Skip to main content

tv   Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Southern Border Migration  CSPAN  April 12, 2019 11:14pm-1:55am EDT

11:14 pm
chairs this 2.5 hour hearing.
11:15 pm
>> welcome to h the witnesses for your testimony i encourage those who haven't had a chance to read the testimony they have done a good job to lay out the reality of the crisis and to be written into the record that describes this. we don't have final numbers for the final week of march but i will not go full through a full explanation but i'll need to point out in less than six months we have apprehended more than 240,000 unaccompanied children and individuals that are part of a
11:16 pm
process of the human traffickers individuals moving people from central america into this country and those less than six months compared tos 120,000 that president obama correctly labeled that a humanitarian crisis. to be double the level we will hear from people from custom border protection to grapple with the current crisis and how it has completely overwhelmed our system. that is a very full hearing with representatives and then trying to deal with it but we have laws on the books that need to be addressed through
11:17 pm
congressional action and passing laws from my standpoint, the goal that is in the goal of the policy to recognize and then to address this with short-term measures. i am all for and then to through central america but that will not solve the problem anytime soon. and then the staff looks that this. and then to have a more rapid
11:18 pm
adjudication process of the asylum claim. athat's important because if we don't detain and then remove 7 percent.d and then to have that adjudication process and the time period of the detention facilities and then take a initial hurdle. 85 percent of asylum claims are denied.e we have to come to that determination a lot quicker. and those to adjudicate.
11:19 pm
and those 100,000 individuals. but if it takes 45 days or 40. we are looking at needing 125,000. and with that adjudication process. and then reduce the flow and hthen as a senator has been talking about this. and then to come to a rapid conclusion if it is asylum are not valid if it is invalid and
11:20 pm
we have to remove them back to the home country. we know this works. secretary chertoff 2005 with a surge those that were coming from the southern border there was a problem so he initiated removaless of rapid in the next year was 1400. but we have to pass the laws to do it. so this committee will be proposing legislation and it was a short-term situation we have to deal with this. >> thank you for holding this hearing and then to provide and with those challenges
11:21 pm
facing on the southern border with historical context and then to be a mock mexico guatemala honduras and el salvador. just five days ago that securing our borders will take cooperation and credibility. not chaos or confusion. in the days since we have seen nothing but more chaos so to see the administration to have the nominee and then last year this was approved during the committee meeting lastst month and the announcement of homeland security secretary nielsen resignation, the president fires secret service director for unknown reasons
11:22 pm
creating another senior vacancy. and reports of the white house potentially firing the director of us citizenship and immigration services. in a word, it is chaos. the problems that we face will not be fixed with high profile firings or tweets or a press conference. it will takers leadership. and cooperation and credibility. by the end of the week no chief financial officer and no accountability to the american people. looking at an absence of leadership at the top of the third largest department
11:23 pm
charged with preventing terrorism or securing our borders or enforcing immigration laws to safeguard cyberspace to disasters. and in these agencies career public servants and showing up to work in the midst of a difficult situation on the southern border. last week we heard is not just the number but the groups that are straining the infrastructure specifically the influx of families and children seeking asylum from dangerous conditions of the northern triangle is an unprecedented challenge there are no easy answers or a quick fix to puts the children at risk of irreparable harm asking multiple officials to
11:24 pm
testify before this committee how long is too long to detain a child cracks i have yet to receive a really answer. we must do better. to reduce the backlog of asylum claims the average weight to appear before court is over two years and the backlog is approaching 1 million cases. this is unacceptable we have to address the root cause of mass o migration to take down the violence cross the northern triangle to disrupt the transnational criminal organization to cash in on drug trafficking and human smuggling. this will take cooperation with regional governments, law enforcement and civil society and nonprofit organizations in the northern triangle.
11:25 pm
we need mexico to do more to address the flow ofro migrants across their southern border andd american leadership not basis threats we need to secure the southern border i look forward to looking to how we can replicate and address your challenges and how we can improve the data that agencies rely on to make decisions possible. thank you for being here today. >> what it will take is legislation. we have to act now to address this situation now when we can't rely on long-term fixes. that's what i want to work
11:26 pm
with you to determine what we need to do now to fix this so it doesn't require legislation. do you swear the testimony you give before the committee is the truth so help you god cracks please be seated. the chief patrol agent for the rio grande and commander of the south texas court or. and also as the cbp of new mexico. sperry chairman and ranking members and miss let us distinguish members of the committee. thank you for the chance to appear before you today. i am proud to have served as a border patrol agent more than 30 years currently with the
11:27 pm
rio grande sector. and also with the tucson sector i never witness the conditions for those that work in the border area we continue to apprehend record numbers that purposely violate immigration laws and to take advantagewo of by the legal framework and that undermines the rule of law. and then to capitalize on these issues and to be responsible to secure 277 miles of border a small fraction of the united states accounting for 30 percent of all immigration on the southwest border to put into perspective, last year agents
11:28 pm
made 162,000 apprehensions we are already at 147,000 at this rate by the hand of the fiscal year on average we apprehend more than 1000 people from legally crossing the border every day. that is 17 commercial buses last week we apprehended over 1000 people in a 24 hour period and this will undoubtedly place both migrants and border patrolmi agents at risk. rescue missions will increase as a result and much attention focuses but those that receive
11:29 pm
caravan equivalent numbers of migrants have reached seven days. the majority of people are family units and accompanied children from the northern triangle countries. many are extremely vulnerable. consequently 30 or 40 percent of the daily workforce is doing humanitarian work. this p includes processing, and transportation. also at any given .30 or 40 percent of my workforce is not available to secure the border. imagine taking on migrant to the hospitalnt w nor can we respond to border intrusions when we apprehend large groups of people. they know our resources are stretched thin with a humanitarian issue which undermines border security operations.
11:30 pm
moving into areas as a diversion this is an issue of national security and officer safety. in addition other illegal aliens are caught and in my sector alone with bangladesh china egypt and romania. to name a few. those traveling to use the same pathway of central america we encounter those from the most violent games - - gangs including ms 13. some of them fraudulently pose with the translation of a text message we intercepted from a gang member who was part of the fraudulent family units he
11:31 pm
said you should see the amount of hondurans traveling with a child in a payless to the smugglers records a direct trip a few days with border patrol but afterwards theynd are released. there are a lot of people. that is the easiest way right now. entire families are coming. make no mistake the word is getting out.heng if you bring a child he will be released. just last friday there was an adult male with a one -year-old child after questioning he admitted the child was not his. something has to change. the level of mass migration to control the border thank you
11:32 pm
for your time and i look forward to your questions and the executive director for operations at cbp and with 30 field offices with 328 ports of entry. >> it is an honor to appear before you today with counter narcotics economic security and trade and travel operating 24 hours a day 365 days a year. our job is to move cargo while inspecting those hazards the nation's economy and national
11:33 pm
security relies on the vigilance. even in the best circumstances never knowing what challenges they will face or the lives to be threatened so with those resource constraints to make everyday unpredictable. there is an unprecedented and unsustainable trend and those traveling in large groups without proper documentation the majority of family units and unaccompanied children, to give a snapshot of that daily operationda on saturday we had five transporting migrants to medical facilities including one transporting a family of five unaccompanied alien children arriving at the port of entry they all claimed
11:34 pm
asylum. the family from cuba entering by commercial bus claimed asylum progress single vehicle inspection0 70 package of methamphetamine weighing more than 72 pounds and a male imposter with fake documents was a pedestrian. among this activity we are regularly transporting migrants into i.c.e. custody to ss from other ports of entry to alleviate overcrowding. in addition to our work to process the people andk cargo with a a legitimate need to pass to the ports every day. while the current migration flows have passed the levels migration is catastrophic. with 545 front-line officers from the southwest border port of entry and reading one - -
11:35 pm
with those record member number of migrants. those that have increased wait times as they approach the ports of entry this is true with pedestrian, personal vehicles and commercial trucks. texas just yesterday passenger vehicle wait times waited 160 minutes the peak time last year was 45 minutes. the situation is even more dire with cargo processing last year wait times less than 15 minutes yesterday was as long as 250 minutes, that is four hours per at the end of the day 63 tracks were not processed a direct result of the 545 officers reassigned to assist with the care and custody of the migrant migrants. i cannot overstate the importance of these operations border security and humanitarianhe crisis has ripple
11:36 pm
