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tv   Senate Judiciary Hearing on Drug Cartels Border Security - Panel 2  CSPAN  December 17, 2018 10:53pm-12:05am EST

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thank you all for being here, and helping us understand this problem, and providing some good answers, and food for thought. for further action. there is another vote on so we'll excuse the first panel, and go vote and come back, and take up the second panel, thank you, we'll be in adjournment m..
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> my appallgies for the back and forth. welcome to the united states senate where the best laid plans sometimes go awry because of the voting schedule. it's my flesher to now introduce the witnesses for the second panel, the first is the honorable earl wane, ambassador wine is co-chair of the mexico substitute board at the woodrow wilson for scholars. prior to this position he had a distinguished career with the state department and was a career ambassador, the most diplomatic rank you can achieve. ambassador wayne served as ambassador of mexico, from september 2011-july 2015. deputy u.s. ambassador of
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afghanistan from 2009-2011, and ambassador of argentina. he has been recognized as the leadership for the foreign service, and received an award in 20 sa, the order of the as tech eagle which is the highest order award grand to foreigners from mexico's president and foreign secretary in 2015. our second witness is the honorable roger noriega, who is a visiting fellow at the institute. he served as assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, and is a u.s. ambassador to the organize of american states. from 2001-203. while at the oas he worked as to foster economicgration and promote peace and security throughout the western hemisphere. ambassador noriega has been
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involved in latin america policy since the 1980s. our third witness is professor celina -- celina realuyo she is an adjuncts professor affgeorge washington university from 202-2006, she served as a state department director of counter terrorism in washington, d.c. the professor is a member of counsel on foreign relations the international institute o for strategic studies and women in international security. the fourth wins is chief chris maginous, the chief is chief of police for the tucson police department, a position he's held since january 2016. he's served in many law enforcement capacity during his long career including service in
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lancing, michigan, fargo, north dakota, and richmond, california. he is an expert witness for the u.s. department of justice working with the civil rights divisions and the cops office on policing issues around the country. welcome chief. our final witness is dr. andrew selee, he is the president of migration institute, a position he assumed in 2017 after service for executive vice president of the woodrow center for international scholars. he is a respected scholar and analyst of mexico and u.s. mexico relations and a frequent commentator in the media. he's written a number of books and policy reports on the u.s. mexico relationship, and mexican and latin america politics. thank you for agreeing to be with us today. >> ambassador wayne, let me start with you please.
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any opening statement you'd like to make? >> thank you and ranking member senator durbin for your initial comments you made a lot of the most essential observations that i was going to make so i'll try not to repeat them. but you pointed out, how both the u.s. and mexico societies suffer from this cross border illegal trade that's going on. the importance of making this a high priority. we've made a lot of progress over the last ten years but there's much more to do. mexico's new president, amlo is beginning his six-year term with a large mandate controlling both houses of congress and wants to transform his country. he's made clear a number of times he wants to find ways to cooperate with the united states. so both governments should build
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on what's been working so far while they explore new ways to make that cooperation better. we should definitely avoid what happened six years ago when there was about year of freeze in the cooperation between the two governments during the last presidential transition. teams from both sides should get together, review very thoroughly what's going on right now, what the makes sense to continue, and try to identify new priorities spealings that mesh with the public security strategy that amlo has put forward in recent weeks. one thing we should try to do is keep going after the business model of these drug groups. in 2017 the two governments agreed to do that but we didn't get to go forward with that program very effectively. we should try to do so now. we have to keep working on
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better interagency coordination within the two sides and within the government each time. we think -- i agree with the comments on taking additional steps to manage the risks that are out there including using this new technology that is available. . .
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to develop a regional approach to the program that deals with causes as well as effects and takes that long term in a multilayered approach to deal with the problems of migration and crime. congress has a vital role to play in the process in making sure that this cooperation gets off to a good start and that we have sufficiently funded plans to take it forward. over the past ten years bilateral cooperation has been under the umbrella of the initiative between mexico and the united states. that initiative brought order, more coordination and more funds and help to build closer cooperation between law enforcement of justice
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diplomatic, security border and intelligence officials on both sides and a greatly improved capacity but more progress is needed. i think what's important to understand is all the people working on this came to accept dealing with the problems are the responsibility that was not the case ten years ago. there was a lot of fingerpainting. we need to make sure that we can maintain that approach. as you and others noted, senator, the opioid crisis has pressed us to realize how important this is and as i mentioned in 2017, we had an agreement on a new set of efforts to look at that whole value chain from production through financing at the very end and try to cut it off and
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all angles and we were not able to take that forward and at least part of it was because there was a popular backlash in mexico against the criticisms of mexico and harsh actions on the border. i hope that we can now take this opportunity to move forward and build cooperation. since 2014 as was mentioned, criminal groups have spread their violent activities across mexico and diversified the crimes that they are committing in mexico. very sadly homicide reached a new record of violent homicide in 2017 and it looks like it is going to be another record when all of the data is in for this year. not surprisingly been a prime driver is electing security.
