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tv   Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Southern Border Migration  CSPAN  April 13, 2019 5:22am-8:00am EDT

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chairs this 2.5 hour hearing. >> good morning. this hearing will come to order. want to welcome our witnesses and thank you for your thoughtful testimony.
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as i said last week, encourage committee members were not a chance to 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 asked my written statement be entered into the record. let's put up the chart that describes this. we don't have final numbers for the final week in march but again, i will not go through the whole explanation. only to point out in less than six months we have apprehended more than 240,000 either unaccompanied children are people coming into the country as family units and individuals who according to testimony last week are part of a process and it's a well oiled machine of the human traffickers and transnational criminal individuals moving people from central america into this
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country, completely exploiting our loss but 240,000 people in less than six months compares to 120,000 in 2014 dear president obama correctly labeled that a humanitarian crisis. again, in less than half a year were double what was 2014 and we will be hearing from people custom border protection and folks trying to grapple with this growing crisis. how completely overwhelmed our system is but again this will be a very full hearing we have representatives from agencies that are grappling with this crisis and want to thank you for your service to this country and for trying to deal with it but this is up to congress. we have laws on the books that and court decisions that need to be addressed through congressional action and passing laws and from my standpoint the goal of this is to reduce, if
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not stop the flow of this illegal immigration. that has to be the goal of our policy and in recognizing and i tried to make this point in the hearing as well. we have a short-term long-term problem but short-term crisis. we have to address this with short-term measures and i'm all for developing and sending dollars and trying to help those nations whose public institutions have been destroyed by the the insatiable demand for drugs but that will not solve this problem anytime soon. we have to enact the laws so we can address this problem right now. you can't afford to wait any longer. but i tried to put up your had i had my staff take a look at this. if we are going to fix this and doctor last week talked about having a more rapid adjudication process of that initial determination of asylum claim and the reason is important is if we don't detain individuals
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we only are able to remove 7% and we detain people and they have an invalid asylum claim you remove 77%. we have to be able to have an adjudication process in a time period where we have detention facilities so we can remove them otherwise it's a moot point. we have to look at that initial hurdle in terms of credible fear or more likely likelihood that there asylum claim is valid. eighty-five of asylum claims are denied. we have to come to that determination quicker in this chart right here shows what types of facilities we need based on number of people coming to this country illegally on a monthly basis versus the number of days to adjudicate that initial claim. it is shocking. right now we have 100,000 individuals is the estimate for march, 100,000 people coming illegally. if it takes 45 days or 40 days to get that initial determination were looking at
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meeting detention facilities of 125,000p is what the chart would show you. and 45-30 days of adjudication process. 125 thousand beds. we have about 50. this chart shows you the solution, reduce the flow, reduce the number of days of adjudication will have plenty of facilities. the senator haskins has been talking about this. we don't want to detain people because the cost money but we need to come to a rapid conclusion or determination is it valid or invalid asylum claim and if it is not in its invalid we have to remove those individuals back to their home country. we know this works. the secretary into the five with the surge of resilience, 31000 came in from mexico into our southern border and realize all the problems of initiative process of rapid removal in the next years 1400.
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we know that works and that is what we need to do and we have to pass laws to do it. i won't go on any further but am just asking this committee and i will be proposing legislation and hopefully working with senator peters and others on a bipartisan basis to fix this problem. we have to address it. it's a short-term situation that we got to deal with. we can't wait for long-term fixes. senator peters. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing into our witnesses thank you for being here today. in the last thursday hearing provided information about the scope and scale of the challenges that we are facing on our southern border important to historical context was provided and a chance to examine how we can better work with governments of mexico, guatemala, honduras and el salvador. during my opening statement five days ago and the hearing we had
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last week i said to curing our borders will take cooperation and credibility from this administration and not chaos and not confusion. unfortunately, in the days sin since, just the five days we see nothing but more chaos out of the administration. since this first is a member here and concluded we have seen the administration withdraw the nominee to be director of us immigration and customs enforcement the nominee who had a hearing before this committee last year and was approved during the committee meeting last month. using the announcement of homeland security secretary nielsen's resignation and the president fired secret service director for unknown reasons. it creates another senior vacancy at the department of homeland security. we've seen reports that the white house potentially preparing to fire the director of us citizenship and
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immigration services. it is, in a word, chaos. problems we face at our southern border will not be fixed with high profile he irene's or tweets or press conferences. it will take leadership. as i said last week it will take cooperation and credibility. by the end of the week the department of human security will have no secretary, no deputy secretary, no chief financial officer nobody leading multiple major bureaus and therefore virtually no accountability to the american 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 and safeguarding cyberspace and entering resilience to investors. fortunately the men and women of
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dhs in its component agencies career public servants continue to show up to work and continue to do their best across the country in the midst of a very difficult situation on our southern border. last week we heard it's not just the number but the composition of the migrant groups that are straining our infrastructure. specifically influx of families and children seeking asylum from dangerous conditions in the northern tribal countries has created an unprecedented challenge for our frontline personnel. there are no easy answers or quick fixes here. we know the trauma of detaining young children and separating them on their parents put these children at the risk of irreparable harm. i have multiple officials from this and ministration who have testified before this committee and asked how long is too long to detain a child and i have yet to receive a real answer. we must do better.
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we need to reduce the backlogs and processing asylum claims, screening interviews are being delayed in the 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 and take on the violence in impunity of the regions across the northern triangle and disrupt the transnational criminal the compassion on human smuggling. this will take careful cooperation with regional governance, law-enforcement and civil society not cutting off existing funding is a nonprofit organization operating in the northern triangle. we need mexico to do more to address the flow of migrants across their southern border and it was saying the same cooperation and leadership not basil starts and disengagement.
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finally, we need to secure our southern border. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses about what is working and what is not. i look forward to hearing how we can replicate your successes and address for challenges but i look forward to discussing how we can improve data that federal agencies rely on to make possible decisions. thank you for being here today. >> thank you, senator peters. it will take legislation. it will -- we need to act now to address this situation now and we can't rely on long-term fixes to dresses situation now. that's why we want to work with you and to determine what we need to do now to fix this. it does require legislation. it has been a tradition to spirit and witnesses. please stand and raise your right hand.
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do you swear the testimony you give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god. please, be seated. first witness is mr. rodolfo, mr. karas is a cheap patrol up agent for the rio grande valley sector commander of the joint task force west south texas corridor. is he served as the chief patrol agent for tucson and previously served as cbp attaché to mexico. >> chairman johnson, ranking member peters and which members of the committee thank you for the chance to appear before you today. i'm proud to serve as a border patrol agent for more than 30 years. currently is cheap patrol agent and rio grande valley sector and also has served as a cheap federal agency of the tucson sector. in my 30 years as an agent i have never witnessed the conditions for we are currently facing on the south of the border and this is not a
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manufactured crisis created by those of us who live and work in the border area. they continue to purposely violate us immigration laws and we are taking advantage of by camps and legal framework and that undermines the rule of law. criminal organizations along the border capitalize on these issues and make tremendous profits at the expense of both migrants and the american people. we secure 277 miles border and a small fraction of the united states but account for 38% of all illegal immigration along the southwest border. to put things into perspective they made 162,000 apprehensions were already at 147,000. we will have more than 260,000 apprehensions by the end of fiscal year.
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on average we apprehend more than 1000 people illegally crossing the border every day. that is roughly the capacity of 17 commercial buses. last week agents in my sector apprehended 1700 and 66 people in a single 24 hour period we expect these numbers to continue to climb as we entered the summer months. this will undoubtedly place both migrants and our border patrol agents at significant risk. rescue missions will increase as a result drying additional personnel from our frontline lawn for submissions and much media attention is focused on caravans from central america but the fact is that rgb is receiving caravan equivalent numbers of migrants every seven days. the majority of people we are apprehending our family units and unaccompanied children from the northern tribal countries of guatemala, el salvador and honduras.
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many are actually vulnerable and consequently 30, 40% of my daily workforce doing humanitarian work at any given point in time. this includes processing, hospital watch and transportation. it also means at any given point in time 30, 40% of my workforce is not available to secure the border. an agent who took a migrant hospital is not available to get narcotics nor are we able to respond to other smuggling events or border intrusions when we encounter and apprehend large groups of people. bad guys know this and they know our resources are stretched thin in addressing the humanitarian issue which undermines our border security operations. they direct the movement of large roots into certain border areas as a diversion to facilitate smuggling of drugs. this is an issue of both national security and officer safety. in addition to the large groups of families and children from
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central america other illegal aliens from 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 or traveling across hemispheres to attempt to illegally enter the us using the same pathways as the central americans. we also encounter known gang members from some of the most violent gangs on earth including ms 13 and 18 street. some of these gang members are fraudulently posing as the migrant families. i like to share with you a translation of a text message we intercepted from an ms 13 gang member who is part of one of these fraudulent family units. he wrote: you should see the amount of hondurans traveling with a child. they pay less for the smugglers in order to be delivered to the border patrol. it's a direct trip. they have them a few days with
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border patrol and "after words there are a lot of people without law and that's the easiest way right now. entire families are coming. make no mistake about it, the word is getting out. if you are part of a family or bring a child you will be released. just last friday our agents apprehended an adult honduran male with a one -year-old child. after questioning the man the man admitted the child was not, in fact, his. something has to change. levels of mass migration were seen profoundly impacts our ability to control border. dangerous people and drugs from entering the country. i am for congress to restore integrity to our immigration system. thank you for your time and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. thank you for your service. next witness is mr. randy out.
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executive director of operations for u.s. customs and border protection and in this role he oversees 30 killed officers and ports of entry. >> good morning. chairman johnson, ranking member peters and which merits of the committee. as an honor to appear before you today, half of cbp's office field operations. u.s. customs and border protection is for priority missions and national security, counter narcotics, economic security and facilitation of lawful trade and travel. we operate 24 hours a day, 73, there are 65 days a year to come at those missions. our job is to move people and cargo to our port of entry. we inspect all those for possible hazards and stopping threats at the border. our nation's economy international security relies on our vigilance. it is an immense task even in the best circumstances and they report to work to duty never knowing what challenges they will face or if their lives will
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be threatened. port volume resource constraints and enforcement activities make everyday unpredictable. in recent months however we have seen an unprecedented, unsustainable trends in our daily operations and invisible migrants travel in large groups and arrive at our ports of entry without copper documentation. the majority of family units, unaccompanied children and nearly all of them seeking asylum. i like to give you a snapshot of the daily operations at one of our ports of entry. just this past saturday in arizona officers made five separate chips transferring migrants to medical facilities including one trip transporting a family of five. for unaccompanied alien children arrived at our pedestrian port of entry claims of asylum. a family from cuba into the country by commercial bus claimed asylum. a single vehicle inspection yielded 70 packages of methamphetamine more than 72 pounds.