effects so the supply chain that they rely on these products despite the challenges we face we continue to pry process migrants claiming asylum i appreciate the support congress has offered to men and women on the front lines and ask you consider legislative action to address the crisis thank you for your time i look forward to your question. >> thank you. the next witness deputy special agent in charge of homeland security investigationslu laredo texas previously serving. >> good morning chairman johnson and distinguish members of the committee , thank you for the opportunity to be here to
11:37 pm
discuss customs enforcement and the front line perspective that we face on the border their approaches leading up to the border with transnational criminal organizations that threaten homeland security and public safety to bring people in proceeds into the united states. special agents use their authority to have cross-border activity in collaboration with officers of operations at estates border patrol and the dea working in unified effort to combat that activity. citoday i will highlight it has targeted investigated and disrupted who threaten the securitywi to your cross-border
11:38 pm
activityty and for that continued support that enables us to execute that mission at home and abroad beginning with domestic and international partners. laredo is my current area of responsibility one of the most active areas of responsibility from agency covering 300 miles of the us-mexico border and the state. they are at the true forefront and they truly live every single day what we see as the united states of america it is the front doorstep to bring those people to the united states mexico is a major
11:39 pm
sourcean for transit and production of illicit drugs including marijuana and cocaine methamphetamines and heroin and fentanyl. mexico's dominant role with the transit point for illicit drugs is also a primary destination for proceeds of the cartel did the distribution networks with a variety of techniques for illicit funds from sophisticated money laundering schemes these use third-party money launderers after establishing these tools to disrupt and dismantle these operations the department of justice criminal division we have the strikeforce program to address risks of the special interest aliens these
11:40 pm
ntcould cause a threat to the national security and public safety. this program is designated to disrupt the organizations worldwide to aggressive investigations and prosecution domestically. they decide with their international partners to disrupt hsi has 60 officers in 51 countries and we are positioned too establish with the host country's law enforcement to include engagement of transnational units they are proposed training that the authority to investigate the laws and country they enable both i.c.e. in the host country to conduct joint prosecutions while eating the mission of the host country. also respecting the sovereignty to cultivate a national relationship with
11:41 pm
thousands of miles away from the dominican republic and mexico we both had the opportunity to serve for the southwest border. mexico specifically has proven to be an outstanding partner taking down cartel leadership as well of those organizations of special interest aliens and mathen to dismantle those organizations our largest i.c.e. presence outside the unitedou states then to have an established aclu with the government of mexico working well with the government to combat the transnational drug smuggling human smuggling and money laundering the spirit of cooperation and those joint efforts and our counterparts is unprecedented.
11:42 pm
owe will continue to work with law enforcement partners domestically and foreign to ndimprove the effectiveness of information sharing and with the illicit border activity that threatens border security thank you for having me here today i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> commander white served as us public health service commission the hhs senior advisor office of emergency management and previously served as deputy director hhs office. commander white. >> good morning chairman johnson, ranking member and members of the committee it is my honor to appear today on behalf of hhs progress the chairman noted in the current
11:43 pm
officer also a clinical social worker and emergencycy manager i have been detailed as hhs operational lead in the effort to reunify children separated from their parents at the southwest border. want to talk about the unaccompanied alien children program we are responsible for the care and temporary custody of unaccompanied children by the federal agencies we are not enforcing the border we are not a law enforcement agency. t if a child under the age of 18 with no lawful immigration status is apprehended with no parent or legal guardian - - guardian they are considered
11:44 pm
unaccompanied alien child and transferred for custody. we operate shelters nationwide to provide housing, nutrition medical care educational and medical services and recreational activities in an environment with security from the child welfare systems and those that are licensed to provide care the same that word regulate with the job corps fight which is not required because it is located on federally owned property they receive the same level of care as those in the state
11:45 pm
facility. and the number of children referred currently hhs maintains 14000 and that is down from 2018. and then to take the capacity based on the most recent data including information from our partners to help us prepare for changing needs. and then released to a sponsor with a parent or close relative while they wait their day in immigration court if
11:46 pm
they return to the home countries where they turn 18 years of age to gain legal immigration status. 49100 children were referred to ohs this fiscal year we received 24000 referrals. through february, children were discharged 46 percent were parents 45 percent or close relatives and 9 percent were non- relatives. and that the us district court issued the preliminary injunction i on june 26 pursuant to that task with preparedness
11:47 pm
and response to help comply with that executive order and with the judges orders to reunify children with their parents. of the 2800 children reported as of this morning we have reunion reunified 2060 of them with a parent and another 590 have left through other discharges and released to a family member sponsor. sixteen children in our care that cannot be reunified because the parent is an unacceptable risk to the safety of the child. thirty-two children whose parents have waived reunification and those that
11:48 pm
were not separated but truly unaccompanied. as of this week the 2000 reported only to our remaining who might one day be reunified we cannot at this time until the parent conveys their wishes. the mission is a child welfare mission. we seek to serve the best interest of each individual child including our work to put the child back in their parents arms or discharge safely to another sponsor. we have done our best to achieve that goal. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you i'm happy to answer any questions about our program. >> our final witness is the
11:49 pm
chief of operations for the dea meeting those offices. >> good morning chairman johnson and ranking member peters, it is an honor to appear before you today to discuss the mexican cartel the extent of their influence to manufacture transport and distribute in our efforts to combat the threat i have the privilege to act as an official over 22 years as a special agent when i reflect on that experience the sophistication and capacity of the mexican cartels is what worries me most. dangerous and highly sophisticated organizations
11:50 pm
operating in mexico and united states have been and will continue to be the most significant source of narcotics traffic inside the united states whether heroine or synthetic opioids the mexican cartels are the primary on our streets the synthetic drug threat by intentionally mixing fentanyl and related substances with heroine, counterfeit prescription drugs including cocaine and methamphetamine. this isim done for greed. a national threat in a public healthl. emergency fentanyl is cheap to make it hard to detect and dangerously potent
11:51 pm
chinese and mexican nationals are increasingly operating in concert resulting in the proliferation of heroine, fentanyl and related synthetics coming across the southwest border coupled with 1 kilo grab fentanyl can be purchased for less than $5000 prophetsa and the can exceed one.$5 million the cartels are seizing on the suffering of those to generate profit. the same organizations transporting methamphetamine across the southwest border at an alarming rate we cannot afford to lose our focus the cartels are responsible for the recordls amount with the cultivation of production are troubling to foreshadow an
11:52 pm
increase of importation and overdose death. mexican cartels as well as others will continue to be the primary networks operating to planou and execute the criminal enterprises. in mexico the united states or any other country and then to extradite el troppo and was just recently convicted this is a major milestone that more work needs to be done we recognize this takes persistent efforts with interagency and global partnership we maintain a worldwide presence. in mexico we continue to
11:53 pm
synchronize the capabilities to combat the growing epidemic with the bilateral strategy with the coordination of investigations and the control of chemicals to participate in the north american drug dialogue focusing on a strategy trafficking, consumption and a one - - illicitam narcotics continuing to pursue criminals trafficking and illicit drugs to target the most dangerous drug traffickers and criminal organizations is a dynamicnd mission. dea has aggressively met those challenges with results we look forward to continuing our work with your colleagues to complete the mission thank you
11:54 pm
for the opportunity to testify today and i look forward to your question questions. >> i appreciate the attendance but we do have a vote that is my suggestion to keep the hearing going so i will turn it over to you senator peters. >> thank you to our witnesses for your testimony i also have a letter from the national treasury employees union. without objection what we have been trying to accomplish is to get a sense of facts on the ground to take the rhetoric to be pushed aside figuring how to deal with a significant problem and having the data to
11:55 pm
have the numbers and the chairman is a numbers person to make sure we get that information on a timely o basis. the gao recommended dhs develop a process to systemically review and rely of the reliability of the data and identify limitations so for all the witnesses are there any data points we are not collecting now having critical insight to these challenges cracks do you have anything to share cracks. >> we collect a lot of information but we have to go further in regard to finances exactly what criminal organizations are making is
11:56 pm
key. we have our ideas how much money flows into the hands of criminals whether transportatio transportation, the operators, we collectively need to get better at sharing that information until then we can interdict our way out of this problem. >> i definitely say more financial information that is shared between the different agencies would be helpful. >> i agree. we are information agents we have lots of data points everything we do with the migrants with the narcotics coming to the border working with agencies to work together to share information to target the narcotics.