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there is a significant area we can work together between the two governments. he has taken in his eight pillars a look at preventive as well as enforcement issues and cause and effect. if you would like to later i can talk about those but i won't go through them all now. i will just mention one of the most controversial parts is announcing the restructuring ad public security that is created national guard so there's a lot of questions about that but still need to be stored and debated in mexico and at the same time popular expectations are high and welcome a fresh approach. we need to work with the
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government to see how we can mention these objectives together. as you mentioned, working for the past ten years under its four main pillars. they've allowed us to have a range of different programs and priorities to reflect changes in the governments on both sides of the border as we are working this through. i go through some 19 areas where there are programs underway that would sing very well wit sink ve new priorities put forward. >> we were asking people to keep to the five minute opening. let's follow up with some questions and proceed to the ambassador. >> thank you mr. chairman and senator durbin for the opportunity to discuss what is at stake in the relationship. organized crime has grown as a
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threat and worse yet it is part of a dangerous and sophisticated global crime network right on our doorstep. mexico's new president won a clear mandate to fight corruption, however his thought within amnesty and anti-poverty program is not reassuring. this matters because 90% of the cocaine and heroin transmits to mexico sustaining a public health and criminal justice crisis that costs us $200 billion. the mexican people complaining justifiably which sustains criminals who showed terror, death and instability. we must face this as partners because neither can coexist with groups that attack people's impunity. mr. chairman, i worked against this for about two decades
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mostly in the u.s. congressional staff and i believe the crisis is worse than ever in the supply and let somebody of drugs, the depth and the wealth of the networks that deliver them into the unwillingness in certain cases of governments to attack them effectively. a few examples from since the production in mexico has tripled, the supply of fentanyl which is 30 to 50 times more potent than harriman has increased dramatically. colombian production has quadrupled, and potential cocaine production out of the country has tripled reaching record highs and filling with mexican traffickers. games from central america have integrated into every american city and are expanded into a distribution operation rights to the border. making matters worse, the organized crime is part of a global criminal network with
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$2 trillion of a dual income and that's the equivalenthat's the e gdp. carrying the threat right to the doorstep. every day this criminal network does whatever it takes to optimize the supply chain of illicit drugs to the market here in the united states. here's how we dropped the ball in the last ten years in my opinion. the alliance that was the work of george herbert walker bush, which he helped pull together has fallen apart. we stood by as the last mexican president failed to devise a strategy against narcotraffickers and improvised response over the last six years has made matters worse. the regimes in venezuela, ecuador, el salvador hijacked ththe country since switched sis in the war on drugs. the narco state has asked at least $350 billion in oil revenue and profits today from narco trafficking and money laundering throughout.