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[inaudible] among all this activity our offices regularly are into i.c.e. custody. or they accept detainees from other parts of entry to alleviate overcrowding is. this is in addition to our work to process the people and cargo with a legitimate need to pass through our ports of entry everyday. while the current migration flows have taxed our offices at the ports of entry the levels of migration between the ports is catastrophic. support our colleagues in the us border patrol the officer field operations has redirected 545 but my officers from our southwest border ports of entry to help process in care for the record number of migrants. these actions are not without consequences. travelers and shippers are expressing increased wait times as they approach our southwest border ports of entry. this is true across all modes of travel, pedestrian in commercial
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trucks and in el paso texas just yesterday passenger vehicle we time was at the bridge of america's first song is 160 minutes, peak time last year and a was 45 minutes. the duration is even more dire in our cargo processing and last year we times for cargo processing in el paso were less than 18 minutes. estimate we time as long as 250 minutes. or four hours and at the end of the day 63 trucks were not processed. this is a direct result of the 545 cbp officers being reassigned to assist the border patrol at the care and custody of the surging number of migrants. i cannot overstate the importance of these operations and border security humanitarian crisis at the selfless border has ripple effects that impact the entire nation. services negatively affect the trade committee, supply chain
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and businesses that rely on these products and ultimately the consumer. despite the challenges they face or officers continue to process migrants and asylum and interdict their current narcotics with your present the sport congress is offered to our men and women of the frontlines and ask you consider leslie action that will address this crisis. thank you for your time afford to your questions. >> thank you mr. hubbard next witness is timothy tubbs. deputy special agent in charge of the security investigations, laredo texas office includes mcallen and brownsville, texas. previous service i i.c.e. attaché to mexico. mr. tubbs. >> the morning, chairman johnson, ranking member peters and stay with members of the committee. i want to thank you for the opportunity to be here to discuss us immigration and customs enforcement investigations hsi and our front-line perspective of sophisticated smuggling routes that we face on the selfless border and it approaches the lead up to the border and some
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of what we do to address transnational criminal organizations that threaten border security, home security and public safety by seeking to bring illicit goods, people and proceeds into the united states. hsi special agent use their vast authority to investigate cross-border, activity and work in close collaboration with us customs and border protection officer of operations nine states border patrol as well as drug administration. we work in unified effort with domestic and international monthly partners to combat that illicit activity. today i will highlight how hsi since inception has targeted investigated, disrupted, dismantled and brought to justice transnational kernel organizations with a number security or homeland security and public safety through their cross-border illicit activity. hsi is grateful to you for the continued congressional support that enables us to successfully execute or complex vascular mission both at home and abroad
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working with our domestic and international partners. hsi laredo. it is my current area responsibly and one of the most active areas of response ability for my agency that covers proximally 300 miles of border and covers what is the states mexican state without united states border. if you look in hsi ashley does that work in that area they are on the truth or front of what is border security truly live every single day what is border security for me as the united states government and america. mexico is the front doorstep for transnational organizations to bring in illicit goods to the united states and mexico is a major source country for the transit and production of illicit drugs that enter the united states including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, harrowing and most recently fentanyl. as a result mexico's dominant role both as a source destined
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for the united states its primary destination for proceeds at the cartel earns for distribution of the united states. the use a variety of techniques to repatriate funds from investigated trade base money laundering schemes in many of these complex creams use third-party lottery one money laundering. the investigated tools of our arsenal to disrupt cartel honey and also assign the department of justice and we've established territorial strikeforce which addresses us security risk posed by those that smuggle interest aliens in these could potentially cause a threat to us national security and public safety. this program is designated to disrupt and dismantle organizations worldwide to aggressive investigations and criminal prosecutions both domestically and territorially.
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hsi will close with her international to disrupt and is not pco's and they had 66 officers and work we are positioned to establish to utilize our established with those host to include engagement in what we call transnational criminal investigation units and these tci use are composed of dhs post country officials who have the authority to investigate and force violations of laws in the tci use enable both i.c.e. and those country to conduct joint criminal limitations and joint resolutions on meeting the common mission of both host country and i.c.e. [inaudible] these efforts often are miles of way from our dominican republic it in mexico both of which have had the opportunity to serve essentially act as an outer layer of security for our selfless border.
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mexico specifically has served for three have years before going to laredo has proven to be an outstanding partner in the fight against pco's taking on cartel leadership as well as taking down leadership of these organizations that smuggle special interest aliens and ultimately work with us cooperatively to dismantle those organizations. the i.c.e. attaché in mexico is the largest i.c.e. presence outside the united states and there we have an established tci you the government of mexico. you are attaché we work well with the government of mexico in combating tco's in the transnational drug smuggling and money laundering. spirit of cooperation and joint efforts between dhs components and are comports in mexico is unprecedented. a disciple continued to work with bondsman partners and continue to work with them both domestically and foreign and to improve our efficiencies and effectiveness of searing and operational to combat [inaudible] and public safety.
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i want to thank you for having me here today the court to answering any questions you have. >> thank you. our next witness is commander jonathan white. commander white serves as us public health service commission core or in the us health permit service corporate health and human services senior advisor and office of emergency management and medical operations. he previously served as deputy director of health and human services offices of refugee resettlement. commander white. >> good morning. chairman johnson, ranking member peters and members of the committee. it is my honor to appear today before you i'm half of the us health and human services. as the chairman noted, my name is jonathan white, cree officer in the us public and clinical social worker and emergency manager in most recently i have detailed as hhs operational lead
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in the effort to reunify children who were separated from their parents at this office border. i want to talk to you about the unaccompanied alien children program in the office of refugee settlement in hhs. or is responsible for the care and temporary custody of unaccompanied children refer to as orr by other federal agencies as a reminder orr does not apprehend migrants at the border or enforce immigration laws in hhs is not a law-enforcement agency. as defined by the home and the act of a child under the age of 18 was no lawful immigration status is apprehended by another federal agency and no parent or legal guardian, child available in the united states to provide care and custody to the child that child is considered the legal term isn't unaccompanied alien child and transferred to orr for custody. orr operate shelters nationwide to provide housing, nutrition,
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routine medical care, mental health services, educational services and recreational activity and these provide an environment that has parity with the facilities in the child welfare systems that house systems here domestically. is operated by nonprofit who are licensed to provide care to children by state licensing authority, the same that would regulate such facilities housing domestic children. one exception is ors temporary hard sided influx care facility on the former us job court site in homestead florida which is not required to obtain state licensure because it's located on federally owned property but however that location the received the same care as those in state license care. it's been driven by the external machine fluctuations over time and the number of children
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referred in the average time children remain in orr care. currently hhs maintains about 14300 beds nationwide. that is up from 6500 beds on october 1st of 2017 but also down from 15800 beds on novembe. hhs continues to adjust its capacity constantly based on the most recent data including information from our inner agency partners to help us prepare for changing needs. hhs cares for all these children until they are released to a suitable sponsor and almost always apparent close relative to provide care for them all they await their day in immigration court. these children leave hhs care if they return to their home countries pursuant to immigration judges order where they turn 18 years of age regain legal immigration status. in fiscal year 201849100 children refer to orr as dhs.
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from october through february of this fiscal year we've received over 24000 referrals. in fiscal year 2019 through february children were discharged from orr custody 92% were released into individual sponsors and other sponsors 46% were parents, 45% work with this and nine present were more distant relatives or nonreligious. on june 20, 2018 the president issued executive order 13841 and us district court and southern district court of california issued its pulmonary injunction and classification orders on june 26. pursuant to the secretary tasks assistant secretary and and help us comply that executive order those judges orders and to that end we stood up in a management team to reunify children with their parents.
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of the 200814 children reported as of this morning we reunified 200160 of them with a parent from whom they were separated. another 595 children left orr care for other appropriate discharges in most police to family member and there are 16 children still in our care who were separated but can be reunified with their parent because he made a final determination that parent poses an unacceptable risk to the safety and well-being of the child. there are 32 children in orr care whose parents after consulting with aclu of weight reunification and nine children in care who subsequent review determined and not in fact been separated from the parents but were truly unaccompanied children. as of this week the 200814 children reported to court there
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only two children remaining who might still one day be reunified. we can't reunify them at this time until the parent convey their issues to the aclu. the program's mission is a child welfare mission and we seek to serve the best interest of each individual child that is guided us in everything we do including in our work to have each separated child back in his or her arms or discharge safely to another family member sponsor when that is their parents wish. we have done and will continue to do our best at the moment to achieve that goal. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today and i'll be happy to answer any questions that you have for me about our program. >> thank you, commander white. final witness is greg dougal. he is the chief of operations for the drug enforcement agency in these dea's 22 domestic offices in 94 foreign offices.
