tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 18, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT
>> mr. bruce swartz, you are not going to be of very good witness if you want to answer questions based upon your knowledge in this area has supplied to us by the department of justice. >> well, senator, as i said at the outset, i can speak to the criminal aspect here and the impetus for many of these children to live fully. whether the basis for their asylum is sufficient will have to be determined in the proceedings themselves. >> just a range. >> i am not prepared at this stage -- >> i will tell you this, it does not give me a lot of faith in the public officials who are dealing with this issue if they do not have some kind of gut instinct as to the number of people who are coming into this country that might actually really need asylum. that does not give me a very good sense of you having a handle on the situation. >> senator, i will talk with my colleagues in the executive
office of immigration review to give their review -- their view on that particular question. i can speak to the criminal justice aspects as opposed to the immigration. >> can mr. shannon answer that question? >> i don't have the figures. it n the interviews that have been done, 58 percent of the migrants could have a protection concern. >> well, let me just say that typically when people ask for an appropriation to deal with an issue they have a sense of the magnitude of the problem in each category that we are trying to solve. so if you are up you're asking for us to solve a problem -- and i hope we will -- and i think many of the question is the chairman has asked a legitimate, and i hope many of mine are. but if you don't have a sense as to the magnitude of what we are
dealing with it is unsettling to think about money coming to a problem when we don't understand necessarily how big the problem is or necessarily what the solutions are. i think you for being here. i know other people have questions, and i hope as a group rubles of this problem, forge policies that will help solve this problem. >> thank you, senator. let me create a framework. i know we have a lot of questions. some of us attended the session yesterday. others belong to other committees in which the appropriate officials, particularly the department of homeland security, better posed to answer them. i invited mr. bruce swartz here in the context of what we're doing which is the focus of central america and how we change the dynamics of that from the criminal division as it relates to engaging. totally legitimate questions, but i just want to put in context that i did not ask the
department to come here to talk about the status of filing seekers and likelihood. it is a legitimate question, but i don't want anyone to feel that he is not being forthcoming. within the department it is not his jurisdiction. asked him to talk about how we can help fight crime in central america. others can continue to ask, but i want to set the record. >> i appreciate that point of view, and that is the purpose of the hearing. i would hope that officials within the departments would be communicating with each other and would have communicated with each other when this appropriations request came out and have a general sense of what is driving this. i apologize if you feel i got off topic. >> totally legitimate question, senator. i just don't want -- i invited witnesses here with a purpose.
it does not mean they don't have some broader knowledge, but when they don't plan not going to suggest that they are not being forthcoming. i do believe that the appropriators are getting in their hearings have some of those questions asked. i know that the department of homeland security has been pursuing that same line of questioning you are. i just not want to think the administration here is being evasive i have gone after this administration more than my share on different topics. i no there will still be many questions. >> thank you. i think you can help if you just went back and looked at how many of all those that have sought asylum, the children in the last few years got asylum. i think it is important. end from what i gather it is about 50%.
i would appreciate your doing that as well. i want to thank my chairman and ranking member for this very important hearing to look at a humanitarian crisis, a challenge for each of us because we can do something about this regardless of party. and if ever we were able to be brought together i pray that our sense of humanity will bring us together. in my long lifetime i have noticed that innocent children bring us together, and they are standing in front of us. you know, we have to deal with this in a smart way. we have to step up. just before i get to my questions, i think there are two main questions. and i think both of my leader's. first, do we need to it change the 2008 law signed by president bush? i have asked for review and have not said anything until today about how i feel on it because i
was open to seeing what we should do. i believe that that bill does give the administration the flexibility that it needs to do the right thing. i do not know what their view one it is. they are looking at it, but that is my view i think we can do under that law the right thing for these children and our nation. and that is what we are balancing. and then the second question is, do we need more resources? without a doubt -- without a doubt. i cannot believe people are standing up and voted against comprehensive immigration reform and saying, we don't need any money. we don't have the tools without the funding. we need to deal with this. add to have faith in the senators, and i hope that they will move together and lead us on this. now, we know that these children are fleeing their homes, not
everyone, but most i believe are fleeing their homes and making the treacherous journey -- and let's call it that -- because they are coming from some of the most violent places in the world. the murder rates in these countries are some of the highest with honduras are neither tragic distinction of murder capital of the world. poverty, unemployment is widespread. gains and drug-traffickers are terrorizing civilian populations in many cases these vulnerable boys and girls are fleeing for their lives. but here is the thing. they're not just fleeing to the united states. and i think this is an important point. these children are seeking safety in other countries like mexico, panama, nicaragua, belize where since 2009 asylum applications are up over 700%.
what does this say? it tells us that this is not just an american problem but a regional problem. and i do not leave we can solve it on our own nor should we. ambassador thomas shannon, i have a question. why wouldn't the administration call an emergency summit with the organization of american states? we know the oas is a body set up for regional political economic and social cooperation. this is, it seems to me, the right venue where we take care of what we have to do here, take a look at this as a broader problem. can you react to that idea? >> that is a very good suggestion, and i thank you for it. we have had an opportunity to do several regional events related to this question. there was a conference held in nicaragua under the auspices of the un high commission on refugees about a month ago where
we were able to fashion documents and approaches that allowance, i think, to understand in a common fashion house this dynamic, this crisis of migration. a similar conference was over a few days ago in mexico city sponsored by the mexican government and the holy see on migration and development and the government of honduras yesterday held a regional migration conference where we were also present. >> if i could just say, that is really good. but i am talking about a regional summit at the highest of levels that we utilize. the oas is a set up -- i cannot imagine a better thing. i have talked to the administration about this idea. they seem open to it, but i hope he will take back this idea because the american people when they look at this, my state, a
border state, they are compassionate. we have a few who are not, let's be clear. the ugly side has shown, and that happens, but overwhelmingly people want to do the right thing. but they also know that this is a regional deal. we cannot do everything alone. it is too hard. we are coming out of some hard times. i want all the countries in the region. please take that back. the department of justice runs to programs that train law-enforcement and prosecutors in central american countries who are trying to hold these deadly games and traffickers accountable and combat corruption. it just sounds like complete lawlessness when you read about it. these children are so fearful that they will either be abused by 84, tortured by 84 or if they do not get recruited killed.
