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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  July 31, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT

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>> professor lisa delpy neirotti studies these position at george washington university. appreciate your time this morning on "the washington journal". >> thank you. the senate yesterday approved $8 billion in federal spending for the nation's highways and mass transit programs, sending it on to president obama's desk just before current funding expire today. this temporary spending measure extends funding until october 29th. the senate also passed a six-year extension, but house republicans refused to take up that bill and they left town wednesday, forcing the senate to accept their three-month stopgap. a short time ago president obama signed the bill at the white house. >> everybody all set? >> all set. >> well i'm about to sign a three-month extension of our highway funding. and that's a good thing, because
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if this wasn't in front of me and ready for signature, we would end up having projects all across the country that would be frozen after mid-. on the other hand, we have now made it a habit where instead of five-year funding plans for transportation and instead of long-term approaches where we can actually strategize on what are the most important infrastructure projects, how are they getting paid for, providing certainty to government norors and mayors and localities about how they are going to approach critical infrastructure projects -- roads, bridges ports, airports -- instead we operate as if we're -- we hand them out three months at a time. which freezes a lot of construction, which makes people uncertain, which leads to businesses, not being willing to
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hire because they don't have any long-term certainty. it's a bad way for the u.s. government to do business. so, i want to make sure that before i sign this, congress gets a clear message. that is we should not be leaving all the business of the u.s. government to the last minute. think about the things still undone as congress is about to go on vacation. they haven't reauthorized the export/import bank, which creates tens of thousands of jobs all across the country, good-paying jobs, because it increases our exports. when i was in ethiopia on our trip, we had sold a score of planes to ethiopian airlines from boeing that produces jobs not just in boeing's plan, seattle, but across the supply chain. small businesses and medium sized businesses, all whom benefit from us being able to facilitate the sale of u.s. products to other countries.
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i had a group of small business people here ranging from 200 employees to 500 employees saying their business sales were starting to be affected by congressional inaction on what has traditionally for 81 years been a bipartisan support of the export/import bank. that needs to get done. congress has had all year to do a budget. yet, congress is leaving on vacation without the budget done. when they get back they're going to have about two weeks in order to do the people's business. this is going to be critical. we've got big issues we have to deal with on the defense side in terms of making sure we're paying for our campaign against isil. the support we're providing our allies in the gulf in dealing with some very big problems and
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around the world the extraordinary commitment armed services have to make in order to keep us safe. on the domestic side, i've already said we're not going to accept sequester level budgets that result in effective cuts to critical programs like education, that are imperative for our long-term growth. so, my hope is, is that although i wish congress well during the next six weeks, they probably deserve some time with their families to you know, refuel a little bit. that some of these next six weeks are to come up with a plan and approach whereby democrats and republicans sit down and negotiate a budget that works for everybody. and that everybody comes back with a spirit of compromise and a spirit of how do we make sure
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that our defense budget and our domestic budget is reflective of the core needs that are going to improve prospects for people's lives. not just this year, but for years to come. i also hope that we can go ahead and get export/import bank done because that's critical for our exports and jobs here in the united states. i hope we have a longer term approach to transportation. we can't keep on funding transportation, you know, by the seat of our pants, three months at a time. it's not how the greatest country on earth should be doing business. i guarantee you, this is not how china, germany, other countries around the world, other big, powerful countries around the world, handle their infrastructure. we can't have bridges collapsing and potholes not being filled because congress can't come up with an adequate plan to fund our infrastructure budget for
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more than three five or six months at a plan. okay? with that i'm going to sign this and i hope members of congress are listening. and i hope that the republicans can work things out among themselves as well as work things out among democrats. i think we've got to do some intraparty negotiations as well as negotiations between the parties. there you go. thank you, everybody. >> thanks, everybody. >> thank you, guys. >> thanks, guys. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> here's a look at what's ahead in congress. the u.s. house continues with their august district work period. the chamber will be back for pro
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forma sessions every six days. the senate is back for work on monday at 2:00 p.m. eastern. we're expecting work on a bill to defund planned parenthood. you can see the house live on c-span and of course, the senate live on c-span2. homeland security secretary jeh johnson testifying about so-called sanctuary cities, or jurisdictions that don't enforce federal immigration laws and the death of a woman authorities say was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant in san francisco, a city that holds such a status. also the use of prosecutorial discretion by the u.s. immigration and enforcement office to influence deportation cases and president obama's executive action last year offering temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants.