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>> good morning, chairman johnson, ranking member peters, distinguished members of the committee. it is an honor to appear before you today to discuss mexican cartels, the extent of their influence to manufacture, transport and distribute illicit narcotics and our efforts to combat this. i have had the honor and privilege of serving as a law-enforcement official for 27 years with the last 22 years being a dea special agent. when i reflect on those years of experience the sophistication and capacity of mexican cartels is what worries me most. dangerous and highly sophisticated transnational criminal organizations or cartels operate in both mexico and the united states and have been and will continue to be the most significant source of illicit narcotics trafficked in the inside united states. whether it's heroin or synthetic
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opioids methamphetamine or marijuana the mexican cartels are the primary source of illicit drugs on our streets and perhaps most disturbing aspect of mexican cartels has been the confluence of three things. this synthetic drug but, epidemic of opiate abuse and cartels attempt to expand the profits by intentionally mixing fentanyl and federal related substances with heroin, counterfeit prescription drugs and other illicit drugs including cocaine and methamphetamine. this is done for one simple reason. greed. this is a national threat and public health emergency fueled by fentanyl. it is cheap to make, hard to detect and dangerously potent. consider this. chinese and mexican nationals are increasingly operating in concert resulting in an alignment responsible for proliferation of heroin, fentanyl and related synthetics
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coming across our southwest border. couple this with the fact that a kilogram of fentanyl can be purchased for less than $5000 in china and potential profits from the sale of that kilogram can exceed 1.5 dollars. the cartels delivery seizing on the suffering of thousands of individuals to generate profits. the same organizations are transporting metal bending and looking across the southwest border at an alarming rate. can afford to lose our focus on cocaine and as amphetamine. hotels are responsible for record amount of metadata means entering the united states and recent increases in cultivation and cocaine production are particularly troubling likely foreshadowing an increase in importation and abuse and overdose stats. dea to space mexican cartels such as sinaloa cartel and the new generation cartel as well as others will continue to be the
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primary networks operating in more than one country to plan and execute their criminal enterprises. these cartels do not observe boundaries or laws in mexico, the united states or any other country. as you know 2017th mexico extradited for to the united states el chapo this is a major milestone but more work needs to be done. now what is the dea doing to counter the fact that we recognize it will take persistent efforts across a 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 developed bilateral airman strategy for intelligence sharing, coordination of investigions, training, increase hearing and the
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precursor chemicals. we participate in the north megan job dialogue which focuses on building a strategy to attract the trafficking, consumption and misuse of illicit narcotics in north america. dea will continue to aggressively pursue trafficking illicit drugs targeting the world's most dangerous drug traffickers in the criminal organizations is a dynamic and evolving mission and comes with myriad of challenges. throughout our history dea has aggressively met the challenges that produced impressive results. we look forward to continuing our work with you and our senate colleagues to identify resources and authority necessary to complete our mission and i thank you for the opportunity to testify before the committee today on this important issue for to your questions. >> thank you. i appreciate the attendance here so i will do for my questioning till the end and we do have --
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my intention would be to keep the hearing going and we can get cooperation by committee members but will turn it over to senator peters. >> thank you to our witnesses again for your test money today. i have a letter here from the national treasury that i like to submit for the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. a big part of what we try to accomplish in the ceiling is to get a sense of the facts on the ground that we can all agree on as a bipartisan way and for set-aside and figure out how we can deal with the significant problem. related to that is of course having data. need to have the numbers in the german is a numbers person like i am that we want to make sure were getting that information on a timely basis which is not been happening. gao recently recommended dhs
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develop an intimate process to systemically review and rely look at the reliability of the data used in its border security metrics report and identify limitations and how it is used. my question is for the witnesses are very data points that we are not collecting now that would provide radical insight into these challenges we are having in the border? like to ask all of you if you have anything to share related to what were not collecting that you think we should be rich, would you like to start us off? >> senator, we collect a lot of information but we also need to go further and in regard to the finances of what exactly criminal organizations are making that i think that is key. we all have ideas on how much money flows into the hands of criminal organizations whether it is the first guy or the transportation self or the stash house operator and we
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collectively need to get better at sharing that information is to attack the finances. i don't think it will be able to interdict out of this problem and i think that more financial information and data shared between the different agencies. >> i agree with everything that you said. we are in information agency and everything we do, migrants intercepting different modes of narcotics are coming through our border and working with our sister agencies to continue to work together with our inner agencies in sharing information and building on those trends. >> i can tell you specifically for us and that is important to us and everything that justifies
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our operations targeting the results for the end-of-the-year staffing et cetera and we are meticulous about our staff i can tell you today coming forward to testify you we are careful about the stats we report and information we report want to make sure we report that correctly but we do look closely at the money laundering finances in every criminal of education whether it's mechanics or child. the we have pacific groups elephant to finances and we collect the information and i think we can share with our partners in the just across dhs if there was a one dhs information compile a that would be beneficial to all of us. >> thank you. >> i don't think we have data points that we are missing but i think the effectiveness of our
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agency is sometimes challenged by the fact that we are a job well for each any surrounding one-person process and i think there continue to be challenges with exchange of information because the inherent challenges we have receiving some law-enforcement tentative information that would enable us to make the safest placement decisions we could wear a child including receiving 213 information on children and those company. thank you. >> thank you. >> senator, i don't think there's a data point that partners here at the table don't worry collect related to the specific order for the one data point we can point to from a perspective of chinese trafficking conventional is that how the class scheduling up and down the federal analogs have affected when we look at the data points we look at it across our seizures and investigations
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we find that a time our chinese counterparts have controlled federal or federal analogs decrease the numbers of seizures in that analog here in the united states and because those groups are working together to get fentanyl into the united states i think that has helped us to reduce the amount of fentanyl that is leading to overdoses in the united states but as far as border related data points are partners cover down that we continue to share information back and forth as a result of our litigation with her doing physical. >> have all heard you talk about sharing of data in my question to you commander right is in january the hhs oig concluded the agency faces significant challenges in identifying separated children including and this is quoting, the lack of existing integrated data system
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to track systems across dhs. based on your experience as a federal health coordinating position and unified children separated could you tell us more about that? what are the gaps in what we need to do to make sure we identify where the separated children are. >> as a reminder we are able in orr to tell you for any child to whom he released a child. whether the person is addressed and we really set. but and i think this is key while we now know every child who was in our care on the 26th of june of those 12000 children, whether a child separated or not separated, but we do not know what they'd quickly document it is to know how many children you already leased to a family member, had
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been separated and referred to us but the problem is not in her agency data sharing. per se. the problem is children were separated and the record was kept. that is no a data exchange problem. it's more fundamentally the problem that the unaccompanied alien program is not for separated children and an orderly systems for data do not undo the harm caused by separating children from their parents. that is the proper focus for all congressional inquiries about separation and what are the legitimate concerns under which a child can be separated from appearance at the border and what are the appropriate systems including what rights and appealed to the parents have and how can orr have equal power to determine if a child is accompanied unaccompanied so that orr they refuse a referral of a child who is in fact a company. it's not how well it was tracked but the issue is that it happens
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at all. >> will said, commander. >> as long as we're on the topic it seemed like a challenge was complying with the court order in terms of what the definition was of a separated child and if there is real legitimate reasons to separate a child from adult for example, we heard in testimony the adult male admitted that one your child was on his and he you speak to that -- >> we've always seen appropriate separations of children both from parents and from people who claim to be the parents fraudulently. it is our experience that our colleagues in the just very honorably attempt to confront a difficult set of challenges when they apprehend a minor. the problem is there is no real legal or no statutory guidelines when a child separated and under what conditions was a permissible reason.
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there will always be children separated from parents for their safety or the need to immediately commonly prosecute someone with felony warrants and children separated from those who proudly claim to be that and that's different than what we saw over the last year. >> i want to understand testimony and part of the problems in confusion here for years we've been doing legitimate separations for a host of reasons and part of complying with this with trying to figure out what match the dictates of the court order, correct? >> the circle norm is to develop .3% of all referrals of separations. in the fall 2017 that increased tenfold to 3%. the spring it was much higher than that as a percentage. the issue is how to be determine what are the reasonable standards for separation and that is a job for congress. >> there again use legislation, senator portman. >> thank you for holding a
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hearing and each of you for your service. these are difficult times. all of you have been in this business for a long time and i looked at your resumes. you probably never experience something quite like this. we are in a crisis on the border and in terms of families and kids with president obama who called it so. it's a crisis. i appreciate what you're doing and i focused a lot on the push factors are also important in what we do with these tribal countries and el salvador and honduras is incredibly important. that will be a longer-term prospect and short-term i want to ask if you don't mind, do you believe the people were coming here family units and otherwise coming here primarily for economic reasons and to get a job that pays better for the families?
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>> based on what i have seen out to the field at this point in time the vast majority are coming here for economic reasons or family reunification. not saying they're credible your claims or asylum claims out there -- >> and i'm not either but it's 85% of those who seek asylum or are not getting asylum because they can't meet the criteria but my question to you is most folks are coming here for economic reasons? >> yes. >> to get a better job. >> i agree, senator. the numbers prove that out. 85% -- >> yes, sir i would agree they're coming here for economic reasons and anytime we look at children or family units would look specifically at her criminal investigations to ensure there is no family fraud and to look at the welfare of the child and there's no case in a situation for child exploitation and the reason why
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we've increased our work force because that -- >> mummy focus on that. would it surprise you to know one it is not mandatory that they can use a fake id and so we don't have a system that is effective to know who is legal and who is not so the employer can make that determination. would you support a mandatory e-verify system so we can help to reduce the nine it and pull? go ahead. >> absolutely. we would support the effort anything that would reduce -- >> any tool we get will help us greatly. >> we have a bipartisan proposal to do that and that is something we missed in our conversation to secure the border when you have that pull factor in magnet
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people find a way. commander white, i believe you are compassionate person and you shared a lot for the kids and i think it's a tough situation and he talked about that today. i know there's our discussion about reinstating college policy which led to the family separations and what was the effect on orr? >> so, the effect of zero-tolerance with other policies resulted in separating children and family units as a reminder the great majority of children across our border each day are accompanied in a part of a family unit most typically with parents and a company. the first thing that happened to the program the program's capacity was overrun. it was overwhelmed with children we're not prepared to serve
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because ordinarily great majority of the children we receive about 80% are teenagers. many separate children from the parents we get the and toddlers and other very young children but as you know, as of 2014 children 107 of them were four years of age or younger and our specific capacity that states have licensed to serve what we call tender age under 12 at very young, 12 and under, and this puts these children a significant risk. of course, it also bears repeating that separating children on their parents is very significant risk of severe psychological harm to those children and that is an undisputed scientific fact. >> manner, you have a phd so you have credibility in terms of understanding that dynamic. ...
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at the ports of entry we don't have the long-term attention to the. >> you get kids coming in the unaccompanied kids i'm talking
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to unaccompanied kids who come in. let me ask you briefly about the problems you've had with getting sponsors. we are very concerned in this committee and elsewhere that you are sending kids off to sponsors who were traffickers in one case in ohio we should know we had kids who were literally given to the traffickers and they abuse this kid is. let me ask you how are you doing now with sponsors we wanted to be sure they are fingerprinted. not as concerned as it is following ui wasfollowing up inp pretty much dried up.
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tell us how this is working. >> we continually adjusts the case management methods to find the right balance between safety and discharge and timeliness of discharge. we failed in 2014 the children in that case and that led to a revolutionary change inside of the program about our standards. right now they are not comparable to what they were then put in 2017, i was it that we actually pushed safety so far that it broke discharge and children stayed in care and the unprecedented average length of time at the district for every 800 however many gets discharged every day that fell below 1%. this is why it was stood up as a direct consequence of separation and the discharge rate. by making appropriate changes
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now under the current operational directive, we only do fingerprint background check on every sponsor on parents if there is another red flag another indication of danger. it is back at 2%. the average length of time continues but let me be clear we studied every case where we denied a discharge to a parent based on the fingerprint simply didn't find cases where we did that on fingerprint only. we found through the numerous other methods in the verification and child safety. we are in a different world than we were that we will continue to make changes as we need to to balance safety and timeliness and discharge. as long as we are talking about discharge sponsors we just got some information i want you to confirm between july 2018 and
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january there were a total of 23,445 unaccompanied children are children discharged to a sponsor. 18,459 of those were released were discharged to someone without legal status. if that'is that a pretty accurae figure? >> those numbers would be consistent with the majority of the sponsors were people without immigration status. >> which indicates and shows again how completely out of control this process is right now. >> thank you mr. chair i want to thank you and the ranking member for the hearing today and i want to particularly thank the witnesses thank you for your service in as well to all the men and women you work with each and every day. before i begin my questions i do want to express my profound
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concern at the department of homeland security. the department is tasked with the vital mission of securing the nation from the many threats we face and the type of turnover we are seeing right now presents a direct threat to the ability to carry out the mission. we need to see qualified leaders put forward the experience needed to keep americans safe and who will also stand up to the president if necessary to uphold the rule of law and values that make us strong. i want to turn now to the question because last congress we passed into the president signed a bill that would provide more technology for border agent to use so they can detect fentanyl at the border. last spring when i was at the border i heard during my visit the agent still couldn't have all the access to that equipment.