11:57 pm
>> i can tell you specifically for us investigations it's important to us to justify our operations targeting and staffing and we are very meticulous about our staffing even today to testify we are very careful about the staff that reports to make sure we report that correctly we look at money laundering and financing everything with human snuggling - - smuggling whether narcotics or property rights we have specific groups and that is very closely and carefully is something we can share with our partners at dhs even the sharing of information that would be beneficial to all of us.
11:58 pm
>> i don't think we have the data points we are missing. the effectiveness of her agency is challenged by the fact we are child welfare agency and there continues to be challenges with exchange of information because of those challenges from law enforcement sensitive heinformation to make the safest placement decisions. >> i don't think there is a data point my partners don't already collect however what we can point to with chinese and c trafficking how the class
11:59 pm
scheduling has affected with the data points and as a result of the investigations anytime that chinese counterparts control the fentanyl it decreases the number of seizures here in the united states. because the groups are working together to get fentanyl into the united states that has helped us to reduce the amount of fentanyl leading to overdosess that our partners have come down well and we continue to share information back and forth with the investigations and what they are doing as well. >> i heard you talk about sharing but my question is in
12:00 am
january, hhs concluded the agency faced significant challenges to identify separated children including the lack of the data system to track separated families so for the mission so what are the gaps to make sure we can identify where the separated children are we cannot tell you for any child in her care who we release - - release that child and the address that they had. . . . .
12:01 am
children were separated and a record was kept. that is not a data exchange problem. it is all fundamentally the problem that it is designed for unaccompanied children. not separated children. an orderly system exchange their data does not point to the harm caused by separating children from their parents. proper focus for all congressional inquiries about separation. what are the legitimate conditions under which the child maybe can separated, what areha the appropriate systems that the parent has, and how can or and
12:02 am
dhs have equal power to determine if the child is accompanied or unaccompanied so the orr they refused a referral. the issue is not how well it was tracked, the issue is that it happened at all. >> well said commander. thank you for the testimony i appreciated. >> as long as were on the topic, reading your testimony seemed like a testimony and there was little under real legitimate reasons to separate a child from an adult for example, we heard in a testimony that the adult male admitted that the child was not his. can you speak to that. >> we have always seen appropriate separations of children both from parents improve people who claim to be the parents fraudulently. it is our experience that our colleagues in dhst honorably attempt to confront a difficult challenge when the apprehend a
12:03 am
minor. the real problem is that there is no statutory guidance went a child may be separated. under what conditions, what is a permissible reason. there will always be children separated from children's for reasons of the child safety or the need to immediately prosecute someone with felony warrants. there will be children separated from people who are fraudulently claiming to be parents that are not. that is different from what we saw over the last year. >> e one understand testimony, part of the problem and part of confusion is for years we have been doing legitimate separations for host of reasons and part of complaining this was trying to figure out what exactly match the dictates of the court order, correct? >> a historical norm is that .3% of all referrals are separations. in the fall of 2017 the increase to 3%. by the spring it was much higher
12:04 am
than that as a percentage. the issue is how do we determine what are the reasonable standards for p separation and that is a job for congress. >> there getting use legislation, senator portman. >> thank you. thank you for holding the hearing in each of you or your service. these are difficult times are they? all of you have been in this business for a long time i looked at your resumes. he will probably never experienced something quite like this. the influx of humans and kids. when a crisis on the border. and it's worse in terms of families and kids when president obama called it so a crisis. i appreciate what you're doing and i focused a lot on the pull factors, push factors are also important. what we do with these tribal countries, guatemala, el salvador, honduras, it's incredibly important. that's going to be a longer-term prospect. short-term, i want to ask if you
12:05 am
don'tsk mind, do you believe the people coming here, family units and otherwise are coming here primarily for economic reasons and to get a job that pays better for the families ? >> based on what i have seen out in the field at this point time, the vast majority are coming here for economic reasons or family reunification. not saying there are credible or asylum claims after -- >> i'm not either. that number is about 85% of those who seek asylum were notln getting asylum because they can't meet the criteria. my question is do you think most folks are coming here for economic reasons? >> yes. >> to get a better job? >> agree, and the numbersi . pre that 85% -- >> yes, sir i would agree that they're coming in for economic reasons. anytime we look at unaccompanied
12:06 am
children or family units one of the things we look at specifically her h.s. shu hsi ao make sure there is no family fraud and to make sure that there is no case for the child exultation and the reason why we've increased our workforceca because that that is a pull factor. >> would it surprise you to know that under the system one is not mandatory and too often people can use a fake id, and we don't have a system that is effective to know who is legal and who is not. so the employer can make the determination. would you support a mandatory e-verify system so we can help to reduce the magnet pole? go ahead. >> absolutely. we would support. anything that would reduce -- >> any tool we get will help us
12:07 am
greatly. >> we have a bipartisan proposal to do that and i think that is something that we miss in a conversation about the border. when you have that kind of pull factor and magnet people find away don't they? to get through the round the border. commander right, you and i kinda know each other. i believe your compassionate person and you care a lot for these kids and i thinkgh you put in a tough situation. there is a discussion about reinstating the tolerance policy which led to the family separation you talked about earlier. what was the effect on or? when it went up to the zero-tolerance policy? >> the effect of zero-tolerance were policies that resulted in separating children from family units. the great majority of children who cross the borderr each day our company. they are part of family units and most typically there with
12:08 am
parents. their company. the first thing that happened to the program is that the programs capacity was overwhelmed. but to say that say the understates the severity of the harm. he was overwhelmed with children that we are not prepared to serve easily because ordinarily the great majority of the children, we receive about 80%be of them. our teenagers. when he separated from parents, we get babies, toddlers and other very young children. so asr of 2014 children 107 of them were four years of age or younger. in our state capacity that states we have licenses for what we call the tender age of 12. at a very young 12 and under. and this puts children at a significant risk. of course, it also bears repeating that separating children on their parents is a very significant risk in a psychological harm to the
12:09 am
children and that is an undisputed scientific fact. >> commander, u.s. of a phd say have some credibility in terms of understanding that dynamic. let me ask you this, and we're do it again tomorrow, you would've said earlier in your testimony that there is a system breakdown. we have the infrastructure to handle it yes or no? >> we have made improvements to our tracking, but we do not have the capacity to exceed the number of children nor do we have the capacity to deserve them. >> and i think you would agree that your facilities are full now? your broader facilities, not just for unaccompanied kids were separated. so we don't have the capacity right now, the infrastructure is accurate ? >> we don't have long-term detention but at the end of the process yes, we are full.
12:10 am
>> has anybody consulted with you about the idea of reinstating the zero-tolerance policy? >> no. no, sir. >> you get about 200 or 300 kids a day coming in unaccompanied kids. he got about 12000 kids in your care, you are working on the court order to reunify kids but i'm talking about unaccompanied kids to come in, let me ask you briefly about the problem you had about getting sponsors. we are very concerned on this committee and elsewhere they are sending kidss out to sponsors wo are traffickers in one case in ohio, we had kids who were given back to the traffickers who brought them up from guatemala and the abuses kids. there been seven indictments in that case of traffickers. let me ask you, how are you doing now sponsors, we want to be sure that the sponsors were
12:11 am
fingerprinted, a way to understand who these people were saying were not giving kids after traffickers again. you put that in place and my understanding is there is concern about i.c.e. following up with individuals in your sponsorship dried up. now you have more sponsors coming back because in the procreation bills that we can't follow-up from immigration. is accurate, tell us how this is working? >> we continually adjust the case management methods to try to find the right balance between safety and discharge and timeliness and discharge. we grossly failed in 2014. the children in the egg farm case. that grew to a revolutionary change. our standards are not comparable to what they were then. but in 2017, i would submit that we pushed safety so far that it broke discharge. children stating care in a president t average linked amout of time. for every hundred children in care how many get discharged today.