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good morning. the judiciary committee will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare recesses of the committee at any time. we welcome everyone to this morning's hearing on oversight of the united states department of homeland security. in a moment i'll begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement and then i will recognize mr. conyers when he arrives. i want to advise everyone, as the secretary's already aware, many members on the democratic side are meeting with former
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secretary clinton. and when they arrive, we'll recognize mr. conyers for his opening statement. but we're going to proceed because we appreciate the secretary's time as well. good morning to everyone. i want to extend our welcome to secretary johnson for testifying before us today for the second time. when secretary johnson testified last year, i stated that he was not responsible for the dangerous and irresponsible decisions made by dhs before he was sworn in. i stated we could only hope he would bring back a level of adult responsibility to the enforcement of our immigration laws. unfortunately, since that hearing, and under secretary johnson's leadership, the deterioration of immigration enforcement has accelerated. dhs under the obama administration has taken unprecedented steps in order to shut down enforcement of immigration laws for millions of unlawful and criminal aliens not
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considered high enough priorities. this is done under the guise of prosecutorial discretion. they have turned the flight from enforcement into a head-long rush. although dhs previously deemed fugitive aliens to be a priority for removal under secretary johnson's guidelines, these aliens are no longer a priority if they were issued a removal order before january 1, 2014. this means that dhs is disregarding removal orders that have already been issued and wasting the millions of taxpayer dollars spent to obtain the orders. although dhs claims that gang members are a top priority for removal, gang members are most often convicted under state not federal law. and state convictions for gang-related activity are ignored under secretary johnson's priorities. secretary johnson considers as secondary priorities for removal of aliens convicted of
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significant misdemeanors, such as domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, drug trafficking or drunk driving. yet even this priority falls away if the alien simply shows factors warranting relief. despite dh's pledge to prioritize criminal aliens last year the number of administrative arrests of criminal aliens has fallen by a third and the department continues to release thousands of such aliens onto our streets. u.s. immigrations and custom enforcement has admitted to releasing 30,558 aliens with criminal convictions in 2014. last friday we received data from dhs regarding the recidivist activity of these criminal aliens. i.c.e. released in 2014 1,423 have already been convicted of new crimes like vehicular
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homicide domestic violence sexual assault dui, burglary and assault, among many others. because of the failure of this and previous administrations to detain criminal aliens and the failure to vigorously pursue fugitives, there are almost 180,000 convicted criminal aliens currently in removal proceedings who are living in our neighborhoods. and almost 170,000 convicted criminal aliens who have been ordered removed, yet are also living free. under the obama administration, the total number of such convicted criminal aliens who are not being detained has jumped 28% since 2012 as shown by this chart. the tragic impact of dhs -- of the department of homeland security's reckless policies on the safety of americans was made all too apparent in recent weeks. a convicted criminal alien who had been deported numerous times killed an innocent american
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woman on a popular pier in san francisco. i.c.e. had recently issued a detainer for the alien, which san francisco, a sanctuary city, simply ignored and proceeded to release him. unfortunately, dhs openly advertises that jurisdictions can ignore its detainers. while testifying this march, i.c.e. director expressed her enthusiastic support for mandatory detainers. then the very next day she retracted that statement made under oath and called mandatory detainers highly counterproductive. there are now more than 200 jurisdictions, including san francisco, which refuse to honor i.c.e. detainers. this effectively releases criminal aliens onto the streets with all too tragic results. secretary johnson's solution, the priorities enforcement program is a failure. politely asking for cooperation from sanctuary cities is a
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fool's errand. the clearance to this problem is for dhs to mandate compliance with detainers and for this administration to defend the mandatory nature of detainers in federal court. unfortunately, the administration has taken neither of these crucial steps to keep our communities safe. prior to secretary johnson's appointment, dhs under the obama administration, went beyond simple nonenforcement and took the leap of granting administrative amnesty to a class of hundreds of thousands of unlawful aliens. then last november, secretary johnson announced that dhs would grant such deferred action to over 4 million more unlawful aliens. by granting these classes of people deferred action he would bestow benefits such as legal presence, work authorization, and access to the social security trust fund and the earned income tax credit. it is within the constitutional authority of congress, not the administration, to grant such