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former secretary nielsen stated this was unacceptable when she testified last may so to both of you, can one of you update the committee on healthy implementation is going now and do the agents of the technology they need to keep them safe if they are detecting fentanyl? >> it is going to change the way we do business on the southwest border and transform our capability to scan more vehicles and trucks considerably more than we are doing today so it's going to take some time to work with the vendors to purchase and get them in place, the it is going to transform what we are doing. we know that for the facilities the 45 million that received also in fy 19 will allow us to enhance the technology in both the mail facilities.
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>> said it's still a work in progress is what you are telling me that we don't have all of the technology provided by the funding yet. >> it's going to take some time. >> do you have anything to add plaques >> many times the features of the bordeseizures atthe border e investigation, but we would support any advanced technology that can be given. those wouldn't specifically apply. >> thank you. i am still concerned that we don't have as much equipment has they need and i'm concerned about the safety of the people on the front line as we all know it is dangerous even to touch so i look forward to following up with the agency about how we can accelerate this. commander, i wanted to follow-up a little bit with you on the discussion that you have been having about th family separatin policies and the efforts your
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agency has made to reunite families and children. you talked about the numbers in that case and the class of individuals represented by the aclu, but we also know that there are other children and you just mentioned it in your testimony who before the policy was announced or apparently suffocated from their families. when you appeared before the committee last year and just now, you were very clear that thaboutthe impact of a family separation on children that it can suffer psychological damage from this kind of separation and i thank you for your clarity and honesty on that issue that's why i was troubled to see your statemenstatement at today's agg that it could take two years to identify what could be thousands of children who were separated
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from their families. can you tell me why it could take so long and what we can do to speed this up? >> yes, senator. the plan i developed in which has been submitted in the southern district in california how we would do the identification, i want to be clear the one to two year timeframe as if we reviewed all of the approximately 47,000 children who were referred by dhs starting on july 12017 and had already been discharged to a family member otherwise appropriately discharged by the date of the court hearing. the plan coming into this is in the declaration is designed to accelerate the process. i don't know that it will, but it represents my personal belief that the best and most effective way to find the children and to identify which of the children discharged were separated and do so as fast as possible, but the
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answer to your question is because it is 47,000 children they have all been discharged and there is no list. this is the fundamental reality. the reason it's challenging now is because there is no list of separated children. we must identify them so we will use if the judge approves that the methods that i've outlined, and if he doesn't approve it, then i guess we will both be back to the drawing board. i believe the plan that is in my declaration is the best way to identify who the kids were. >> yes and no more staff help you do it faster? >> i don't believe that staffing 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
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you that would help you speed that process up? >> yes ma'am i will make that commitment. as a reminder this is before the judge currently and i am awaiting his direction. >> i understand that. commander, i wanted to again thank you for being clear about the impact of what has been an inhumane policy of family separation, and i take it from your comments earlier in your exchange with senator portman you do not support reinstating this policy. >> i would never support use of family separation in a systematic tool of immigration policy but it's not about what i support. it's about what you and your colleagues support, and it's up to you to define the conditions under which a child may be separated. congress hasn't done that and you need to. >> i appreciate that very much but i also appreciate i believe
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this administration should move forward with family separation. i believe there are other ways we can secure the borders and i appreciate very much the important feedback that you have all provided to us today. thank you mr. chair. i have a question i will submit to the record about the trafficking of guns and cash going from the united states to mexico. i would like to follow-up with yofollow up withyou about how wt kind of traffic. >> i would be happy to get you the information, senator. >> i was told we were delayed by about ten minutes we have plenty of time. >> thank you mr. chairman. the children that are being placed in homes specifically is that the vast majority of those you are placing in homes or someone that is also not legally present in the, so this is typically teenagers and what percentage do you expect are being placed in the homes of
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someone that is not present in the united states? >> i don't know the percentage i can only say that it is a great majority. >> said 80%, 55%? >> i assume it would be closer to 80 but i don't have an exact. >> we can work to the extent we have it to provided to you. provide it to you. >> so you are saying the vast majority we expect are not legally present what we know are not? >> i would have to get back to you on that. >> to the background check just as they have a criminal record in the united states? >> the background check does indeed look at immigration issues subject to what we get from inner agency partners. in each individual case we would note the status of a sponsor but that doesn't mean that we have ready aggregate reporting.
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>> so you do know for each sponsor if they are legally present or not. >> based on the records we receive from other agencies yes. >> can we get a percentage of the individuals and what percentage have been placed in homes? >> 79% from whatever the dates were were placed with a sponsor with no legal status. the other thing i would point out fingerprint only tell you if they have a criminal record in america. >> right. so, the background check is verified with a criminal record in the united states. >> we can also use it to get information on criminal history in the country of origin. >> okay. this is just an ongoing issue because we have parents or relatives that come to the united states illegally across the border that worked here for years and sent a message back home and they are now paying
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someone to transition them to mexico to be able to come here and we are delivering them the last mile back to their families to be able to reunite families and that is for somebody that is not legally present here and also someone that is a non- relative to mexico so the typical story mostly teenagers. >> it is mostly teenagers i don't have any idea of knowing how many but it wouldn't be uncommon. >> thank you. in our hearing last week, these came up as the two biggest issues by far and you were very clear to say congress needs to act. last week it was very specific what we need congress to do is address florida's. is that your opinion of what needs to be addressed?
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>> yes, i agree. to allow families to stay together in the agreement and then allow the repatriation to the noncontiguous countries. >> completely agree. >> how many visuals to be half of the family groups coming in from mexico? >> a very small number right now, senator. >> ballpark. >> i would have to get those numbers for you. 65% from the central american families that were seen coming across the border with a small percentage of mexicans with families. >> so 65% and those are families from -- the other 35% of the folks are coming in from where? >> mexico but also from different parts of the world. >> you mentioned 50 different nations. i didn't get the time period on
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that. in the last six months you have seen 50 different countries. >> single adults. >> the question becomes difficult on how to manage the personnel. you mentioned before when you pull people off of the ports of entry to manage what is happening it has a real effect. four hours of playtime for a truck to be able to come in and going through an entire day and some have never been processed and it makes the next day even harder obviously what do you see as the snowball effect of having to move people between the ports of entry to what's happening for the long-term shipping and trade? >> we have the front line
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officers that normally work in the passenger vehicles and what we are seeing is that i mentionewhat imentioned in my os we are seeing double the wait times and this is an immediate response to the crisis we are seeing between the ports of entry. >> the issue of fake families was brought up, individuals coming with a child that is not their own or directly related to. how has that changed in the last year or two in what you are seeing? >> less than 1% came of a child and right now it is 50% coming into this country right now have a child with them and they recognize that because of the settlement they are not going to be kept in custody so that shows you how they are exploiting the
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system and right now because the volume it is difficult for us to spend a great deal of time interviewing every single person. >> so it's incentivizing people in other words if you put a child through this, then you get a more expedited process. the question is a child not related to the person or is very distantly related what percentage are we talking about, how many have we seen this year? >> i will have to take that one back for the record. but i can tell you we have seen fraudulent family units and recycled children. >> that means somehow they% back over and are showing up again. >> i talked earlier effects the criminal organizations are making significant profits on the smuggling.
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people released with documents meaning they can travel anywhere in the country have been found because they still haven't paid off the criminal organization so that shows just how much control the organizations have. there are four specific areas where every other zone is reserved for narcotics so very controlled and organized and very structured. >> this is an area that if we don't fix the wall we are continuing to put away and that is something we shouldn't look away from her ignore and what i keep hearing over and over again is the need congress to act on these areas but it never gets better. >> this is a problem in the here and now. what was interesting in last week's hearing of witnesses said the border is completely controlled on the southern side of the drug cartels nobody is moving through without paying
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the fee so we need to recognize this. >> thank you mr. chairman and ranking member as well for holding this hearing. i want to say thank you to the individuals that you served with. your service and their service is a great tribute to the nation and is critical to the national security and commitment to the principles of human dignity. i must admit that i like many people am deeply troubled about the vacancies the department of homeland security and the transition process that has been carried out with regards to those vacancies. i think it is dangerous given what's happened at the border into the broader responsibility of the department tasked with protecting our nation. it is seriously troubling.
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let me turn to a specific relates to the testimony. if there were no border patrol agents or agents and we said anybody that wants to come to the country come in, lie expectation is would have tens of millions or hundreds of millions that would say i want to live in the united states of america for many reasons and we are not suggesting that but i do believe we need to put in place processes and measures legislatively as the chairman has indicated that perhaps other ways as well to make sure we do secure the border and have systems that don't attract people here in such huge numbe numbers. we have legislative fixes the need to come short-term and long-term and like senator portman i would underscore my personal view that it is
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essential if we are going to turn off the magnet that draws people here illegally but the challenges that give each described today have suggested i'm going to ask not for data of something you are familiar but with regards to legislation what should we do if you have the opportunity to counsel what we should do to make sure the border is more secure and children that are being separated are getting better care, that we resolve this challenge we face, what action do you think is action we should be taking and i will let you in whatever order you would like to respond. i may have to leave before your answers are given because of a vote that is underway and will be over in a few minutes but why don't we begin with you.
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>> we should have a system in place for somebody that has a fear of asylum when they walk into an assembly file your claim they are. we get them out of this journey whether it's arizona or south texas to do away with this problem because unfortunately right now as i previously mentioned criminal organizations are the only ones benefiting from what's happening making enormous amounts of money so we've got to establish a process where we are continuing to admit those people have a fear but eliminate the fraud that is going into some of the claims at this time. >> to allow the return to the noncontiguous countries.