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venezuela uses the billions to sow corruption and instability in central america. even in colombia where we invested $10 billion of aid and have trusted partners left to secure a peace deal that had a explosion that i'd prefer to those that are thriving in venezuela under the protection of the regime. china and russia provide intelligence support and thinking ties for the regimes and profitable schemes. in this climate we need mexico to do more, but the new president's talk of fighting drugs with amnesty and social programs sounds like a recipe for surrender. during the transition in mexico, we have to walk in the mutually beneficial economic security cooperation that existed today and th the president shall presd designate an ambassador to mexico whose judgment and
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royalty trusts to maintain a dialogue on sensitive issues. we should encourage the president to fulfill his corruption mandate by imposing the rule of law and overhauling mexico's police and criminal justice system. congress should approve in my opinion the us-mexico canada agreement to secure the markets and u.s. trade ties that produce jobs for the united states. on the international front we should work closely with the government of brazil to restore a reachable anti-drug alliance and we must increase asymmetrical measures for the organized crime threats. more investigators and prosecutors and intelligence and legal authorities are needed to punish kingpins for their criminal operations. we should work with our neighbors to confront venezuela and dismantle its network. we should help continue to help
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colombia eradicate and secure the border and finally we should investigate and expose and counter activities by cuba, russia and china abetting trafficking and other criminal activity in the americas. we have a lot of work to do obviously. thank you very much for your attention. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking member. for the opportunity to appear before you today to testify on the threats posed by the mexican national security at u.s. and mexican efforts to counter them. mexican cartels are in the activities that include drugs, arms, human trafficking, kidnapping extortion and money laundering and beer in a culture of corruption and impunity and that they use violence and the threat of violence and power. they've also capitalized sadly on america's tight for drugs such as heroine, sentinel, cocaine and methamphetamine. the opioid epidemic fueled is
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coming mostly from mexico and is significantly impacting the economy and national security of the united states. in 2017 the strategy recognized transnational organized crime as a threat to the interests both at home and abroad and emphasizes the need to secure the borders and pursue transnational threats to their source. the u.s. and mexico enjoy one of the most extensive bilateral law enforcement relationships in the world that illustrate the concept of defense in depth which means working with our international partners. further, to the initiative the u.s. has helped to build the capacity of mexican authorities to market activity of medicati medication, monitoring border security, expiration cases and programs. for over a decade of the mexican military has been deployed in the streets of mexico in law enforcement missions but the violence continues and is actually escalated.
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mexico had a record number to complement the ambassador's testimony of 31,174 homicides which represents a 27% increase compared to 2016 and we anticipate that the years ended to reflect an even higher number. the mexican president assumed office on thursday and pledged to fight corruption and end the violence plaguing mexico. these are reflected in the plan for peace and security in 2018 to 2024. the plan intends to reform the security services by creating a national guard tnational guard e violence head-on. it is considering granting amnesty to the low-level drug traffickers and legalizing marijuana and possibly pop equal duration. this is quite figures from previous mexican government policies and from u.s. law enforcement and counter narcotic interests. it's too early to tell if and how the bilateral cooperation on
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the interdiction operations in fight against cartels will continue. regarding the central american crisis, the u.s. and mexico are trying to address the humanitarian crisis of the border and are considering asylum seekers to stay in mexico as they get processed through the court system. in the last 24 hours they've publicized the plan to create a marshall plan that would extend about $3 billion over the next five years to complement the assistance to the un and other countries granting to the northern triangle that we are looking forward to hearing more details about what that would consist of two deal with the causes of migration. they must work together to protect the countries from the drug arms money laundering and corruption. one area they share interests with regard to fighting corruption and money laundering that empower these cartels. the plan includes a proposal to
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combat money laundering associated with crime and corruption and estimates 20 to $30 billion a year to be recovered. on this front they should emphasize the importance of the money laundering efforts not only to fight corruption but the mexican cartels with the following five recommendations. number one, explain financial intelligence anexplained financt operations against cartels. number to aggressively pursue the top financiers since the main objective is to maximize profits and these connections are very difficult to replace. number three, encourage and improve coordination among the prosecutors, the financial bank regulators and law enforcement agencies in order to achieve more convictions and to deter criminal activity. number four, advocate the non- conviction before the congress as well as beneficial ownership disclosures and number five provided training and technical assistance for agencies that counter money laundering and
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promote better international cooperation bear the counterpart or information sharing. in conclusion the cartels pose a serious threat to the public health, prosperity and national security of the u.s. and mexico. the two countries must identify common interest, build trust and collaborate among the security, trade and governance and enhance those that are already under way to directly counter the mexican cartels. thank you for your attention and i look forward to the questions. >> chairman and ranking member thank you for the opportunity to testify before you. and the police chief for tucson arizona and i've been in for 20 years and always made it a priority to work towards strengthening the police community ties so i'd like to approach this from a slightly
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different angle than the other panelists today. working in a large diversity located at the mexican border i understand the need for border security. i've seen how the organizations bring drugs to the u.s. and prey on immigrants to further the reach and increase their profits. there is no simple solution to these problems and improving border security and achieving community safety is going to require cooperation and trust between all levels of law enforcement, but just as critically between the immigrant communities and local police the tucson police department keeps up with the feds to go after drug cartels, human and drug traffickers and money laundere launderers. this cooperation is essential to combat these threats, but at the same time grant funding for the federal government serves as a critical resource to keep the communities safer. earlier this year the tucson police department for earth with atf and hsi to arrest 53 wanted
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violent sex offenders. we also participated in an operation that included hsi and the dea to target a heroine trafficking raid and in these instances and many others, we've seen the benefit of partnering with each other. many of my colleagues and i believe border security solutions must be strategic to address serious threats. they are seized at the ports of entry directing federal resources based on improving staffing and infrastructure around the points of entry would be far more effective and hoping the movement of drugs than simply construc constructing nes between the parts.