so can you explain to us because i am certainly not an expert on what is happening on the ground. can you give us a sense of what is going on on the ground there? either of you who might know better than us. >> i can start and then turn to ambassador shannon. i think it is clear that in these countries violence is endemic and is, indeed, the backdrop for the surge we are seeing now, even if it is not the immediate cause for every child it is certainly a destabilizing factor. it undercuts economic growth and opportunity, makes it extremely dangerous for individuals simply to live in those countries. in terms of what we're doing on the ground, as i mentioned, our response has both short range immediate goals and long-range goals. through our vetted units that work with law enforcement agencies, fbi, dea, homeland
security, we hope to build the kind of capacity in those countries that will allow them to address the violent crime that plague their citizens. again, i stress to protect our citizens as well since these gang operate across borders to mike ms-13 and the 18th street gangs operate in the united states. beyond that, with state department funding for our resident legal advisers from overseas prosecutorial group, resident law-enforcement advisers, criminal investigatory group we can begin to work on thinking through systemic changes that need to be made in these countries with their partners. we have seen this. we have seen the possibility of doing this, colombia being the most recent and relevant example in the region in which we took a country some people considered to being on the edge of a failed state and with the commitment of that country were able to think through changes to their prosecutorial system, how they
did investigations, creating a democratic policing and an adversarial system that protect the citizens right to be fairly tried and protected against criminal groups. this is a question of having the funding to make this possible. the department of justice has not received appropriations created one of the main supplementals. >> that is the kind of thing the american people need to know and is why, i think, a high-profile conference where the world is to see the region cares about these children and the future. my kids always say i repeat things too much, but i repeat, i think oas high-profile summit would be helpful. >> if i might add, the mexican attorney general has suggested that we have a meeting of the attorneys general's of the region to address this issue. attorney general holder very much what comes that opportunity. >> thank you.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. you know, this problem came to light this year with this huge influx of unaccompanied children illegally entering this country. when it did people started to look at it, and the first thing we heard was it was because of the 2008 law that was passed. i think a lot of the said, you know, before we do that what we need to do is have a look at the facts. we did. they had a graph prepared of illegal children entering the united states. this is only apprehensions, unaccompanied minors and apprehensions. have you seen this chart? i mean, if it's pretty quickly. it is not the 2008 law because you had 19,000 injured in 2009, 18,000 in 2010, 16,000 in 2011. if anything, the direction was
going down. then in 2012 this thing just skyrocketed. 24,000 in 2012, 38,000 in 2013 tweeted this year we got the 52,000. the numbers were from al salvador, guatemala, and honduras. it was the central american countries. before you can resolve the problem behalf to know what is causing the problem. what happened 2012. >> a great question. the numbers explode, but there was pressure before that. the pressure is building for a variety of reasons very little of it has to do with the immigration debate here. interviews with unaccompanied
children who have been detained and in a country with aspiring migrants indicate they have little understanding of the dynamics of the migration debate in the u.s., but what they know and understand is how people are treated upon arrival. when i talk about pressure building 2009 is when we suffered an economic downturn. it is particularly devastating. from 2009-2011 you have economic distress in the region. on top of that because of the success mexico is having a half games and mexican cartels moving into parts of central america in order to control it drug-trafficking organizations. i think the stresses that are driving this car, first, economic, cartel relativity and looking at two gang activity.
>> i hear what you're saying, but you talk about the economic downturn. it went down. what is your view? >> again, i think that there are a variety. one hears everything from coffee drowns affecting the plantations -- coor's i appreciate -- >> but i think, as you say to my it is one of the things we're trying to study. underlying it from the perspective of the department of justice is the economic instability. >> in 2012 if we have any significant event regarding u.s. immigration policy occurred did the president sign in the executive orders in 2012?
>> i understand what you're driving at -- >> i am. >> but i would argue that the dynamic of migration -- >> i hear you, but are you telling me that his executive order to my we're not pulling to send children back to not cause an explosion when people understood that when they got here there would not have to go back? you denying that has nothing -- >> would i'm sorry, there is a marketing strategy. children have and will be deported, bud when what they were able to do is fashion a marketing strategy for kids who wanted to leave, parents who wanted their kids to leave and were able to show that when they got to the frontier there would not be removed immediately. >> that's based upon the change in policy that the president took in 2012. >> it was placed on the tv prsa
issue regarding non contiguous. >> do you agree or disagree that the change in policy at the president's executive order had no affect on this explosion? >> i agree our intelligence suggest traffickers, expectations that the children will not be deported. that has been a key driver. >> you think they had a misunderstanding of the president's executive order? >> as far as we can tell it is not based on actual u.s. law. >> has the president tried to do anything to correct this impression in 2012 that has caused this new marketing program? >> we have been clear that these children should they not have international protection concerns or news will be
deported. >> thank you. >> senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and we thank you for your work here and your testimony. it is clear, as you pointed out, that the spike is related to the instability in the three countries involved because of criminal activity. that is what i think he responded to the question. and that has caused a gang activities, trafficking. traffic tolls to their traders will use whatever they can to advertise the circumstances. also true that this country has been one of the strongest in working with the international community to encourage countries where there are serious concerns
about safety of people within the country's top of -- an understanding that the border can be a sanctuary. that is why we have been urging countries around the world to do we have participated in international efforts to do, provide safety to people were not safe in their native countries. so that think we'll want to make it clear, it point that we have all stressed out. it is unsafe to put your child in the position of the trafficker were taken to our border. there is no improvement of that child status. that child will be put and deportation. that must be clear, but we must be mindful who, the number you gave, not our number, but the
international community suggests sarah over 50 percent of the children that may need some form of protective service. that is an international responsibility. so let me get to the point that the chairman raised initially. the president is asking for over three and a half billion dollars . $3.4 billion is dealing with the consequences of a failed policy within the native countries. no, a failed policy means instability that is not say for families and children and put unaccompanied children at risk in transit to the u.s. only 300 million is being used to deal with the cause. we have programs in this country, the millennia -- millennium challenge program, partnership for growth operating
in el salvador, the central american regional security initiative and if we have programs that were intended to deal with some of these issues. if i could just point out the most successful program initiated to deal with a global problem that affected our country was where we had significant resources identified with the u.s. initiative that made a consequence will -- consequential difference. what does it take to have that type of effort for safety of children in honduras and of salvador and guatemala? how can we change these programs is free are going to spend over three and a half billion end clearly have made the case that
these funds are needed, we would like to be able to at least start down the path of the united states using its international development assistance to keep children safe and these three countries. quite frankly, i have not seen that from the administration. what does it take? >> thank you very much for that. i appreciate the larger point, which is an important one. the safety and well-being of children is part of a larger approach of u.s. development assistance. as we've built our program, as we build our bilateral assistance program, the idea was to address a country comprehensively with the hope that we would be able to address the concerns of adults and the
different sectors and factors of society. obviously what we are looking at now is something dramatic. >> of the supplemental budget is dramatic on the number of prosecutors, the number of personnel on the border, the new facilities. it is dramatic, except it is not dramatic for making a change in the countries where the children are coming from. why not? president reagan did that josh. why aren't we? >> well, it is a great argument, and i am happy to take it back. what we are asking for is designed to operate in three countries. it is concentrated and designed to address principal drivers of
this migration which is violence and economic opportunity and corruption and. we think that by doing this we will advance the well-being of the children. the idea of fashioning a larger policy throughout the region is a good want. >> to you believe that if congress approved exactly as the administration suggested it would have a major change in the three countries as it relates to the safety of children? >> it will have a positive impact. so much of the violence as localized. what is important, the 300 million will connect to programs we have put will ultimately be a down payment.
>> if i might address that. that money can be consequential. we have seen that in terms of being able to put personnel on the ground it does not necessarily take that much money but a sustained commitment. it will not happen overnight, but we have seen the ability to change criminal-justice system's and the way that the society addresses criminal justice. we think it can be an important step. it will not happen overnight but is an essential for step. >> this committee has jurisdiction over development assistance, and i would hope that we would be able to weigh in on a bipartisan basis as is this opportunity to make a difference in the way that we provide development assistance in these three countries to make children's and families feel
more confident of their future rather than putting them on trains coming to the united states. >> i think the senator. something i have been advocating for a while. now that we have an opportunity to crystalize thinking, maybe it will be a moment to move forward . let me recognize his daughters are seated in the audience. you'd better do record job. >> thank you for the pressure. appreciate that. thank you both for being here. let me preface this by saying it is an issue i care deeply about. we have huge communities. i am familiar with the reality. there is no doubt that the violence, as bad as anywhere in the world. we have to examine why they want
to come here as opposed to panama or some other place. i think it is unfortunate and counterproductive to ignore both the reality in application of immigration law. i say that as someone who was a demonstrated supporter and continue believe this country needs to reform immigration laws for the good of our country. word of mouth on this issue is extremely powerful. the reason and the way people like getting a lot of information, and the word of mouth and central america is that there is this news special law that allows you to stay, and part of the tactics, there is a special law to create a time constraint pressure. a special law that they point to
is a deferred action decision taken in 2012. that is with they point to. we can say, under this law you are not allowed to stay which is technically accurate, but if you look at how it is applied in reality, they are right and been low. if you are rife in the u.s. as an unaccompanied minor or apparent with children you're not treated the same as a single male. i saw figures yesterday that 70 percent of the people who cross that border are in the united states. and they know the process. you are apprehended. if there is someone in the united states to can turn you over to and in many cases these children have parents here.