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>> i would support the same. immigration as a whole from workers permits to the citizenship is something the u.s. government needs to look at just because of the history of immigration laws but he also absolutely need to have a secure border. there's no reason anything that causes the border between ports of entry is illegal and a has te government we should be able to control the border between the ports of entry. we are always going to facilitate the flow of commerce between the ports of entry we should be able to control that. >> first, you should define the conditions under which it is permissible to remove a child from a parent and i would submit that should only be for the safety of the child or if the
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parent faces criminal charges other than misdemeanor 1325 entry. second, parents need to have a requirement that there be a process and documentation when children are separated and parents need a right to appeal and third the legal authority along with dhs, equal to dhs to determine if a child is unaccompanied so if they are referred to us and have simply been separated not for cause we can refuse that referral. on top of what my partners have already highlighted, i would say one single piece of legislation that would be important is the classified scheduling of fentanyl. we scheduled that last year and it expires in 2020 which could have a significant impact on law
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enforcement prosecutors in those analogs where do kendall gold makeup has changed slightly but it would also affect the department of justice prosecuting the cases going forward if it were to come out of the scheduling in 2020. >> before you go i do want to point out that if you claim asylum we give you a work permit after six months is that correct? it's well and good but when we are granting a work permit its another one of those rewards that we provide and that we ought to seriously reconsider. today's hearing takes on new significance in the wake of secretary nelson's resignation. as i said in june of 2018 i believe the government should be in the business of keeping
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families together and not tearing them apart. the outgoing secretary's willingness to implement the administration's cool and counterproductive policies and her willingness to not be honest with congress on the question about the policies led me to call back in june of 2184 for resignation. the government should have a commitment to truth and accountability. under the tenure of the dhs had a track record of neither. however she was reportedly forced out because she resisted the white house desire to embrace even more extreme tactics from defying a court order and reinstating the family separation policy to closing the southern border. a political stunt that would cause economic consequences to the country. and there are reports that even more turnover in the leadership is yet to come. i believe a well functioning
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department of homeland security is vital to the safety and security of the nation at moments like this congress must exercise its duty to provide a check on the executive branch through oversight, the power of the purse 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 the much-needed stability to the department of homeland security and respect and honor the men and women that work there. commander white, i have some questions for you. march 6 the cbp commissioner, now the acting secretary of homeland security testified before the judiciary committee and i questioned him about reports that immigrant children in the custody of hhs and the office of settlement and/or sexual harassment and assault. he received 4,556 allegations
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between october of 2014 and july of 2018 nearly 200 of which included serious allegation suggests staff watching children shower, fondling and kissing them and grape. according to the justice department state of sexual abuse allegations in shelters skyrocketed at the peak of this family separation crisis in the spring and summer. the acting secretary said he wasn't aware of the allegations and his colleagues at hhs are very committed to the children and their care but when i asked him whether after learning these allegations he believed he had a duty to voice concern about the safety of the children before transferring them to custody she said doing so was, quote, the duty of the management and leadership of health and human services. you are obviously here today representing the management and leadership of hhs.
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do you agree with him and what if any concerns do you have abouyou have aboutthe findings u prepared to do about it we probably should talk much longer than this will allow about the protection of children in our care. let me start with one thing to be clear if even one child is abused, we have failed a child and this is true of every child welfare system in the united states in foster care system every time a child has abused the system failed a child. i do not excuse or permit it. every time it happens it is a call to do more. the statistic that have been reported due to require clarification because we have a strict policy of reporting events and many of these things are sexually inappropriate
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conduct and this could included there is a gesture that is reportable come if a minor uses an insult for another that is reportable. there are however also cases that the upper end of the spectrum that include allegations of abuse by minors and some cases by grantee staff member federal staff. a >> are you describing theoretically what happens in the department are you referring specifically to the 4,556 allegations that occurred between october of 2014 i would be interested in the nature of the allegations that occurred during the period of time. >> i'm talking about the actual reports and many of these are not allegations of sexual abuse of their allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior. we have a universal reporting standard for the programs in its report within four hours of
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every reportable events. these do include some cases which resulted in criminal prosecution because we are required in every case to notify state, local and federal law enforcement and licensure of the race for full investigation. >> can you tell me tommy how many involved abuse by hhs employees or other staff for adults working in these facilities have never employed them for exactly no contractors and private entities were also handling or working with the children. >> there are zero allegations against the staff. >> how many are there against adults? >> there are allegations reported of staff on minors in fiscal 1849 reports come and six reports of other adults that were not staff who somehow got in the building or something like that coming on the staff adult 54 allegations in fiscal
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18. these are among the cases reported to the fbi. >> how about for the total how many adults on children? >> i believe 55. 54 total. and 53 in fiscal 17 of allegations of an adult reported to the doj these are cases that were reported. >> how many in 2016? >> in 2016 reported to doj, there were 61 excuse me, 62 allegations of an adult sexual abuse of a minor. >> my time is running out. i'd like you to report to the committee how many total allegations were there between that four-year period against adults who never employed them
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regardless whether the case was referred to doj or not, and i also ask you right now to tell us whether you informed of the department of homeland security that these incidents were taking place in your facilities are or at any time during the course of the family separation policy and obviously because i'm curious to know whether the department of homeland security was on notice that these things were happening in your facilities before they transferred the children to your care. >> we will be providing a full detailed accounting that will be forthcoming on our reporting and second, i don't know whether our reporting was conveyed to the leadership that dhs as a reminder that programs are still safer than state foster care systems. >> i don't think that we want to compare what you are doing to state foster care systems that are notoriously poor in this
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conditions for many children. >> precisely what i am saying is every time some thing happens to a child, we have failed the child, but the tron of children by separation doesn't need any child to have been harmed criminally by an old. that act of the government entails harm to a child' child u for input and problems with separate problems. >> you raised the issue of rumors of the reinstitution of the zero-tolerance policy. i'm not aware of that. let me state for the record i would be completely opposed to that. my guess it is a majority if not unanimous view of them in others of the committee and let me cite some reasons i think you would say -- >> zero-tolerance and whatever you want to call it the resulting family separation, i think you stated that during april, may and june from the
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zero-tolerance policy was in effect, hhs was overwhelmed by this, would you say that's true? >> that's correct with total capacity and specifically the capacity for very young children separation disproportionately results an hour getting babies, toddlers and young children. >> i'm hoping members of the administration considering and listening to this testimony and as senator peters pointed out i like numbers during april may and june on average, we apprehended about 9500 individuals in the family unit about 9500. the last three months which again shows the growing crisis at the border there's been 29,000. so if hhs or cbp were overwhelmed in april may or june of 2018 with 9500 per month, this is three times worse and my guess is this is going to continue to increase in severity so again this is a crisis in the
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here and now. we need legislation and i would like this committee to lead in that effort and as the chairman certainly i will be leading and working with every member of the committee to pass legislation that fixes this problem in the here and now. senator carper. >> welcome and thank you for being here and for your work. my colleagues wouldn' would lety this before so bear with me. we all have sources that provide us with guidance in our lives and values we hold and the way we try to behave and act. there is a bipartisan bible study that meets in the united states senate every thursday about six or seven of us meet ns with the chaplain of the senate was a retired navy admiral. almost every thursday when we meet he reminds us of the book
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of matthew that deals with the least of these and what he's thursday, naked, a stranger in your landscape you welcomed me and he reminds us of the moral obligation we have including a stranger in our land. he also reminds us of the greatest commandment of all and that is the golden rule, treat people the way we want to be treated which is in every major religion on the planet. in one form or another. so when i approach a dilemma i try to keep those words in mind going forward. i also am somebody that focuses like a laser on the root causes, not on symptoms of problems that the root causes and as you know the root cause is a lot coming from honduras, guatemala, el
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salvador black in economic opportunity and hope in the prevalence of violence and crime in those three countries and also corruption those are the three drivers into the reason we created the alliance for prosperity with those three buckets for opportunity and hope, violence and corruption is because that's what we gathered for people coming to us. ironically about six weeks ago we were dealing with the alliance for prosperity and it was pretty encouraged by the work that's being done, and i think it's important that we not walk away from it and the president i think is intent on ending funding for those programs which would be a huge mistake. i've been sitting up here writing some notes to myself
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about how do we reduce the likelihood of people both feel compelled to leave their country and come to ours and the big answer is fully execute and execute well the alliance for prosperity modeled after columbia which has worked and we need to do more of that. the second question, for people who do leave and we have been messaging to their people about the horrors of trying to get into this country and saying it's not going to work well and kind of discouraging people from coming. that isn't working so well because they are coming in ever larger numbers as you know. so i am trying to figure out what is the most humane way to deal with families that make it to the borders and is there a way we can keep their families together, expedite the amount of time, reduce the amount of time to make an initial judgment
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whether it really is in that kind of danger. and while we are doing that, quickly provide for a safe place for these families to stay so i will just start with that. is that something we can do to make that initial decision and say 100 families are coming across. i don't think we can do it like that. maybe we could just as they if we are really convinced upon the initial screening that somebody is there truly because they need asylum or not and if they really truly need to, they are brought in for a more in-depth screening and families are taken care of we don't separate the kids from families. maybe that's something we are doing and i am not aware of although i think there is the
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initial screening but give me a response to that. >> since title 21 as our sole focus for the enforcement and the drug laws it probably wouldn't be best for me to answer that. >> i used to be a commander in the navy. >> referring to the vhs colleagues on family separation i can tell you over the years to the reason unaccompanied children did when they are in our care why they came to the country is astonishingly the same overtime and the top three reasons always are because they feared violence in their home country, because they lack economic and educational opportunities or parents or their family are in the united states and they want to be reunified. >> this seems to be a standard, but as regards -- >> any thoughts? >> absolutely. so i agree with your statement that we absolutely have to work
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with our foreign counterparts to work at the root causes why people are leaving the country. i can also say that in my 24 years of working for homeland security, nine of those years i spent stationed in the united foreign republic of mexico, and we do need to work with our counterparts, but we control a very small portion of that. despite that, we do control here in the united states. i think we also need to focus very close on the laws that we have here and the capabilities that we have to secure our border and to the conduct our criminal investigations to dismantle those organizations. >> thank you, senator. agree we should work to have families stay. to ofd course, the flores agreement, so adjusting the flores agreement, allowing those families to stay together through the entirets process is the way to go. >>he the entire process, i think
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the entire backlog is measured not in days, weeks, months, but actually the even years. but thank you. >> i'll also add, senator carper, when you detain, you're to expedite a hearing. ultimately, if the person is granted relief, they're released into the country. if they're not, they're immediately repatriated because at the end of the day you do needhe a consequence, otherwise you're just going to see that flow increase. during my oral testimony, i read off the o claim from the central american communicated back to his associates is this is the quickest way, bring children. you're not going to be detained. so we've got to develop a os that we've done in the -- a process that we've done in the past. the brazilians that were here in the '90s, 2000s, the way we stopped the problem is detain families together. you had your opportunity to go before an asylum officer or
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immigration judge. if you were granted relief, you stayed. if you were not, you were immediately repatriated. we can always improve efficiencies in the government. this is apan area for us to do , but we also need to have a consequence. >> thank you. i talked with the chairman and the ranking member the last couple of days about the idea of people withinn these three countries, the northern triangle, with the asylum claims being able to bring those asylum claims not in the u.s. at our border, not in mexico, but within those three countries. and i'm going to ask you to respond for the record as to whether or not you think -- the secretary, secretary nielsen, has been an advocate of doing that, as you probably know. but i'm going to ask you to respond to the record as to whether or not that's an idea that makes sense. ing thank, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. carper. senator cinemament.
