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tv   Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Southern Border Migration  CSPAN  April 12, 2019 12:10pm-2:51pm EDT

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>> u.s. border patrol and immigration and customs enforcement officials testified on migration issues at the southern border before the senate homeland security committee recently. they addressed efforts to reunite migrant children with their families. the interdiction of fentanyl and other illicit drugs. at the root causes of migration from central america. officials from the drug enforcement administration, the u.s. public health service commissioned corps and customs and border protection also
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provided testimony. this earned runs about two and half hours. [inaudible conversations] >> morning. this hearing will come to order. what welcome all are witnesses and thank you for your thoughtful testimony it as i said last week i i encourage al committee members which haven't had a chance, please read the testimony. these witnesses have done a good job of laying out the reality of the crisis that we face on the border. i'm absent my written doesn't asking my written statement the internet and direct. let's put up the chart that describes this. we t don't have final numbers fr the final week in march, but again i'm not going to go to the full explanation of this. but only to point out in less than six months we have apprehended more than 240,000
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either unaccompanied children or people coming into this country as family units, individuals whl according to testimony last weel are part of a process, it's almost a well oiled machine ofl the human traffickers, the transnational criminal organizations, , individuals tht are moving people froms central america into this country, completely exploiting our loss. but you want a 40,000 people in less than six months and that compares to 120,000 in0 2014 te year president obama correctly labeled that a human chain crisis. so again in less than half the double the level of 2014. we will be hearing from people in customs and border protection, the folks are trying to grapple with this growing crisis, how is completely overwhelmed our system. but again this is going to be a very full hearing. we have representatives from agencies that are grappling with this crisis.
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this is up to congress. we have laws on the books that important decisions that need to be addressedt through congressional action, through passingss laws, from my standpot the goal of this is to reduce if not stop the flow of this illegal immigration. that's got to be the goal of our policy and recognizing i could make this point in lasting as well, we have a short term, is a long-term problem but we have short-term crisis progressed toe address this with short-term measures. i'm all for developing and sending dollars and trying to help those nations is public institutions have been destroyed by insatiable demand for drugs but that will not solve this problem anytime soon. we have to enact the laws we can htaddress this problem right no. we can't afford to wait any longer.
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it were going to fix this and doctor caeli last week talked about having a more rapid adjudication process of the initial determination of asylum claim. the reason that's important is if we don't detain individuals, we only are able to remove about 7%. if we detain people and have an invalid asylum claim, we driven 77%. we have to be able to have at adjudication process inn the tie when we have the detention facilities so we can actually remove them. otherwise it's a moot point. we had to take a look at the initial hurdle in terms of credible fear or a more likely, likelihood that the asylum claim with the dude as valid. 85% of the site and claims are denied. we have to come to that determination a lot quicker. this chartrt shows what kind of
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facilities we would need based on the number of people come into this country illegally on a monthly basis versus the number of days to adjudicate thatou initial claim. it's pretty shocking.s right now with about 100,000 individuals is with the estimate is for march, 100,000 people illegally. if it takes 45 days, right now about 40 days to get that initial determination, were looking at needing detention facilities, about 125,000 beds is what this chart would show you. 105,000 beds. we have. we have about 50. this chart also shows you the solution, reduce the flow, do some of days of adjudication and then will have plenty of detention facilities. senator hassan has talked about this. i do want to detain people.t it cost a lot of money. what are want to do is come to a very rapid conclusion, is this a
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valid or invalid claim. if it's invalid asylum claim, we have to move those individuals back to the home country. we know this works. secretary chertoff, about 31,000 that your that you came in from mexico to a seven border. he realized that this problem so initiate a process of rapid removal in the next year is 1400. so we know that works. that's what we need to do a to pass the loss to do it. i won't go on any further, but i'm just asking this committee, i will be proposing legislation, hopefully working with senator peters and others on a bipartisan basis to fix this problem. we have to address it and it's a short term, it's a short-term situation that we got to deal with this. we can't wait for the long-term fixes. with that, senator peters. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you voting fishing today and one of of the witnesses, tt
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you for being here today. last thursday's hearing provided information about the scope and the skill of the challenges that we are now facing on our southern border, important historical context was divided and chimps examine howvi we can better work with the government of mexico, guatemala, honduras and el salvador. during my opening statement, just five days ago in hearing we had last week, i said securing our borders will take cooperation and credibility from this administration, and not chaos and not confusion. unfortunately, in the day sense, just the five days we have seen nothing but more chaos out of the administration. since this first southern border hearing concludedhi we've seen e administration withdrawal of the nominee to be the director of u.s. immigrations and customs enforcement, a nominee who hearing before this committee last year and was approved during the committee meeting
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last month. we've seen the announcement of homeland security secretary nielsen resignation, we'veit sen the president fire secret service director for unknown reasons, creating another senior vacancy at the department of homeland security. we've seen reports the white house is potentially preparing to fight the director of u.s. citizenship and immigrationec services. it is come in a word, chaos. the problems we face our southern border will not be high-profile firings or tweets or press conferences. it's going toil take leadership. as i said last week it's going to take cooperation and credibility. by the end of the week at the department of homeland street he will have no secretary, no deputy secretary, the chief financial officer, nobody's leading multiple major bureaus and, therefore, virtually no accountability to the american
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people. we are looking at an absence of leadership at the top of the third largest department in our federal government, department charged with preventing terrorism, securing our borders, enforcing our immigration laws,, safeguarding cyberspace and ensuring resilience to disasters. fortunately, the men and women of dhs and its component agencies, career public servants, continued to show up to work and they continued to do best across the country in the midst of a very t difficult situation on our southern border. last week we heard that it's not just the number but the composition of the migrant groups that are straining our infrastructure. specifically the influx of families and children seeking asylum from dangerous conditions in the northern triangle countries has great an unprecedented challenge for ouro frontline personnel. there are no easy answers for quick fixes here, but we know
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that the trauma of detaining young children separating them from their parents puts these children at a risk of irreparable harm. i've asked multiple officials on this administration who have testified before this committeea i've asked how long is too long to detain a child? i've yet to receive a real answer. we must do better. we need to reduce the backlogs and processing asylum claims, screening interviews are being delayed. thekl average weight to appear before an immigration court is now over two years, the backlog is quickly approaching 1 million cases. this is simply unacceptable. we need to address root causes of mass migration, , take on the violence and impunity that regions across of knowing triangle experienced and disrupt the transnational criminal organizations that cash in on drug trafficking and human smuggling. this will take careful cooperation with regional
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governments, law enforcement and civil society not cutting off existing funding the nonprofit organizations operating in the northern triangle. we need mexico to do more to address the flow of migrants across their southern border but it will take sustained cooperation and american leadership, not baseless threats and disengagement. finally we need to secure our southern border. i look for to hearing from our witnesses about what w is workig and what is not your credit for to how we can replicate your successes and address your challenges and i look to discussing how we can improve data that congress and federal agencies rely on to make thoughtful decisions. ain't youou for being here toda. >> thank you, senator peters. again what will take his legislation. it's going, need to act now to address this situation now, and
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we can rely on long-term fixes to address this situation no soak in that's what i want to with you. part of holding his hearings is determined what we need to do now to fix this. it does require legislation. it is the tradition of this committee to swear in witnesses so few if you all stand and rae your right hand. [witnesses were sworn in] >> please bebe seated. our first witness is mr. rodolfo karisch, chief patrol agent for this border patrol rio grande valley sector and command of the joint task force west south texas quarter. he previously served as a chief patrol agent of the tucson and don't real sectors, alsoo served as cbp attaché to mexico. mr. karisch. >> chairman johnson, ranking member peters, and distinguished members of the committee, thank
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you for the chance to appear before you today. i am proud to assert at the border patrol agent for more than 30 years. partly as a chief patrol agent in the t rio grande valley sectr or rgb and also have served as a chief patrol agent of the tucson sector. in my 30 years as an agent i have never witnessed the conditions are currently facing on the southwest border. this is not a manufactured crisis created by those of us who live and work in the border area. border patrol contingent apri in record numbers of people who purposely violate u.s. immigration laws. we are taken advantage of icaps in a legal framework and that undermines the rule of law. criminal organizations along the border capitalized on these issues and make tremendous profits at the expense of migrants in the american people. rgv is responsible for securing 277 miles of border.
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this is a small fraction of the united states but accounts for 38% of all illegal immigration along the entire southwest border. to putte things in perspective, last year agents in rgv made 162,000 apprehensions. we are already at 147,000 147,t this pace my sector alone will have more than 200 60,000 apprehensions by the year of the fiscal year. on average we apri and more than 1000 people illegally crossing the border every day. that's roughly the capacity of 17 commercial buses. last week, agents of a second apprehended 1766 people in a single 25 timeframe. expect these numbers to continue to climb as we to continue to climb as we enter the summer months which will undoubtedly placed both migrants and our border patrol agent at significant risk. rescue missions will increase as a result drawing additional personnel from our frontline law
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enforcement mission. much media attention is focused on caravans from central america but the fact is that rgv is receiving caravan equivalent numbers of migrants every seven days. the majority of people where apprehending our family units and accompanied children from the northern f tranquil countris guatemala, el salvador and honduras. many are extremely vulnerable. consequently, 30-40% of my daily work force is doing to managing work at any given point in time. this includes processing, care and feeding, hospital watch and transportation. it also means that at any given point in time 30-40% of my work force is not available to secure the border. an agent has taken a a migranto hospital is not available to interdict narcotics nor are we able to respond to this monthly pens or border intrusions when we encounter and apprehend large groups of people. the bad guys know this. they know our resources are
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stretched thin in addressing the mentoring issue which undermines our border security operations. they direct movement and large groups into certain border areas as a diversion to facilitate the smuggling of drugs. this definition bothis the national security and officer safety. in addition to the large groups of dams and children central america, other illegal aliens all over the world are caught trying to evade arrest. in my sector alone we have encountered people from 50 different countries. that includes bangladesh, china, turkey, egypt, romania, to name a few. people are traveling all across, are traveling acrossis hemisphes to attempt to illegal interviews using thehe same pathways a central americans. we also encounter known gang members from some of the mostvi violent gangs honors including ms-13 and 18 street. some of these gang members are fraudulently posing as part of
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these migrant families. i'd like to share with you a translation of a text message that we intercepted from ms-13 gang member who's part of one of these fraudulent family units. he wrote, you should see the amount of hondurans that traveling with the child. they pay less to the smugglers in order to be delivered to the border patrol. it's a direct trip. they have them a few days withew border patrol and afterwards they are a released. there are a lot of people with that law. that is the n easiest way right now. entire families are coming. to make no mistake about it, the word is getting at. if you are part of the family, if you bring a child, you will be released. just last friday agents apprehended an adult honduran mail with a one-year-old child. after questioning the man come in and admitted the child was not int, fact, he is. something has to change. the levels of mass migration
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were seen how profoundly impact or border and stop dangerous people go to any the country. i implore congress to consider legislative action to restore his integrity to system. thank you for your time and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. thank you for your service. our next witness is mr. randy howe, and et cetera director of operations for u.s. customs and border protection in this role he receives 30 field offices and three and 20 ports of entry. mr. howe. >> good morning chairman johnson, ranking member peters, the sting wish the committee. it's an honor to appear before you today on behalf of cbp's office of field operations. u.s. customs and border. protection has four party missions, national security, counter-narcotics,, economic security and the facilitation of lawful trade in trouble. we operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to accomplish those nations.