they're is a long time. they are given a notice to appear. in some instances they never show up, but even if they did it might be years down the road. in truth if you arrive you're going to get to stay. people call home and report what has happened which takes on a strong implication. i read documents that now there are individuals crossing, but we have found instances and we know of instances where there are unrelated adults posing as the parents. is that accurate? >> our understanding is there are circumstances we are
targeting him four's documents to try to establish family relations. >> the word of mouth is again back the chances are a lot better. you have unrelated adults pretending to be married and that some children affairs. that is something. there is also evidence of churches and non-governmental agencies that are both advising, assisting, and encouraging people to undertake this journey i think we are naive if we think the government's view this as a problem for them. we are naive if we ignore the fact that 13 percent of the mind -- combined domestic product is made up of remittances.
the user to have as many people as possible. high said this to individuals to have an interest which is what they have been less than cooperative in addressing some of this. i say this in the context that this is just one more reason why this country must address this issue. i believe if we had a system that worked better there would be a conduit. if we had enforcement mechanisms people would be discouraged from entering the country. but this is an evidence that we have a disaster that must be addressed but don't think we can be 90 and must understand the complexities of everything that is driving these folks across the border and making this
happen. no one to ask you briefly. is there evidence that there are ngos and church groups and others assisting and encouraging people, providing transit routes and encouraging people to undertake this acting as facilitators? >> i am sure there are plenty of people taking advantage of this. most of them are criminal. there are ngos that provide shelter. i visited one of his. i had an opportunity to speak with migrants. it is run by catholic organization.
and their purpose is to provide a place for migrants to stop. >> do they tell them that you should reconsider this trip? >> many of them do. they also deal with women being trafficked. they do highlight the dangers, but their primary purpose is to provide shelter. >> i have one more question. i have heard reported that as a matter of course women are advised to take contraceptions. >> not just women, but gross. >> senator cain be.
>> thank you for your service and. we will try to spend a little bit on diagnosis him. , to what degree is violence a factor? >> i believe it is a major factor. >> i agree. london the mapping suggests these children are coming from the most violent areas and the and we are not seeing an explosion. to the extent that violence is a major factor have to what extent is the drug trade a factor? >> the drug trade is what has expanded the reach of gangs in
central america when and provided the money in transnational connections. it is significant. >> a major factor. >> yes. the connection is certainly significant. >> of the flow is being driven by violence it is a major factor let me ask you my next question. to what extent is the chart trade driven by u.s. demand? is that major, minor? >> nearly all the drugs are going to the united states. >> we recognize that consumption is a major factor. >> the way i look at this challenge, about 600 of the 52,000 kids are being chased out
of the neighborhood of violence connected to a drug trade that is intimately connected to the united states demand. it is united states dollars and drugstore in north who. the amount is so significant that it is dwarfing the institutions of the central american nations. this flood of folks is not unconnected. it is in -- and milliken acted. i was in the syrian refugee camp in turkey has about a year ago. it i remember asking myself the question, when i see lebanese are not really that wealthy and the have refugees equivalent to one-quarter of the population that they have to do double
shifts. as you the number of refugees in jordan having to deal with the number of refugees. and have -- they have been driven by violence. i saw those countries dealing with this massive influx of refugees. one quarter of the population. i found myself asking myself how of the united states would deal with refugees. i wonder if we would deal with it in the same way as lebanon or turkey which is kind of what we're seeing, refugees driven by violence that is connected to the united states. so we have a connection. we have an obligation to try to be creative in solving it. i echo the comments made before i arrived about how
disappointing it is to season : billing funding in recent years. 100 million. the president's original budget proposed hundred million and 800 million for the detention of folks of the border. now we will take it up to over three and a half billion. it seems that we could spend money better to deal with this problem of violence which would be a better way to spend the money. let me ask about drug interdiction. general kelly is the commander. he said, with respect to drug interdiction because of the combination of austerity sequester and the movement of military sources, he watches 75 percent of the drugs just go right by him because he does not have the resources to interdict.
what more vigorous support for drug interdiction, would that be a way we could potentially help reduce some of the violence being experienced? >> a short answer is yes. but that obviously we have to deal with the consequences today they are not going away. they will continue to look for any source of revenue that they can find, whether shakedowns, operating other illegal activities or drug-trafficking. so as we look for ways to reduce the pressure we will have to recognize that the games and now embedded in central america, and dealing with them will be a significant task. >> from the department of justice perspective we agree that interdiction is critical and we also agree that we have
to strike against these gangs. we have done so and will continue to do so. this is truly a shared responsibility and danger for the american people. these groups operate in our country and those. >> one of the things that puzzles me as an island in central america that was a great deal of cultural similarity. how come there is not a huge number of youngsters coming from nicaragua? >> again, we only have limited in sight. a lot of it has to do with historic immigration patterns. historical we these countries have not migrated hint the same way. it is easier for migrants from
those countries to settle. but it also had to do with the drug trafficking patterns and traffickers coming out of the andes. the cartels have found honduras' an easier mark. >> i would add to that the penetration varies from country to country. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. let's all agree that we have a humanitarian crisis that must be addressed. of want to confine my question on the definition of the problem and what we should be talking about. unaccompanied children. we are debating is whether we
need to spend more money and if we do how we should be spent. in the sense, what is the achievable policy goal? >> the achievable goal is to work with these countries to build their justice system so that they can address these issues and lessen the likelihood . >> again, one sentence. >> to build partnerships with mexico as a transit and designation country. >> again, you are missing the mark. needs to be to stop the flow. we have 57,000 unaccompanied minors. 90,000 who by the end of this fiscal year.
we have to stop the flow. dougie not think that we can achieve solving the drug problem or improving the economies. i don't think that is an achievable. i have seen that exact same chart. i have done a fair amount of calculations. do you know what percent of these children we have sent back ? >> i understand you have asked for that information. >> your answer is no. >> we are obtaining at. >> i've got it. more than 1,704,000 unaccompanied minors, our rate of over nine and a half%. more than 90 percent of those children and still in this country. over time it has declined. in 2009 we returned about
23,000. 2012 with deferred action we dropped. just over four. looking at what the senator said , it is obvious that correlate it cost, the spike and unaccompanied children. i want to talk about the push factor and how unrealistic it is . in just the last three years quiz than $956 million in u.s. economic assistance. we spend 76 billion to controlled drinks. did you think throwing a few
million dollars will solve that problem? i would say not. who let's talk about race or read some. he the fact of the matter, rates spiked. in guatemala it has declined to 40. condors, it build up and is down to 87. to put that in perspective, the murder rate in detroit in 2012 is 55. new orleans, 53. we can talk about this, but i would be looking more at the policy factor in terms of causing this. no one to talk about this in general. we have spent a lot of money in terms of customs, border patrol, customs and immigration services
and hhs refugee programs. we spent 17 and a half billion dollars on those programs / the million removals and return henceforth $14,000 per deportation or removal. 14,000. in 2012 we spent over 21 billion. that's about $33,000. so really the number of immigrants, because i would argue bad economic times, not as much economic -- economic activity, we spend a lot of money on a per person basis in terms of what agencies have to spend the money on. we have more than double spending. why do we need another three and a half billion?