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protect the porter and family and communities and i appreciate all of the witnesses for coming to speak to us today. as i mentioned in the hearing last week arizona faces significant security economic and humanitarian challenges with these recent migration trends. congress and the administration must focus on ideas and initiatives. i'm glad the president heeded the call from me and border experts and many members do not close the southwest border but last week we heard from outside experts about their ideas to secure the ports and to deploy critical technology between the ports and improved workforce morale. i look forward to hearing about a frontline perspective on those today and as always i am committed to working in a bipartisan way to find solutions to keep communities safe in arizona and treat migrants humanely and fairly. i don't agree with the decision to transfer officers away from
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arizona ports of entry. our ports have struggled in recent years and that has led to the assignment of temporary duty officers and i understand cbp faces a strain on its personnel, but our perspective is the decision hurts trade and we worry about it impacting security so i want to know what analysis did they conduct regarding moving these officers from the ports of entry in arizona can you share that analysis with my office and given that they were already understaffed how does this decision not negatively impact the security or the flow of trade to >> thank you for the question. the initial response that we provided was to support them in this migration crisis. the decision was made to provide and their agents back into
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law-enforcement activity. 545 officers from the frontline that decision was made to address the crisis. we knew of the impact when the commissioner had a press conference he mentioned that aso 545 frontline officers, 300 from laredo and 194 from el paso and 51 from san diego. as you pointed out we didn't pull any from the tucson field office that the 75 that we have identified we did not send them for assistance. so we know the impact. we see that everyday and we seee the backups into personal vehicles and cargo but this is a crisis we are addressing with assistance and border patrol. >> last week we heard about the need for additional capacity between the ports of entry.
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we know that the largest drug bust occurs at the ports of entry but there's still sick but antitrafficking for narcotics and other ports of entry. so my question what type of sensors do you think are most useful for agents and the general patrol duties, do we need more cameras, radar, unarmed aircraft system or something i haven't mentioned yet? >> all technology has helped. they've made a tremendous investment over the last few years, but we also need to have relocatable technology because traffic patterns will shift from one area to another. we saw it in arizona where i was previously assigned. if the technology that's going to help us with greater situational awareness. right now in south texas with ica problem with is we don't have any say people get into the
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brush areas whether it's the sugarcane or other brush it makes it harder to detect, so it is a combination of different systems that we can actually apply onto the border if it is that forcaforce multiplier for t ultimately, no fencing or piece of technology is going to make an arrest or introduction that's going to be done by men and women out there so it's important also to be able to bring on additional personnel who can actually help us with that. >> they would like to hear the thoughts from other witnesses if they have ideas as well. when we were hearing from experts they were talking about the importance of local offices forging close connections with the ngos and local community leaders. as you know, we are facing a struggle in areas on a with the 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
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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 speaki about the caravan coming up to arizona or california at the time sitting down with ngos across the border to figure out exactly how many shelters could open up and those that actually showed up at the bridge is. she's helped with the overflow
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into the people that work and release the border patrol custody to the centers they figure out how to help federal government but also spending into other areas. >> i'd like to follow up with you after this hearing. i will be back home in my state during the next two weeks during the spring. oh and intend to host a meeting with our local officers to help provide more close communication. as you know, we've had recent unexpected releases into the community that have been troublesome in phoenix and arizona are there others that have thoughts on this i'd appreciate it. >> i would like to provide a response to the previous question if i could. >> stationed on the border in laredo texas if you look at what dhs does on the border as a whole dhs efforts. when we look at the transnational criminal
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organizations responsible for bringing aliens and narcotics across the border, we have our uniform presence that the tour, detect hindu seizures and i know you asked what equipment they might need and what person now that i've asked the homeland security investigations because we did a great job to detect but ultimately, if we want to dismantle those organizations and criminally prosecute them and forget the illicit proceeds whenever you look at providing personnel and equipment to the uniform partners we work with every day you also look at the homeland security investigations because ultimately we need to dismantle those organizations. >> we appreciate that point. my time is expired. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator rosen. >> thank you mr. chairman and all of you for being here today. this weekend, while i was visiting my home state of nevada president of trump called the u.s. asylum process a scam.
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with respect immigrants including asylum-seekers, the president said we can't take you anymore our country is full, so turn around. our country is full, turn around? as the granddaughter of jewish immigrants from eastern europe, i can't help but think about the time in the middle of the 20th century when the u.s. used to security concerns as an excuse to turn away thousands of refugees fleeing europe. they were made to turn around upon reaching american shores. i can't help but think of the many families today from el salvador, honduras and elsewhere waiting in squalor outside the ports of entry because they are fleeing unimaginable violence and coming here to the united states. yesterday cnn reported that the agency personnel ordered to close the ports of entry at the southern border the president told border agents not to allow
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any migrants into the country. in my home state of nevada the immigration clinic has clients from central america who are teenage girls recruited as gang girlfriends as young as 12 or 13 meaning they face gan being rapd and possible death on a regular basis. under u.s. law, women and girls like this are fleeing violence, they are entitled to protection and to at least apply for asylum. in fact, i noticed to be true a person who can prove she would be persecuted because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, particular social group is entitled to asylum under u.s. law, and i assume, gentlemen, that you are aware just yesterday a judge in california issued an order blocking the trump administration for more requiring asylum-seekers to remain in mexico.
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so, if the president were to instruct you and your agents to deny entry to people seeking asylum at the border, in your opinion, do you think that violates the united states wall plaques >> i will start by saying it is a big cross between the ports of entry they are violating the u.s. immigration law so they will be placed on the rest will not stop them from making an asylum or credible fear claim. but affecting the entry into the country between the ports of entry, they are in violation of the wal law and they will be arrested. >> if they enter the united unid states had crossed the line of the port of entry and claim asylum, we would be bound to hear that asylum claim. >> so, my follow-up question is whawould you follow instructions like those from the president even knowing that they are going to violate u.s. law?
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>> we know what the law is and our attorneys are here to advise us work for the customs and dhs so we follow what we are told from our officials. >> coming we have this challenge i will post this in another way can you describe the concerns you have with implementing this administration's current policies? >> we've taken an oath of office to defend this country. our officers every day go out there to perform a job. it doesn't stop them from addressing the asylum and credible fear of things they have. we are parents and grandparents. our officers do this, our jobs as humanely as we possibly can but understanding we do have laws in this country and people have to abide by those laws otherwise we stop being a
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sovereign country, so it does not -- we still feel the heartfelt issues of everyone that we encounter, but we still have to put them through the process. it will not stop them if they do have a credible fear that they will have -- >> if someone present themselves for asylum, you will take them regardless of what the president has instructed you to do? >> if they enter the united states between the ports of entry, they will be apprehended. that will not stop them from making asylum. >> thank you. .. >> the legal services limited phone call to relatives are possible contacts are limited
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and monitor. i just want to ask again. do you have knowledge that this facility was owned or managed by a for-profit company questioni questioning. >> the temporary influx of facility was operated by hhs. by refugee resettlement. that one was operated by a nonprofit who also performed services for operating state license shelters around the country. temporary influx shelters the one that is open now in homestead are not our first choice. the first choice estate license permanent shelter capacity. -- >> are they for-profit institutions that we are leasing the services out to? >> it was operated by a not for profit grantee.
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>> in your estimation and according to any knowledge you have currently some of our detainees being held at for-profit institutions questioning. >> the homestead facility, such children who are sheltered at homestead, we are getting staffing services by a federal contract. the entity that one in the contracting process is a for-profit. >> thank you. i yield back. >> before i start my questions certainly in my quest, and the committee's quest to develop the information required to solve this problem. one of the questions i had, what is the asylum law. i would like to read from one of the explanations in this comes from congressional research services in a paper written in january this year. let me just read it and all into the record. to qualify for asylum and
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applicant has the burden of proving past persecution or a future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a political social group or an opinion. one of these grounds "was will be in persecuting the applicant. "they could show well-funded fear find evidence of future persecution. here's a key point. the applicant must also show persecution by the government or groups of the government are unable or willing to control and for purposes of the fear that applicant cannot reasonably relocate within his country or avoid persecution. we will deal more in this but i want to get that in the record. i am sympathetic with a lot of people setting up asylum claims in the home country. i just find a disconnect.
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from my knowledge, asylum can only be claimed once you begin the silent country. a safe haven. if you're asking for cu protectn in your home country, that's refugee status. we have different laws and controls over number of refugees. also if you can claim safeway asylum in your 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 just trying to figure out the disconnect and what is going to work and what's not going to work. i think it's important that we understand exactly what these are and i would argue this is the main reason why 85% of the claims are denied. commander white, you talked
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about your testimony through reasons, flee violence, there is a valid asylum claim. as we are all for those individuals, it is not a valid asylum claim and we have to process whether it's valid or not it without you in the countries those individuals are staying which is fueling the crisis. we talked about 9,529,000. in 2018. verses last three months. again this is a complex problem, the solution for the here and now problem is a lot. where to reflect the asylum. i agree with doctor salie if we can rapidly adjudicate and make a determination and return people just like we did for texas hold 'em with brazilians. let's accomplish our short-term goal but by reducing the flow
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and hopefully converting this into a legal process. i come from a position in wisconsin there's not one manufacturer to find enough workers. we need more legal immigration tied to work. i appreciate -- also on the record, the strong attendance of members of the committee, excellent questions, i think we are getting to the reality situation, i think hopefully we are creating a desire to do something about this and assumed the recognition that the administration cannot do it on its own. they're simply not capable of what actions they take by the court. the ball is in our court and we have to fix this. i'm really looking forward to dealing with all the members of this committee to start solving the problem. i would like to talk about the well oiled machine.