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our job is to move people and cargo through our ports of entry. while inspecting all of those for possible hazards, and stopping threats at the border. nation's economy and our national security relies on our vigilance. it is an immense task even in the best circumstances. our offices report to duty never knowing what challenges they will face or if their life will be threatened. portfolio income resource constraints and enforcement activities make everyday unpredictable. in recent months, however, we've seen an unprecedented unsustainable trend in our daily operations. migrants sometimes traveling a large groups are arriving at ports of entry without proper documentation. the majority are family units, unaccompanied children, nearly all of them seeking asylum. i'd like to get a snapshot of the daily operations at one of our ports of entry. just this past saturday and nogales, arizona are officers made five separate trips
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transporting migrants to medical facilities including one trip transporting a family of five. four unaccompanied injury from hunters arrived at a port of entry, all playing asylum. a family from cuba entering the country by commercial bus claimed asylum. a single vehicle inspection yielded 70 packages of methamphetamine, weighing more than 72 pounds. and any apostrophes in some else's documents was encountered as a pedestrian and taken in for processing. among all this activity our officers are regular transferring migrants to senders or into i.c.e. custody or accepting detainees from other ports of entry to alleviate overcrowding.e this is an addition to our work to process the people and cargo with a legitimate need to pass through our ports of entry every day. while the current migration flows have tax our officers at the ports of entry, the levels of migration between the ports is catastrophic. to support our colleagues in the u.s. border patrol, the office
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of field operations redirected 545 frontline officers from our southwest border ports of entry to help process and care for a record number of migrants. but these actions are not without consequences. travelers and shippers are experiencing increased wait times as they approach our southwest border ports of entry. this is true across all modes of travel, pedestrian, personal vehicles, commercial trucks. in el paso texas just yesterday passenger vehicle wait times at the bridge of america's was as long as 160 160 minutes, the pk time last year same day was 45 minutes. the situation is even more dire in our cargo processing. last year wait time for cargo processing in el paso were less than 50 ms. degette stay wait times were as long as 250 minutes, four hours. at the end of the day 63 trucks were not processed. this is the direct result of the 545 cbp officers being
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reassigned to assist thehe bordr patrol with the care and custody of the surging numbers of migrants. i cannot overstate the importance of these operations. the border security connection crisis at the southwest border has ripple effects that impact the entire nation. suspended services negatively affect the trade community, , te supply chain. businesses that rely on these products and ultimately the consumer. despite the challenges we face our offices continue to process migrants, claiming asylum, facilitate legitimate trade and travelnd and interdict narcotic. i appreciate the support congress has offered us and ie ask you consider legislative action that will address this crisis. thank you for your time and i look forward to question. >> thank you, mr. helped our next witness is mr. timothy tubbs, deputy special agenthy in charge for the homeland security investigations laredo, texas, office which includes mcallen and brownsville, texas. he served as the i.c.e. at the shake to mexico. mr. tubbs.
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>> good morning chairman johnson, ranking member peters,, and distinguish members of the committee. i want to thank you for the opportunity today to beer to discuss u.s. immigration and customs enforcement, security investigations, hsi, and our frontline perspective on sophisticated smuggling threats ve southwest on the border, the approaches of the lead up tot the border and some of what we do to address transnational criminal organizations, or tcos the threat border security, homeland security and public safety by seeking to bring illicit goods, people and proceeds into the united states. hsi special agent use the vast that the rich investigate cross-border criminal activity and work in close collaboration with u.s. customs and border protection office of field operations border patrol as well asd the drug enforcement administration. we work in a unified effort with the domestic and international law enforcement partners to combat that illicit activity. today i will highlight how hsi
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since our inception has targeted, investigated, disrupted come dismantled and brought to justice transnational criminalte organizations whose threatened our public safety through their cross-border abbasid activity. hsi is grateful to you for the continued congressional support that enables us to successfully execute and -- are complex mission both adam and about working with our domestic and international partners. hsi laredo, so hsi laredo is my current area of responsibility.. it's one off the most active areas of responsibility for the agency. cups proximally 300 miles of border of u.s.-mexico border and it covers what is the states, the mexican state with the united states border. if you look at hsi special agents that work in that area, they are on the true forefront of what is border security and the truly live every single day what is border security for we
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as the current government and the united states of america. mexico is a front doorstep for transnational criminal organizations to bring illicit goods and people to the united states. mexico is a major source countru for the transit and production of illicit drugs destined to the united states including marijuana, cocaine, i think that any most recently fentanyl. as a result of mexico's dominant role both as a source and transit point for illicit drugs destined for the united states it's also a primary destination for illicit c proceeds that the cartel earns that the distribution of works of the united states. mexico cartels use friday of techniques to repatriate illicit funds from cash smuggling to sophisticated trade-based money laundering schemes. many of these more complex games use third-party money launderers. hsas exercise established and abundance of investigative tools in her arsenal to disrupt and dismantle cartel money laundering operations. also hsin department of justice the fcra division have established
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extraterritorial criminal strikeforce program which addresses used security risk posed by tcos the smoke of special interest aliens and these could potentially cause aa threat to u.s. national security and public safety. this program is to is the safey disrupt t and dismantle the humn smuggling organizations worldwide through aggressive investigation and criminal prosecutions both domestically and extraterritoriall it. hsi works very close with her international partners to disrupt and dismantle tcos. hsin 688 officeses and 51 countries and we are positioned to establish, to utilize our relationship with those host sponsoring law enforcement in what we call transnational criminal investigative units. they are composed of dhs trade host country officials who have the authority to investigate an a for solution of and respective countries.
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also respective summary of those country and cultivating the international relationships. these efforts often thousands miles away from your sporting countries like the dominican republic and mexico both of which are the opportunity to serve acts as an hour later security for our southwest border mexico specific again ricer for three and half years before going to laredo is proven to be an outstanding partner in a fight against tcius taking down cartel leadership as well as taking down pollution of these organizations that smoke a special interest aliens at openly working with us cooperatively and efforts to dismantle those organizations. the attaché mexico is our largest i.c.e. present outside the united states and there we have an established tci you with mexico. we have worked well with the government of mexicoe and combating tcos encumbering the transnational drug smuggling weapons smuggling him smuggling
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and money laundering. the spirit of collaboration and joint efforts between dhs components and arcana person mexico is unprecedented. hsi will continue work with a law enforcement partners, continue work with them both domestically and for to improve our efficiency and effectiveness of information sharing cooperation accord nation to combat tcos and elicit more activity which threatens our border security, our national security and the public safety. what you think you present here today and look for to answer ag any questions that you have. thank you. >> thank you, mr. tubbs. our next witness is commander jonathan white versus is use public health service commission core or in the u.s. of account commission core. he is a health and human services senior advisory any office of emergency management and medical operations. he served as deputy director health and human services office of refugee resettlement. commander white. >> good morning, chairman johnson, ranking member peters, and members of the committee.
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it's my honor to appear today before you on behalf of u.s. department of health and human services. as it yemen noted my name is jonathan white, i'm occur office and use public health service commission corps, , also clinicl social worker andnd an emergency manager and most recently i've been detailed as hhs operational lead an effort to reunify children who are separate from the parents at the southwest border. i want to talk to you about the unaccompanied alien children program in the office of refugee resettlement in hhs. we are responsible for the care of the temporary custody of unaccompanied children referred to orr other federal agencies and has reminder orr does not apprehend migrants at the border or enforce the immigration laws and hhs is not a law enforcement agency. as defined by the homeland security act, if the child and the age of 18 with no lawful information status is
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apprehended by another federal agency and is no parent or legal guardian with a child or available in the united states to provide care and custody to the child, that child is considered the legal term is an unaccompanied alien child and hiss transfer to orr for care ad custody. orr operates shelters nationwide that provide housing, nutrition, routine medical care, mental health services, educational services and recreational activities and these provide an environment that has parity with facilities in the child welfare systems that house children here domestically. the facilities operatedd by nonprofit grantees who are licensed to provide care to children by state licensing authorities, the same that would regulate such facilities housing domestic children. the one exception is the temporary hard sided influx care facility on the former u.s. job course site in homestead florida which is not required to obtain
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stateai licensure because it's located on federally owned property. however, children at the location shall receive the same level of care and services as children were in a state licensed facility. the capacity has expanded and contracted driven by the astonishing fluctuations over time at the number of children referred and amateur and children remain in orr care. currently, hhs maintains about 14,300 beds nationwide that's up from 6500 beds on october 1, 2017 but it's also down from 15,800 beds on november 15, 2018. hhs continues to adjust its bed capacity constantly, based on the most recent data, include information from an agency partners, to help us prepare for changing needs. hhs cares for all of these children until they are released to a c suitable sponsor.