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they told lawmakers they would be better off getting a fraction of the billions that it would take to build the wall for law enforcement many of my colleagues and i agree the demand for drugs in the u.s. drives trafficking leading the cartels to seek the prophets victimizing public on both sides of the border. we must work more diligently towards reducing the demand for drugs for the use of effective treatment programs and this will cut off the lifeblood of the organizations to take advantage of those struggling with addiction. facing a growing number of overweight deaths in tucson, we launched a program to prioritized drug treatment over incarceration and we now allow officers to use discretion diverting suspects caught with small amounts of narcotics into treatment instead of jail. suspects caught selling drugs or those with most felony warrants are obviously ineligible.
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this has broad public support and is helping us deliver our jail population at the same time giving addicts the treatment they need. i believe local police serve the communities by leading the enforcement of immigration law to the federal government. immigration enforcement at the local level irresponsibly diverts very limited resources we need to keep our communities safe. tucson takes pride in being welcoming to all. we are not a sanctuary city that we do work to maintain community confidence and trust in law enforcement. we want victims and witnesses no matter their immigration status to seek our help and cooperate with us to stop dangerous criminals. recently it's become harder in the neighborhoods.
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aggressive enforcement including court house arrest and other high-profile operation terrify not only the undocumented, but their american-born family, friends and coworkers. as a result an already marginalized community is less inclined to turn to us making it much harder to apprehend criminals and of course when the crimes go unreported and unsolved the cartels go unchecked and increase their power. current efforts to force local police to take on federal immigration enforcement responsibilities only worsened this dynamic and in addition they strip the federal gaming to be uncrowded. if they have the ability to set a new standard in law enforcement one that creates a balanced approach to public safety that not only preserves cooperation between local law enforcement an and defense but o between local police and immigrant communities.
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i encourage you to do so. working together i have no doubt he can curb drug demand and combat the cartels and make our communities safer. thank you very much. >> doctor selee. >> thank you. it is a great honor to be here with you. i was at the national crime organization migration which is complex and also a little bit about the current moment of change for the government in mexico might be in terms of what we can do to manage the border together. in terms of the links that exist between the transnational crime activity the biggest link between migration is the way that we've seen a transnational crime in mexico and central america at the base of the violence people experience in their daily lives. they are not being preyed on by large transnational organizations but the smaller thuggish groups that prey on the communities get their resources,
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weapons and legitimacy from their connections to the large crime organizations. for the most part they are different from the question the senator asked earlier from the transnational organizations and the cases where some of these have moved into the migrant smuggling but they are separate lines of business and you do see them having to pay for access to smuggling pointing particularly to the border to get people through and you have seen an increasing predatory form of migrant smuggling as a result of some of these relationships as well these are situational and varied relationships between the migrant smugglers. and finally the migrant smugglers as we've heard they use different crossing routes. the highest value happens at the ports of entry almost all the major narcotics find value in methamphetamines causing overwhelmingly through the ports
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of entry where 80 to 90%, marijuana does cross between the ports of entry and migrant smugglers took us between the points of entry as well but neither is going down significantly, so within the points of entry. so different smuggling routes. we have a strategic moment that has been said by everyone on the panel in one way or another. we were just there for the inauguration is a matter of fact. it's a chance to restart our agenda on organized crime but also looking at strategic options for managing migration flows in different ways and we heard where mexico is going through a moment where they are converging in different ways than we were before, mexico is no longer a sender of migrant in the way it once was. most that come to the united states, as of november we heard this yesterday from the commissionecommissioner as of nr there were more he tried to apprehend the border the first time that's happened and it keeps going down.
