out? could confusion have been avoided? >> on the first question, yes. we have to secure our borders. we need to detain those people. we are looking at how to increase the detention capacity. we like to give due process and once they get that order from the judge, execute that order. thanks before you step up let me frame it a little bit. we did know the executive order was coming. we had people involved in the general drafting of it. clearly, this whole approach was part of what ben-candidate donald trump talked about for a year or two. we knew it was coming. we had high-level government lawyers from across the agencies
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to include homeland security who were involved in the drafting of it so we knew it was coming. it was not a surprise it was coming. and we implemented it. so go ahead. >> our job at the operation level is to take statutes, executive orders, or emerging threats effectively. we go through that assess, communications in the field, communications with stakeholders. we had orders come in right when we were implementing plans. we worked quickly to implement and i think the process has really smooth out. they were not within 72 hours, they were within two hours of the executive order being received. >> reporter here. two questions for whoever wants to take this. there are several lawmaker and educator groups saying that court orders were ignored to
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handcuff and try to report some passengers. can you reassure that agents are following the orders? a president has called the executive order "extreme vetting." can you describe exactly what is involved? >> no member of the homeland security team ignored court orders. i have heard these reports, i have asked people to include members of congress who called them in and asked him to run down information and of course we have no information. but we would not ignore a court order. >> what exactly was involved? >> extreme vetting, we are looking at various options. led by homeland security.
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there are many countries, seven we dealing with right now, that in our view, in my view, have -- don't have the kind of law enforcement records keeping, that kind of thing, that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are and what their background might be. there are various other additional things we are considering. on the other end, when someone comes in and asks for consideration to get a visa, it might be certainly an accounting of what websites they visit. it might be telephone contact information so that we conceded they are talking to. so again, all of this are under development that those are the kind of things we're looking at. social media. we have to be convinced that people that come here, there is a reasonable expectation that we know who they are and what they are coming here for and what their back on sorry end right now there are a number of
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countries on the planet that do not have that kind of records keeping, police work, that kind of thing. and seven countries right now fall under that category. so we are developing what additional betting, extreme vetting, might look like. >> i would add that the secretary comments, specifically the legal team, operation team, as soon as the court order was received, they advised us on the implications. we put a complete hold on anyone being removed in connection with the executive order. we then processed those folks for waivers and released them in the united states. >> paula reed, cbs news. two questions. first, clarify what you said about knowing the executive order was coming. you knew it was going to be signed on friday. there have been reports that you were upset about it. it you know was coming?
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>> as i said, we knew it was coming from two days ago and from what mr. trump for started to run for president. certainly i did not learn about it on an airplane. the order was signed friday morning, i took a trip down to miami for a couple different reasons one of which was to visit the people on the front lines of this all effort. that is the folks at the miami airport, tsa, border patrol, those kind of people. as you probably all know, i came from -- before retiring, 39 months in southern command. the partnership that frankly is very strong between homeland security and --, and fact i am very proud to say that developed very closely between myself when i was in command and my very, very good friend jeh johnson. we want to continue that. but no, did not learn about it on an airplane. >> specifically, green card holders are people with leases, seems like a lot of the problems encountered could have been easily foreseeable.
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>> i think from our perspective, again, people like me are respected and not just because of my military background, we are the implementers of the policy. developed by the white house, approved by the president. in collaboration and then sent down to the departments for execution, in this case, homeland security. the executive order, to me, was more or less fairly clear. again, when that came down i think i was on my sixth day on the job and i relied on people like the ones standing up here on the one spec and headquarters to say, ok. this looks good to us and we're off to the races. i kept being asked about chaos at the ports of entry.
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our officers, at the counter said to his bee the only chaos they saw was what was taken place in other parts of the airport. they knew what they were doing as foreign nationals presented themselves. they knew what to do with then and as i say, the only i guess, if we had to step back and talk a little bit, kevin can address that, he already has, we had to step back and reprocess a little bit on the court order we already passes. so i do this was under development and i think we were in pretty good shape and how it was implemented by the work force. >> huffington post, the white house has said repeatedly 109 people were inconvenienced by this. the number you give is getting wavered more like 10 times that.