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almost always a parent or close relative to provide care for them while they await their day in immigration court. these children also leads hhs care if theth return to their he countries pursuant to immigration judges order. or theyyer turn 18, or thinking legal immigration status. in fiscalst year 2018, 49,100 children referred to orr by dhs. from october through february of this fiscal year we received over 24,000ve referrals. in fiscal 2019 through february, children were discharged from orr custody 92% of them were 9 released the individual sponsors, and of the sponsors,, for 6% were parents, 45% or close relatives and 9% or more distant relatives or non-relatives. on june 20, 20182010 the president issued executive order 13841, and used as a court in southern district of california
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issued its preliminary injunction and classified orders on june 26 pursuant to those sector is our task is this is a sector for preparedness and response to help us comply with that executive order and then subsequently without judges were sent to the up an infinite management team to reunify children with their parents. of the 2814 children reported to the court, as of this when we have reunified 2160 of them with a parent from whom they are separate. another 595 children have left orr care or other appropriate discharges. in most cases released to a family member or sponsor. there are 16 shall still in our care who were separated i can't reunified with their parente because we've made a final
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determination nation that poses an unacceptable risk to the safety and well-being of that child. there are 32 children stupid orr care whose parent after consulting with the aclu have waived reunification and there are nine children in care whose subsequent review determine not in fact, been separated from their parent but were truly unaccompanied children. as of this week of the 2008 and 14 children reported to court and are only two actual remaining and might still one day be reunified. we can't reunified them at the time until peart can base their wishes the aclu. the programs nation as a child welfare mission. we seek to serve the best interest of each individual child. that's guided as in everything we do, including our work to each separate a child back in his or her parents arms or discharge safer to another family member sponsor when that is their parents wish. we have done and will continue to do our best at the department to achieve that goal. thank you for the opportunity to
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speak withpp you today, and i'll be happy to answer any questions that you have for me about our program your thank you. >> thank you, thank you, comman. our final witness is mr. greg cherundolo. mr. cherundolo is the chief of operations for the drug enforcement a agency. elites dea's 222 domestic offices and 94 and offices. mr. cherundolo. >> good morning chairman johnson, ranking member peters, and distinguished members of tht committee. it's an honor to appear before you today to discuss mexican cartels, the extent of the influence to manufacture, transport and distribute illicit narcotics and her efforts to combat this threat. i have had the honor and privilege of serving as a law enforcement official for 27 years with the last 22 being as a dea special agent. when i reflect on the 27 years
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of experience, , the sophistication and capacity of mexican cartels is what worries me most. dangerous and highly sophisticated transnational criminal organizations or cartels operating in both mexico and the united states have been and will continue to be the most significant source of illicit narcotics traffic inside the united states. whether it's heroin or synthetic opioids, methamphetamine or marijuana, mexican cartels are the primary source of illicit drugs on our streets. perhaps the most disturbing aspect ofof mexican cartels has been the confluence of three things. the synthetic drug threat, the epidemic of opioid abuse, and the cartels attempt to expand the profits i intentionally mixing fentanyl and fentanyl related substances with heroin, counterfeit prescription drugs, and other illicit drugs including cocaine and methamphetamine. this is done for one simple
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reason, greed. this is a national threat and a public health emergency fueled by fentanyl. which is cheap to make, harde to detect, and dangerously potent. now consider this. chinese and mexican nationals are increasingly operating in concert, resulting in an alignment i responsible for the proliferation of heroin, fentanyl, and related synthetics come across our southwest border. couple this with the fact that a kilogram of fentanyl can be purchased for less than $5000 fromnd china, a potential profis from the sale of that kilogram can exceed $1.5 million. the cartels are deliberately seizing on the suffering of thousands ofus individuals to generate profit. the same organizations are transporting methamphetamine and cocaine across the southwest border at an alarming rate. we cannot afford to lose our focus on cocaine and methamphetamine. the cartels are responsible for
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record amounts of methamphetamine entering the united states, and recent increases in coca cultivation and cocaine production are thickly troubling, likely foreshadowing an increase in importation and abuse and overdose deaths. dea anticipates the mexican cartels such as the seminal hartel and c. j. ng as well as othersot will continue to be the primary networks operating in more than one country to plan and execute their criminal enterprises. these cartels did not observe boundaries or laws in mexico, the united states or any other country. as you know in 2017 mexico extradited joaquin el chapo guzman to the united states and he was just recently convicted in the eastern district of new york. this is a major milestone but more work needs to be done. now what is the a doing to counter this threat? we recognize this will take persistent efforts across a
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broad spectrum to include interagency and global partnerships. for decades we maintained a worldwide presence to address the source of drugs. in mexico, dea continues to synchronize and expand capabilities to combat the growing epidemic. we have developedom a bilateral heroin strategy for intelligence sharing, coordination of investigations, training, increased sharing a forensic information and the control of precursor chemicals. we also participate in the north american drug dialogue which focuses on building a strategy to attack the production, trafficking, consumption and misuse of illicit narcotics in north america. dea will continue to aggressively pursue criminal trafficking, criminals trafficking in illicit drugs, targeting the wills most dangerous drug traffickers and the criminal organizations is a dynamic and evolving mission. it comes with the mood of challenges. throughout our history dea has aggressively met those
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challenges and produced impressive results. we look forward to continue ourn work with you and your senate collect identify resources and authorities necessary to complete our mission, i think if an opportunity to testify before the committee today on this importantom issue and i look forward to your question. >> thank you, mr. cherundolo. again i really appreciate the attendance year by members consult a for my questioning until the end. we do have a vote we have to deal with at 11:00. my attention will be to keep the hearing going. hopefully we can get cooperation by committee members but i will turn over tobu senator peters. >> thank you, mr. chairman. that you can to our witnesses for your testimony today. mr. chairman, also theag letter here from a national treasury employees union i like to smack for the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. a big part of what we've been trying to couple accomplish she lasting and missing is trying to get just a sense of facts on the ground that we can all agree and a bipartisan way, take the
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rhetoric, push it all aside and figure out how we can deal with a significant problem. related to that the course is having good data. you need to have the numbers and the chairman is in numbers person, not like i am, i want to make sure we're getting that kind of information, getting it on a timely basis which is not really been happening. the gao recently recommended the dhs develop and implement a process to systemically review and rely, and look at the reliability of the data used in this border security metrics report, and identify any limitations in how pretty she is. my question is for all the witnesses. are there any data points that were not collecting now that would provide critical insight into these challenges we'reen having on the border? i like to ask all of you if you have anything to share related to what we are not collecting at that you think we should be. rich, you want to start us off?
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>> center, we collect a lot of information out but i think we also need tout go further. in regards to the finances of what exactly criminal organizations are making i think that is key. we all have our ideas on how much money flows into the hands of criminal organizations, with its the brush guard, whether it's a transportation cell, stash house operators. i think we collectively need to get better at sharing that information. i don'ttt think we're going to e able to edit it our way out of this problem without attacking the finances. i deathly would think more financial information in data should between the different agencies would be helpful. >> i agree with everything that the chief said. we are an information agency. we collect lots of data points at a meeting we do, the migrants where intercepting, the different modes of narcotics had a coming through our border working with her in agencies,
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just to continue to work together with her in agencies and sharing information and building ons those trends we continue to target the narcotic narcotics. >> i can tell you specifically for us as immigration and customs enforcement investigations that important to us in everything we do just fine our operations, targeting, showing results for the end of the year, staffing, et cetera. we are very meticulous about our staff. i can tell you today coming forward to be t here to testifyn front of you, we are very careful about the stats we report, the information we report and we want to make sure we report that correctly but we do look very closely at the money-laundering and the finances. every criminal investigation we conduct with its human smuggling or narcotics, weapons, child exploitation, chopper not become intellectual property rights are specific routes that jessica finances. that's information we collect very closely and carefully and i
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think that something we can share with our partners in dhs. the cost dhs is for sharing information, if there was one dhs information compiled to share that would be beneficial to all of us. >> thank you. commander. >> i don't think we have sort of data points that were missing. i think the effectiveness of our agency sometimes challenged by the fact that we are a child welfare agency in a surrounding law enforcement process at a think there continue to be challenges with exchange of information because of the inherent challenges we have receiving some law-enforcement sensitive information that would enable us to make the safest placement decisions we could for a child, including receiving 213 information on children and those accompanying them. thank you, sir. >> thank you. senator, i don't think there's a data point that my partners here at the table don't already collect related to the specific
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border. however the one data point that we can point to at least from a perspective of chinese and mexican trafficking groups, trapping in fentanyl, is how the class scheduling of that note and fentanyl analogs has affected when we look at the data points, that would look at across procedures and as result of our investigations, , we find any time our chinese counterparts have controlled fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, it's decreased the number of seizures in passing that and lockyer and the united states. and because of those groups are working together to get fentanyl into the united states, i think that's helped us to reduce the amount of fentanyl that's leading to overdoses in the united states. but as far as the border related data points, i think our partners have come down on that and we continue to do share
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information back and forth as a result of ourig investigations d what they're doing as well. >> thank you. i followed you about sharing of data. my question to you, commander white, is in january dhs oig concluded the agency face significant challenges and identifying separated children, including the lack of an existing integrated data system to track separated families across hhs and dhs. commander, based on your experience as the federal health court made it official for the mission and reunifying children who are separated, to to tell us more about that? what are the gaps? what doha we need to make sure we're doing to identify with these separated children are? >> so i reminder, we are able in orr to tell you for any child who's been in our care to whom we released that children what relationship of the child was
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and the address that they had. but, i t think this is key, whie we now know every child who was in our care on the choice six of june, although 12,000 children, with each child the separate or not separate. but we don't know at what oig? correctly document to be still know how many children already released to a family member, had been separated referred to us. the problem is not one of interagency data sharing per se. the problem is that children were separated andd no record ws kept of it. that is not a data exchange problem. it is also more fundamentally the problem t that the unaccompanied alien children program is designed for unaccompanied children, not separated children. an orderly systems for exchange of data cannot undo the harm caused by separating children from their parents. that is theot proper focus for l congressional inquiries about separation what are the
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legitimate conditions under which the child may be separate from a parent at the border, what are the appropriate systems including what kind of rights and remedies to appeal does it. have, and how can orr and dhs have equal power to determine if a child is accompanied or unaccompanied so that orr they refused a referral of a child who is, in fact, accompanied? the issue is not how well was track. the issue is that it happened at all. >> well said, commander. like you for that testimony. appreciate it. >> real quick, your tesmer seem like real challenge was complying with the court order in terms what the definition was. there's real legitimate reason to separate a child from adult. for example, we've heard in testimony an adult male finally admitted the one-year-old child was not his. can you? speak to that? >> we've always seen appropriate separations of children both from parents and from people who claim to be their parents
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fraudulently. it's our experience that our colleagues in dhs veryy honoraby attempt to confront a really difficult set of challenges when apprehend a minute. the real problem is that there is no real legal, there is no statutory guidance when a child may be separated, under what conditions, , what is a permissible reason. there will always be some choice from parents for reasons of the child safety or the need to criminally prosecute some of with for example, film awards. the only speech or separate from individuals who fraudulently claim to be parents who are not. that is different from what we saw over the last year. >> but again i i just want to understand testimony. part of the problem and part of the confusion here is for use within doing legitimate separations for a host of reasons and part of complying with this was trying to figure out exactly what match dictates of the court order, correct? >> the o a historical norm is about .3%lo of all referrals are
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separations.01 in the fall of 2017 that increased tenfold to 3%. by the spring it was much higher than that as a percentage. so the issue is how do we determine what other reasonable standards for separation, and that is a job for congress. >> so there they again we neede legislation. senator portman. .. >> we certainly are and it's worse when president obama called it a crisis. i appreciate what you're doing. i have focused a lot on the push factors are also important. what we do with triangle
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countries, guatemala, honduras and el salvador is incredibly important but that's a long-term prospect. short-term, i want to ask you, if you don't mind, do you believe that people who are coming here, family units and otherwise are coming here primarily for economic reasons and primarily to get a job, better for their families? >> based on what we have seen out in the field at this point in time vast majority are coming s here for economic reasons and family reunification, i'm not saying that there are not credible fear claims or asylum claims that are true. >> i'm not either. my question to you is,ee do you think most folks are coming here for economic reasons? >> yes. >> to get a better job? >> senator, the same.
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>> yes, sir. i would agree with that coming here for economic reasons, i mean, that's -- any time we lood at unaccompanied children or family units, one of the things we look at is hsi, doing criminal investigations to ensure that there is no family fraud, to look at the welfare of the child, that there's no case where they are put in a situation with child exploitation and that's one of the reasons that we improved enforcement. >> would it surprise you under e-verify system, it's not mandatory, people can use fraudulent driver's license, we don't have a system that's effect i have to know who is legal or who is not so the employer can make the determination, that's what we have now, correct? would you support a mandatory e-verify system so that we can help to reduce the magnet, the pull?