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it's increasingly receiving country from migrants and from the united states but also central america and increasing a transit country and because of that they begin to have similar request tens they are asking about the migration system, not the same and we shouldn't confuse it by thinking they necessarily want to do the same thing we do but beginning to have similar sets of issues in terms of their immigration policy. the new government has put new ideas on the tabl table of whaty want to do. wanted. first is enhancing the system and the mexican asylum system dot three applications years ago in this here we are close to 30,000, a ten time increase. sounds familiar, right, but this is just monumental. they say they try to help with this we can work with them and more people want to apply for asylum in mexico and there's evidence a lot of people actually stay in mexico as well. they've created a visa for mexicans that will take people from central america who want to
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work and put them in areas where the labor shortages in mexico. this is a big undertaking something to say they want to do this and another thing to do it in a way that doesn't compete with mexican workers or with a program that includes mexicans as well as central americans in creating a visa this is an area where we have expertise and something that would obviously create a magnet for people to stay in mexico. they talk about modernizing the national migration institute which is modernizing the border control and migration enforcement so that they both respect human rights and the highest standards of integrity which hasn't always happened in the past while also channeling people to have reinforcement. finally they talked about investing in central america these are all things we should think about how we can part or with them. there are some opportunities as well to think about the asylum system. we have more than a border crisis when it comes to
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migration. my colleague who ran under both democratic and republican administrations has proposed a change that would allow the asylum officers to make their first decisions and speed up the asylum process. we can be both fair and timely and how we do this. we need to be timely and how wee granted and that would allow people to be removed as well as allowing peopl people the releae woulreleasewould you qualify any quickly because i'm over time is a lot we can do with mexico in terms of asylum thinking about the in country processing working with the mexican government it's tough to do but possible. they are processing in central america and we can think about going after the first migrant smugglers who would abuse migrants through extortion and kidnapping something we haven't done in the past but at this moment about to do things to fix the asylum system but also to start creating discussions with our neighbors about how we do this together, so thank you.
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>> thank you very much. it's a lot to work with based on the testimony that we heard so far. mr. noriega counties have the experience working on the hill and in and around the government but i'm trying to figure out what is the best place to start coming up with a plan? again i guess i'm fixated because it is the one successful model although the countr we hay of 125 million or so people in mexico and obviously countries that have a lot of problems com, even bigger than central america, i've talked to senator feinstein about maybe some plan in central america, but my suggestion to her is let's not make it a scenario there lets make it regional. i would be interested in your comments in terms of how we approach this. let me preface this by saying until recently my perception is
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mexico regarded illegal immigration in the united states as our problem, not their problem and they gave transit visas as long as people could stay in mexico they could come through. the same thing with drugs they view that as our problem based on demand and not their problem although i don't know how you can view it that way when you see the full violent deaths that are occurring there which as the professors that are continuing to increase. so could you all may be in mr. noriega and ambassador wayne may be first talk about how do we conceptualize the framework so that we are not just dealing with little one off issues and how can we make this a sort of comprehensive plan and should emanate from the executive branch or the legislative branch? >> thank you very much senator. i was working for senator helms when it was passed but i started
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working on that under the chairman of the house international relations from new york with whom i've worked for years and i dug in on these issues and it's quite a priority then when i came over to the senate side i was one of the people everybody trusted in the room among the staff because i worked on both sides, and it was an initiative and you had folks like ben gilman takes the lead on the house side, senator dodd participated and senator helms as well. it was very much folks like the people sitting behind you who dug in on these issues for a long time and established good relationships with people and
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who identified folks in colombia that we could work with and sort of in a tactical approach and then the folks in the state department responded. pete romero took the ball and ran with it and they helped them come up with an answer on the question how do we have a response but it was congress really pushing and insisting that we go with real money as one of the chairman of the time said no small plans and to challenge the state department to come back with an aggressive plan and frankly the congress increased the amount. with central america there is a plan that's on the table and has been implemented. it was conceived with the development and they put
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together a very comprehensive approach that they are then matching for their own resources and so that's out there on the table. i would suggest as you look at this problem, it is a global threat organized crime which by the way the drug trafficking accounts for 40% of its $2.2 trillion income and really has us overwhelmed. it's various actors have helped disintegrate the institutions in central america. two years ago we were talking about the free trade agreement, talking about the countries as economic partners and now they are basket cases again because the political systems and institutions, police forces were overwhelmed by narcotraffickers and so we have to use