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benefits to classes of unlawful aliens. 26 states believe secretary johnson's planned grant of deferred action en masse would cause them irreparable harm. they challenged the plan in federal court. the judge agreed with the states and has granted a temporary in injunction injunction. the court stated the administration is not just rewriting the laws, it is creating them from scratch. an appeals court has rejected the administration's request of a stay of that injunction. while the continuing injunction against the unconstitutional affirmative grant of deferred action is a welcome development for the health of our constitution the court was clear that it was not interfering in any way with secretary johnson's nonenforcement of our immigration laws. the american people have rightly lost all confidence in this administration's willingness to enforce our current immigration laws. this has become the single biggest impediment to congress'
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ability to fix our broken immigration system. i look forward to the testimony of secretary johnson. now it's my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. members of the committee and our distinguished witness, secretary jeh johnson, when you last testified before this committee, i said that given his distinguished record of public service, i could think of no person better equipped to lead the department of homeland security and to carry out the president's directive that we are -- that we carry out our immigration policies in the most humane way possible. much has happened in the past year. and i'm pleased to say that i stand by my initial assessment which is not to say,
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mr. secretary, that there's not still a great amount of work to do. in your written testimony you speak in great detail about your efforts to counter the global terrorist threat, which has become decentralized more diffuse and more complex. i agree that isil and al qaeda have moved to a new phase of the conflict recruiting at risk individuals, hoping to inspire a attacks in the west. threatens with combination of heightened security measures and community outreach. but i wonder if the department has also taken note of a recent study by new america which demonstrates that since september 11 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, adding
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government fanatics and other non-muslim extremists than by radical muslims. another study released last month by the police executive research forum shows that state and local law enforcement agencies feel far more threatened by right wing and anti-government terrorism as they are about isil-inspired attacks. and i hope that you will provide us with some assurance today that our priorities are in order and that it is department focuses on homegrown extremism with the same forcefulness it has shown in countering threats from abroad. the immigration actions you initiated last november through a series of memoranda should make our immigration enforcement system smarter, more efficient
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and ultimately more humane. carrying out these reforms clearly has not been easy. meaningful reforms rarely are. your job has been the refusal of conservative leadership in the house to allow a vote on the immigration reform bill that passed the united states senate two years ago with 68 votes. it has been made harder by their refusal to consider the bipartisan house bill hr-15, which had 201 co-sponsors in the last congress and is made harder by the barrage of litigation that you had to fight off as you've attempted to implement common sense and entirely lawful immigration reforms. at the end of the day, it only
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makes sense that people who commit serious crimes impose a danger to the public should be our highest priorities. those with strong ties to this country the spouses of citizens and permanent residents the parents of citizens and dreamers and those who have worked productively in the united states for many years should not be. who could disagree with that? we're already seeing a positive impact from the reforms that have been implemented. and i thank you for your tenacity. certainly we may disagree about the implementation of some of the enforcement reforms. and that's something we will monitor monitor, but i believe we're heading in the right direction. one area that's particularly in need of urgent reforms involves the detention of mothers and
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children in secure jail-like facilities. you recently acknowledged that substantial changes must be made to the current policy of detaining thois of these families, some for many months and some for longer than a year. we are monitoring these changes because we know from experts that family detention is causing real lasting damage to these children. we look forward to continue working with you to ensure all aspects of the democrat ofpartment of homeland security and to continue to honor the contribution of immigrants to our great nation. one final note. the chairman spoke about the tragic death of kate steinle, an
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innocent young woman who was walking with her father on a san francisco pier. our hearts go out to her family. but as we think about the proper way to respond to this situation, we must make sure we don't adopt policies that would diminish public safety and undermine our commitment to the constitution and civil liberties. so i ask mr. chair unanimous consent to enter into the record yesterday's "new york times" editorial entitled "lost in the immigration frenzy." i thank you and i look forward to hearing the testimony of our witness. and i yield back the bafflelance of my time. >> without objection, the editorial will be made a part of the record. >> thank you sir. >> without objection, all other members' opening statements will be made a part of the record as well.