12:12 am
that fell to below 1%. this is why the temporary influx facility was stood up. that was a combination of separation and folly disk charge rate. by making appropriate changes including now, under current operational directive, we only do fingerprint background checks. we do all the other background checks on every sponsor, but we only do finger background checks on parents if there is another red flag. another indication of danger. our discharge rate is back up to 2% and the average length of time of children in care continues. we studied every case or we denied it discharge to a parent based on the fingerprints and we did not find cases where we did that on fingerprint only. we found the identified threat to the note numerous other identity verification and child safety. we are in a different world than we were in 2014 but we will
12:13 am
continue to make changes as we need to to balance safety and timeliness and discharge. take you sir. >> as long as were talking aboun discharge, we discussed information from hhs and i want you to confirm this. between july 2018 and january 2019, there were a total of 23445 unaccompanied children or children that were discharged to a sponsor. 18459 of those were released and discharged without legal status. it is not a pretty accurate figure? >> i don't have in front of me the numbers, but those numbers would be consistent with general patterns. the majority of sponsors are people without immigration status. >> which indicates an consent to enter this in the record, shows again how completely out of control this processes right n now. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you and the ranking member for this hearing today. i want to particularly thank our
12:14 am
witnesses, thank you fortn your service and thank you as well to all the men and women who you work with each and every day. before i begin my questions, i want to express my profound concern about the turmoil at the topmost levels of the department of homeland security. the department is tasked with the vital mission of securing the nation for many threats we face. in a type of turnover we are seeing right now presents a direct threat to the ability to carry out that mission. we need to see qualified leaders putre t forward that experience needed to keep america safe and will also stand up to thee president if necessary to uphold the rule of law and the values that make it strong. i want to turn now to a questi question, last congress we passed in a president signed to bill for more technology for border agents to use so they can
12:15 am
detect fentanyl at the border. last spring when i was at the border i heard during my visit that the agent still did not have all the access to the equipment. former secretary nielsen stated that this was unacceptable which he testified before this committee last w may. so to both of you, can one of you update the committee on how to interdict act implementation act is going now and do they have the technology that they need to keep them safe if they are detecting fentanyl? >> thank you for the question senator. the 564 million they speak of, enhancement for fi 19 is really going to change the way we do business on the southwest border. it is going to transform our capability to scan more vehicles and more trucks. considerably more than we are doing today. it is going to take somee time o work with the vendors to purchase and get them in place. but it will transform what we are doing. we know that through the mail facilities that we are seeing
12:16 am
fentanyl, 45 million that we received of fi 19, it will allow us to enhance our nii. >> is still a work in progress? we don't have all the technology that is provided by the funding? >> is going to take some time. >> to have anything to add? >> the only thing i would add that anything is welcome to us because many times the features are start of an investigation for both daa and fha but we would support any advanced technology that can be given to our colleagues at the border. but those wouldn't specifically apply to dea. >> thank you. i am stillll concerned that we don't have as much equipment ase we need and i'm concerned about the safety of the people on the front lines. fentanyl is so dangerous even to the touch. so i will look forward to
12:17 am
following up with the agency about how we can acceleratelo this. commander, i want to follow up a little bit on the discussion that you've been having about the family separation policy and the efforts that your agency has made to reunite families and children. you talked about the numbers in the case in the class of individuals represented by the aclu. but we also know that there aret other children and you just mentioned that in your testimony who before the policy was announced were apparently separated from theirir families. when you appear before this committee last year end just now, you are very clear about the impact of family separation on children that children are
12:18 am
traumatized and it could suffer long-term psychological damage from this separation. and i thank you for your clarity and honesty on the issue. that is why i was so troubled to see your statement a few day agold stating that it could take two years to identify what could be thousands of children's who were separated from their families, can you tell me why it will take so long and what we can do to speed this up? >> yes, senator. my declaration in the plan which i developed in which the government has submitted to the judge in the southern district of california on how we would do that identification. i want to be clear, the one to two-year timeframe is if we reviewed all of the 47000 children who were referred by dhs starting on july 1, 2017 and it already been discharged to a family member or properly discharged by the date of the court hearing. the plan, is designed to accelerate the process. i don't know that it will but it
12:19 am
represents my personal belief of the best, most effective way to find the children and to identify which children were separated into do so as fast as possible. but the answer to your question is it is 47000 children.ee they have all been discharged. and there is no list. this is the fundamental reality. the reason is challenging now is because there is no risk of separated children. if the judge approves it the message that i outlined and if he does approve it then we wille all be back to the drawing board. i believe that the plan in my declaration is the best rate treated by the consumer. that is why. >> yes or no, with more staff help you do it faster? >> i do believe that staffing is a keyey variable.
12:20 am
>> would you please commit to submitting me any recommendations you can make in terms of resources or other things congress could provide to you that would help you speed the process up? >> yes, ma'am. i will make that commitment. as a reminder this is before the judge currently and i. >> i understand that. commander way, i also wanted again, thank you for being clear about the impact of what has been an inhumane and un-american policy of family separation. i take it from your commentsd earlier, your exchange with senator portman that you do not support reinstating this policyp >> i would never support the use of family separation. the system amick traumatization but is not about what i support.
12:21 am
senator it's about what you and your calling support. it is up to you to design the conditions under whichti 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 -- i believe this administration should not move forward with similar effect separation. i believe there are other ways we can secure borders and i appreciate the input and feedback that you will have provided to us today. thank you,. mr. chair. i have a question i will submit to the record about southbound trafficking of guns and cash going over from the united states to mexico. i would like to follow up with you about how we can so that traffic. >> we would be happy to get you the information senator. >> vicki very much. >> we have plenty of time. we have time if you're sticking around. >> the children being placed in
12:22 am
homes at the uac's, the vast majority of those, your placing in homes of someone who is not legally present in the united states. this is typically teenagers, and what percentage do you expect are being placed in homes of someone who is not in the united states? >> i don't know the percentage, i say it's a great majority. >> are we talking 80%, 55%, i would assume it would be closer to 80 but i don't have an exact%. >> how can we get that number? >> we can work to the extent if we have it will provided to your. >> as a vast majorityy we expect or we know were not legally present? >> i would have to get back to you on that. >> on the background check to return toha verify? or just if you have a criminal record in the united states? >> the background checks in many cases does indeed look at the immigration issue subject to what we get from inner agency partners.
12:23 am
each individual case we would know the immigration status of sponsor. but that does not mean that we have ready aggregate reporting. >> so you don't no you do know h sponsor for legally present or not. >> based on the records received from other agencies yes. >> can we just get a percentage of the individuals and what percentage has been placed in homes? >> really quick, 79% from whatever the dates were replaced to the sponsor with no legal status. the other thing to point out, fingerprints only tell you if ever criminal record in america. >> right, i'm trying to figure, the backer check is verified with a criminal record within the united states? >> to an extent we can get it to have information on criminal history in the country of origin. >> okay. this is just an ongoing issue
12:24 am
because we are parents or relatives that are come to the united states illegally across the border and worked here for years and to send a message back home and paying someone to transition to mexico to be able to come here and the weird delivery the last mile back to their families. to be able to reunite families t in that sense of someone who is not legally present here. and then also with the child that they transited who is not relative to mexico to get here. as of the typical story, mostly teenagers? >> it is mostly teenagers. i don't have any way of knowing how many. but it would not be uncommon. >> thank you. in her hearing last week, these came up as the two biggest issues by far. and you are very clear to say
12:25 am
congress needs to act. last week it was very specific. what we need congress to do is to address florida's. is that your opinion? what needs to be addressed? >> yes i agree, to allow families to stay together, to the florida's agreement into the fd rp to allow non- continuous countries. >> agree. >> how many individuals we have coming and coming in from mexi mexico. >> a very small number. the vast majority -- >> give me a percent, 60%? >> out how to get those numbers for you. 65% on the central american families that we are seeing, a very small percentage of mexicans families. >> so 65% you said? >> yes. >> so the other 35% coming from
12:26 am
where? >> mexico but also from different parts of the world in the people we apprehend. >> imagine just in your region, there 50 different nations? i didn't get the d time. >> this fiscal year. >> 's on the last six months you've seen 50 different countries? >> adults are trying to evade arrest. >> go ahead. >> so the question becomes difficult on how to be able to manage personnel. you mentioned before that when you pull people off of the ports of interest to manage what is happening between points of interest has a real effect. four hours of wait time for chuck to be able to get in and go through antr entire day and there's some tracks that never
12:27 am
got process to go to the next day and it makes the next day even harder as well to move. what you see the snowball effect of having to be able to move people to the between parts of injuries to what is happening for long-term shipping and trade. >> thank you, senator. i think you stated, we pull 545 front-line officers that normally work cargo and passenger vehicles, and what we are seeing, i mentioned in my opening remarks, we are seeing double the weight wait times and this is an immediate response to the crisis were seen at ports of entry. >> the issue of fake families was brought up. individuals that are coming with the child that is not their own and not directly related to. how has that changed in the last year or two and what have you seen? >> i will tell you that back in 2014, less than 1% of the males that were apprehended came with the child. right nowd it's 50%.