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go ahead. >> yeah. >> you came to the mic first. >> absolutely, we would support. anything that would reluís -- >> yes, sir. >> any tool that we get is going to help us greatly. >> we have a bipartisan proposal to do that and i think that is something that sometimes we miss in the conversation about the border is important as it is to secure the border, when you have the pull factor and magnet, people find a way to get through over, around the border. commander, you know and i know each other, i think you care a lot about the kids and you've been in tough situations, i know there's discussion about reinstating the zero tolerance policy which lead to separations you talked about earlier, what was the effectiveness of ori policy. >> the effective of zero tolerance and other policies
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separating children from family units, the great majority of children who cross our border each day are accompanied, they are part of family units, most typically they are with a parent and they are accompanied. so the first thing that happens to the program, the program was overwhelmed. understate it is severity of the harm. it's overwhelmed with children that we are not prepared to serve easilylm'r because of ordinarily the great majority of arthe children are teenagers. when you separate children from their parents we get babies, toddlers and other very young children. 107 of them were 4 years of age or younger, our specific capacity that states of license to serve what we call tender age under 12, this puts the children at significant risk and, of course, it also bears repeating
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that separating children from their parents very significant risk of psychological harm to those children and that is an undisputed scientific fact. >> you also have a ph.d, so you have some credibility in terms of understanding that dynamic. let me ask you this, if we were to do it again tomorrow, you have said earlier in your testimony there's a system breakdown. do we have the infrastructure to handle it, yes or no? >> we have made improvements to our tracking, we do not have the capacity to receive that number of children, nor do we have the capacity to serve them, nor is it possible to build the system that will prevent the vast traumatization of children. >> your facilities are full right now, i'm talking about your facilities, not just for unaccompanied kids or kids that are separated, we don't have the capacity right now, the infrastructure, is that accurate? >> we don't have long-term detention, at the end of the
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process, yes, we are full. >> yeah. we are full. by the way, has anybody consulted with you about the idea of reinstating the zero tolerance policy? >> no, no, sir. >> okay. you get about 200 kids a day now coming in unaccompanied kids, you've got about 12,000 kids in your care, you're working on this corridor to try to reunify kids, unaccompany dz kids who come in, let me ask you briefly about your problem you've had in getting sponsors. we were concern in the committee and elsewhere that you were sending out kids to sponsors who were traffickers, in one case in ohio, the marian case, they abuse the kids, there have been by the way 7 indictments in that case, traffickers, but let me ask you, how are you doing now
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with sponsors, we wanted to be sure that the sponsors were fingerprinted and a way to understand so you aren't giving kids to traffickers, you put that in place. ice and others following with individuals and therefore your sponsorship pretty much dried. now you have more sponsors coming back, immigration perspective. >> so we continually adjust our case management vetting methods to try and find the right balance between safety and discharge -- safety and discharge, we grossly failed 2014 and that led to revolutionary change inside the program about our standards. our standards are not comparable to what they were then. in 2017 i would submit that we actually pushed safety so far that it broke discharge and children stayed in care in
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unprecedented length of rate and discharge rate, how many get discharged every day, that felt below 1%. this is why the temporary influx facility was stood, separation, by making changes, including now, under current operational directive we only do fingerprint background checks, we do all the other background checks but only fingerprint background checks on parents if there's another red flag, indication of danger. discharge rate 2%, average length of time continues. i want to be clear, we studied every case where we denied discharge to a parent based on fingerprints and we didn't find case where we did on fingerprint only. we found identified threat through numerous other methods using identity, relationship verification and child safety,
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tbher a different world than we cwere in 2014 but we will continue to make changes as we need to to balance changes. >> thank you. >> discharge the sponsors, between july 2018 and january january 2019, there were a total of 23,445 unaccompanied children, children discharged to a sponsor. 18,000 were discharged to someone without legal status. is that pretty accurate figure? >> because i don't have in front of me the numbers, the numbers would be consistent with general pattern. >> which indicates and i will ask for consent to enter this in the record, shows, again, how completely out of control the
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process is right now. senator hassel. >> i want to particularly thank our witnesses, thank you for yourod service. thank you as well for all the men and women who you work with each and every day. before i begin my questions, i do want to express concern about tthe turmoil at the topmost lel of department of homeland facility. the department is tasked with the vital mission from securing the nation of many threats we face and the type of turnover we are seeing right now presents direct threat to the ability to effectively carry out that mission. we need to see qualified leaders put forward who have the experience need today keep americans safe and who will also stand up to the president if necessary to uphold the rule of law and the values that make us strong. i want to turn now to a question to mr. howard.
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last spring when i was at the border, i heard during my visits that thepr agents still did not have all the access to that equipment. former secretary nielsen said it was unacceptable when she testified in committee last may. can one of you update the commit ee and do they have the technology they need to detecting fentanyl? >> thank you for the question, the 554 million that you speak of, that will change the way we do business in the southwest border. it will give us ability to scan more vehicles an more trucks, considerably more than we are doing today. it's going to take time to work
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with venders, purchase, get them into place but really transform where we are doing to interdiction. we know that there's facility that is we are seeing fentanyl, so 45 million that we received also, fy19, we are allowed to enhance nri, nonintrusive invasion technology. >> okay. so still working progress is what you're telling me that we don't have all the technology but it's provided by the funding yet -- p >> we are working through it. it's going to take some time. mr. chairman, do you have anything to add? >> senator, the only thing that i would add that any of that is welcomed to us. >> right. >> but we would -- we would support any advanced technology that can be given to our colleagues on the border but those wouldn't specifically apply to dea. >> thank you. i am still concerned that we don't have as much equipment as we need.ce
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i'm very concerned about the people on the front lines, fentanyl, as we all know is so dangerous even to the touch. so i look forward to following up with the agency about how we can accelerate this. commander white, i wanted to follow up a little bit with you on the discussion that you've just been having about the family separation policy and the efforts your agency has made to reunite families and children. you talk about the numbers in the case that -- individuals represented by the aclu, but we also know that there are other you just mentioned it in your testimony who before the policy was announced were apparently separated from their families. when you appear before this committee last year and just now, you were very clear about the impact of family separation on children that children are
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traumatized and suffered long-time psychological damage from this kind of separation and i thank you for your clarity and your honesty on that issue. but that's why i was so troubled to see your statement a o few ds ago stating that it could take 2 years to identify what could be thousands of years who were separated from their families. can you tell me why it will take so long and what we will do to speed this up? >> yes, senator, so i was referring to my declaration and enthe plan which i developed whh the government has submitted in southern district of california on how we would do that identification. i want to be clear,he the -- the one 2-year time frame if you review 47,000 children who were referred by dhs starting on july 1st, 2017 and had already been discharge today a family member or otherwise
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appropriately discharged by the date of the court. the plan and it's in the declaration is design to accelerate the process. i don't know that it will, but it represents my personal belief of the best most effective way to find the children to identify which of the children were discharged were separated and would do so as fast as possible, the question is, it is 47,000 children, they have all been discharged and there is no list, this is the fundamental reality. the reason that it's challenging now because there's no list of separated children, we must identify them so we will use if the judge approves it the methods that i've outlined and if he doesn't approve it, i guess we will all be back in the drawing board. i believe that the plan which is in my declaration is the best t way to identify who the kids
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were. >> yes or no, would more staff help you do it faster? >> i don't believe fast is the key variable. >> would you please commit to submitting to me any recommendations you could make in terms of resources or other things congress could provide to you that would help you speed that process up? >> yes, ma'am, i will make that commitment. as a reminder, this is beforeil the judge currently and i. i am waiting for his direction. >> i understand. i want to make clear about the impact what has been inhumane and un-american policy of family separation and i take it from your comments earlier, your exchange with senator portman that you do not support reinstating this policy? >> i would never support the use
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of family separation, the rsystematic traumatization of children as tool of immigration policy but it's not what i feel, it's what you and your itcolleagues support and it is p to you to define the conditions under which a child may be separated, congress hasn't done that and you need to. >> thank you. i appreciate that very much but i also appreciate that i believe that this administration should not move forward with family separation. i believe there are other ways we can secure our borders and i appreciate very much the input and the feedback that you have provided today. thank you, more chair, i have a question i will submit to the question to you about southbound trafficking of guns and cash going overg from the united states to méxico. i would like to follow up with you about how we can slow that kind of traffic. >> we would be happy to get you the information, senator. >> thank you very much, thank you, mr. chair. >> senator, delay about 10 minutes, so we have plenty of time for you and senator romney.
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>> we will take it from there, thank you, mr. chairman. >> the children that are being placed in homes, c uac specifically, you said the vast nmajority of those, you're placing in home someone who is also not legally present in the united states, so this is typically teenagers and what percentage do you expect being placed in homes of someone who is not legally placed in the united states? >> i don't know percentage, i can say only that it is the great majority. >> we are talking 80%, 55%? >> i would assume closer to 80 but i don't have an exact percent. >> okay, how can we get the number? >> we can work to the extent we can provide it. >> the vast majority we expect are not legally present or we know are not legally present? >> i would have to get back to you on that. >> the background check that we are trying to verify if this person is legally present or not or criminal record in the united states? >> the background in many cases does, indeed,ni work, immigratin
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issues subject to what we get in our agency partner but -- and so in each individual case, we would know the immigration status of the sponsor, but that doesn't mean that we have ready aggregate reporting so that's why -- >> so you do know if they are legally or not? >> based on records of other agencies. >> could we get a percentage of ethose individuals,. >> 79% from whatever the dates were were placed with the sponsor with no legal status. >> right. >> the other thing to point out, fingerprints only tell you whether they have criminal record in america. >> right. that's what i'm trying to figure out.
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>> we seek if we can also get information one criminal history in the country of origin. >> okay. >> this is just an ongoing issue because we have participants -- parents or relatives who have come illegally across the border and sent message back home and they are paying someone to be able to transition them through méxico to be able to come here and we are delivering the last mile back to their families to be able to reunite families in that sense of someone who is not legally present here and then also with a child that they transited, nonrelative of méxico to get here, that's the typical story, mostly teenagers? >> i don't -- i don't have any way of knowing how many -- >> how they got here. >> the parent that did the transition. it would not be uncommon. >> okay, thank you.
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in our hearing last week, two biggest issues by far. you were very clear to say congress needs to act. last week it was very specific, what we need congress to do is address flores and tv pra, is that your opinion of what needs to be addressed? >> yes, agree. to allow families to stay together, the flores agreement, repatriation to countries. >> okay. >> completely agree. >> how many individuals do we have coming in family groups that are coming fromly méxico? >> very small number right now, senator, the vast majority -- >> give me a ballpark guess? >> i would have to get those numbers for you. i mean, but 65% on the central american families that we are seeing coming across the border, avery small percentage of mexicans with families.
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>> so you're saying 65%?65 families from -- >> central america. >> the other 35% of the folks are coming from where? >> well, méxico but we are also seeing from different parts oft the world in the people that we apprehend. >> you mentioned in your region, 50 different nations. >> yes, sir. >> represented, i didn't get the time period. >> just thisfiscal year. >> in the last six months you have seen 50 different countries coming that are family units? >> not family units, single adult who is are trying to evade arrest. >> the question becomes very difficult to manage personnel. when you pull people off ports of industries it has real feffect. 4 hours of a wait truck to get
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in and truck that is never got processed, make it is next day even hardier obviously to be able to move. what do you see as the snowball effect of having to be able to move people to the between ports of entries to what's happening in land ports of entry for long-term shipping and trade? >> thank you, senator, we pulled 945 officer that is work in cargo vehicles, what you're seeing in opening remarks, we are seeing double the wait times in both dov and cargo, this is immediate response of the crisis that we are seeing in ports of entry. >> the issue of fake families, how has that changed in the last year or two in what you have seen?