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asymmetrical tools. it's not all about finding the cocaine and marijuana and heroin. we should find a lieutenant colonel with $200 million in his bank account and start asking questions. sort of the sanctions that are being used in venezuela and a very aggressive way and start to kind of pick off some of these kingpins so maybe the people on the ground have a fighting chance. >> i was hoping you would make it more narrow. i appreciate and understand what you are saying. >> my career of 40 years being an executive, what i've seen that has worked very well is to get in and sits with the other
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governments to make it work on the nitty-gritty details, but it's been wonderful to have that conceptual support when there has been the case from congress to help push this along and it's often been the case. sometimes it's in the administration and sometimes in congress but if you can get both talking on the agreement and work through the specifics with a partner government, that really does make a difference and the big change now is the arrival of the new government in mexico and while there are questions as roger pointed out there's an opening tthere is ano find a way to work on these issues and there is a conceptual idea that the united states and even canada, central america and mexico can work together and we can tackle at the same time the migration and crime and job creation in these places if we talk about it and work at it
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using a bunch of different tools and we do have that range of tools. that's going to take a lot of hard specific work including with the development bank because they developed a good plan for central america but this is no different and rogers exactly right and organized crime it is too powerful. you have to target then that you have to know each of the places, look at it and use your tools in different ways and if we can get a conceptual agreement, get support and funding and get everybody committed i think over a number of years we could make a big difference on all these problems using a multilayered approach just like in migration you've got to look at the root causes and when they get to southern mexico, what happens to them, how are they treated and are they being abused by the criminal groups, can we get rid of that and do we reduce the problem before it gets to the
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border and did he make some of our own changes and asylum procedures and other things to be more effective in our border it as a whole approac is a whold take to these problems, but it takes a big commitment and intellectual authorship and support in congress as well as the administration. i think we have that opportunity to. >> they lookei looked at your rn lansing michigan and richmond california, tucson arizona, that i'm quite a tour of the country. [laughter] and now you are on the border city and what i hear from you is what i hear from a superintendenmysuperintendent ep in chicago no matter how important it is for effective police work to have the trust of community, and i couldn't agree more that if we try to put you into a federal role in enforcing immigration, i don't think it's good to make it any easier.
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i think it's good to make it more complicated for you. have you had the cooperation of the community in tucson when it comes to dealing with the issues we've talked about? >> we certainly have, and one of the biggest reasons for that is the focus on relational policing or community policing where we understand we have to have this relationship with the entire community. tucson is above 50% hispanic and many of the residents are families who they are immigrants in his extended family in some cases who are undocumented and sometimes even living in the same household with them and they make up the fabric of our community and once we start tearing at the fabric and creating a climate of fear where people are unwilling to talk to
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the police for their neighbors are sometimes they are not willing to come out of the house because they are so afraid, we e lower the level oknow where they for every president so i think the climate we set is incredibly important for safety into that feeds the civil immigration enforcement duties to our federal partners be part or with them when appropriate on the challenges the drug cartels, human trafficking into some of the other things but on a day-to-day level we have to be able to do our own work. >> i'm blown away by the notion of the gdp of mexico. it puts it into a stark perspective. we haven't talked about the structure and relationship with
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the drug gangs in the first three countries and forcing so many people towards the border. guatemala, el salvador. what can you tell me about? >> what we do know is in central america you have the transnational crime organization they are because a lot of leadership they are transnational organizations and as it became harder to operate in mexico, they moved more of their operations into guatemala and honduras and some of the observations were there already and they also began teaming up with smaller groups, very agile groups like the two gangs into the local births when you get into honduras and guatemala you have a presence of those that you have a lot of local level games that work for the crime groups and those are the groups
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that are particularly dangerous idangerousif you see this in mes well. the largest crime groups are less predatory and make their money antake theirmoney and dru. the smaller groups are the ones that mix between servicing large cartels they make money and get weapons but that's not necessarily always a full-time occupation so they spend a lot of their time doing things like extortion, local become a kidnapping in mexico more than central america. >> a country like guatemala. there are more showing up at the border than mexicans. that's a relatively small country. there is a distance to be traveled and many of these are mothers of children who are making it up to our border. so it just sounds like it is pure chaos and a lot of fear. i can't imagine it's just economic opportunity driving it. there has to be climate down there but is fearful. >> i think there's a mixture of things. there are some areas of drought
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and crop shortage. some people have mixed motives as it iit is economics and the turbulence and some people are leaving for specific threat. i spent time hanging out with four teenagers in the border on the mexican side of the wor borr the other day who were all able to list specific things and one young man brought up his facebook page as we sat there this was not a youth shelter in tijuana and he should be everyone who had been killed. this is the mother of one of my neighbors, just one after another. this is the way life is where he is and he received a very specific threat to his parents and decided to go home again. i went to a friends house and left and never even told my parents i was leaving.