>> i believe it will. the immediate impact will be to allow us to manage the flow of people coming across the border in a fashion that allows us to determine those who have protection needs and those who don't. >> have you answer the fact we have doubled spending? we have more than double spending. >> as a corollary, is all the spending on border enforcement just related to returns? is and that the equivalent to a police department? of want to get a total picture. if we are going to say all this money is divided into the number of departees we can take a lot of people off the border in
terms of enforcement. >> and just trying to provide some reasonableness. >> and trying to make sure were talking. >> we need more time to vet numbers properly. we were in a meeting yesterday. how much will cost per bed per child per day. her defense was him if we can't plan for its -- if i don't plan a vacation property and still not paying a thousand dollars a day. again, the debate is, does this administration who did not plan on this even of their actions cost of, does it really need more or do we have enough built
into the budget. and if we're going to spend money trying to solve the problem, is that a pipe dream? >> i can address that. we have examples where we have added transformative effect. we have done it in colombia, and it has been to the benefit. we have to engage. their problems are ours. >> but we have engaged to the tune of a billion dollars. >> thank you. i agree with what has been said by my colleagues. the goal is to stem the tide. this is a crisis, and we have
got to do something. we are concerned that this seems to be geared at maintenance rather than a fix. i was glad to hear your explanation of what this is and what caused the spike. we can talk about violence, drug trade, cartels nothing contemplated by the house or senate would have allowed this kendis back here. this is a successful marketing strategy.
unless we change the incentives it will continue to work. a lot of overtime have gone to a human smuggling because penalties are less. we need to deal with those issues. if you look at this know for the smugglers this is a sweet cake. they are able to have this marketing strategy which works because as we know most of these kids are allowed to stay and the possibility for prosecution for them is minimized because they don't have to come into the country. they didn't -- get them through mexico without ever crossing into the country. we can still go after them, but we cannot arrest and.
we have had cooperation, but it does not happen. things and not going to change until the incentive structure changes. the concern that i have is if you look at what the president has requested this for the department of health and human services which has no role in border enforcement or deportation to a it is to take these kids -- caves and place them with a sponsor. as has been said by senator rubio, the net practical effect right now, there on the ground regardless of what we say in advertising campaigns, one of the president said. most of these kids will not qualify. to not send your kids to the border. they are saying the right thing. the problem is, it is not backed up by action. when the president says that
your kids will be deported, they will not be able to stay to was that is belied by the facts on the ground. the facts on the ground are and unaccompanied minor or child with the mother comes across very, very few are actually being sent back. director of the white house defensive policy council said, and she is right, if you look at the history of the kids in cases that apply to them it seems unlikely that the majority of these children are going to have the ability to stay in the united states. they are saying that, and it should be the case, but the practical effect of policy is that once the child is placed with the sponsor it is extremely unlikely that they're going to be deported. and she said, if we are to stem the tide and send the right
signal to families down south it will need to involve literally thousands of kids being repatriated. i think everyone recognizes that they will realize their money was else did and they subjected their children to a lot of potential abuse or abuse for nothing right now what they see is these kids being placed with a sponsor, given a court date months or years in the future. and think about it for a minute. the charge of hhs is to place a child in the least restrictive environment in their best interest. if you draw that out a bit, we would be placing a child with a sponsor who is either a parent or relative or someone else in this country that is in the child's best interest later to rip that child away from that family member and then deport them.
i think the families that are coming and certainly smugglers' understand that is not going to happen. so the incentive structure is still there, and my concern -- i think a lot of our concern is that until we change the structure, and so we can expedite the process so that we are not having to place these children here in this country only to show up or not show up later had some type of hearing or legal proceeding, until we change that structure the smuggling will continue because for them it is a successful strategy with very little downside, not even having to come into the country. it used to be with human smuggling you had to get them across the arizona border, to the i-10, place them with someone else and at least someone was at risk of being caught. now is not likely. they have a good gig for them going, and i am afraid that we need to change the incentive
structure. ambassador shannon, i ramble the bid, no, but do you see a change in this behavior on the part of the smugglers and of families that there prang on, changing unless we change the incentive structure here ? >> changing the incentive structure will change a particular form of migration. we will change smugglers' turning their kids at the border. it will stop the migration. the migration has to be addressed in the home country because these kids are like boomerangs. it does not matter how far we throw them. for those who feel they are under threat and for those who are helpless in their home country, they will come back. >> if i could add, we are trying to change the incentive structure for smugglers as well. resident legal adviser in honduras has put together a joint group aiming exactly at how we can engage those countries in the prosecution of
customs inspections is the largest law enforcement entity we have in the federal government. >> that is correct. >> now, children placed with a guardian, that question, who we fear won't show up, we have two choices. we can either deal with the costs of detaining that child, or we could, if we want to ensure they show up because we think they're being placed with a guardian who also may not have documented status, we could put an ankle bracelet on them, which would be more human main than detention and far lest -- far less expensive. so there are options for us to consider as we deal whether the person has the right or not to ultimately seek asylum. now, is there any way we can change the smugglers' marketing? i don't know we promote the smugglers' marketing. i think we should be smashing the smuggling networks. and i would say to some of these
individuals, cooperate with us in terms of who were the smugglers who brought you here, and start prosecuting them, and when the smugglers know there's a consequence to them, they may go to jail either in that country or here, we will have a change in the marketing. >> one of our resident legal advisers in one of the northern triangle countries will be traveling with his counterparts to interview children here in the united states for precisely that purpose. >> now, i want to include in the record, since much has been made of 2012 and dakay, deferred action item, let get the word out there. how do you actually qualify for a deferred action? >> you must have come to the united states under the age of 16 and you must have continuously resided in the
united states for at least five years preceding the date of 2012. which means that if you were not physically in the united states and can prove it, since 2007, and among other eligibility, you would not be eligible to adjust your status. i is that a correct understanding? >> reading from a department of homeland security document. >> yes. right. >> also, not only be here since 2007 and be under the age of 16 when you came, but you had to be in school, you had have to graduated from high school, you have to have obtained a general education development certificate or be honorably discharged va of the coast guard or armed forces of the united states. you can't do all of that. unless you were here before 2007.