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>> back in 2014 less than 1% of the male that is were apprehended actually came with a child. right now it's 50%. so 50% of the males that are coming in to this country right now have a child with them. they recognized that because of the flores settlement is that they're not going to be kept in custody, so that shows you exactly how they are exploiting the system and right now because of volume it is very difficult for us to spend great deal of time interviewing every single person. >> so our laws are incentivizing people to be able to travel with vevea child? in other words, if you get in with a child and put the child through the trauma of all the traveling and you get more expedited process when you get here? >> yes. >> the question on child that's not related to the person or is very distant related to the heperson that they are traveling with, what percentage of people, what numbers are we talking about, 2,000, 3,000, how many have we seen this year? >> i will have to take that one back for the record. i don't have that offhand.
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i can tell you that we have seen the fraudulent family units. we have seen the recycled children. >> so when you say recycled -- some were sent back over and filling up again. >> and we have also seen, i talked about it earlier and the fact that the criminal organizations are making significant profits out of the nismuggling. people that are released with documents from our facilities, meaning they can travel anywhere in country have been found in stash houses in houston because they still haven't paid off the criminal organization, so that shows you just how much control smuggling organizations have. in rgv, four specific areas for all family units, every other zone and the sector is reserved for narcotics, very controlled, organized, structured. >> mr. chairman, if we don't fix the laws, we are continuing to look away from human smuggling, that's something that we would should not look away and what i
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keep hearing over and over, they need congress to act on these dareas but never gets better. >> what i said in opening statement, a problem we are hearing now and we need to act now, i thought it was interesting in last week's hearing, the witnesses said that the border is completely controlled on the southern side by the drug cartels. nobody is moving through there without paying the fee, c ransom basically. we need to recognize this and we need to act, senator romney. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you ranking member as well for holding this hearing, i want ato say thank you to the individuals that you serve with, your service and their service is a great tribute to our nation and it's critical to our national security and to our commitment to principles of human dignity. i -- i must admit that i'm sure like many people deeply troubled about the vacancies at the department of homeland security
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and transition process, that it's been carried out with regard to vacancies, it's dangerous, it's dangerous what's happening at the border and given the broad responsibility that the homeland security has in protecting our nation. it is seriously troubling. let me turn with something specific that relates to your testimony. if -- if there were no border patrol agents, if there were no ice and we just said, anybody that wants to come into the country, come on in, my expectation you would have tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of more people say i would rather live in america than somewhere else for many, many reasons and not suggesting that but i do believe that we need to put in place processes and -- and measures, legislatively as the chairman has indicated but perhaps otherwise as well to make sure
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that we do secure our border and that we have systems that don't attract people here in such huge numbers. we have legislative fix that is need to come both short-term and long-term and like senator portman who described the importance of e-verify, i would underscore at least my personal view that mandatory e-very for gyring in this country is special if we are going to turn on the magnet that draws people to the country illegally. but the challenges that we have described today have suggested to me thatsc we do need to havea legislative fix and i'm going to ask you not for data about something with which you have personally familiar with but instead with regard to legislation. what should we do if you had the opportunity to counsel the entire congress as to what action we should take to make sure that our border is more secured and children that are being separated are given better care that we resolve this extraordinary challenge that we
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face, what -- what legislative action do you think is action that we should be taking and -- and i will let you each whichever order you would like to go in respond to that question. i may have to leave before all your answers are given because i that's underway that will be over in just a few minutes but, please, why don't we begin with you. >> so i think it's addressing tbra, someone who has credible fear of asylum, they walk into an embassy in country, file your claim there, we get them out of dangerous journey whether it's coming to borders in arizona or south texas, do away with this problem, unfortunately right now as i previously mentioned criminal organizations are the only ones who are benefiting from what's happening. they are making enormous amounts of money. so we've got to establish a process where we are continuing
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to admit those people who truly have a fear but yet eliminate a lot of the fraud that's going into some of the place at this time. >> thank you. >> families can be held together in order to allowing return to countries. >> thank you. >> absolutely support as far as the flores and tbpra, immigration as a whole from workers permits all the way to citizenship, something the u.s. government needs to look at. just because of the history of our immigration law, beside legislative fix we absolutely need to have a secure border. there's no reason anything that crosses the border between ports of entry is illegal and we as the u.s. government should be table to control ports of entr. we are always going to -- we are always going to facilitate commerce at the port but between ports of entry we should be able
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to control the area. >> thank you. commander. >> first you should in statute define conditions permissible to remove a child from a parent and i would submit to you that that should only be for the safety of the child or the parent faces criminal charges other than misdemeanor 1325 entry. second, parents need to have -- there needs to be a requirement coof a process and documentation when children are separated from a parent and parents need to have a rightn to appeal that and third, legal authority along with dhs, equal to dhs to determine if the child is unaccompanied so the child is referred to us, separated from parent not for cause, we can refuse that referral. >> senator on top of what my partners with dhs have already
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highlighted, i would say the one single piece of legislation that dea would say would be very important to us is the classified scheduling of fentanyl. we have emergency schedule fentanyl last year and it expires in 2020 which could have a significant impact on not only dea and law enforcement partners in processing analogs where the chemical make-up of fentanyl has changed slightly but also affects the department of justice prosecuting cases and motions going forward if the fentanyl were to come out of scheduling, the emergency scheduling in 2020. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i'm going to go vote. >> senator before you go, i do want to point out that if you claim asylum, come to the country illegally and climb asylum, we give you work permit after 6 months, is that correct? so e-very is well and good but when we are actually granting
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work permit to someone who comes to the country illegally after 6 months, rewards that we provide which i think we ought to seriously consider. senator harris. >> thank you, mr. chairman. today's hearing takes on new significance obviously in the nielsen'scretary resignation, i believe the government should see the business of keeping families together and not tearing them apart. outgoing secretary's willingness to most cruel immigration policies and willingness to frankly not be honest with congress when questioned about hthe polls policies let me to call back in 2018 for resignation, the government should have commitment to truth and accountability. under the secretary's tenure dhs had track record of t neither, however, she was reportedly forced out because she resisted the white house's desire to embrace even more extreme
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tactics from defying a court order and reinstating the cruel family separation policy to closing the southern border. a political stunt that would cause dire economic consequences to our country and there are report that is even morery turnover in dhs's leadership is yet to come. i believe a well-functioning department homeland security is vital to safety and security of our nation. at homes like this, congress must exercise its duty to provide a check on the executive branch to oversight, power of the purse and through our responsibility to provide advice and consent. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to joinea together in helping to restore a much needed stability to the department of homeland security and to respect and honor the men and women who work there. commander white, i have some questions for you. on march sixth, cbp commissioner
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mcaleenan, now acting secretary of homeland secretary testified before judiciary committee, i questioned him about report that is immigrant children in the custody of hhs and hhs's office resettlement endorsed sexual harassment and assault. oir received 4,456 allegations between october of 2014 and july of 2018. nearly 200 of which included very serious allegations such as staff watching children shower, fondling and kissing them and rape. according to justice department data, sexual abuse allegations in shelters skyrocketed at the a peak of the family separation crisis last summer. the acting secretary said that he was not aware of the allegation and that his colleagues at hhs and orr are very committed to the comirn in -- children in their care.
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i asked them after learning obligations, he had duty to voice concern over the safety of children beforehe transferring them to hhs' custody, doing so was, quote, the duty of the management and leadership of health and human services. commander white you are obviously here representing leadership of hhs, do you agree with him and what if any concern do you have about the findings and what are you prepared to do about it? >> 3 things, first of all, thank you, senator, do i want to talk -- we probably should talk more than the forum allow of the protection of children in our care. we start with one thing to be absolutely clear, if even one child is abused in our care, we failed the child. we failed the child. this is true of every child welfare system in the united states and every foster care system, every time a child incurs abuse the system failed.
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it's a call to do more. now the statistics that have been reported do require clarification because we have a strict policy of reporting events and many of these things that are reported of sexual abuse under requirements, sexually inappropriate conduct by minor, if a minor makes sexual gesture, reportable. there are, however, -- there are also cases at the upper end of the spectrum that include allegations of abuse by minors of each other and in some cases by staff, never federal staff. >> are you describing theoretically what happens in the department or are you referring to specifically to the 4,556 allegations that occurred 56between october 2015 and julyf
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2018? i would be interested -- only interested in the nature of the allegations that occurred during that period of time. >> i'm talking about the actual report, many reports are not in fact, allegations of sexualua abuse,t allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, universal reporting standard, they must report in writing, they do include some cases whic. resulted in criminal prosecution because we are required in every case to notify state, local and federal law enforcement and lainsture -- licensure authorities. >> how many allegations involved abuse by hhs employees or other staff or adults working in these facilities, whomever employs them, financial, you have contractors and private entities that are handling or working with these children? >> yes, there's zero allegations against hhs staff. >> how many allegations are against adults?
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>> there are allegations reported to orr, staff on minors, 49 reports and 6 reports of other adults who weren't staff, someone got in the building or something like that, nonstaff adults and minors, 54 allegations in fiscal '18. these are among the cases that would have been reported to the fbi. >> one year, how about the total of 4 years, how many adults on children? how many cases? >> i believe 55 in one year.r. >> 49 and 54. >> 54 total. 53 in fiscal '17. the allegations of an adult reported to doj. these are cases we report today doj. >> how many in 2016?
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>> in 2018, 62 allegations of an adult sexual abuse of a minor. >> my time is running out, ill like for you to report to this committee how many total allegations within the 4-year period against adults, whomever employed them, regardless whether case was refer today doj or not and i'd also ask you right now to tell us whether you informed the department of homeland security that these incident were taking place in your facilities before or at any time during the course of the family separation policy and i'm curious to know that department was on notice before they transferred children to your
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care. >> we will provide accounting and second, i don't know whether our reporting was convey today leadership at dhs. as reminder, our programs are still safer than state foster care systems. >> sir, i don't think that we want to compare -- >> what i am saying every time something happens to the child, we failed the child. the traumatization by children by separation does not need any child to have been harmed criminally but adult. these are two important problems but they are separate problems. >> thank you. >> i'm not aware of that, as policy i'm aware of press, let me state for the record, i would
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be oppose to that. cmy guest is majority, not unanimous view of the committee, let me cite you some reasons, commander white, i think you said -- >> i refer to family separation policy. >> zero tolerance, whatever you want to call it. during april, may and june when the zero tolerance policy was in effect, hhs was pretty overwhelmed by this, would you say that's true? >> that's correct. total capacity and specifically our capacity serve young children since separation disproportionately results in our getting babies, toddlers and young children. >> i'm hoping administration are listening to testimony, i like numbers, to hear the numbers, during april, may or june on average we apprehended about 9500 individuals as family unit. about 9500.
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last three months which again nhow it is growing crisis att or border, there's been 29,000, so hhs or cbp were overwhelmed back in april, may or june of 2018 with 9500 per month, this is 3 times worse and my guess is that it is going to continue to increase in severity, this is a crisis. we need legislation and i would like this committee to lead in d that effort and certainly as chairman i would be leading and hopefully working with every member of the committee to pass legislation that actually fixes this problem from here and out. senator harper. >> thank you very much for being here. we all have sources that provide us with guidance in our lives and values that we are holding.
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bipartisan bible study in united states senate every thursday, six or seven of us. retired navy admiral. and every -- almost every thursday when we meet he reminds us of back of book matthew. when i was a stranger in your land, did you walk with me and reminds us of the moral obligation in our land. he also reminds us of the golden rule. treat people the way we want to be treated which is in every major religion on the planet. oevery one in one form or the other.