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these were the specific gangs. a lot of it is extortion payments people simply can't make the payment one month and they decide they need to leave because they will be told otherwise whether kids will be killed. >> it sounds to me like credible fear. >> i wouldn't say everyone is fleeing but there are economic motives and we should try to distinguish between people who need protection and we have a tendency to just say they are all gaming the system. there is a mixture o mixture i y there's a large number of people who do need protection and we don't have to choose in our system we don't have to choose between being fair to people and having a deterrent. if we have a fair expedited system not overly expedited, but
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not as sporadic as it is right now we can make the decisions quickly and we can be fair and as inclusive as possible of people that fear going back to give them asylum. >> and they are going down dramatically. >> but we face this on the border. >> we could be facing the refugee program for the western hemisphere for people so they don't have to make the journey up to the border. >> we also have that program where minors could go to the embassy in their native country to make application for asylum to see whether or not and it was eliminated. >> that's an opportunity it's not easy. these things require some experimentation that we have experience doing this and it's
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something we can build on that and and it is somewhat successful in doing that and also how we do this through for people make the journey across. can we take some people through the refugee program once they are in mexico. they might have something to say about that but it's the kind of thing they are open to talking about if they are. >> i think you were the one talking about the level of violence in mexico not getting better but getting worse. my understanding in one of the recent trips to mexico city is that essentially if you commit a murder in mexico, you are almost guaranteed not to be prosecuted and they end up calling that impunity is a sort of generic word is it true that the law enforcement and judicial departments or branches in the mexican government are simply unable to bring people to any
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justice if they commit a murder in mexico? >> that's the problem that you have is the average citizen has very little say in the police and judiciaand the judicial syst you have low levels of people who file reports and let alone actually realize the conviction. and as you know through the merit of the initiative the u.s. has been helping reform its judicial system and change the prosecutorial methods but the problem is that when we are talking about the situation in central america as wel as well h the different factors are, there's corruption and impunity in one category. the wealth that these generate and the third piece is violence. what you are seeing is convergence of the two factors and you have people migrating for fear of persecution or their
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family was extorted and their relative didn't pay it actually goes across not just the person who owes them money but the whole family as well as our economic opportunity. both the ambassador referred to the prosperity which is an actual plan to generate more importantly opportunities for job creation in central america so we actually have a lot of the components. the bigger question is how do you get the political will through the corruption as a huge challenge in the northern triangle when you see the narcotics trafficking many of them are trained and sponsored by the u.s. for the corruption charges so there is a bigger piece of governance which we haven't talked about the bigger question is how you get the
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local populations to trust the government o that we are entrusting in terms of foreign assistance in having the political will to fight transnational criminal organization whether they be local gangs who use violence or threat of violence to the larger movers of illicit trafficking with it is through people or drugs. the amount of money being handled by chinese in order to circumvent sanctions and to know your client regulation is a new kind and i see you -- i think you see that it's very troublesome and one of the things we are trying to figure out it is a useful time to reassess how to be the partner of choice central america as
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well as mexico at a very interesting juncture particularly as we see them looking for different ways that they are using predatory lending try to erode the influence that the u.s. is to all the different portfolios. military law enforcement, economic and cultural ties and this is a crucial point we have to figure out how to double down on the investment and it's about the public commitment and how to build relationships with a new team they are now understanding what it's like to be a recipient to deal with all of these migrants that are in their communities in the charitable tradition that we have to handle
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what is being streamed but i think you were just down there. the physical capacity for them to handle these migrants is degrading the security also from the public health point of view. >> you mentioned the commitment to the national guard. i assume this is the latest iteration of the attempt to deal with corruption they try to make it a national police and law enforcement. i assume that is the motivation for that.