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it is really important that we recognize this is not just a group individuals decided to wake up one morning. this is an organized effort. can you talk a little bit about your knowledge. really talk about how we'll organize this is in u.s. about the piece of information, and i think it's about $440 million worth of profits and lashes the calculation and the feast comes a number of people coming in here. and the drug carte -- i guess it's a split i mean, this is -- human traffickers kind of flowed from the same process of realizing this is a higher profit in many cases and a lower risk form of trafficking than even drugs. can you just talk about the well organized effort here? > so very well organized, reaching back into places like central america and, of course, with a lot more certainty.
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but from the brush guys to the people whot move individuals up to the border area, from the criminal organizations that are making the tax down on the southwest border, long gone are the days where you can simply decide that i'm going to cross in juarez into el paso. now you're told where to cross, you're charged money, and refusal to pay money has consequences. so very, very orchestrated. i would say that the smuggling of people has even become more lucrative because it's an endless commodity. on the drug side, if it's seized, it's going to be destroyed, you've got to produce more. they have the abilities to continuously bring more people, also recruiting younger smugglers, juveniles, because they know that the federal government can't prosecute them. so a lot of money going into this. but thes cartels have the abily to shut down bridges, to redivert caravans.
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that's the type of control that they have on the south end of thet border at this time. >> so you agreed in testimony last week that the southern border is completely controlled, or the southwest border's completelyla controlled on the south side of the border, on the mexican side. basically, completely controlled -- >> correct.. >> -- by the drug cartels. mr. cherundolo, you talked about the enormous profits in fentanyl. 5,000 is worth $1.5 million worth of profit. that kind of profit motive, if there's p a demand, there's goig to be a supply for it, correct? >> that's correct, senator. >> can't we almost say the exact same thing of human traffickers as well where we have a system that is incentivizing, rewarding, you know, that can be so easily exploit by a really well organized effort.
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people understand our laws, know exactly how they're working, setting up a transportation system using buses and, you know, other transportation. as long as in the remains profitable, it's going to continue and probably grow, right? isn't every business venture's goal to grow and to become more profitable? >>. >>of absolutely. as we talked, these organizations are very organized. you have transporters, stash houses, individuals that get them across the border, plus there are meds of money remittances, and human smuggling has become almost to the point of being as profitable as narcotics smuggling. i can tell you specifically in laredo, texas, in 2017 we had an issuee where we intercepted approximately 200 bangladeshis, and in '18 almost 700 where we as hsi took on those numbers,
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ultimately arrested the leader of that organization in monterey, mexico, and returned him -- and brought him to the u.s. to face prosecution. there's been zero bangladeshis first. but they were paying up to $27,000 per alien for bangladeshis. that's a very profitable business. and they're coming here for a reason.nt they're coming here because, specifically, the central americans to work. and that's one of the reasons that we're increasing our worksite enforcement on the interior. >> one thing, we had the former cbp chief morgan on our panel yesterday you always hear 90 president of drug -- 90% of drugs flow through the ports of entry. my question has always been with, well, how do we know that? we don't even really know what's wcoming through between the pors of entry. and isn't it true when you have, again, over a hundred, groups of a hundred this year -- and that a's a dramatic the -- that's a dramatic increase -- it just makes sense you use those hundred people as diversion.
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over here you overwhelm the system, requires all kinds of cbp officers to converge and take care of sometimes six children, that type of thing, mix it easy for people to sneak across with drugs or high value in terms of human trafficking, correct? >> t senator, in january of in e year we had a 705-pound seizure of cocaine in close proximity to that, there was a group that was sent across with 170 individuals. so that is definitely a tactic and technique that the criminal organizations use, once again, is to tie up our resources. and then they exploit the gaps in the, on the line. > final point before i turn e fit over to senator portman who has some more questions is, and i think, commander white, you talked about the death of any child, the abuse of any child is a tragedy. but i also -- i do want to give
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mr. karisch to talk about, because i know in your testimony you talked about the thousands of lives that cbp has saved because that is now your mission as well. and the medical resources we're surging to the worlder. people -- to the border. people are coming to the border having takenen a very dangerous journey, somee almost on life support. support. can you say how much time and tension cbp is put into saving every person and what you're providing and how this is an 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 to rescue people. i've seen agents jumping rivers to save children. that their mothers had let go
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because they cannot keep up with the currents. i've seen our agents rescue people off of mountaintops and arizona. i have seen our people rescue people in south texas. we do that on a regular basis. our most important thing is the preservation of life. great man once told me that simply entering the country should not be equate to a death sentence. we provide the resources and we have units of agencies on the units. we have a lot of emt is a doctor that is important. and we will see an increase in the number of rescues that are agents have to make an admission that we also take with great responsible. but that's in addition to everything else that we are doing. the what suffers is that you still have about people and things coming to the border. 52% of the marijuana that's intercepted along the entire
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southwest border by border patrol is made energy view. we have had increases in harrowing, increase in cocaine. other commodities and legal substances that are coming through between the border. but it's a heavy investment of all the things that we have to do in securing our border but preserving life. >> can anybody confirm what he talked about in terms of efforts of cbp to save lives or rebutted >> we are seeing the same thing at ports of entry. migrants that are claiming asylum that are medically disparate in most cases. we take him to the hospital right away. we go to great efforts to care for them and ensure the safe. >> anybody else? >> thanks. i again want to thank each of you for your service. this is such a rare opportunity
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to speak to experts who are in the trenches every day dealing with issues. i wanted to come back for a second around and appreciate you for for letting me do that. first on the drug issue, i didn't have a chance to speak to this earlier because there's so many people. but you talked about the fact that fentanyl is coming across the border and were having more seizures of fentanyl. typically it's coming from china through the mail. my understanding and talking to border patrol that the preferred method and most of it is coming into u.s. mail system. because we don't have the tracking that the ups and fedex and others do. we are now putting that in place under the stop act. it is moving that will have about 100% in china in the next several months. do you think is more fentanyl being shipped into mexico for coming across the border and if
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so, why is that happening question require wouldn't they be doing but they have been doing send it to a po box in the united states. is it partly because of the stop act which will require the post office to have the data, where it's from, where it's going, what's in the package. has happened until now. or is there some other reason they'd want to ship it into mexico? my presumption is is not being produced in mexico. two instances that we found production of it in the past and both had been shut down. what is going on. how can we be more effective in stopping and questioning. >> senator, the stop act as a welcome tool and has helped, the two primary methods of fentanyl coming into the united states one by personal shift into the united states and coming across the southwest border, many, many seizures. we are seeing an increase in
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number of instances where large caesar's are coming across the southwest border. the purity levels that we look at differ slightly and what we see coming from china tends to be more pure form of fentanyl. certainly everything from the investigation we are conducting indicates that mexican cartel organizations are increasingly dealing in fentanyl. particularly in the form of making into counterfeit drugs, pills. >> that is been happening. but are you telling me today we are seeing evidence of manufacturing fentanyl in mexico? or is this being manufactured still in china and then shipped into mexico ? >> we are certainly looking at the production of fentanyl in mexico and fearful the transition for production of methamphetamine which is very
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prevalent in mexico to fentanyl will occur. >> you haven't seen it yet or prove it yet but your concern? >> certainly the two instances you talked about are the instances we see. but reese happily -- making it into a tablet makes it into a drug task. >> we specifically started an investigation unit with their mexican counterparts that addresses the flow into mexico of production of fentanyl. >> it is something to keep an eye out because it's the number one killer among the opioids. my stay in ohio we are getting devastated by fentanyl. we have made progress, with the highest reduction of opioid deaths from overdoses in any state in the country in the last year. that's not say much because of such a high level. but we are seeing crystal meth
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coming from mexico in a true form. i was told by law enforcement that is less expensive than marijuana in columbus, ohio. crystal meth is coming almost exclusively from mexico is that correct? >> that is correct. the production of methamphetamine in the united states is very limited to what we call mom-and-pop or shake and bake labs. they are lower amounts in the larger seizures of methamphetamine coming into the united states are coming from labs that are producing methamphetamine. >> we are seeing a much higher grade, quality, more devastating drug but cheaper. what we do that? appropriations bill would put the money on screening technology prince's. we have also put in place the act in addition to the stop act.
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return to get more funding and personnel because of expertise that you need to have to identify the products and safely deal with it. how is that going? or should we be doing? >> certainly for all of us at the table the resources from the personnel standpoint is a critical issue in from the da standpoint we continue to hire to have additional agents to do the investigations. but our relationship with the foreign counterparts are critical. developing relationships with a sensitive and investigation and chemicals into mexico from china and from other countries throughout the world. our critical and key issues for us but the partnership with her for encounter partners is critical. it is ever evolving in the change with the administration
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we are still working our way there how our relationship will develop in continuing to strengthen the relationships on a way forward. >> the thoughts on this, 90% of the heroin coming into ohio across the border almost 100% of the crystal meth coming in across the border. increasingly more fentanyl. but more of it now coming in. what would you do with the funding that we provided? what is the most effective way. some of it is coming to the point of entry, the majority is being brought their vehicles. when that gets close down and shifting more places along the border where they can have access, is accurate, can you give us a rundown what you're seeing? >> thank you, senator. given us the multi- is going to increase and stop them from coming in. thank you for the stop act. we are seeing improvement of the events data information coming from china and other countries. i think as we work to fully implement and the money you provided, the 45 million for the
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nii for the canines that will be paid off for. >> as i said prior, the personnel and resources that go to cpp and the interjections increase the response will increase with hsi. ultimately we are looking at the dadea is working with her for counterparts in our si using tcu's so we can dismantle the organizations. that is working -- >> we talked about push and fault pull factors. there is no fact that we need to do more to push the demand on. having this interdiction is important because the cost of this drug on the street will be higher. some will be stopped and because
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it's supply and demand some will be higher. it is not only so powerful and so inexpensive. relative to what it is been in the past. so we thank you for what you're doing every day. your saving lives by doing that. finally what you're doing on trafficking is absolutely critical to. and coming across a radio, more and more of the traffickers are trafficking people in addition to drugs. it is a very lucrative business just as you talked about earlier. keeping a focus on that is much appreciated by all of us on the committee. they determine. >> thank you for all the work you've done on the stop act. we received good news and it sounds like an agreement that president trump and president she will be implemented in terms of china cracking down on fentanyl.