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and we will again welcome our distinguished witness and, secretary johnson f you would please rise, i'll begin by swearing you in. do you swear that the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> thank you very much. let the record reflect the witness responded in the affirmative and we'll proceed to the introduction. jeh charles johnson was sworn in on december 23 2014 as fourth secretary of homeland security. prior to joining dhs, secretary johnson served as general counsel for the department of defense, where he was part of the senior management team and led more than 10000 military and civilian lawyers across the department. secretary johnson was general counsel of the department of the air force from 1998 to 2001. and he served as assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york from 1989 to 1991.
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in private law practice, secretary johnson was a partner in the new york city based law firm paul, weiss and garrison. secretary johnson graduated from more house college in 1979 and received his law degree from columbia law school in 1982. mr. secretary your entire written statement will be entered into the record. and we ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes or less. and and we welcome you again. >> thank you, chairman. i can do that. you have my prepared testimony, as you noted. chairman goodlatte members of this committee, it's good to see you again. chairman last time i was here i noted -- or you noted that 38 years ago i was an intern for congressman hamilton phishfish, i member of this committee. i recall after talking to some
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congressional interns who were here, 38 years ago, very vividly congressman fisch sent me to a hearing of the senate judiciary subcommittee on the constitution over on the senate side. 38 years ago this month. i remember it like it was yesterday. the witness was talking about the abolition of the electoral college. in the middle of his testimony he had a massive heart attack and dropped dead. i hope not to make such news today. >> we want -- we hope and pray not either. >> in all seriousness, as you know, chairman, the department has many missions. we have 225,000 people, 22 xoen ebts. we're focused on a number of things. my top priority for 2015 has been management reform ensuring that our department functions most effectively and efficiently for the american people. i'm pleased that we have filled
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almost all the vacancies that existed in my department when i came in 18 months ago. most recently with the senate confirmation of our new tsa administrator vice admiral pete neffenger. we're doing a number of other things to reform and make more efficient how we conduct our business. we're focused on aviation security. of course, we're focused on counterterrorism, which in my view remains the cornerstone of our department's mission. we're focused on cyber security. i refer the members to an op-ed that i submitted which appears today in politico on federal cyber security and how i think we need to improve our mission there and the things we are doing in dhs to improve our federal civilian.gov network. on immigration respectfully, it is a fiction to say we are not enforcing the law.
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apprehensions are down. they're down considerably from where they were a year ago. but there are still apprehensions daily. in particular on the southern border. i'm pleased the spike we saw last summer on the southern border has not returned and apprehensions, which are an indicator of total attempts to cross the border, are down considerably. if the current pace continues apprehensions will be at the lowest since some time in the 1970s. in terms of enforcement and removal, without a doubt the new policy that i announced and am direct ing directing prioritizes threats to safety and border security. without a doubt, we are moving increasingly in the direction of deporting criminals. absolutely. and i stand by that because i believe it is good for public safety.
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i'm pleased of those in immigration detention now, 96% are in my top two priorities for removal. 76% are in my top priority for removal. that is, those apprehended at the border, convicted felons. that is the direction we're moving in with the resources we have. i believe we need to continue to focus on criminals on threats to public safety, on border security. part of that is fixing our relationship with state and local law enforcement. the secure communities program had become legally and politically controversial to the point where something like 300 jurisdictions had enacted or imposed limitations on their law enforcement's ability to cooperate with our immigration enforcement personnel.