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it's from a strategy that works to have them working together. federal, state and local. they haven't successfully done that under the last two presidents said they came up with this idea of the national guard because at least corrupted where the defense department entities the army and the navy but i know there are a lot of others that object if they are basically doing police work. they are the ones that are the most effective and least subject to corruption but they still have the basic problem of the local and state level you can see how this sort of intimidation tactics that are
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used to undermine the public authority in order. are you saying that they are not transnational criminal organizations or are you saying somehow they are separate? >> they tend to be different from the drug traffickers. there are attempts it i is at a
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time that they were using some of their drug business moving into the supplement but for the most part it is a successful business and they get a lot more out of being able to charge what they call the right to cross without having to get into the complexities of running a different business venture moral questioquestion and anyway it'st that they wouldn't get in the it's just a specialized business they are still larger. gone is the day i lived in the port on the mexican side in the 1990s and it's still the mom and pop smugglers. these are criminal enterprises know they are for the most part separates today than the larger drug organizations.
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there are some cities that are safer from what the government does and it's become a real patchwork. some places have gotten worse in some places have gotten better can you confirm they controlled all that is for the u.s. border? that is where they make you pay for the cost and my understanding this is kind of a chilling number the cartels and the organizations basically control more than a third of the country they can't even control large swaths of real estate in the country. it's interesting what control
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means. what you need this trafficking at the low end you need the chief of police in the municipality you go for the chief of police but don't worry about other business. they went after them with support and degraded them and there is no organization anymore. the largest with a rough trafficking drugs and some of the smaller ones and in parts of the country they do try to exercise if you go to a
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different part there are groups that try to control more than just drug trafficking but i say that only because when a third of the country has more active cartels it means something different in the city where you can let your life daily and never noticed the cartels then if you live in a town that would be hard to run a small business without being attacked through the cartels. they basically control from one another and if you want to challenge another cartels they generally respect the right to move material within certain geographical areas. with respect to a couple of
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things, the corruption issue when the president felipe calderon who i'm sure you have a good relationship with over the years initially took this on, in retrospect what he encountered is there was so much of the state and local level where people not only defied the federal government when he was trying to move against certain targets, certain cases they were in bed with the narco's they would replace them an into that sort of thing that it's hard to get traction. it's a kind of top-down approach. mexico needs to cultural change in terms of corruption and accountability and transparency and it's extraordinarily complicated and time-consuming process that has to be from the
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top-down and i think they can do that quite frankly. they hav have been mandated to o precisely that, but it requires a criminal justice reform and penitentiary or he reform and professionalization of the police. only a handful of the 31 states has the capacity to track for policing so there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done but it requires political will. they are kind of an outsider for the ultimate insider and others he's sort of a maverick and so perhaps you can challenge the structural corruption that existed for many years and which has blocked progress in terms of economic advancement and now blocked simple application of
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the rule of law to transform that model. in the corruption of violence whether you can actually do that or not i don't know. that's where we can try to find a way to share that challenge because it affects them and us in central america so we are trying to get our hands around with that and figured out how to take advantage of the moment of the opportunities that this may provide. my impression of the speech he gave in his inaugural as i understood it is that he increased expectations skyhigh. ordinarily you try to tap down expectations and exceed those, but he said the expectations very high, so it is going to be interesting to see. we have a lot of skin and again
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ourselves in the united states in terms of how that turns out, and we need to figure out a way to work with our exiting counterparts in the legislative and executive branch levels and help them in all of the ways that give detailed. thank you all for spending your time here and sharing expertise with us. the hearing is now adjourned and what we will do, i will add by way of a footnote that maybe some additional written questions. i wouldn't expect a lot, but we will give everybody the chance if they have additional areas they want to inquire about and then we will close off the record about ten days or two weeks time. thank you very much.
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[inaudible conversations] .. assad [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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pulled his -- politics or the primary attention. i don't think he's a racist. everyone is either a friend or an enemy. he holds no grudges. but you know his ideas the america first thing is an idea that he holds dear that our country has been shortchanged in stealing with the rest of the world and reflects an trade policy nutrition policy the things nutrition policy that things are the minds of many of his supporters is middle america and to a degree a sincere set of beliefs on his part.
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today the senate members voted to answer criminal justice reform bill before several senators spoke on the floor about the legislation. this portion starts with some the majority whip job cornyn. >> i'm madam president at 535 will be voting on the first procedural step to take up criminal justice reform legislation that started back in 2013 when i introduced a bill would call federal prison reform this legislation is based on prison reform that it has taken on additional attributes relative to how we sentence and how judges sentence people convicted of various crimes. let me explain a little bit about why this should be a priority for the senate and for the congress and for the


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