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dilemma on the border, i try to keep those words in mind going forward. i also -- somebody who focuses on root causes, not on some problems but what are the root causes, as you know the root causes for a lot of folks coming into the country from honduras, guatemala and el salvador are lack of economic opportunity and hope, the northern trieg triangle. violence and crime in those three countries and also corruption. opportunity and hope, violence, corruption. this is why they want to stay in my country.
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i was pretty encouraged by the work that's being done and i think it's important that we not walk away from and the president, i think, is intent of ending funding for those programs which would be a huge mistake, huge mistake. i have been sitting up here likelihood of people that feel compel to leave their country and come to ours, big answer is fully execute and execute well alliance and prosperity. modeled after colombia which has worked. the second question is people who do leave and we have been messaging countries, leaders in the countries, horrors of, you know, transiting to méxico and trying get into the country, discouraging people from coming.
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they are coming in large numbers as you know. i'm trying to figure out what is the most humane way to deal with families that make it to our borders and is there a way that we can actually keep the families together, expedite the amount of time, reduce the amount of time, make an individual judgment as to whether or not someone who is seeking asylum really is in that kind of danger. there's a way to do that and while we are doing that quick i will provide for safe base for these folks, for the families to stay. let me start with that. is that something that we can do to make that initial decision to say, 100 families are come ago cross, make the decision, i don't think we can make that decision.
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do t in-depth screen. maybe it's something that we are doing. >> senator, since we are title 21, our soul -- sole focus. probably not best to answer that. >> i used to be a commander in navy. >> i have to defer to colleague on family separations, the reasons that unaccompanied children get,pa why did you come to the country are astonishingly the same. the top 3 reasons are always because they feared violence in
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home country, because they lacked economic and educational opportunities in home country and because they had family or parents or family in the united states. esthis seems to be a standard, t as regard to family units that's something that dhs colleagues would need to speak to. >> any thoughts? >> i agree with your statement that we absolutely work with foreign counterparts to work at root causes why the people are leaving the country. i can also say in my 24 years in working with homeland security and previous agencies, republic of méxico, we do need to work with the root cause, we do need to work with foreign counterparts but we control very small portion of that. despite the help we get them, we do control everything in the united states, so while we work with counterparts we need to focus close on the law that we have here, we have to secure our
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border, conduct criminal organizations to dismantle the organizations. >> i agree we should work to have families stay together, of course, the agreement, hold 20 days, flores agreement, allowing to stay together through the alentire process the way to go. >> the entire process, the backlog is not measured in days, weeks, but actually even years and pretty expensive and perhaps probably not humane but thank you. >> i will also add that when you detain, you're going to expedite a hearing. ultimately if the person is granted release, they are released in the country if not immediatery repatriated, at tend you do need a consequence otherwise you will see the flow increase. during my earlier testimony, i write off the -- the claim from the simple american and
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communicated back to his associates is this is a quickest way to bring children, that are not going to be detained. we have to develop a process which we have done in the past, 90's, 2000's, the way we stopped the problem is detain families together, you had your opportunity to go before asylumr officer or immigration judge, if you were granted release you stayed, if you were not you were immediately repatriated. we can always improve, this is an area to do it but we need to have consequence. >> thank you. chairman and ranking member in the last couple of days about the idea of people within the three countries, northern triangle, asylum claims, being able to bring asylum claims not in the u.s. at our border, not méxico but within those three countries and i -- respond for
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the record as to whether or not -- secretary nielsen, i would ask you to respond to the record as to whether or not it makes sense, thanks, thanks, mr. chairman. >> during situation on the border it's important toit hear from agencies and i appreciate all the witnesses for coming in to speak with us today. as i mentioned in your hearing last week, arizona faces significant, security, economic and humanitarian change challenges with the recent migration trends. congress and the administration must focus on ideas and initiatives to help improve the situation. i'm glad that the president heeded the calls from border heexperts and many other members of congress to not close the southwest border but last week we heard from outside experts about their ideas to secure ports, improve coordination with local ngo's, deploy critical technology between ports and
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improve workforce morale. i look forward to hearing more about frontline perspective on those ideas today and also always i'm committed to working in bipartisan way to finding solutions that keep families and communities safe in arizona and treat my tbreants -- migrants humanly and fairly. ports struggled with high vacancy rates in recent years and that's dhs and it worries security. i want to know regarding removing temporarily assigned officers from the ports of entry in year, can you share that analysis with my office and given that these ports. >> already understaffed, how does this decision not negatively impact security or
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trade? >> thank you for the question. you know, the initial response that wee provided, our border patrol colleagues was the support them in migration crisis. they were overwhelmed, are overwhelmed, the decision was made to supervise them, the officers that they could use to put their agents back in their law enforcement activity. so 545 officers from the front line, decision was made to address this crisis, we knew that there would be impact. we mentioned that, 545 frontline officers, 300 from laredo, 194 from el paso and 51 from san diego. as you pointed out we did not pull any from the tucson field office, but 75 identified we did not send them for assistance.
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so we know in fact, we see that every day, we see the backups in vehicles and cargo, this is a crisis that we are addressing with assistance of border patrol. >> last week we heard about the need for additional surveillance and detection between ports of entry, we know the largest drug bust occurred in our port of entry but there's still significant trafficking for narcotics and other threats between ports of entry, my question, what type of sensors are more useful for agents in the general patrol duty, do we need more cameras, radars, aircraft systems, something that i haven't mentioned yet? >> all technology has helped, tremendous investment in technology over the last few years but we also need to have relocatable technology because traffic patterns will shift from
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one area to another, we saw in arizona where i was previously assigned as having technology that's going to help us with greater situational learners. right now in south texas what i see problem is we don't have any technology that's creating, people get in brush areas, sugar cane, the other brush that's there, it makes it hard to detect. combination of different system that is we can apply on the border, force plult -- multiplier, no fence or piece of technology will make arrest or interdiction by men or women that are out there, it's important to be able to bring on additional personnel who can help us. >> i would like to hear the response of other witnesses if they have ideas as well. last week when we were hearing from experts, they were talking
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about local office closing connections with ngo's and liberal community leaders. as you know, we are facing the struggle in arizona with the release of migrants and we need to improve communication with our local ngo's, so my question is in your experience what do you find works fast to help build the close relationships at local levels and are there any tip that is we could utilize when i'm able to go back to my state in the next 2 weeks to try and figure out a better solution for the crisis we are facing? >> i work closely with a lot of the ngo's out there in arizona, a number of other people who had the privilege of working with but also even south of the border during the time when they were speaking about a caravan coming up either in arizona or california at the time it was sitting down with ngo's across the border figuring out exactly how many shelters they could open up and help the ports of entry and organize a number of
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people that actually showed up at the bridges, so that engagement does happen, we have very strong programs in the border patrol border community liaison agent that is get out there and speak to ngo's, we work with them very closely in south texas, right now she's helping us with the overflow and the people that were releasing hefrom border patrol custody to the respite centers. it's working very closely with them to try to figure out how they can help the federal government butlp also expand others. >> i would like to follow up up with you after the hearing. as you know, we have had recent unexpected releases in community that have been troublesome in
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phoenix, yuma and tucson. is there others on the panel who is have thoughts on this question in particular and i appreciate it. >> i would like to provide a response to previousia question. >> yeah, that would be great. >> i'm stationed in the border in laredo, texas, if you look at what dhs does in the border, it's dhs effort, when you look at criminal organizations that are responsible for bringing aliens, narcotics across the border, we have the uniform presence that deter, detect, do seizures and they might need more personnel, what i would ask homeland security investigations, we do a great job in deterring, detecting, ultimately if we want to dismantle those transnational organizations and prosecute and detain them and forfeit elicit proceeds, provide equipment to uniform partners that we work with, you also look at homeland security investigations, ultimately we need to dismantle the organizations and bring prosecution and detention.