so, without objection, include the homeland's eligible for deferred action in the list of items. let me ask you, is it not true that president obama has deported more migrants than any president in recent history? >> , that, mr. chairman. >> matter of fact, some have called him the dough porter in chief -- the deporter in chief. now, it seems to me that congress has unclean hands here, in its failure to act to reform our immigration system. and in the absence of that failure, what has been congress' successful role is to dramatically increase borders and custom enforcement to the point that we have had the most detentions and deportations at
any other time. so, let me ask two final questions. are all 60,000 of the children that we estimate have arrived -- did they ale all have smuggler, all pay a smuggler to get here? >> i don't know the exact figure because i have not seen the results of the interviews that have been done, but the younger ones almost certainly. the older ones, 16 and 17-year-olds, in the conversations i had with them at lack lean, at hhs, or lake mcallen or the shelters, some have come on their own. >> those who rode the train of death, did they have smuggle lehrer in. >> typically yes. >> the national security interests. with denothing, nothing, as it relates to central america, except tell the central
americans, get your act together, we do nothing more, what will we the consequences of that. >> i think it will have serious law enforcement consequences for the united states as well. these criminal gangs operate not only in the central american countries, they operate in the united states, we're bringing actions against them even today on that basis and the cartel does the same thing. >> when we had a concerted northwest chromearch did we not achieve taking a country virtually on the verge of not being able to control its own internal sovereignty, being run by drug lords, and ultimately change that country to what is now one of the finest democracies in the western hemisphere? >> we did. we know how to do this. >> i think the hearing has been very educational and i'd like to also enter into the record an article from "the wall street journal" entitled "few children or deported" also like to enter,
if okay, table 39 from the u.s. department of homeland security document that senator johnson was referring to, that really challenges the notion and stipulates the differences between removals and rereturns. i think returns are actually diminishing at a pretty high level. here's what i'd like to say. this is a humanitarian crisis, and i think everybody here -- most of us have children, have -- to see what is happening with so many children from other countries, breaks our heart. at the same time, with an emergency supplemental, seems to me that what we should be addressing is, is there something we can immediately do to change the incentive struck -- structure? i think it would be very important for all of government, on the executive side to address what is causing this spike, and
i do think there is a marketing that is taking place, but it's based on policies, and if you look at returns, the returns issue is a big part of this. very few people are being returned. mr. swartz, i know i was -- i appreciate you both being here and know y'all are great public servants. on the asylum issue, if in fact the number is 58%, but that also means that if you actually ever make it to court -- which very few do -- you then have a 58% chance of a situation possibly where no action is being taken against you there. so i think we ought to define -- i don't want to get into the debate what asylum is and the u.n. and us we have different categories, but i think it's important for us to over time
find that. i want to go back to the chairman's thrust in this committee hearing. i think it's important for us to develop policies that affect the region, and die think some of the partnerships are important, and i think senator mccain's comments about when you travel through central america in fairness, you can see that u.s. demand for drugs is ravaging these countries. that's a fair statement. but i would think that during this period of time when we have an emergency, that what we would address in the emergency is the incentive structure and trying to address the problems that senator johnson raised, and then come back and look longer term at what we need to do throughout the region, if you will, to possibly have some impact on what is happening. some of the central american countries don't have this issue. i think we should look at why they don't. some of the central american countries could have this issue.
honduras in particular. i think before us is an cute issue we need to first address and then i hope over time the committee will develop a longer term plan. i thank you both for being here, i know there are motions running high on both sides and hopefully there will be some consensus to a policy that will stem the flow as quickly as possible, and then let us address them longer-term. >> thank you, senator corker. one request of -- from mr. swartz, i'd like you to produce to the committee what were the detentions of children and the deportation of children prior to 2009. so, for the -- let's say, eight years prior. >> mr. chairman, we'll do that. >> secondly, senator corker, as the ranking member, always been and continues to be a thoughtful member on all of these issues and i appreciate it. the only thing i would say that
there's a difference between passion and emotion. some of us are passionate about some of these issues. some are passionate about the size of government, the cost of government, the spending of government. so, it's not so much emotion as it's passion at the end of the day. so, with the appreciation of the committee for both of your testimony, you're excused at this time. i'd like to call up our send panel. we're pleased to have pulitzer pride winning journalist who has been recognized for her book. she serves as a board member of kind, kids in need of defense. we also have the director of the latin american program at the woodrow wilson international center for scholars here in washington. and i'd ask the audience who is leaving to do so quietly, please.
and steven johnson, the regional director for latin america and the caribbean at the international republican institute. let me welcome you all to the committee. as i said to our previous panel, your full statements will be included in the record in their entirety without objection. i'd ask you to try to summarize them in about five minutes or so, so that we could engage in a dialogue, and we'll start with you. if you would turn your microphone on. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator corker and other members of the committee for inviting me to speak to testify before you today. i'm sonya nozario, board member of kids in need of defense, nonprofit found by microsoft, and angelina jolie that recruits
pro bone know attorneys to represent unaccompanied children. i first went to central america to write about civil wars in the early '80s and focused on unaccompanied children 15 years ago, writing the modern-day story of a boy whose mother left him in honduras when he was just five years old. 11 years later he went in search of hear in the u.s. by riding up the length of mexico on top of fraying train -- freight trains. last month i return for the fit time in in a decade to his home. i lived there for one week. i saw a huge change in why children are migrating to the u.s. a level of violence directed at them that astounded me. i have lived through argentina's dirty war and ridden on top of seven freight trains controlled by gangs through most of mexico.
i'm not easily spooked. but after a week, i thanked god i got out of enrique's neighborhood alive. gangs have long ruled parts of the area, but recent control by narcocartels has brought a new reach and viciousness to the violence. children, in particular, are being targeted here, and throughout the country. children are kidnapped, found hacked apart, heads cut off, skinned alive. sometimes at night, men in face masks strafe anyone on the street. war taxes are imposed on virtually everyone. if you don't pay, the narcos kill you. many neighborhoods are even worse. christian reyes, an 11-year-old sixth grader told me he had to leave honduras soon, no matter what. he had been threatened twice by narcos, and he fears the worst. last march, his father was
killed by gangs. three people christian knows were murdered this year. a girl his age was clubbed over the head, dragged off by two men who cut a hole in her throat, stuffed her panties in it and left her broken body in a nearby ravine. i can't be on the street, says christian, who narcohit men passed by -- he says that narcohitmen pass by on taxis and shoot at you. i've seen so much death. gangs are forcibly recruiting children as young as ten, to be their foot soldiers throughout the country. children told me they had two choices, join or get out, to stay alive. this is no different than child soldiers who are forcibly conscripted in sudan. schools in the area have become the narcos' battleground. girls face particular dangers. recently three girls were raped and killed. one of them eight years old.