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109 and then the number of people you just gave not being let on a plane, -- >> the 109 i think was very early on, right? the first a of the thing. of course, over time the number would increase. go ahead kevin, if you have anything else. >> can you explain why the white house did not have a current number? they said 100 nine yesterday. >> the record-keeping we do is not always, it is based on yesterday. so the acting commissioner can give you some very good numbers yesterday but in order to get the numbers today we have to wait until tomorrow. that is just the way they collect the information.
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obviously, it is an ongoing time of coming and going. kevin: the secretary is absolutely correct. the white house was referring to the initial hours and the folks in transit. there was a much larger number of folks who landed in the u.s. who were subject to the court order. we will keep updating the numbers on our website so we give you the updated information from about roughly 24 hours before every time we post. >> is homeland security, was it in place before the executive order and secondly when did you learn specifically that president trump was signing this? >> i knew he was going to sign an order about a year and a half or two years before he became president elect.
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from day one, in terms of the inauguration, finishing touches. i have to put it that way were put on the executive order. folks in the government, attorneys as well, were part of that. people on my staff were generally involved. i guess probably wednesday i think we learned. tuesday or wednesday that it would probably be during the week that it would be signed out. as you can imagine, going back and forth right up to the last minute. adjusting right up until the last minute. i think probably thursday we found out it was going to be signed the next a. certainly if you really, you know, if you really want to know with an executive order, just read the newspaper before the day before and you will find out. kevin and his whole team knows it is coming. certainly the president-elect and knows what direction the
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draft executive order was outlining. so i do not know nearly as much as kevin as how was executed right down to the counter level at the airport and he was leaving forward on that so when it was signed he executed it. i think kevin would agree, the only adjustment that had to be made was when the court order came out and of course we reacted to that as fast as we could. >> would you explain a little bit about this impression of confusion we heard from the airlines. they thought they were getting contradictory guidance especially with respect to whether or not legal permanent residents were allowed to board aircraft and where they would get their secondary screening that people started talking about. perhaps you could explain a little bit about that level of contention and why that him about. >> under the executive order, section three, there is a provision for granting of
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waivers when it is in the national interest. so it is technically covered as immigrant visa holders. we worked quickly with counsel to devise a waiver passes. the secretary had given guidance that returning residents, their status is in the national interest to welcome them home. so once we got that guidance, we work able to delegate the authority to grant a waiver to the field. >> that happened sunday? >> over a matter of hours friday night into saturday afternoon, that is correct. >> i am a little bit confused. i do not want to beat a dead horse but you talked about a year and a half, two years ago. details of the draft. secondly, not on what was in it, do you know the details of what was in this order outside of the media?
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who exactly the department of homeland security was involved? can you provide names, a landing team from the transition team #was career staff involved? from the department of homeland security mayor to this announcement? >> i had an opportunity to look at at least two as i recollect address on friday. again, i don't exactly know other than that if legal representatives were involved. on the landing team, i would imagine some of them. the point is, it came as a department. we did not distribute to everyone in the department, all with those who needed it. myself included, my chief and the lawyers. it was a back-and-forth process.
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i did talk to representatives in the white house. who probably certainly early in the week, about what was going on. how is being developed. i commented on the scene some of the initial drafts. it was a busy week. i did not get involved in correcting grammar or reformatting so -- >> from what you some from the white house, was it from the associated press? >> it was not from the media. although i will give you credit, you had it. you know, they were just the drafts coming back and forth within the interagency. >> deborah with nbc. you had no personal input or any sort of advance working with making these drafts? in other words, the draft was made and presented to you?
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>> presented to me, i mean, this is a primarily staff process, right? so the policy gurus on the white house was working with the interagency people. not a large number, i would not expect of the interagency people. i saw the draft because it was still in staffing and the people who worked in and around me was saying, we got it, boss. this is kind of what we expected it to be. i did not look at it from the perspective of, as i said, correcting the grammar or, we need to change this word to do this thing. people who know the immigration process better than i do right now, and that includes interagency people, were the ones who did the staff work and ultimately the president signed it and as you know, that was passed down to the relevant
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agency, in this case homeland security and we executed. in this case, as kevin said and as i endorse, the people on the right lines of border protection, in this case you can see they are absolutely -- they did an outstanding job and more credit is due because they flexed quickly when the court order came out and throughout this people who were inconvenienced for some time were treated in the way they are always treated, with dignity and respect. so -- >> content related to the order itself and not the timing. >> actually, molly needs to get one question and. >> you said no one violated court orders. it came out saturday night, didn't require that lawyers at dulles airport had access. some were held up for at least 24 hours.