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>> i appreciate that, thank you, my time has expired, thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator rosen. >> thank you, thank you, mr. chairman, thank you all for being here today. this weekend while i was visiting my home state of nevada, president trump called the u.s. asylum process a scam, with respect to immigrants and asylum seekers the president said, we can't take you anymore, our country isul full, so turn around, our country is full and turn around. .. .. >> i can't help to think about the many families today from el
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salvador, honduras and elsewhere waiting in squalor outside our ports of entry because they are fleeing on imaginable violence. they can find safety and freedom coming here to the united states. yesterday, cnn reported that the presidential agency personnel to close the ports of entry at the southern border and the president told border agents and california not to allow any migrants into the country.nt in my home state of nevada my clients of teenage girls recruited as gain as young as 12 or 13 and they face gang rape and possible death on a regular basis. under us law women and girls like this are fleeing violence feel entitled to protection and to at least apply for asylum. in fact, i know this to be true, a person who can prove she would
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be persecuted because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion of a particular social group is entitled to asylum under us law. i assume, gentlemen, you are aware that just yesterday a judge in california issued an order blocking the trump administration from requiring asylum-seekers to remain in mexico so mr. karas and mr. howe at the president were to instruct you in your agents to deny entry to people seeking asylum at the border in your opinion do you think that violates the united states law? >> i will start senator rosen by saying if they cross between ports of entry they are violating us immigration laws. they will be placed in a respite that still will not stop them from making an asylum or credible your claim. affecting entry into the country between ports of entry are in violation of the law and will be
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arrested. >> mr. howe. >> if they enter the united states across the bottling line at the port of entry and a claim asylum we would be found to hear that asylum claim. >> my follow-up question is would you follow instructions by those from the president even knowing mr. howefo that they wil violate us law? >> we know what the law is and our attorneys are here to advise us and they work for custom border protection dhs will follow the guidance we received from our journeys. >> knowing we have the challenge i will close this in another way can you describe to meet the concerns you have with implementation this ministrations current policies? >> ma'am, we've taken an oath of office to defend this country and our officers everyday go out there and perform a job and it does not stop them from
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addressing the asylum incredible fear and think they have to. we are parents and grand parents and our officers do this as humanely as he possibly can but understanding we do have laws in this country and people have to abide by those laws otherwise we stop being a siphon country. we still feel the heartfelt issues of everyone we encounter but we still have put them to the process and it will not stop if they do have, in fact a credible fear that they will have -- >> if you say someone present themselves for asylum you will take them in regardless of what the president has instructed you to >> if they enter the united states between ports of entry they will be apprehended that stop themtop them from making an asylum claim. >> you. and last follow up
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year i toured a city in texas near el paso and unaccompanied children separated children were held. i thought teenage children separated by gender and slept in barrick like conditions and access to legal services limited and phone calls to relatives or possible contacts limited and monitored. mr. howe, i want to ask you again, have you have knowledge about the facility that was owned or managed a for-profit company? >> i will defer to the command commander. >> the influx facility was operated by office of refugee resettlement. that was operated by a nonprofit grantee who also perform services in operating the license holders around the scountry. dtemporary influx that is now in homestead are not our first
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choice. first choice is that state licensed permanent shelter capacity and the fluctuation -- >> you're saying they are for-profit institutions we are leasing the services out to? >> the site was operated by a not for profit grantee. >> in your estimation or according to any knowledge you have currently are some of our detainees being held in for-profit tuitions? >> this people are sheltered at homestead we are getting staffing services by the federal contract and the entity that one in the contract process is a for-profit. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you, senator rosen. my question certainly in my quest and i think this leads to develop information required to
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solve this problem and one of the questions i've had is what is asylum law? i'd like to read from one of the nations service that in january of this year and i'll read it and enter it into the record. to qualify for asylum they have the burden of proving past persecution or well-funded fear of future education on account of race or religion, nationali nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. they must show that one of these protected grounds quote was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant and in the absence of past persecution they can show often appear by presenting evidence for a future peace occasion. here's a key point. applicant will show persecution by the government or groups that
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the government is unable or unwilling to control and the purpose of showing a well-funded fear they cannot recently relocate within a country or border persecution. we will do more into this but wanted to get that on the record. i'm pathetic with a lot of people talking about putting up asylum claims in the home country and i find it disconnect. first of all, for my knowledge asylum can only be claimed once you and the asylum country. the safe haven. if youou are asking for protectn in your home country best refugee status and we have different laws and controls over refugees there are no control ove people we let in terms of asylum and also if you can claim safely asylum in the country and stay there you're basically not qualifying for asylum because the government can't protect you enough to have you claim asylum. i'm trying to figure out the
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disconnect between what worked and what not work. it's really important we understand what these asylum standards are and 85% of the claims are denied and commander white, you talked about in as many reasons clean violence and there is a valid asylum claim t but economic opportunity is not. unification is not in synthetic as we all are for those individuals it is not a valid asylum claim and we got a process now whether valid or not they let you into the country and those individuals are staying which is fueling the crisis and the numbers. 9500 or 29000 over 2018. versus last three months but it's a common problem and the solution for the here and now
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problem is we have to change these laws and reflect the asylum and i agree with the doctor from last week where if we can rapidly adjudicate and make it a determination is a valid asylum claim and humanely return people like we did with texas hold him with resilience that would accomplish our short-term goal of reducing that flow and hopefully converting this into a legal process. we were talking i come from position in wisconsin not one manufacturer who can find workers and pretty thin point we need more legal immigration tie to work. again,ioon i appreciate and i wl say again on the record the strong attendance of members of the committee and excellent questions i think we are hopefully creating a desirean
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desire to do something about this and recognition the ministration cannot do it on their own. they simply not capable and what executive actions they take are overruled and the ball is in our court and we have to fix this. looking forward of this committee to start the problem. i would like to talk about the well oiled machine. it's important to recognize this was deciding to wake up one morning and this is a very organized effort and can you talk about your knowledge of that and i'm sure you've done investigation on this and talk about how organized and he's asking for $440 million and the drug are those or i guess it's a
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split off business -- human traffickers pulled from the same process and realizing this is a higher profit in many cases and lower risk former trafficking but can you talk about the well organized effort here. >> very well organized and reaching back to america and from the brush guys to the guys move individuals up to the border area and taking the tax we fall it peaceful down on the southwest border. gone are the days where you can simply decide in juarez into el paso and now your total across your charge money and refusal to pay has consequences. very orchestrated and i would think this would mean that people have become even more lucrative because it's an endless commodity on that drug
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side. it will be destroyed and you have to produce more.f they have the ability to generously bring more people also recruiting younger smugglers and juveniles because they know federal government can't prosecute them. lot of money going into this. the cartels have the ability to shut down bridges to re- divert caravans and that is the type of control they have on the south end of the border at the time back in the southwest border is completely controlled on the south side of the border -- on the mexican. >> correct. >> you talked about the profits intentional and he said 5000 is 1.5 dollars worth of profit.
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that kind of profit motive if there is a demand there will be a supply for it, correct? >> that is correct. >> can't we almost same and the same thing for human traffickers where we have a system that is incentivizing and rewarding that can be so easily exploited by really well organized effort the people who understand our laws know how they work and set up transportation system using buses and other transportation as long as this remains profitable it will continue and probably grow. doesn't every business venture grow and become more profitable? >> absolutely, sir. as we talk before these human smuggling are very organized and have transporters -- houses along the way and individuals to get them across the border in methods of money remittances and
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laundering the proceeds as well and humans only has become an and in 200015 we had 200 think that she's ultimately arrested leader in monterrey, mexico and they brought him to death to face prosecution. they were paying up to 27000 for every alien for being with ashley's, 2007, central americans and a profitable business andng the coming here r a reason because in central americans still work and increases our work enforcement and interior. >> former cb p chief of organ on a panel yesterday and always
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here i% of drugs will be the port of entry and my question has always been we don't even know really what's coming through before the ports of entry and isn't it true when you have been over 100 groups of 100 this year and that's a dramatic increase from prior years and again in a very well organized effort it make sense to use those other people as a diversiones and over here you overwhelm the system that requires cbp officers to converge and take care sometimes six children in that type of thing that makes it easy for some to seek across with drugs of high-value or higher-paying customer in terms of human trafficking. >> center, i will add to that that in january of this yearar e had a 705 seizure of cocaine coming into the united states between points of entry and in close proximity to that. there was a group that was sent across with 170 individuals so
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that is definitely a tactic and technique that the criminal organizations use once again0 to tie up our resources and then they exploit the gaps in the line. >> final point before i turn it over to the senator iss i think commander white you talked about death of any child abuse of a child is a tragedy but i do want to give him an opportunity to talk about because in your destiny you talk about the thousands of lives that cb has saved because and they were resorting to the border. they came to the border having taken a dangerous journey and almost on life support and i want to give you the opportunity to talk about how much time and attention cb is putting into saving every person with a humane treatment you're providing and again how this is
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overwhelming task. >> i appreciate that, senator. every summer especially but even in the winter from brownsville, texas to san diego border patrol agents are deployed into areas to rescue people i think agents in the real jump into the rivers to save children j that their theyrs have a go because cannot keep up with occurrence. i think people rescued off mountaintops in arizona and people we do that on a regular basis and and entering the country legally should not equate to a death sentence. we provide those resources and we have units of agents would been out of the border and o we have emts and deploy emts out there which is important causese
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in the summer we will see an increase in the number of rescues that are agents have to gather in at the mission that we take with great responsibility and that is in addition to everything else we are doing and what suffers is the fact that a still have bad people and things coming to the border and 50% of the marijuana intercepted along the entire office border by border patrol is made and we had increases in heroine and increases in cocaine so there are other commodities and illegal substances coming through between the border and it's a heavy investmentt in the investment we have to do in securing our border but also reserving life. >> anyone want to confirm what he talked about in terms of the efforts of cbp to save lives or rebutted. >> were seen the same thing of entry and migrants claiming asylum as i said in my we go
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through great efforts to care for them and make sure they are safe. >> anyone else want to take to that connect senator portman. >> i again want to start by thinking each of you for your service and this is such a rare opportunity to speak to experts who are in the trenches dealing with these issues e i want to ce back for a second round and first on the drug issue i did not have a chance to speak to this earlier because there are so many topics and you talked about the fact that fentanyl is now coming across the border and more seizures and typically been coming from china to the mail and minor standing and border protection and that is still the preferred method for the traffickers and the us mail system because we don't have the tracking that ups and fedex and
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others do. this is been done more quickly and moving to the point where we have about one 100% of china in the next several months. do you think there is more fentanyl been shipped now into mexico and coming across the border and if so, why is that happening and why would they not simply do what they been doing which is send it to a po box in the united states and is partly because of the stop act but now we require the post office to have that data where it is from and where it's going and was in the package on all the packages that we have not had until now or is there another reason we would want to ship it to mexico. again, my perception is not being produced in mexico and to instances where we found some production of it in the past but both of those have been shut down so what is going on. can you give us that in a mix of it and how we i can be more effective in stopping it m.
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>> senator, certainly the stop act is a welcome tool and has helped in the two primary methods of fentanyl coming into the night states are by partial shipments into united states had tcome across many seizures ands a result of the investigation da is conducting an investigation are conducting we are seeing an increase in the number of instances where large seizures affect across this office bordes and the pretty levels that we look at differ slightly and what we see coming from china tends to be more pure form of fentanyl and certainly insert from the investigations indicate that that mexican cartel organizations particularly in the form of making them into counterfeit drugs into pills.
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>> are you telling me today because the evidence of manufacturing and all [inaudible] >> we are certainly looking at through fentanyl in mexico interval and the methamphetamine's which is very prevalent. >> you have not improved it yet but your concert. >> , those two instances but we tableting -- >> precursor chemicals coming into mexico is what we specifically started a sensitive information that are mexican converts addresses the precursor flow into mexico for the production of fentanyl. >> i will keep an eye on this because as we saw it overwhelmed us in number one killer among the opioids and number one
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killer in the country and in my state of ohio were still debited by a drop in a lot of areas of ohio we have made progress and highest reduction of opioid deaths from overdoses in any state in the country and that is not say much because we say at such a high level but we are seen instead is crystal meth coming in from mexico in a pure form and i was told by law-enforcement official recently is less expensive than marijuana weight income is ohio and that crystal meth coming exclusively for mexico, is that correct. >> that's correct. that's about a mean is very limited and shop shake and bake labs or mom-and-pop labs that are lower amounts in the larger seizures of method that means we see coming into united states are coming from labs c that are producing methamphetamines.
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>> as we see in ohio were not seen environmental but a much higher grade the more devastating drug and cheaper. >> so what do we about it? we put money screening and we've also put in place the interdict act in addition to the stop act of trying to get more funding into personnel that we have to identify these products and safely dealrn with it. how is that going. >> certainly for all of us at the table i don't want to speak but our resources from the personal standpoint is critical issue pretty good from the dea standpoint and continue to hire to fill vacancies to tap additional agents to do the investigations relationships with foreign counterparts are critical in developing relationship flows to mexico are
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critical and key issues for us but that partnership with our foreign counterparts is critical and its ever evolving with the changeover in the administration e eof mexico we're still workig our way through how our relationships will develop and continue to strengthen was relationships as critical our way for it. >> my thoughts on this? 90% of the human coming into ohio comes across border was of the border, almost one 100% crystal meth coming into the border increase the original from the mail but coming in and what would you do funding we provided in what the most effective way and as the german said coming to the ports of entry, no question. majority has been traditionally because it's been brought with vehicles. once that is closed down my senses there now shifting to places on the border where they can have access between ports of entry. can you give us a rundown of
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what you are seeing connect. >> yes, giving us that multi- 'renergy drop increase capabiliy and stuff and narcotics and were seen improvement coming from china and other countries as they work to fully implement that in our facilities and more canines [inaudible] >> as i had said prior we looked at personnel in the resources and as those interactions increase criminal investigations will replace c an age as i will we're looking at counterparts in da is identifying those organizations to [inaudible] so we can dismantle those organizations.
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>> there's a question we need to do more to do the demand on here in the country because the prevention efforts are most successful in getting treatment for longer-term recovery in making progress on that as indicated in opioids but having this interdiction is important because the cost of drug on the streets will be higher in some will be stopped and because the demand will be higher it's not only so powerful but inexpensivh relative to what it has been in the past. so, we thank you for what you're doing and you are saving lives by doing that and finally what you're doing on trafficking is absolutely critical and my senses that you see this coming across laredo or more of these traffickers are trafficking people the focus on that is much appreciated.