two 15-year-olds were abducted and raped. a girl i interviewed who had been threatened by gangs said, it's better to leave than have them kill me here. and christian told me, i'm going this year. even if i need to ride on that train. children like christian fully understand how lethal the journey can be. neighborhoods are dotted with miami who have lost limbs to the train. many know someone who has died in that attempt. the narcocartels is kidnapping 18,000 central americans off those trains every year, and they prefer children. they demand ransom and kill children whose relatives can't or won't pay. you'd have to be honestly crazy or desperate to save your life to ride on the train now. many of these children, not all, are refugees. refugees flee their country for safety because they face
persecution and possible death, and can't turn to their government to protect them. despite billions of the u.s. has spent to disrupt the flow of drugs from colombia up the caribbean core corridor, the narcocartels have simply rerouted inland to honduras. around 2011, 2011, the narcos' grip in the neighborhoods tightened. that was not -- that was not coincidence live the first year the u.s. started to see a surge in unaccompanied children. we must address the situation-but by treating these children humanely and that means more than using the word in the title of legislation. to roll back basic protections of the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act of 2008, and expedite deportation, means border control will give even trafficking victims a cursory
screening. their job is to secure our borders, not to adduce information from traumatized children. the u.n., among others, has found that the screening of mexican children for protection concerns by border patrol has been a failure. every child should have a full, fair, and timely hearing before an immigration judge and an attorney. while kind has recruited thousands of volunteer lawyers, more than 70% of children must still present complex immigration cases without counsel due to the surge. so picture a seven-year-old boy that i saw alone in court. shivering with fright, expected to argue against the government's attorney who is battling to send him home. let me finish my saying, we must bolster security in honduras and the region, not by funding corrupt police and military, but by strengthening accountability, the judiciary, and child
protection. less than a tenth of the president's proposed 3.7 billion funding request is for aid to this region. lacking funding, usaid has closed its program in the area. we showed deep concern for girls who are kidnapped in nigeria but not for girls kidnapped by narcos in honduras. why? how can we demand that countries neighboring syria take in nearly 3 million refugees, but turn our backs on tens of thousands of children from our own neighbors. if we short-changed due process, i believe that congress, and this administration, will be sending many children back to their deaths. thank you for the opportunity to speak, and i welcome your questions. >> thank you. as i said before you were able to come back into the chamber, your full statement will be entered into the record and i
ask you to summarize in five minutes. there's a vote going on. i'm going to try to see if we can get through the testimony and then recess, and come back for questions. >> great. chairman menendez, thank you very much for this opportunity. senator corker, senator cain and others. i would like to emphasize some of the points that have been made by earlier speakers, but say that a long-term solution to what is now this humanitarian crisis depends on the quality of improvements in democratic governance in citizen security, and in development in central america. the united states government must be prepared to commit to these goals over the long term, and central american actors in and out of government must assume a willingness and a will to transform their own countries. there is no one causal factor, i will focus mostly on the push factors of criminal and
drug-fueled violence. we have heard the homocide statistic us but they tell only part of the story. there are -- there is an excessive focus on homocides. that is understandable but does not capture the other forms of street crimes, threats, assault, kidnapping, sexual violence and extortion that affect citizens on a routine and intimate daily basis. many of these statistics about other crimes are not reliable as civilians do not trust the police or other authorities, and this leads to a significant underreporting of even serious crimes. i would also encourage members of the committee to examine a map prepared by the department of homeland security, which studied the cities and towns of origin of the bulk of the undocumented children migrants between january and may 2014. they found the large e number,
20 of the to 7 city and towns were honduran, led by the most violent -- the most violent city in the world, and our hone department of home lean security noted, and i quote, that salvadoran and honduran children come from extremely violent regions where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the u.s. preferable to remaining at home, unquote. gangs or martas are not slowly responsible for the levels of violent crime but their role is pervasive and highly organized. i think it's important to highlight that the ms-13 and the 18th street gang were formed in the united states in los angeles, and that u.s. deportations of gang members who had been convicted of crimes in the united states for years, with little or no advanced warning to government officials in the regions, contributed to the diffusion of gang culture and practices.
crime and violence including that perpetrate by gangs have worsened as drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime have spread. those points have been dealt with expensively and i will not go into them now. what i would like to address is the kinds of policy responses that this committee could oversee and that the u.s. congress could take. i believe that there's really actually no time since the central american wars of the 1980s there has been so much media and policy attention focused on central america. i welcome that attention. and -- but i also think that our inability our our walking away from the many needs of the peacetime era in the '90s and early 2000s had some contribution to the current situation. the central american security initiative launched in 2008 in
response to the concern about the spillover of organized crime from mexico has focused, rightfully, on security, it has been underresourced and has focused -- has not focused sufficiently on other government or development objectives. there is no silver bullet to address these problems. they have taken decades, if not, one could argue, centuries to develop. but i believe that progress is possible with the right leadership, with sufficient resources, with active participation from central american societies, and with integrated approaches, and above all, with adherence to principle of transparency and accountability. a key ingredient, as we have seen in colombia and so many other places, a key ingredient for policies to be successful is political will and leadership from the region itself. i believe that as large as the
current spending request is before congress, far too little is made available for addressing the root causes of migration in central america. there's approximately 295 million to address the economic, social, governance, and citizen security conditions in the region, but that amount is also to be used for the repatriation and re-integration of migrants in central america. i believe that my time is up, and i will say that improving citizen security is a necessary condition for fostering economic growth, and for fostering investment. our assistance programs, up until now, have been too overly focused on counter-drug operations and not on providing citizen security and attacking the causes of crime and violence that affects citizens' daily lives. i also believe we need to make
efforts to foster opportunities in the legal economy by investing in human capital formation that matches education and job training with strategic -- with the demands of the labor market. i will end there and i welcome your questions. thank you. >> thank you. mr. johnson. >> chairman menendez, senator corker, thank you for this opportunity to testify on the conditions in central america that are driving out minors and adults. while overall apprehensions at the u.s. southwest border are a quarter of what they were during the largest wafers of mexican migration that took place 14 years ago, the current uptick among central american arrivals is worrisome because of the unacandidate children among the migrants and are taking extreme risks. that highlights the citizen insecurity factors as the driver, and the presence of criminal trafficking organizations. as you have already heard today,
the region has persistent security challenges, so i wasn't add to the list, except to say that there is a good case to be made for focusing attention on the conditions that compel people to leave their country. 30 years ago, after pro locked period -- prolonged period of civil conflict these countries chose to exchange military rule for civilian elected leadership. no question, it was the right decision. but at u.s. urging it meant re-organizing government. adopting democratic behaviors and building a base of public servants from a pool that had little experience. police had to be divorced from the armed forces to which they had belongs. courthouses had to be built and modern justice systems establishes. it's a process that is still going on today. unfortunately, crime and violence prey on such societies at their moment only weakness. during this time colombian and
mexican drug trafficker, fueled by north american cocaine habits, invaded central america. initially disorganized, deportations from the united states gave rise toking you gangs. our country has tried to help central american neighbors, among others, such as mexico, establish new justice systems, but these tasks take time and they are resource-intense. central america's traditional models of centralized top-dunk governance with weak district municipalities leave majors, citizens, and town council largely out of business of making their communities more secure in the work that it does in central america, the international republican institute specializes in the development of citizen security mechanisms that bridge the gap between citizens, municipalities and national level efforts. we have begun working with public security individuals at
the industry level and municipal authorities to strengthen citizen inand it participation. -- input and participation, as well as conduct exchanges with communities throughout the hemisphere that he exemplary citizen safety models. however can the number of municipalities is huge and there's much work to be done, municipality by municipality. mr. chairman, the united states has many priorities in the world but whatever actions are decided they should take into account the partnership our country has entered with central american countries 30 years ago, to turn dictatorships into democratic rule. most of the heavy lifting is being done by our partners. our approach to helping them has to be long-term, comprehensive, consistent, and strategic. thank you very much for this opportunity to testify and i welcome your questions. >> thank you all very much for your testimony.
we're at the end of the first vote, and so we'll have about 20 minutes before we'll be able to return. i hope that you'll be able to stay with us because there are questions we want to ask of you. and i think each of you have a valuable contribution to make. so the committee will stand in recess subject to the call of the chair. i i expect it to be 20 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> this hearing will come back to order. let me apologize to our panel and thank them for their forebearance there were more votes than i understood. but we don't have anymore votes until much later. i know that senator corker -- i
left him on the floor -- he is on his way back as well but in the interests of collective time of everybody, let me try move forward with some questions. you spent time in many of the communities in which the children are leaving from. some of my colleagues suggest they're parents decision to send which i child on a 2,000-mile journey is purely optimistic and a way to take advantage of american law. are these parents indifferent to the dangers their children might face on this perilous journey and is it just a question of opportunity or a question of violence, some of which you described earlier? if you would turn your microphone on. >> there we go.