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every single lawyers said they did not have access to folks held at the airport. why did you violate that court order. secondly, kevin, there have been numerous reports that people held at airports were given copies of forms that basically eliminates your legal residency. is that correct? were cbp officials directed to give copies of that order to people at airports? if not are there going to be repercussions for officials that did give copies of that form to people who were held up at airports? >> is about six questions but i will let kevin answer. seven: as soon as we got it, we developed a process to give access to counsel to people who were being processed at dulles. it is offered to every resident coming through and was input immediately. it did not apply to everyone being processed. just lawful permanent residents. that is first.
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we make sure that the arriving permanent residents have a list of legal counsel. again, at this point, we are processing for a waiver expeditiously and they are being released. and we quickly moved to change the status and correct it. if there are any issues on individuals i've given the b.gov. tion on cv we've briefed the lawyers and we're happy to make any corrections to status. >> just to be clear and i ask you this, kevin, to the best of our knowledge, no c.v.p.
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officer knowingly, intentionally violated the court order? >> that's correct. >> senator rubio and other members of congress yesterday had said that their staff were told that they had been instructed by the white house not to provide information about the executive order. i was wondering if you could respond to those allegations in addition during your testimony, during your confirmation you said you it was your understanding that president trump would be playing any additional limits on muslim travelers. so i'm wondering when that may have changed. last question. if there was an operational plan in place, why was it that a legal process was then developed subsequently after the fact and green card holders were turned away, s.r.v.'s haven't been turned away? do you have a plan in place to get them here? >> the second part.
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there were s.i.v.'s denied boarding. there were carriers that overinterpreted our guidance. they responded at the security aspect. and then we had to work with them to rebook travelers. we've taken stems contacting a relative many the u.s. to find someone who was already denied boarding form so we can tell them that they were allowed to board. we worked very hard to correct those issues. >> as of yesterday, the department of defense didn't know that they were permitted. they were compiling a list. if this guidance was clear and it was just a few cases in -- h people overenter overinterpreted that these were allowed to the extent that they were compiling a list? >> think it's fair to acknowledge that agencies haven't been the best in the role of this process.
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these guidelines will be on the website. we're working with the carriers to make sure these folks know the rules and we'll allow them to board. >> senator rubio said yesterday that his office had been told by the department of state, i believe, and i believe also by the department of homeland security. that they weren't allowed to provide information about the executive order to members of congress. that they had been instructed by the white house not to do so. >> that people in homeland security and security were instructed by the white house not to talk to congress? >> not to provide information to congress -- >> i don't know anything about that. >> the last question i have -- i realize -- >> one more. go ahead. >> during your testimony, during your confirmation process you said you had not had conversations with president-elect trump and did not have the understanding that increased limbs would be placed on muslim travelers.
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can you comment on that now? >> i think what's happened now obviously is that the e.o. has outlined seven countries for various reasons as to why travelers from those countrys prevented from traveling to the united states until we can satisfy ourselves, you know, that all -- that the people that they pr traveling are who they are. and that their backgrounds are such that we could trust that they're coming here for the right reasons as opposed to nefarious reasons. and you know, this is a -- you know, a process by which we will over the next 30, 60, 90, 120 days ideally work with those countries and as i say we're also looking at other countries perhaps that we could help or suggest that they tighten up on their procedures. i will say this, the vast majority of the 1.7 billion muslims that live on this planet, the vast majority of
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them have all other things being equal have access to the united states and a relatively small number right now are being held up for a period of time until we can take a look at what their procedures are. i would be -- i would be less than on toast tell you that some of those countrys that are currently on the list may not be taken off the list any time soon. there are countrys that are in various states of collapse as an example. but ultimately, we'd like to see all of those countries taken off of the list. but we'll have to see how that oes.
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