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>> thank you for your work that we've done on the setback did not receive good news felt like an agreement by president trump and president xi will be permitted in terms of china cracking down on fentanyl. my question for both isra how sn are we going to evaluate the effectiveness of that weather a follow through on the and will be notice it? >> senator, my understanding is me first is where the classwide scheduling goes into effect and we will monitor the different analogs, fentanyl analogs certainly in groups the trafficking groups profit from this will continue to produce it but it has in the instances so far they scheduled analogs has up positive thing where we see less analogs in your home state
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of wisconsin wherena classwide schedule fentanyl has been positive about that and again because of the number of people dying from fentanyl we felt it was important for us for emergency scheduling. again, only time will tell once we get past me first on the reduction in that but certainly there will still be a black market for organizations, transnational criminal organizations both chinese and mexican to traffic fentanyl but anything we can do in any tool we can be given to strengthen similar to the so backed introduced last year by you would be a helpful tool for law-enforcement and prosecuting those because it's not a technicality that the analog is switched by slight chemical makeup and g makes up a leo goas thousands. >> we will not get that act across the finish line even though for some ministry they
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were letter asking us to do that. your recommendation to pursue that and get the sofa act up. >> we will provide as much technical assistance to what is your sense of chinese overspent likeness of cracking down on but don't. >> will be see a internet connect. >> i think we should measure that in two ways because the number of intercepts we have transport hubs and we start seeing fentanyl being produced in mexico i will be a sure sign. >> my remaining time here i'd like to close up the hearing trying to lay out current reality because again, it's a growing crisis and secretary former secretary almost 30 date johnson was on msnbc two fridays ago and talked about if apprehensions are paraphrased we lost a thousand and yet losing apprehensions -- i just want to
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talk about what's happening now through no fault of cbp lawn for smith has been reduced to nothing more than a mere speedbump for the company children and people coming into family units on their path to long-term residency. that's pretty accurate assessment and talk about functionally we have heard reports that hhs is full and the house is full so hhs cannot accept the flow and so cbp now even though they're not set up to do this, cbp set up to turn -- when it comes over to hhs others to i.c.e. you're forced to release to the public population. >> abilities were not built for this, do not have the resources and one-person officers who are dealing with the begin challenges with the family units.
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something we don't want to do and in one week we had 7000 apprehensions in a week. normally our in custody number for short-term housing there is 3300. >> which is still massive. >> yet, but i still had over days where we had 6300 people in custody and we could not keep people in those conditions. we were not built -- >> what is happening right now. >> we had to do an issue a notice to appear, order of recognizance which basically always to promise to appear at a court date in the future and was again we are feeding a cycle that more than likely people will not show up your hearing and this is not the way of doing business and if you look at the southwest border over 364,000 apprehensions as of april 1 and
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over 1 100% increase in all seen this. >> i want to get into details. the notice to appear back after the doctor was memorandum issues that notice to appear was by the coyotes and miss marketing, daca appliesck to only 800,000 or 850,000 people and then it did not apply to them but it was used. the notice to appear was calling for me so -- isn't that correct? >> yes, to them. >> cbp issues the notice to appear and then what happens and what happens to these individuals? the coyotes call them the permiso which is there by large permission to enter the country and stay long-term but what specifically do you do. >> we have worked with the ngos and getting them to the respite centers in our area --
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>> ngos like catholic charities and what you do? >> some of them are taken right to the bus stations and already have relatives and we have to rely on the fact that they provide us with a genuine address that we found in certaiw circumstances and that after the fact we had criminal in our custody when we try to look for them and they were fictitious and sometimes they will be released in our communities and will never see them again. >> let's say you got to have adult male with a child and you got the adult to admit that was not his one -year-old child but how many days y are they in her custody before but are releasing those individuals you don't notify catholic charities in their hundreds in a day and then
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they have to deal with it and give them aa bus ticket so how many days did someone custody before you deliver them to that greyhound bus system. >> because of the overwhelming denumber of people we have in custody as soon as we get them processed we release them back how many hours or days connect. >> it can be a matter of hours. >> you really don't have the capacity to get to what senator lange was talking about is that the father or was that a sex trafficker? was that his daughter or sexual traffic victim? >> that's correct. >> commander white, this is not the way the system is supposed to work, correct? >> it is a state right now all of the lead federal agencies in this process cbp, i.c.e., hhs
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overall are apt or close to their operational capacity and i can -- equity say it's beyond? >> were at 97%. >> hhs is not affecting individuals cbp to white on white. >> that's not true but let me clarify that. we are at 97% occupancy and over the last week we received about seven days we received an average of 279 children a day and discharge 267 and over the last seven days referral and have exceeded. >> you'd only be getting on the company children at this point in time. >> we only receive unaccompanied. >> with family units as a true then that i.c.e. is beyond the capability of accepting the number of people in family units pretty well forcing cbp into doing the release -- >> we are not releasing from the
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port of entry. we will be waiting until they have the capacity to take and border patrol will assist us because some reports like hidalgo have the capacity for 30 people and once we get to that ndmber g and if we get overrun s the number 95 or 100 and border patrol assist us and take them into custody. >> couple of years ago the staff i had and nothing is static but approximately 20% of coming into this country illegally apprehended were headed byhe a male in the last -- i had and they are old about 40% and found testimony about 50% are headed by the mail connect. t >> 50%. >> again, what you are seeing is and by the way the average
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number of people in the family aunit is basically two, correc? >> on average but we tend to see the front groups common to our custody but it can be one or two, you. >> that indicates this is a shifting problem and gone are the days when you primarily deal with the economic migrants back in 2000 and prior to that now you have unaccompanied children and family units and not trying to avoid apprehension, correct? they are turning themselves in. >> yes, sir. >> when i was working with down during border patrol in the rio grande valley i remember one story of a group, large group of families coming in and saying that starting a camp fire and complaining to the cbp officers took them in our to get to their location and is that an unusual
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story? >> no, for small anytime you have a large group we don't have buses staged at every location so it takes time but our agents call it apprehending us. >> commander white, to confirm also other stats i have on the company children and historically about 70% have been mail and is that basically true? >> prior to 2014 there were about two thirds mail in the proportion that her goals. >> what would you estimate now? >> i could look up the exact number but over recent years girls have at times grown to be as much as one third and among separated children a larger proportion. >> still leading two thirds or 67% so my stats are at 70% so were real close and 70% are 15 or older. >> i'm sorry, i had the numbers with me and a the great majority historically have been over 12 over time it's trending those
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trends come and go all the witnesses opportunity there is something you have not been able to make in response to questions i'll let you do right now and start with the german. >> i would point out following circling back around to your questions about china hopefully by june of this year or law-enforcement to law-enforcement relationships continue to develop thosent andn june of this year were about to open another office in the province in china so that relationship and building upon the class scheduling and hopefully been able to provide technical support for our class scheduling is something we continue to work for a on with our counterparts in the world and not just in china. >> you seem a great deal of wterest so we want to be updated hopefully on progress and maybe this is a really good
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sign and exactly what china needs to do and glad they monitor and verify this will be happening. commander white. >> thank you, senator. senator johnson, as you noted the current levels of migration including uac's are much higher than normal norms. we just completed the biggest margin history of the program in terms of number of children from you. this not only speaks to our continued requirementpl to expad temporary and permanent capacity so we have a fed for every child and it also speaks to the ymperative of congress and in ministration we will prevent future separation of children from family units in the program cannot support that. >> again, i stated my thoughts on that for the record. if you look at the chart we can see the biggest problem is family units. >> yes or i appreciate you
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having here today. as a special agent type the word or i can adjust to border patrol and our agents are hurt in 27 at a checkpointt that we are in the border and were passionate about what they do and professional but what they do with forward to continuing to support our legislators and appropriators. thank you. >> thank you for the opportunity to be here but you for all the [inaudible] b it will improve to be very worthwhile and i think thank you for your leadership in taking on the necessary legislation we talked about today to address the crisis. >> thank you for raising awareness at a very important issue to this country this is not a manufactured crisis we live in everyday by women women are exhausted and frustrated and
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they understand its reality of what were facing today and this is only a portion. i worry about what we might see from immigration from those countries so it's a real issue we are facing and i appreciate the opportunity today. >> i want to thank all five of you for your service to the station and use not have to be dealing with this the ball was squarely in congress is court. we have to admit we have a problem here and now requires legislative action so i want to work with the in ministration and across the aisle and this one should be a nonpartisan issue and we ought to be doing the root cause analysis and layout the reality going through problem-solving process and gathering that information and defining the problem properly
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the problem we try to solve. defining what is a solvable problem and what is an achievable goal and it is reducing that flow t by having a consequent fit between time and time again where there is a consequence of illegal activity gets reduced and until we enact that consequence in absolutely humane fashion this will continue to explode. again, ball is in our court and i thank you all for your service and testimony and again, i hope other committee members carefully read it and looking forward to working with them in the hearing record will remain open for 15 days at 5:00 p.m. for a submission of statement and for the record at this hearing is adjourned.
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[inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> we got more light programming later today alexander acosta will join the discussion on us relationship with international labor organization that is hosted at the center for strategic studies live at 5:30 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. c-span .org or listen live on the free c-span radio app. is a look at the prime time programming tonight. on the stand is democratic presidential candidate, bernie sanders, and his campaign rally in madison, wisconsin. you're on the spin to it will show you interviews with the members of the 116 congress. tonight we will feature democratic representatives dean of pennsylvania and representative horse ford. on c-span3 if the senate commerce subcommittee hearing on what to do about illegal global calls for all those programs started a p.m. eastern and
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tomorrow wrote to the white house with cory booker who is officially kicking off hometown of newark where he once served as mayor 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. on sunday more on the road to the house with south bend indiana mayor is expected to announce his bid be the democratic name for president and what that live from south bend sunday starting at 2:00 p.m. eastern also on c-span online at c-span .org or listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> barbara bush finally had had enough. she said that she took offense at it and reporters were at her
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door asking questions which was untrue and that was the sign to give nancy reagan heartburn. she said to nancy reagan, don't you ever call me again. and she hung up. >> this week on q&a usa today washington bureau chief susan page on her biography of barbara bush the matriarch. >> at the very beginning you will never see my diaries and her diaries are kept at the bush library but they are not available for public until 35 youth years after her death. at the end of the interview she said and you can see my diary and that was an incredible gift. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a.
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>> once tv with simply three giant networks in a government supported service called pbs. then in 1979 a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea, let viewers decide all of their own was important to them. c-span open the doors to washington policy for all to see. this brings you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people this was true people power. in the 40 years since it has changed and there's no monolithic media, broadcasting is giving away to narrowcasting and youtube stars are thing but c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government any support c-span and it's not nonpartisan coverage of public service by your cable and satellite provider. television and online c-span is your unfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind.
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>> during a recent hearing before a house energy and commerce subcommittee from cynical executives face criticism from lawmakers on the rising cost of influence and for more than two hours committee members peter lee asked the executives why there is a lack of affordability for the life-saving treatment. executives acknowledge the high prices and outline appropriation for affordable and they offered up regulations on what congress can do to help fix the pricing structure and market competition issues. executive testified for eli lilly and others. this is about two hours, 45 minutes and we start with opening remarks from both committee chair, organs greg walden.


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