i think until -- i think these parents make evaluation of, is it safer to bring my child despite the dangers of the journey? or is it safer to leave them in the home country. and parents who have come ahead of their children, often times, ten years ago, would say, it's more dangerous to put my kid in south central los angeles than leave them in the neighborhood in honduras where they are being taken care of bay grandparent or an aunt, and that equation has shifted radically, given what is happening on the ground in honduras. and so these parents have decided that it's just too dangerous to leave their children the. i think also greater border enforcement has -- is part of that picture because as we have ramped up border enforcement we have made it -- a lot of parents come here honestly thinking they're going back quickly. they prefer to live in their home countries with everything
they know and love and with their families. so when parents come here they don't buy a bed, they don't buy furniture, these mothers say i'm going back anytime. i think now with greater border enforcement they're more clear-headed about, it's going to be very hard to circulate back home and so i'm going to go ahead and bring up my children more quickly than i would have otherwise. so, a decade ago, half of mexicans went back within a year. they want to circulate back home. now, with greater border enforcement, fewer than a quarter circulate back home within a year because they know that it's getting harder to get in and that makes it more costly. so that's been part of the dynamic as well. in...
the and/or disengagement since this, the wars in central america, we fought to create the seeds of democracy and that we didn't nurture it for it to grow fully in all of its dimensions. citizen security economic growth and opportunity and i'll be the things we want to see in a democratic society. how would you assess the effectiveness of current u.s. assistance programs and central america and what steps could be taken to enhance the quality of
programs and ensure a greater impact on these countries? >> well i think u.s. assistance has perhaps been most effective in el salvador where there is a formal partnership for growth. el salvador is one of four countries globally and these are shared objectives that have come up together between the u.s. government and the salvadoran government and there are regular reporting requirements and there are metrics and they have identified strategic areas for investment but i do believe that the effort to a certain extent has been underresourced and therefore what you have certainly in the citizen security area are many small little points of light but they don't connect or necessarily build towards a much bigger national phenomenon. i know that there has been great frustration in a country such as honduras with the lack of
leadership, and security institutions and therefore people start from the various agencies that have created units start from the ground up and in many ways and forgive me for saying this bypassing the leadership structures. that is why i have tried to emphasize the need for transparency and accountability as a key ingredient of any programs that we would put in place. you can't just throw money at this problem or this set of problems. as much as i do plead that greater resources are necessary there has to be specific objectives and commitments from the recipient governments to adhere to certain standards and the ability to give assistance ought to be contingent on the receiving country's willingness to abide by those criteria. >> i agree with you on that and i think those are very important. let me ask you as well though, isn't it the case that this is
not a light switch. we are not going to suddenly turn on a certain amount of resources for all the accountability transparency and conditionality and find it change central america for money or to the other periods going to take some time. took some time to get to where it is, part of it from our own neglect, part of it from the weak and very often corrupt governments that existed in the region and they are just not going to turn this around overnight. having a commitment is going to be necessary in order to get to a point where we can see citizen security, where we can see greater movement towards institutions that are transparent and not corrupt and that we will see the benefits of that as we did for example in colombia and different sets of circumstances but nonetheless it took some time. is that a fair assessment?
>> i would certainly agree with that statement. they statement. the tendinitis is to focus on the crisis and respond to a crisis in turn away once the immediate crisis has dissipated. i think that the effort in central america is going to take years. the aid programs to colombia have evolved over almost 15 years now and it takes time to turn things around. i think staying the course but doing so with metrics and measurements in place is the way to proceed. to take the long perspective. >> i would like to hear your views on that. we are going to get right to you. [laughter] >> in many respects they are similar. i think our approach to the problems in central america to the extent that we don't want them on our doorstep it's important to have a long-term view that we have a comprehensive policy and that
it's strategically driven and not quite as episodic. very difficult for our country to do because in a democracy we sometimes change our priorities and because of our position in the world we have to look at other things that happen that come upon our doorstep and that we have to deal with. but given that, and given the kind of tools that we have that we can apply to these problems i think consistency in a strategic vision is really important. sometimes we don't appreciate the enormity of the change that's involved. for instance, in colombia the transformation of the napoleonic code to an accusatory of criminal justice system seems like just the changing the laws and retraining lawyers that
would also entail was the building of courthouses which colombia never needed before. a criminal justice tracking system for cases. evidence warehouses and forensic laboratories which they never had. so it up being much more than what was originally anticipated. when you multiply that over something like 1100 municipalities from the various installations and facilities that had to be built and ended up being quite an investment and i think we have to appreciate that dimension as much as the dimension of changing certain kinds of behaviors. in central america we don't have the luxury of having all the criminal elements in the rural areas as much as that was the case in colombia. in central america are you have criminal elements that are in the neighborhoods that are out
in the rural areas as well but also in the capital and you know the very dense urban areas in the form of drug trafficking organizations. some human traffickers that penetrate into those areas as well as criminal youth gangs. this is very difficult to deal with especially when you're dealing with drug traffickers that have a lot more resources in many cases than the government does to try to deal with them and try to apprehend them. and so it's very difficult to go up against the corrupting power that they have that is tremendous and again it's going to take time. one of the things we feel is key at least in my organizations where i work now is citizen participation and citizen security is very important. people in their own neighborhoods know so many things that need to happen any
to change in terms of leadership for their authorities to begin to react in a proper way that will deal with the problems that they actually feel. the top-down kind of leadership of governance that has been the experience in central america long before the transformation to democratic rule is something that's still there and still indeed still a great degree the ability for citizens to have a voice. >> thank you very much. senator johnson. >> thank you mr. chairman today now senator korver ask unanimous consent to include table 39. i would ask for unanimous consent to have my summary of that table and then i would like to speak to it because i would like to provide the full and complete picture in terms of renewals and returns which is what i think the american people would view as deportation.
while it is true in terms of formal removals which is what i believe the chair was referring to when he said president obama sometimes referred refer to it as the deportation king president obama is ahead of the pace of president bush's first and second term. removals are defined as removals either compulsory confirm or movement of an alien out of united states based on the order of removal. alien who is removed has eviscerated for criminal consequences placed on subsequent re-entry only to the effective removal. that is what a removal is. a return on the other hand by the confirmed movements of invisible reportable alien out of united states not based on order of removal. i think what we are trying to do is we are trying to speed up the process. i think we really want more returns as opposed to removals which take a whole adjudication process which is taking years. and creating more incentives for
people to come so let me just lay out the facts in terms of president obama's record on removals and returns which i think most americans do is total deportations. in his first term president obama had 1.58 million removals, 1.6 million returns for a total of 3.2 million what i would consider deportations. it's a broadly viewed term. president bush on the other hand in his second term had 1.2 million removals compared to president obama's 1.6, okay? i in terms of returns he had 3.8 million versus president obama's 1.6 so total removal and return of president bush's second term four years versus four years was 5 million under the bush administration 3.2 million returns in removals under president obama. in president bush's entire term both terms they are 10.3 million
removals and returns. i just don't think we are being completely complete in our description of what president obama has actually done because if you combined the two his record is definitely liking is definitely lagging president bush's in previous administration's in terms of removals and returns. 5 million for president bush's second term, 3.2 million for president obama's first term but again i think that provides a more complete record of the problems. i'm not sure whether you were here during my first line of questioning that i would like to give the witnesses the exact opportunity. please in a sentence and maybe two, got a little bit more time what should be the achievable goal of u.s. policy, achievable goal and i will start with mr. johnson. >> our goals and foreign-policy or to protect our country. defend our nation and defend our citizens and protect our borde
borders. in doing that we have a foreign policy that works with other countries to develop alliances. >> let me stop you there. let me define achievable goal on unaccompanied children. we have this humanitarian crisis on the border. 57,000 currently in this fiscal year. secretary johnson said it could be 90,000 by the end of this fiscal year so by september 30 over 100,000 by 2015 so what i'm talking about is what is the achievable goal to solve the problem of unaccompanied children? keep it brief because i think this can be described briefly. >> with due respect senator immigration policy and border policy are beyond the scope of my current responsibilities so i defer that question to the other witnesses. >> okay. ms. arnson.
