tv Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Border Security CSPAN May 14, 2019 2:18am-5:02am EDT
2.5 hours and. >> good afternoon. welcome. i apologize that our voting is delayed another thing about being in the senate. you do have to vote. it's not optional. i want to begin by thanking each of our witnesses for being with us today. we know how difficult your jobs are and they are even more challenging with recent developments on the border and i want to thank you for being willing to take not only take on
that task but to share with us your insights into what is occurring along the border and any advice you may have for us on how to provide a solution. the situation unfolding on our southern border is graham and a major increase in unlawful border crossings combined with the drastic shift in migration trends and outdated laws and infrastructure has placed an incredibly great strain on law enforcement and legal system and local border communities. in mid-march acting secretary in his capacity at bb commissioner warned us that the american public that the immigration system was near breaking point. since that time about switching has got nothing but worse bringing that breaking point to our doorstep. yet, there are those who still here in washington choose to ignore the gravity of the situation or worse to label it as fake or manufactured at one
point there were elected officials who got into the debate about calling it a crisis versus an emergency. i really don't care how you label it. the entire system is breaking and it is unsustainable. backs as i say are stubborn things let's go over a few backs. 200690% of illegal border crossings were committed by single adults from mexico and vast majority of whom were repatriated back to their home country within hours. fiscal year 2019 so far more than 60% of those apprehended along the southern border have been families or unaccompanied children the vast majority of these individuals have traveled along dangerous journey from central america. from march 2018 to march of this year border patrol apprehended for than 61000 people along with the southern border and 108% increase compared to the same
time. in fiscal year 2018. this represents a 106% increase in the rio grande valley and a 174% increase and a 540% increase in the el paso sector. during the same time. the border patrol apprehended nearly 36 thousand unaccompanied children an increase of 66% rate this represents an 82 increase in san diego and 124% increase in del rio and the hundred 33% increase in the el paso sector. finally during the end of the biggest driver of the increase of illegal border crossings and family units from october to march the border patrol apprehended 189 thousand 584 families along the southern border and 374% increase for the same time. in fiscal year 2018.
this represents 220% increase in the rio grande valley, 636% increasing in the rio and an astonishing 1670% increase in the el paso text sector. in may and june 2014 at the height of what president obama then called a humanitarian crisis approximately 135,000 people were apprehended at the southern border in february, march of this year again comparable to. more than 180,000 were apprehended and let me just repeat that. back when president obama called it a security crisis was when 135,000 people were apprehended 180,000 people in march were apprehended so obviously this trend is getting worse and worse. you will notice the statistics excited today our current through march and more than a
month has passed since the american people received an update from custom and border protection on the situation. if my understanding cbp has collected and analyzed southwest border apprehension data from april and chief provost is repaired to present that data today. i look for to hearing what is happened during the past month. a new phenomenon is also emerged representative tries in the hundred people in the border together making the many jobs of agents on patrol all the more difficult. this is the most strikingly on display when a group of more than 400 tigers presented themselves to the small town of summit park new mexico just across the border from el paso texas. increased apprehensions have led to quarter portable stations and certain days of the last few months they've had more than
14000 people in their custody and just yesterday the rio grande valley sector announce their processing centers were holding more than 7000 immigrants and that is for one border patrol sector, 7000 and cbp's customs and border protection does not have the facilities or resources to manage those kinds of numbers. detention facilities are small and built for the short-term detention for single adults and during the recent television interview secretary accurately describe the facilities similar to police stations but some of them has hold as many as 7000 people. climate [inaudible] stretch these facilities and staff them beyond their abilities and capacity. with so many people to process and manpower needed to process them border patrol agents have been taken off the line leaving areas of the border formal to
exploitation by human smugglers and drug cartels and the cbp officers have been reassigned from their duties at international bridges and ports of entry showing legitimate travelers. there should be no doubt the drug cartels are using the situation to their advantage. seizures of meth, heroin and cocaine are all on the rise. in early april secretary nelson created the border emergency self to determine best coordinate resources and appoint my friend who's there with me today to lead the effort. i look for to hearing about the progress made while some may think the situation is manageable and that time is on our side i think they are ignoring reality and i disagree and i know many of my constituents in texas feel the same and on the front lines of this and simply not set up,
manned nor to be have the capacity to absorb this huge wave of human migration coming in all at one time. in response to this worsening situation last week i along with my colleague from laredo, texas a democrat introduced the humane act and humane act is you can see a bipartisan, bicameral solution to make the practical necessary reforms to address the loopholes in our laws and ensure family stayed together and better protect unaccompanied children release from hhs custody. we also adopt several recommendations from the bipartisan dhs homeland security advisory council including the astonishment of regional processing centers along the border and needed streamlining of processes claims. this legislation will not solve every problem but it's a big step forward that would have a big impact that will bring order out of the chaos.