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my question for you too, how soon are we going to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of that? whether they will follow through on that? will we be able to notice that? >> my understanding is may 1 goes into effect. we will monitor the different analogues certainly the trafficking groups that profit from this will continue to produce it but it has in the instances so far when they scheduled analogues, been a positive thing for us and we have seen less of the analogues in your home state of wisconsin with a classified fentanyl, we are very positive about that. and because of the number of people dying for fentanyl, we felt it was important for us to emergency schedule it. the only time will tell once we get past me first. but certainly there's going to
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be a black market for organizations, transactional criminal organizations but i think anything that we can do, any tool we can be given to strengthen similar acts that was introduced last year by you. would be helpful tool for law enforcement in prosecuting those. it is a technicality that the analog gets switched by a slight chemical makeup and makes it illegal substance rather than the control. >> every attorney general in the first time in history they asked us to do that. your recommendation, please pursue that and let's get the sofa act passed. >> we will be glad to provide as much technical assistance. >> the chinese law enforcement in their effective cracking down on fentanyl customer. >> i think we should be able to measure that in two ways. one is the number of intercepts that we have the parcel.
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transport hubs, if we start seeing fentanyl being produced in mexico that will be a sure sign for us. >> with my remaining time i would like to close of the hearing. trying to lay out the current reality. again, it's a in crisis. former secretary of homeland security was on msnbc two fridays ago and talked about he came in the office and apprehensions, to paraphrase, less than a thousand candelas that in over a thousand would be a really bad day. yet we have c apprehensive of over 4000 in recent weeks. i just want to talk about what is happening now. i issued a press release saying law enforcement at the borders and from reduced to yet more than a speedbump. for unaccompanied children and
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people coming and family units on the path to long-term residency. that's an accurate assessment. to talk about functionally. we heard reports that hhs is full. the house is full. hs cannot accept the flow. so cpp is not set up to do this. cbp is set up to turn -- for example, can >> yeah. of course, our facilities were not built for this, we don't is have the resources. i mean, we're law enforcement officers who are dealing with a significant challenge with the family units. something we don't want to do. in one week in rgv, we had 7,000 apprehensions in a week. normally, our in-custody numbers for short-term housing there is 3300 in our short-term facilities that we have. >> which is still massive. >> yep. but i had days, actually, where i wasas exceeding over 6300 peoe
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in custody. we can't keep people. we could not keep people in those conditions. we were not built to hold the families -- >> so what's happening right now? what are you doing? >> so what we had to do was issue a notice to appear, order of recognizance. basically, they were released with a promise to appear at a court date in the future. so once again, we're simply feeding a cycle that more than likely people willhe not show up for a hearing. this is not the way of doing business. if you look at the southwest border, over 364,000 apprehensions as of april 1st. over 100% increase. we're all seeing this. >> again, i want to get into the details. first of all, the notice to appear back after daca, those memorandum were issued, that was called by the coyotes the permiso. that's about 850,000 people passed the daca line there. didn't apply but it was used.
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the notice to appear was called a permiso, isn't that correct? >> to them, yes, sir. >> so now cbp issues the notice to appear, and then what happens? what do you do with these individuals? you give them a notice to appear, which the coyotes call them the permiso which, by and large, is their permission to enter the country and stay long term. but what specifically do you do? >> yeah. we, right now, have worked with the ngos. we're getting a lot of them to the respite centers in or our areas -- >> ngos like catholic charities, okay, and what to you do? >> yep. some are taken to bus stations, already have relatives or sponsors in this country. we have to rely on the fact that they're providing us with a genuine address. but we've found in certain circumstances that after the fact we realize that we actually had criminals in our custody that we didn't know about at the time. when we try to look for them,
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many times those were fictitious addresses. so some of them will be released in our communities, and we'll never see them again. >> let's say you've got an adult male with a child, and you talked about you found out, you finally got the adult to admit that wasn't his 1-year-old child, but how many days are you, are they in your custody before you, cbp -- you're not set upy to do this -- but are releasing these individuals to, and it was described last week to the greyhound bus station, you notify catholic charities, catholic charities comes over and picks up this group of people, you know, there are hundreds in a day, and then they have to deal with it, get people on the phone and then return, you know, give them a bus ticket.. this is catholic charities providing that bus ticket, to all points in america. that's what's happening, isn't it? yes, sir. >> how many days do you have somebody in custody before you deliver them to that greyhound bus station? this. >> right now because of the overwhelming number of people,
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as soon as we can. get them processed, we'reeo releasing. >> which is how many hours or days? >> it could be a matter of hours. >> so you really don't have the capacity, and and this is kind of getting to what senator lankford was talking about, was that the father or is that a is sex trafficker? is that his daughter or his sexual traffic victim. >> >> that's correct. >> that'sas a pretty accurate assessment. >> yes. >> this is, you know, commander white, this is not the way the system's supposed to work, correct? >> i think it's safe to say that right now all of the lead federal agencies in this process, cbp, i.c.e. and hhs-orr are at or close to their operational capacity. >> wouldn't you say it's beyond their -- >> we're at 97%. but the system -- >> is it not true that hhs is not accepting a all the individuals that are c or bp would like to send your way? >> that's actually not true, but let me clarify that. we're at 97% occupancy city, and over the last week, in the last
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seven days we received an average of 279 children a day, and we discharged 267. so over the last seven days, referrals in have exceeded discharges out, and we're at finish. >> again, you're not getting unaccompanied children at this point in the time. >> we only receive unaccompanied -- >> so the problem is with family units. and is it true, then, that i.c.e. is beyond its capability of accepting the number of people in family unit, pretty well forcing cbp into doing the releasing, you know? mr. howell? >> we're not releasing, excuse me, from the port of entry. so we will be waiting until ero has the capacity to take, and often times border patrol will assist us. there are some reports that have the capacity for 30 people, and once we get to that number, and if we get overrun where aliens are crossing the boundary line, then the number would go up to 95-900, so then border --
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95-100, so border patrol would assist us. >> a couple years ago the stats i had, and everything's changing so nothing's static, but 20% of family units presenting themselves coming into this country illegally apprehended were headed by a male. the last stats i had, they're old,en about 40%. from testimony you're saying about 50 now are headed by a male? >> 50% in the rvg sector, sir. >> okay. so, again, what you're seeing is -- and, by the way, the kind of average number of people in the family unit basically two, correct? >> on average. i mean, we tend to see different groups come into our custody, but it could be one or two, yes. >> to me, that just indicates this is a shifting problem. you know, gone are the days where you're primarily dealing with the mexican economic migrant. that was back in 2000 and prior to that. now you're really dealing with
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unaccompanied children and family units, and they're not trying to avoid apprehension, correct? they're turning themselves in. >> yes, sir. >> when i was working with, you know, down touring with the border patrol in the rio grande valley, i remember one story of a group, a large group of families coming in and starting a campfire and then complaining to the cbp officers it took them an hour to get to their location. is that an unusual story? >> no, because i mean, first of all, anytime you have a large group, we don't have buses staged at every location, so it takes time. but i think our agents actually call it them ap rehenning us. >> commander white, i have unaccompanied children, historically about 70% have been male. is that basically true? >> prior to 2014 there were two-thirds male. the proportion that are girls have grown. >> so what would you estimate
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now? >> i could look up the exact number, but over recent years girls have at times grown to be as much as a third and among separated children a larger proportion. >> okay. a third is still leaving two-thirds, 67%. my stats had about 70%, so real close. and 15, 6, 17, correct? -- i'm sorry, i have the numbers with me, i just have to look them up. the great majority historically have been over 12. over time it is trending younger, and those trends come and go. >> okay. i'll give all the witnesses an opportunity to just, if there's something that you haven't, a point you haven't been able to make in response to questions, sll let you do it right now, and we'll start with mr. cherundolo. >> chairman, the only thing i would point out, circling back around to your question about
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china, so hopefully by june of this year, our law enforcement relationships, we continue to develop those. and in june of this year we're hoping to open another office in china. so thatn relationship and building upon the class scheduling and, hopefully, being able to provide technical support for our class scheduling is something we continue to work forward on with our counterparts throughout the world, not just in china. >> again, you've seen a great deal of interest on this committee, so we're going to want to be upday-to-day on, hopefully -- updatedtt on, hopefully, progress. i view this as a really good sign. we just have to monitor and make, j you know, verify this is going to be happening. commander white. >> thank you, senator. so, senator johnson, as you've noted, the current levels of migration including for uacs are much higher than historical norms. we just completed the biggest march in the history of the
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program in terms of number of children coming in. this not only speaks to our continuing requirement to expand temporary and permanent capacity so that we have a bed for every child, it also speaks to the imperative of congress and the administration working togethern to prevent future separations of children from family units. the program cannot support that. >> all right. and, again, i've stated my thoughts on there for the record. i think if you do take a look at that chart, you can see the biggest problem right now,, the growing problem is people coming as family units. mr. tubbs. >> yes, sir. again, i appreciate you having me here today. for myself as an hsi special agent and specifically being one assigned to the border, i can attest to myself and ofo and if border patrol, our agents work 24/7. i mean, they are at a taxed point that we are on the border. they'rere very passionate about that what they do, they're very professional about what they do, and we look forward to continuing support from our legislators and appropriators. thank you.
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>> mr. howell. >> thank you for the opportunity to be here and thank you for all of the funding that you've provided us to improve our nii capability. i think it's really going to be prove to be very worthwhile, and i think thank you for your leadership in taking on the necessary legislation changes that we talked about today to fix the crisis. >> mr. karisch. >> senator johnson, thank you for raising awareness on a very important eshoo to this country. --ish. >> shoe to this country. this is not a manufactured crisis. we're living it every day. my men and women are exhausted, they're frustrated, and the fact is they're having to release people. they also understand this is the reality of what we're facing today, and this is only a portion. i worry about places like venezuela and what we might see from immigration from those countries. so so it is a very real issue that we're facing, and i appreciate the opportunity today. >> okay. again, i want to thank all five of you for your service to this nation. you shouldn't have to be dealing with this.
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the ball is squarely in congress' y court. we have to recognize this problem. first step in solving a problem is admit you have one. and we have a problem in the hereth and now that requires legislative action. so i want to work with each and every n one of you, i want to wk with the administration, i want to work across the aisle. this should be a nonpartisan issue. and wee ought to be doing the root cause analysis, that's exactly what we're trying to do here, is lay out the reality. going through the problem solving process, gathering that information, defining the problem properly. the problem we're trying to solve. defining what is a solvable problem. what's an achievable goal from. my standpoint, that achievable goal is reducing that flow by having a consequence. ofbl we've seen time and time again where there's a consequence to illegal activity, it gets reduced. and until we enact that consequence in absolutely humane fashion, this is going to continue to explode.
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so, again, the ball's in our court. i thank you all i for your service, for your testimony. again, i hope all the committee members carefully read it, and i'm look forward to working with them. the hearing record will remain open for 15 days for the submission of statements and questions for the record. this hearing's ajunior -- adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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