>> the achievable goal. one would be to speed up the process by which children who might have legitimate cases for asylum or refugee status are heard so that waiting time in the hundreds of thousands of cases that are in the docket is rapidly gone through and to speed up the process without violating u.s. law and international law regarding the claims of people who potentially have requests. that's a very short term. the longer term of course is to contribute to a more stable and prosperous and safe central america and that is the long-term goal i think that has to be the focus of this committee would also an important objective of u.s. foreign policy. >> based on your answer what you're telling me is the long-term goal is probably not achievable in the short term and let me just ask you what is the speeding up of the process of adjudication? that is a goal to achieve why?
want to speed up the adjudication process? >> to speed it up so that love does not exist and send a message exploited by traffickers to play on people's fears and hopes but once they get to the country they will stay for some number of months or stretching in two years so those cases can be up but there is an expanded process of hearings and an expanded process of the marx petitions process. >> so you say the goal is to send a message to the smugglers so that they no longer send children to america on a company. again i'm just trying to focus in on what the goal in that case be to stop the flow? >> i think the goal is to contribute to conditions that no longer serve as incentives to the flow. the principle cause i believe is not the miss of the impression that although spread by these
unscrupulous trafficking groups but the critical driver is violence. if you look at the places of origin of the children that have calm as part of this 52,000 this fiscal year and you look at the levels of violence in the areas those are the most violent places. >> i do. >> i do point out early in questioning that the murder rate in both new orleans and detroit are comparable to those countries. we have violence as well. just real quick what would you say is the goal? are short-term achievable goal to address the unaccompanied children problem? >> i think they short-term achievable goal is to protect children from being sent back to death and there's a humane practical approach that is not being discussed by the senate. i am concerned that children are released and too many of them did not show up at their court
hearings. if you were 7-year-old child and didn't have an attorney he wouldn't show up here court hearing either. i think you can hold these children for 60 to 90 days a limited amount of time would be the main and refugee facilities are the facilities we currently have. immigration judges, spend money on bad and adjudicate their cases quickly. give them a full and fair hearing with someone who knows how to bring out child sensitive interviewing techniques, provide that child with an attorney so it's not a sham process and if they do qualify to enter the previous question, 40 to 60% of these children do qualify for some existing relief to stay in this country. very few of them are getting that because they don't have attorneys but if they do qualify them let them into this country and increase the number of refugees that we take. i don't qualify and if they are economic migrants than deport them immediately and that message will get back to those countries. if you're coming for economic
reasons and there are parts of honduras and there are people who are doing that, send them back and that will send a message. that option, and i'm not popular in some human rights groups for saying keep these kids in detention but that will force them to go through the process and not simply be released and sometimes show up to court and by the way they are much more likely to show up to court if they have an attorney in these cases go much more quickly if they have an attorney. if they are a refugee i think we are a compassionate country and we let people in. if they are not then deport them quickly. that will send a message. >> i agree we are compassionate and we want to treat these kids with humanity but i'm also highly concerned about parents sending their kids on that very dangerous journey. i am concerned about those kids as well and from my standpoint our primary goal has to be to deter parents from making that choice. we have asylum cases those
should be requested in the home countries and if we need to beef up resources i would say let's do the whole country. let's not incentivize people to come here and take that dangerous journey. >> i think we need to do both. we need to have more processing the ability to apply for refugee status in these three countries of those children. i spent three months making that journey and i have post-traumatic stress and believe me many children die on that journey. you don't want that so you do need to beef up the ability to do that in the home countries. we have not done that. >> thank you again. it's important that we defined goal to find an achievable goal so we can design policy to actually make that goal. >> what i is defined as achievable. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> just a quick follow-up on senator johnson. i have spoken with a lot of people u.s. officials and others in preparation for this hearing but also over the length of this
crisis. one of the things that sticks in my mind is the comment of a senior official from the u.s. government and i won't identify him but he said if it's apparent you face the choice of your child joining a gang, being killed because they are not joining a gang were sending that child to the united states regardless of the perils of the journey it's pretty obvious why many parents make that choice and those conditions have to be addressed. >> look, i appreciate all of them permission and the views. you know, as i understand that honduras per-capita is the murder capital of the world. if you are the murder capital of the world you are the murder capital of the world and i understand to other countries are third and fifth in that
category as well. that is globally so that's pretty significant in terms of citizen security and why people fully. you know it would be my hope that if we defined just stopping the flow as our goal, then we are going to have -- i want to stop the flow too but the way you stop the flow is to change the realities on the ground in central america so that people will stay in their country and not flee out of fear or even a plea for fear of opportunity. if i have no fear for my life and if i have opportunity and i'm not going to flee. i have visited the central american countries.
they are quite beautiful. so i think that if we really want to stem the flow, we have to change the realities on the ground. if not this will be a reoccurring problem. it will have the spikes and it will have its lows but did roll is to ultimately change the dynamics that we don't have any of this flow coming to the united states other than through normal legal procedures ms. arnson and then i will invite any final comment and close. >> senator menendez you rightly focused on the homicide statistics in honduras. about 91 per 100,000. i think it's worth recalling that the distinction of the most violent city of the world in the 1990s was in colombia. in the last year or two name was identified as the most innovative city in the world. those homicide rates are still serious but they have gone way down and they have gone down as the result of a sustained
investment of the participation of a broad swath of society of the private sector of the church and of the local government investing in human welfare and really transforming that city. it is possible to go from a very bad place to a much better pla place. >> any other final comments? ladies first ms. nazario. >> wehner was just in honduras i saw very few children bringing up the issue of is there some avenue tuesday legally in the united states when they all talk about first, second and third was the violence and until that changes and i recognize it's a very difficult prospect given the corruption and the corruption that is really affected the economy when the chamber of commerce says seven and 10 small businesses have shut down in honduras because of
extortion threats on businesses. can you imagine that happening in the united states collects it's a very long-haul process that i have long said that to stem this exit is whether children or adults you have to deal with these issues and the root causes of these issues at its source. >> thank you. mr. johnson. >> i would say in addition to the work that is being done in our capital and in the capitals of the central american countries by your leaders that we focus also on the citizens and involving their participation because ultimately the policies that are being debated are ones that should benefit them and should affect their decisions as to whether they can stay in their countries or whether they have to look elsewhere to lead predictable and safe lives. i think their voices are very important and i hope we can keep them -- that in mind when we decide actions to take moving forward on this issue and the overall issue of our
relationship with our allies in central america. thank you. >> all very valid points and we will certainly as we try to deal with what we are going to do on the cause side think about many of the suggestions that you have collectively had. i want to thank you all for your testimony and for hanging in here with us through the floats. this record will remain open until the close of business tomorrow. i would say that is the record remains open we will also permit outside organizations to submit statements for the record. thank you to the committee in this hearing is adjourned. >> john quincy adams was the second to be elected to the white house. he was the second -- to be
elected to the white house. he was only one of two anti-slavery presidents to be elected to the white house. he was deeply feared by the se self, worried that his vision of a unified country in which the federal government and the states were partners in a relationship then enabled the federal government to play a leading role in binding the country together through infrastructure projects, through supporting manufacturing and so on, that he was deeply suspected by the southern states for thought indeed he wanted to much power for the federal government.