12:28 am
50% of the males that are coming into this country have a child with them. they recognize thatf because of the glorious agreement. they're not going to be kept in custody. so that should you exactly how they are exploiting the system and right now because of volume it is very difficult for us to spend a great deal of time interviewing every single person. >> so our laws are incentivizing people to travel with the child. two other words if you get in with the child and put a child to this trauma of the travel in transit you get an expedited process when you get here. >> yes. >> your question is on a child that is not related to the person or is distant related they are traveling with. what percentage or what numbers are we talking about, 2000, 3000, how many are we seeing this year? >> i will have to take that one back for the record. i don't have the offhand. but i can tell you we have seen fraudulent family units and recycle children. >> when you say recycled
12:29 am
children, some that were sent back over and sending back again. >> yes. and we havend also seen the criminal organizations are making significant profits for smuggling. people that are released with documents from arsonist facilities, they could travel anywhere in the country havell been found in stash houses in houston because they have not paid off the criminal organization. that shows you how much control the smuggling organizations have. in rg d there specific areas were all family units are routed. every other zone is reserved for narcotics. so very controlled, organized and structured. >> this is an area, if we don't fix the law we are continuing to look away from human smuggling. that is something that we should not look away from and should not ignore. what i keep hearing over and over again from every panel, they need congress to act one these areas. or this will never get better.
12:30 am
>> what i said in the opening statement, this is a problem here now and we need to act now. last week'sat hearing, the witnesses said that the border is completely controlled on the southern side by the drug cartel. nobody is moving through there without paying the fee. pay the ransom basically. we need to recognize this. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you ricky member for holding this hearing. i want to say thank you to the individuals that you serve with, your service and their service is a great tribute to her nation and is critical to our national security and commitment to principles of human dignity. i must admit that i am deeply troubled about the vacancies of the department of homeland security in the transition process. that is been carried out in
12:31 am
regards to the vacancies. i think it is dangerous given what is happening at the border, dangerous of the bread and trim brought responsibility for the homeland security protecting hei nation. it is seriously troubling. let me turn with something specific that relates to yourur testimony. if there were no border patrol agents, no i.c.e., and we just said hey anybody that wants to come in, come on in. my expectation is you would have tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people who would say i would rather live in america and somewhere else. and for manywohe reasons. and were certainly not suggesting that but i do believe that we need to put in place processes and majors legislatively as the chairman indicated, but perhaps other ways to make sure we secure our borders and that we have systems that don't attract people here in such hugee numbers.
12:32 am
legislative fixes that need to become bothw short-term and lon. in the importance of e-verify, my personal view is that mandatory e-verify for hiring in this country is essential if we are going to turn off the magnet that draws people into the country illegally. the challenge is that you each describe today, have suggested that we do need to have a legislative effects. and i'm going to ask you for which you are personally, instead triggers of legislation appear which we do if you had the opportunity to counsel the entire congress as to what action we should take to make sure our border is more secure, the children being separated are given better care, that we resolve this extraordinary challenge that we face, what legislative action do you think is action we should be taking. and i will let you respond to
12:33 am
that question. i may have to leave before all your answers are given because of the vote that is underway and will be over in just a few minutes. so what it would begin with you. >> i think it's addressing eb pra. i think we should have a system in place for somebody who hasaca credible fear of asylum, they walk into an embassy, file your claim there, if we get them out of this dangerous journey whether it's coming to the borders in arizona or south texas, is to do away with the problem. unfortunately, as i previously mentioned, criminal organization are the only ones for benefiting from what is happening. they are making enormous amounts gof money. so we have to establish a process where we are continuing to meet the people who have a i fear but eliminate a lot of the fraud that is going into some of
12:34 am
the claims at this time. >> thank you. >> adjusting the floras agreement so that families can be together. >> i would absolutely support the same. as far as the floras in immigration as a whole, permits and obtaining u.s. citizenship is something that the u.s. government needs to look at because of the history of our immigration laws butim the sizee need to have a secure border. there is no reason that anything that crosses the border between points of entry is illegal and we as a u.s. government should be able to control the border between the points of entry. we will always facilitate, we understand that but between the points of entry we should be able to control that. >> first, you should in statute
12:35 am
and defined the conditions under which is permissible too remove tapparenchild from a parent. there should only be the safety of the child. or if the parent faces criminal charges other than mr. minner 1325 entry. second, there needs to be a requirement that there is a process and documentation when children are separated from a parent. if parents need to have a right to appeal. orr needs legal authority to determine if a child iso unaccompanied. so if they been separated from the parent not for cause, we can refer refused the referral. >> on top of what my partners from dhs have already highlighted, i would say the one single piece of legislation the dea would say would be very important is the classwide scheduling of fentanyl.
12:36 am
we emergency scheduled to fentanyl last year end it expires in 2020. which could have a significant impact on dea and law enforcement partners where the chemical makeup of the fentanyl has changed slightly but it will also affect the department of justice prosecuting the cases and notionsus going forward if e fentanyl were to come out of scheduling, the emergency scheduling in 2020. >> thank you. mr. chairman i'm going to go vote. >> before you go i want to point out if you claim asylum, come illegally in claim asylum, we give you a work permit after six months. is that correct? so e-verify is well and good but will margaret tina work permit for somebody to come in illegally after six months, it's another reward that we provide which we ought to seriously
12:37 am
consider. >> thank you, mr. chairman. today's hearing takes on a significance of the resignation. as i said in june 2018 i believg the government should be in the business of keeping families together and not tearing them apart. the outgoing secretary willingness to implement the administration's cool and counterproductive policies and her willingness to not be honest with congress when questioned about these policies led me to it call back in june of 2018 for her resignation. the government should have a commitment to truth and accountability. under the secretary ten year dhs had a track record of neither. however, she was reportedly because she resisted the white houses extreme tactics from defying a court order and reinstating the cruel family separation policy to close in
12:38 am
the southern border. a political stunt that would cause dire economic consequences to ourtu country. there are reports that even more turnover in dhs leadership is yet to come. i believe a well-functioning department of homeland security is vital to the safety and nation. of oure at moments like this congress must exercise the duty to provide a check on the executive branch through oversight, the power of the curse, and our responsibility to provide advice and consent. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join together in helping to restore some of the much needed stability, to the department of homeland security and to respect anand honor the work of the men and women who work there. commander white i have some questions for you. >> at. >> on march 6 cbp commissioner maca leaning back dean secretary testified before the judiciary
12:39 am
committee, i questioned him about reports that immigrant children in the custody of hhs in their office of resettlement endured sexual harassment and assault. orr received 4556 allegations between october 3014 and july of 2018. nearly 200 which included serious allegations such as staff watching children shower, fondling and kissing them in rape. according to justice department data, sexual abuse allegations and shelters skyrocketed at the peak of this family separation crisis lastsp summer. the acting secretary said he was not aware of the allegations in the his colleagues at hss and orr are very committed to the children in their care. but when i a asked him whether after learning of the allegations he believed he had a tity to voice concern about the safety off the children before transferring them to age age as
12:40 am
custody. he said doing so "delete management and leadership of humanum services". commander white you're here representing the leadership of hss do you agree with him and what if any concerns you have about the finding and what are you prepared to do about it? >> three things, i want to tal talk -- we should talk much longer than they will allow, but the protection of children in her care. let me start with one thing to be clear. if even one child is abused we e feel that child. this is also true of every welfare and foster care system in thear state. i don't excuse it, i don't permit it, every time it happens, it is a call to do more. the statistics that have been reported to require