i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work with us to try to solve this problem and we need to quit looking at this through a political lens for weight to try to solve what else is broken and needs to be fixed in our immigration system. this is an emergency situation and only congress can provide the authorization in order to allow our good men women in customs and border protection the resources they need in order to deal with this crisis. this problem will only continue to grow without our intervention and obviously requires compromise and cooperation. to the men and women of cbp, i.c.e. and orr working around the clock in very difficult conditions to confront a worsening situation, i want to express my thanks and gratitude
on behalf of all of us. we sent them out to a losing battle and unless we can work together here in congress to give them the resources they need in order to do the job i want to ensure these dedicated men and women that we are trying and want to thank our witnesses for appearing for us today and i look forward to your testimony both that i never can i senator durbin, remember for opening remarks he cares. >> thank you. i'm glad we're having this hearing. consider this. fiscal year 2017 which included the end of the obama ministration and beginning of the trump and ministration 303,000 people were apprehended at the border and 75000 included 75000 families, 41000 unaccompanied children. while only two months on the job president trump bragged about the results on march 26, 2017 he tweeted and i quote, general kelly is doing a good job at the border. numbers are way down. many are not trying to come in anymore. here we are two years later and the numbers are way up on
president trump's watch. only six months into fiscal year 2019 only halfway into 2019 and 351 people have already been apprehended at the border including 189,000 family units and 36000 unaccompanied children that is more total apprehensions in the first half of this fiscal year that in the entire fiscal year 2017. the president is changed his message. on march 7 he tweeted in a quote, we are on track to apprehend more than one way people coming across the border and can be fixed by congress so easy and quickly if only the democrats would get on board. when the numbers were down in the president to credit but now the numbers are up he turns out it's the democrats. let's look at the facts. during less than two and half years of the trump administration the department of homeland security has been in
chaos. they have already been four different heads of the department and secretary john kelly, acting secretary elaine duque, secretary kirstjen nielsen now acting secretary kevin mclean in. and there have already been for acting directors of immigration and customs enforcement in two years. three nominees to had i.c.e. one year ago this week on may may 72018 then attorney general sessions announced a get tough policy, the full implementation of the administration's disastrous zero-tolerance policy which led to the separation of at least 200880 infants, toddlers and children from their parents. thanks to an investigation by the inspector general that i requested we now know that before that announcement thousands more children may have
been separated by this administration in pursuit of the policy before it was announced. two weeks ago federal district court judge from california ordered the administration to begin efforts to identify and reunite these families. this government sanctioned zero-tolerance policy was a hillyer and sadly, that commentary on america. the president was forced to reverse his position on this and no he said that he might return to it again i pray that he won't. i went to a navigation court hearing last july in chicago and a high rise in the loop in the hallways were packed with people whose names were on the docket. i met immigration court judge and she had been at it for 18 years and i believe she was a conscientious, caring professional overwhelmed by the numbers facing her. she asked if i would stay for the first two clients of the docket. first two was she said everyone
should get their chairs for this hearing. there is difficulty. one of the clients cannot get in her chair and martha was two years old. she needed to be lifted up and put in the chair and handed a stuffed animal. hamilton the four -year-old boy scrambled into his chair we saw the matchbox car on the table and that was the zero-tolerance policy. those two children had been separated from their parents for months and experts tell us that can have a lasting impact on child development. luckily, we've abandoned the posse and i hope we don't return to it in an effort to get tough. let's not forget that earlier this year the president forced longest government shut down in history in an effort to get congress to pay for while the mexico was supposed to build and trump shutdown paralyzed the very courts i just described and added to the backlog of cases and these courts play clinical role migrants seeking asylum.
i wish we hear from the justice department immigration judge is about to backlog at some future hearing. the reality is trump ministration's policies have made our borders a secure and many times undermine our our american values. the president plans to shut down the border it's like a neon sign in the transporters, smugglers and others used to encourage desperate families to flee as quickly as possible and the chief provost i had to visit down in el paso and i want to thank all the people i met and joined with the chairman insulating them and i want to thank the gentlemen and officer for border patrol and the fact that he's from chicago and a cubs fan was the ending and gave me a real insight into the challenge that the men and women and border patrol were facing down there. i can tell you this is another doing but the president suggested cutting out all assistance to the northern
tribal countries about salvador, guatemala and shutting down legal migration guarantees more refugees will flood our border. i'm sorry we cannot get the state department here to tell us about that aspect of the challenge but the president pulled off a rare unassisted triple play with his border policy, it's cool, it's unpredictable and ineffective. the medication and its allies in congress argue critical humanitarian protections are a magnet going vulnerable families and children to our country but they claim with a straight face we can better protect these migrants by making it easier to detain them indefinitely in the for them without due process. people were migrating to the united states simply because of so-called legal loopholes they would be coming from all over the region and instead more than 90% of the unaccompanied children come from three countries in the northern tribal. there is zero evidence to support the conclusion that
repealing gdp ra and overturning the florida settlement will deter migrants and in fact, the administration has imposed numerous restrictions on asylum that have not deterred these desperate families and children. they don't address what causes. democrats are serious about the situation and believe we need to work together to solve it. in february after the president finally ended the government shut down a number of us join with republicans and wrote an omnibus appropriation bill that included 554 million for inspection agreement at the ports of entry, a suggestion came from now acting secretary tackling in and 414 million for humanitarian assistance long overdue. we can do more to make sure even in the midst of political controversy that our treatment of these desperate people reflects who we are as americans. the last congress democrats introduced central american reform and enforcement act as a copy of the response.
i'm announcing the next week we will reintroduce and address the root causes of the northern triangle and crackdown on cartels and traffickers, provide in country processing refugees so they don't make the trek across mexico and expand third country resettlement in mexico and eliminate the backlog. we stand ready as democrats to work with the republicans in president on smart effective inhumane border security policies. i hope we can do this together. >> senator graham, i understand he may be coming but at this time i recognize the remember senator feinstein for any comments you care to make. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for scheduling this hearing today and i welcome all the witnesses here today. i don't think i need to tell anyone judging from this whole
room that we face a challenge at the border today. fewer are crossing illegally than in the late 1990s when well over 1 million people cross every year but the number of families seeking asylum is high and continuing to climb. we need humanitarian and common sense solutions to address these asylum claims fairly and promptly but, as i understand it, the administration is threatening to make the problem worse, not better by threatening to build a wall