12:41 am
clarification because we have a strict policy of reporting of events. many of these are actually sexually inappropriate conduct by minors. this could include if a minor makes a sexual jester that is reportable. if a minor uses a charged insult to a minor. that is reported. there are also cases at the upper end of the spectrum that include allegations of abuse by minors of each other. in some cases by staff. never federal staffs beemac before you continue, are you describing theoretically what happens in the department or specifically to the 4556 allegations that occurred between october 2014 and july of 2018? i'd be interested in onlyou interested in the nature of allegations occurred. >> yes i'm talking about the actual reports in manyy of these
12:42 am
are not in fact allegations of sexual abuse, there are allegations of inappropriate behavior. we have a universal reporting standard and they must report in writing within four hours of every reportable event. these do include some cases which resulted in criminal prosecution because we are required in every case to notify state, local and federal law anl horsemen. >> can you tell me how many of the allegations involved abuse maby age age as employees or otr staff or adults working in these facilities and whomever employei them. for example there's private entities working with the children. >> there is zero allegations against hhs staff. >> how many are there against adults? >> there allegations reported te orr of staff on minors in fiscal 18, 49 reports and six reports
12:43 am
of other adults who were not staffed with a total of 54 allegations in fiscal 18. these are among the cases that would've been reported to the fbi -- >> about for the total of the four years, how many adults andh children? >> i believe that is 55 and one year. >> is a 49 plus 54. >> fifty-nine total. in 53 in fiscal 17. of allegations of an adult reported in turn reported to d.o.j. these wreak entering cases were reported to d.o.j. >> coming 2016 ? >> in 2016 reported to d.o.j. there were 61 excuse me 62 allegations of an adult sexual
12:44 am
abuse of a minor. >> my time is running out. i would like you to report to this committee, how many total obligations were there between the four-year period against adults and whomever employed them regardless of whether the case was referred to d.o.j. or not. and i also ask you toow tell us whether you informed the department of homeland security that these incidents were taking place in your facilities before or at any time during the family separation policy. obviously because i'm curious to know, what is the department of homeland security unnoticed that these things were happening in your facility before they transferred the children to your care? >> we will be providing a full detail of accounting that will be forthcoming on or prior reporting. second, i don't know if it's
12:45 am
leading to dhs, there's still safer than any foster care system. >> i don't think wet want to compare -- their notoriously horrendous conditions for many children. >> precisely what i'm saying, everyy time something happens to a child we appealed the child. but children by separation does not need by an adult. that acting government is harm to a child. due to problems with separate problems. >> thank you. >> she raised the issue of rumors of reinstitution of the zero tolerance policy. i'm not aware that. let me state for thed record, id be opposed to that. my guess that the majority has no name in his view of this committee. only sites and reasons, commander white,.
12:46 am
>> family separation policy. >> whatever you want to call it, result in family separation. i think you state that april, may and june when the policy wasn't a fact, each hs was overwhelmed by all this. would you say that's true? >> that is correct. they're very young children and separation disproportionately results in us getting babies, toddlers and young children. >> i'm hoping members and administration if they are listening, and that senator peters pointed out, here are the numbers, during april may or june on average we apprehended about 9500 individuals as a family unit. the last three months, shows the growing crisis, there's been 29000.
12:47 am
so if hhs andnd cbp were overwhelmed back in april, may or june of 2018 with 9500. month this is three times worse in my guess is that this will continue to increase in severity. this is a crisis now and we need legislation and i would like this committee to leave that effort and certainly, i will be leading. and hopefully working with every member of the committee to pass the legislation that actually fixes this problem in the hearing now. senator carper. >> thank you for being here. and thank you for your work. my colleagues heard me say this before so bear with me. w all have sources that provide us with guidance in our lives and values that we hold. and basically i have a bipartisan bible study that meets at the united states
12:48 am
senate and those who need the most help. we meet with the chaplain of the senate, who is a retired navy admiral. he is a navy at the marine corps. almost every thursday we would me, he reminds us of a passage and matthew. when he was hungry, thirsty, naked in a stranger in your land did you welcome me? and he reminds us of the moral obligation, including strangers. in our land. he also reminds us of the greatest commandment of all which is a golden roll. trigger people the way we want to be treated. which is in every major religion on the planet. so when i approach the dilemma like we have on our border, i keep those words in mind.
12:49 am
and i'm somebody who focuses like a laser on root causes. not on symptoms of problems but the root causes. as you know the root causes for a lot of people coming into our country from honduras, guatemala and saw el salvador have lack of opportunity and hope in problems of violence and crimes in the countries. and also corruption. and the reason we true entry created the alliance. lack of opportunity, hope, corruption is because that is what we gather for people coming to us in saying this is why i don't want to see my country. six weeks ago and to see how we're doing with the alliance. and is pretty encouraged by the work that is being done. i think it's important that we not walk away from. and the president i think is
12:50 am
intent on ending funding for the programs which should be a huge mistake. i've been sitting appear running notes for myself about how do we reduce the likelihood that people would feel repelled to leave the country to come to ours. the big answers fully execute and executexe well. the second question, for people who do the, we have been messaging comfort entry leaders about the horse of mexico and trending in this country insane is not going to work well into searching for people from coming. that is not working so well because they're coming in larger numbers of others as you would know. i'm trying to figure out what is the most humane way to do with the families who make it to reporters. is there a way we can actually
12:51 am
keep the families together. expedite the amount of time thai they have to wait to make an initial judgment as to whether or not someone is a seeking asylum. that is in that kind of danger in their native land. is there way to do that and while we're doing that, quickly, provide for safe place for these families to stay. let's start with that. is that something that we can do? to make theti initial decision, how are families coming across, i don't think we could do it like that. maybe we could but is a related case -- may be but theia initial screening and are they really needing asylum or not and if they really truly need to know more in depth in the screening.
12:52 am
in the families are taking care of. we don't separate the kids from the families. maybe that is something that we are doing? i am not aware of it. although i think there is an initial screening. let me get a response that. >> senator, since we are title 21, are21 so focused in the drug laws. >> i used to be a commander in the navy. >> let's refer to -- unaccompanied children are astonishingly the same over time. the t top three reasons always are, because they feared violence in home country, because they lacked economic and educational opportunities in home country, and because they
12:53 am
have family or parents in the united states they want to be reunited pride with. as regards family units would need to speak. >> any thoughts? >> absolutely, i agree with your statement. i certainly have to work with foreigntk counterparts to work t the root causes of why people are leaving the country. i can also say that in my 24 years of working for homeland security and previous agencies that nine of those i spent foreign stations in the republic of mexico and we do need to work with the root cause and look with their foreign counterparts but we control a very small portion of that. despite the help that we give them, we do control everything in the united states. while we work with our counterparts we also need to focus on the laws that we have here. and we have to secure our border in a criminal investigation to dismantle those investigations. >> i agree. we should work to have family
12:54 am
stayay together. in the florez agreement and allowing the families to stay together through the entire process is the way to go. >> i think the backlog is measured maybe in the in years. that gets pretty expensive. but thankly you. >> i will also add, when you detain, you're going to expedited hearing. ultimately, if the person is granted a release, they are released into the country. if not there repatriated. at the end of the day he made a consequence. otherwise you will see the flow increase. during my oral testimony, i read off the claim from the central american communicated back to his associates. this is the quickest way to bring children, you will not be detained.
12:55 am
we've got to develop a process that we have done in the past who are here in the '90s, two thousands in the way that we stop the problem was detain families together, you had your opportunity, go before an asylum officer or immigration judge, if you are granted release you stayed, if not your immediately repatriate. we can improveth in and the government. this is an area to do it but we need to have a consequence. >> thinking. i talked with the chairman and linking numbers in the chairman, and the ideas within the three countries. the northern triangle. with asylum claims being able to bring the asylum claims not in the u.s., under mexico, but within those three countries. and i've asked you to respond to the records whether or not -- secretary nielsen said whether
12:56 am
that's an idea that makes sense or not. >> thank you, mr. chairman. during this critical situation on our border it is important to hear directly from the federal agencies who protect arizona's border in our family and a communities. i appreciate all the witnesses who come to speak with us today. arizona faces security economic and humanitarian challenges with the recent mind gratian trends. congress and the administration must focus on initiatives to help improve thehe situation. but last week we heard from outside experts about their ideas to secure reports and with
12:57 am
local ngos deployed critical technology between airports and improve workforce. i look forward to hearing more about a frontline perspective on those ideas today. as always, i committed to working in a bipartisan way to find solutions that keep families safe in arizona and treat them fairly. i don't agreently with cpps. i understand that cpb faces strains on his personal but our perspective is that this hurts trade and we worryde about it impacting security. i want to know what analysis the cbp conduct regarding moving these temporarily assigned officers from the ports of entry of arizona. can you share the analysis with my office and given that these ports were already understaffed how does this decision not negatively impact security or trade? >> thank you for the question. the initial response that we provided border patrol colleagues was to support them
12:58 am
in the migration crisis. they were overwhelmed, are overwhelmed, the decision was made to provide them, the officers that they could use to put their agents back in the law enforcement activity. 545 officers from the frontline, the decision was made to address this crisis. we knew there be impact when the press conference in el paso. the 545 officers, 300 from el dorado, hundred 94 from el paso, and 51 from san diego. as you pointed out, we did not pull any from the tucson office. but what we identified we did not send them for assistance. so we see that everyday. we see the backups in both the personal vehicles in the cargo. this is a crisis that we are
12:59 am
addressing with border patrol. >> last week, we heard about the need for additional surveillance between the ports of entry. we know that the largest growt g bust occurred at the point ofin entry. my question, whatever sensors do you think are most useful for agents in the general patrol duties, do we need more cameras, raters, armed aircraft systems, or something i haven't mentioneo yet? >> all technology has helped cbp, they need to have relocatable technology. traffic patterns will shift from one area or another. we saw an arizona where i was previously assigned. it is having technology that is
1:00 am
going to help us with greater situational awareness. right now in south texas, i see the problem that we don't have any technology for trading. people get into the brush areas, the sugarcane, whether it's the other brushes there, and makes it hard to detect. it is a combination of different systems that we can actually apply on the border and if the act is a force multiplier for us. ultimately, no fence, no technology is going to make an arrest or an interdiction that is going to be done by men and women who are out there. it is important to be able to bring on additional personnel who can actually help us . . . ocal community leaders. as you know, we are facing a struggle in areas on a with the
1:01 am
release of migrants and nee neeo improve communication with our local ngos so my question is in your experience what do you find works best to help build those relationships at the local level and are there any tips that we can utilize when i'm able to go back to the state in the next two weeks to try to figure out a better solution. during the time they were >> and then to actually show up ergo so that engagement does happen ergo we have strong programs in the border
1:02 am
patrol community agents and we work with them very closely. right now we are being helped with the overflow that we are releasing from border patrol custody so working very closely to figure out how they can help the federal government. >> i would like to follow up after the hearing i will be back home in my state during the spring meeting and i intend to bring those ngos together to help provide closer communication have had some releases in phoenix and tucson are there others that have thoughts click. >> i would like to provide a response to your previous
1:03 am
question. i'm stationed on the border in laredo looking at dhs on the border looking at the criminal organizations bringing aliens in narcotics and weapons across the bordere we have a uniformed presence that can deter and detect we do a great job but ultimately to dismantle those agencies to criminally prosecute and getain and forfeit their profile - - their proceeds but also look at home and security investigations. >> i appreciate that point my time is expired. >> thank you mister chairman
1:04 am
and all of you for being here today. this weekend, while visiting my home state of nevada president called the asylum process a scam. with respect to immigrants he said we cannot take it anymore our country is full. turnaround. as a grand daughter of jewish immigrants from eastern europe i cannot help but to think in the middle of the 20th century with security concerns is an excuse to turn away thousands of refugees - - refugees? what about the ocean later in 1939 was me to turn around before reaching our shores? what about the families from el salvador and honduras waiting in squalor because they are fleeing unimaginable
1:05 am
violence to come to the united states. yesterday cnn reported the presidential agency personnel closing the ports of entry at the southern border. and they were told not to allow any migrants into the country in my home state of nevada teenage girls were recruited as gaining girlfriends as young as 12 or 13 meeting gang rape or death is possible on the basis if they are let go that they are entitled for protection, in factyl a person who can prove she would bean persecuted because of race or religion or political opinion or a social group is entitled to asylum under us law. i assume gentleman that you
1:06 am
are aware that just yesterday i judge in california issued anan order blocking the trump administration to require asylum-seekers to stay in mexico. that the president were to instruct you and your ages to deny entry to seeking asylum at the border do you think that violates united states law quick. >> we will start by saying it is a cross between the ports of entry they are violating immigration laws they will be placed under arrest that doesn't stop them from making the asylum claim. but affecting the entry into the country they are in violation of the law and will be arrested. >> if they enter at the port
1:07 am
of entry and claim asylum we are proud to hear that. >> so my follow-up question is word you follow instructions even knowingy they are violating the us law quick. >> we know what the law is and our attorneys advise us and we will follow the guidance we receive. >> knowing that we have this challenge so describe the concerns you have with implementing this administration's current policies. >> we have taken an oath of office to defend this country every daye they perform a job. it doesn't stop them from addressing the asylum and the fears. we are parents and grandparents so to understand
1:08 am
we do have laws in this country people have to abide by those laws otherwise we are a sovereign country. and to still put them through the process and that is a credible fear that they will have an opportunity. >> if somebody presents themselves for asylum you will take them in regardless of what the president has instructed if it is between the ports of entry they will be apprehended that does not stop them from making the asylum claim. >> i would like to follow up a tornado in texas where unaccompanied children were separated.
1:09 am
i saw teenage children separated by gender and phone calls to relatives or contact was limited or monitored. do you have knowledge that the facility was owned or managed by a for-profit company the influx facility was operated by refugee resettlement temporary was operated by a nonprofit grantee who also performed services for us with statewide shelters across the country. the onee that they are building now in homestead are not our first choice the first is statech license permanent shelter cup last one - - capacity.
1:10 am
>> but are they for-profit institutions quick. >>e it is a not-for-profit granteey. >> in your estimation currently, are some of our detainees being held in for-profit institutions? make the children that are sheltered at homestead we have's staffing services there by a federal contract and the one that one is a for-profit. >> i yelled back. >> before i start, in our quest to develop the information required, what is valid asylum law?
1:11 am
so to read from one of the the research service the paper written in january this year. >> to qualify for asylum, applicant has the burden of proving fear of future persecution grades, release - - race relation or political opinion. and michelle one of these grounds was or will be a central reason. in the absence of past persecution they can have fear of a future persecution. they must also show by the government and for the purpose of showing the well-funded fear they could not relocate
1:12 am
but we will delve more into this. but i am very sympathetic but from my knowledge asylum can only be claimed once you are in the community as a safe haven. asking for protection in your home country is refugee status. different laws and controls there is no limit with asylum. also to claim safely and stay there basically you don't qualify for asylum because the government cannot protect you enough. so i'm trying to figure out the disconnect but it is extremely important we
1:13 am
understand what these standards are in the main reason why 85 percent of the claims w are denied commander, you w talked about the valid asylum claim family unification is not as sympathetic as we are it is not a valid asylum claim. now you have a process valid or not we let you in the country both are staying which just fuels the crisis talk about the 29000 over that 2018. this is a complex problem the solution is we have to reflect asylum and i agree that if we can rapidly adjudicate and
1:14 am
make a determination to humanely return people that will accomplish our short-term goal to reduce that flow and peconvert this into a legal process. there's not one manufacturer that from my standpoint we need immigration tied to work. i will say on the record to members of the committee and the excellent questions we are getting to the reality hopefully creating a desire to do something about this inn, recognition the administration cannot do it on their own. they are not capable through executive actions are overruled by the courts. this is in our o lap, our court and we have to fix it i'm
1:15 am
looking forward to dealing with the members of the committee to solve problems. i would like to talk about the well oiled machine. this isn't just a group of individuals deciding to wake up but a very organized effort. so talk about you asked the information as a reporter with $440 million so human traffickerss flowed from the same buses it is higher profit at lower risk but talk about
1:16 am
the well organized effort. >> it is. reaching back and then to the people who live up to the border area to the criminal investigations and where to cross into el paso. know you were told, charged many and refusal to pay and very orchestrated. the smuggling of people is an endless commodity on the drug side to be destroyed per code they have the ability to bring more people also the smugglers
1:17 am
and juveniles because they know the federal government cannot prosecute. a lot of money goes into this but the cartels have the ability to read effort caravans that is the type of control they have at this time. >> see you agree last week the southern border is completely controlled on the south side on the mexican side by the drug cartels. >> correct but you talked about the interim's profits 5001 5001.$5 million that profit motive if there is a demand there is a supply for it.
1:18 am
>> that's correct. >> can't we say the same thing if human traffickers? we havee a system that is incentivizing rewarding that could be so easily exploited by a well organized effort setting up a transportation system using buses and other transportation as long as it remains profitable isn't it every goal to grow to become more profitable? >> absolutely. as we talked before these are very organized and to launder their proceeds as well.
1:19 am
and talk about human smuggling but specifically in laredo texas we had an issue to intercepted 200 bangladesh citizens and in then 700 we investigated that organization and arrested the leader who moderated mexico and brought him to the us for prosecution there has been zero from bangladesh since then. that is a very profitable business and they are coming here for a reason to central americans to work. >> one thing the former cbp chief yesterday as drugs flow to the ports of entry, how do we know that? we don't even know. isn't itha true when you have
1:20 am
over 100 as a dramatic increase it just makes sense to use those 100 people as a diversion and to overwhelm the system as officers converge and take care of six children makes it easy to make sure higher paying customer. >> and in january of this year we had a 705 pounds seizure cocaine coming into the united states between the ports of entry in close proximity a group sent across with 170 individualss so that is a tactic and a technique they used to tie up resources then exploit the gaps on the line.
1:21 am
d former point you talked about the death of any child is a tragedy. i know your testimony talk about the thousands of lives that cbp has saved because now that is your mission as well. people are coming having taken a very dangerous journey even on life support. how much time and tension cbp is putting into the humane treatment and how this is an overwhelming task. >> every summer especially from brownsville texas to san
1:22 am
diego border patrol agents are sent to rescue i have seen them jump in the rivers to save children and their mothers had let go because they could not keep up with the current agents have rescued off of mountaintops in arizona. i have seen rescue people in south texas on a regular basis. the most important thing is preservation of life. simply entering the country illegal doessi not equate to a death sentence. we have units but we also have emts out there which is important because during the summer we will see an increase of those the agents have to be given a mission is a great responsibility in addition to everything else we're doing.
1:23 am
what suffers you people have bad things coming to the border. that is made in rgb which increases of heroin and cocaine so there are other commodities coming through but it is heavy investment of what we have to do to secure our border and preserve life. >> does anyone want to talk about the efforts to save livesd? >> we see the same thing at ports of entry those that claim asylum that are medically the most desperate and we take them to the hospital right away so we go to great efforts to care for them and make sure they are saf safe.
1:24 am
>> again i want to start by thinking each of you for your service it is a rare opportunity to speak to expertsto in the trenches every day dealing with these issues and i'm appreciative we could come back for a second round perk on the drug issue, you talk about the fact we are having more seizures of fentanyl typically coming from chinaa that my understanding now the preferred method is still coming through the mail system we don't have the tracking that ups and fedex does we should be 100 percent
1:25 am
from china in the next several months do you think there is more fentanyl shipped into mexico coming across the border and why is that happening? not send it to a po box is it because of the stop act? where it's from and where it's going and then to ship it into mexico but so what is going on and how do you stop it quick. >> certainly the stop act is a welcome tool and has helped with the methods of fentanyl coming into the united states
1:26 am
that coming across the southwest border many seizures that dea is conducting, we see an increase where large seizures come across the southwest border. those levels differ slightly coming from china is a more pure form of fentanyl but certainly everything from the investigations we are conducting indicate the mexican cartels deal with fentanyl turning it into pills. >> are you telling me we now see manufacturing in mexico wars and so manufactured in china then shipped into mexico
1:27 am
quick. >> we are looking at the production of fentanyl in mexico and fearful a transition from methamphetamine which is prevalent to fentanyl will occu occur. >> you are concerned about it. >> those of the two instances that you y talked about but. >> it looks like a prescription drug. >> we specifically started an investigation unit to address the pre- curse soul chemical. >> it is my number one and we are still devastated by fentanyl. and ohio we made progress of the highest and because we
1:28 am
deal in such a high level but coming in at a pure form that crystal meth comes almost exclusively from mexico. >> correct the production in the united states is limited to mom and pop with the lower amounts with those larger parts is a result of our investigations those labs that are producing i it. >> it is more powerful than what we made in the basement in the seventies and now we have a hutch - - a much higher grade and more dangerous drug. what do we do about it cracks
1:29 am
with the unprecedented amount ofng money so for instance in addition to the stop act we're trying to get funding and they safely deal. >> but from the personnel standpoint and we continue and then we have tapped those two encourage the mouth --dash soviet hall that is the most
1:30 am
effective way. if it comes to the ports of entry noo question. but with that it is now shifting to places along the border so i think it will be
1:31 am
and of what was issues i am with the dea to identify those criminal organizations with the foreign counterparts so we can contribute it is a tactic
1:32 am
to keep people in addition to drugs. so keeping an eye on focus is appreciated. >> thank you for the work you have done for english.
1:33 am
>> i hope we can ever evaluate the myth but we will monitor but then to continue to produce the but then in your home state of wisconsin they have classified scheduled fentanyl and weird to one --dash positive because of the
1:34 am
people dying we felt it is important.nt so only time will tell then similar to the act and then to help and be in the health but
1:35 am
if we start to see a criminal being produced in mexico that is a sure sign. but if apprehensions apprehensions is 4000 in recent weeks. but through no fault that has
1:36 am
been reduced to nothing more than a mere speedbump are going to company children and coming in family units. >> of course they were not billed for this without the resources. >> and to have a significant challenge u. it is something we don't want to do in one week for a short
1:37 am
thing we could not keep people. >> so what is happening right now but to create 364,000 of creation --dash restoration over a 100 for 200 percent increase but of those issues
1:38 am
that then that is the daca line. is that correct but what specifically do you do quick. >> working with the we have to rely on the fact that there
1:39 am
was money we do not know about that then to find out from the adults before you see the then picks up a group of people sthat are here enough so that to.
1:40 am
>> c really don't have the capacity, is that the. >> some in this process of h and cv hooper but let me
1:41 am
clarify 75 percent occupancy in the las last. >> that you don't use the but those family units force the cbp from doing releasing but
1:42 am
we are buried with their crossing the line that the embryos but everything is changing and nothing is static. but you say about 50 percent
1:43 am
but to me that indicates it is a shifting problem but sometimes we can avoid apprehension. is that unusual quick. >> first of all anytime with a large group we have stages at every location but i everything is everything that
1:44 am
onproportion of girls have gone up. >> what do you think now quick. >> but over the recent years growth is as much as one third and separated children are a larger portion. >> that still leads but we are close i most are 15 are over. >> i'm sorry i have the numbers with me but a great majority historically have been over 12 lecture.
1:45 am
>> only thing i would point out with the search and background to your question about china. in through the counterparts throughout the world not just china. >> and to be operated but to
1:46 am
have it that for every child also it is imperative but it cannot support. >>no but thank you for the
1:47 am
opportunity to be here and in a very important issue and to this country is the but then
1:48 am
to take emigration from those countries it is a very real issue that you should not have toho deal with this perk of the vote is ink's it sing on - - and redoing analysis thank you
1:49 am
for your service or testimony
1:50 am
. [inaudible conversations] >> they finally had enough and was out of the white house and
1:51 am
said she took offense at it but reporters were asking questions which was not true and she said to nancy reagan done to ever call me again and she hung up. >> at the very beginning she said you will never see my diaries. they are kept at the bush library but not available for public view until 35 years after her death. i understood that. at the end of the fifth interview she said and you can see my diaries.
1:52 am
and that was an incredible gift.
1:53 am
1:54 am
he took office in december as part of those elected last year. this is 45 minutes. >> good morning we will get started. take your seats. good morning.

0 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on