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that needed to be fixed because it was inhibiting our ability to get at the criminals. so, what the president and i did was to replace the secure communities program with the new priority enforcement program, which i believe resolves the legal and political controversy. and we are actively reaching out to state and local law enforcement and jurisdictions to introduce the program and encourage them to work with us. of the 49 biggest, i'm pleased to report that some 33 have indicated an agreement and willingness to work with us. only 5 of the 49 have said no, so far. but we're going to go back to them. this is a work in progress. the county of los angeles is a big one, that has agreed to work with us in the new program. to more effectively get at threats to public safety. that is the direction i believe
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we should go in for the sake of public safety, homeland security and border security. as the chairman referenced, our deferred action program for adults is pending right now in litigation the district court issued an injunction. that matter is on appeal right now. oral argument on the appeal was last friday. we await the decision. and chairman, congressmen, i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i'll recognize myself. you claim to prioritize enforcement against criminal aliens and the number of detention beds you utilize continues to fall. 34,000 are authorized. only 24,000 to 26000 are being utilized. so, can you explain to me the continued increase in the number of convicted criminal aliens in removal proceedings who have
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already been ordered removed, who are not being detained by dhs? the number of these convicted criminal aliens allowed on our streets has gone up by 28% in less than three years. again, i'll direct your attention to the chart over there. from 270,000 to almost 350,000. these people are out on the streets and many, many of them are committing new crimes. and i would very much like you to explain how this priority system is working when you're not fully utilizing it. not removing 350,000 people who have been ordered removed and not even using the capabilities the congress is paying for. last time i looked, the number of those detained in immigration detention has been going up. last time i checked it was up to around 31000. that's a day-to-day report i get. the last time i checked it was up to around 31,000. that is less than the full
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capacity that congress has given us of some 34000, to be sure. but it is moving in the direction -- >> given there's 350,000 out on the street, should we be providing you with additional capacity or when are you going to get to the 34,000? >> well, like i said, it's trending in that direction. we have, as you know, established greater capability to detain those who bring their children with them. i have issued policies to reform those practices because of the special considerations that go into dealing with children. but we have increased the capacity. it is going up. and the reason i think -- one of the reasons i think it's lower than 34000 is frankly, the apprehension rates are lower and
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because of the problem we had with secure communities, which was inhibiting our ability to conduct interior enforcement. >> well let me ask you about that. why do you think that cooperation with i.c.e. and they detainers should be voluntary? >> if i can just finish my sentence. some 12,000 detainers last year were not acted upon by state and local jurisdictions. i do not believe that we should mandate the conduct of state and local law enforcement through federal legislation. i believe that the most effective way to work with jurisdictions, particularly the larger ones, is through a cooperative effort. and i believe state and local law enforcement believes that as well. through a cooperative effort with a program that removes the legal and political controversy. >> let me ask you about that. isn't it true that some of the worst offending jurisdictions have declined to even participate in your new priority
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enforcement program? >> i would disagree with that, sir. >> it's my understanding that five priority "a" jurs dishgsz the highest priority have said outright, no. >> as i indicated earlier, 33 have indicated a willingness to participate in one way or another. of the 49 top, 11 are still considering it. and we've contacted literally hundreds, but the 49 i've mentioned are the 49 top priorities because they are the largest jurisdictions. and the overwhelming number have indicated aleness to willingness to work with us. >> of the 276 so-called sanctuary cities, where they have publicly taken a position to not cooperate with i.c.e. last year some 8,000 criminal aliens were released by those communities onto the streets of their communities and of this country.
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and in the short time since those 8,000 were released, they've already committed 1,900 new crimes. why wouldn't it be a priority to do everything possible to mandate, influence whatever the case might be, for them to honor i.c.e. detainers rather than to see this occur? now, have i to say, the department is not operating with clean hands when they go to these communities say don't release 8,000 because the department released 30,000 last year under their own procedures. again, that helped to contribute to this growing list now of nearly 350,000 individuals who are either under a deportation order or have deportation proceedings pending released by
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i.c.e. or others and are now out on our streets. >> if you're asking me if we should release the undocumented criminals -- >> and by the department. >> i agree that we should work to reduce that number. absolutely. agree with the spirit of your question. >> but the trend's going the wrong way. >> i disagree that through federal legislation we should mandate how state and local law enforcement relates to us. i don't think that that's going to solve the controversy in the courts. in terms of the 30,000 as you know, chairman, i have issued -- >> how about incentivizing them? >> as you know, chairman, i have issued new guidelines to deal with releases of those who have been convicted of something from immigration detention to tighten up on it. higher level approval authority and that we should no longer release somebody for budgetary or reasons of lack of space. we will find the space. if there's somebody we think should be detained and we can detain them consistent with the
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law. that has been my directive. i want to see that number go down, too. >> thank you. gentleman from michigan is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome. mr. johnson. we're very pleased to have you here. and i was just looking over your article in the newspapers today about cyber security. and you say, often sophisticated actors penetrate the gate because they know they can count on a single user letting his guard down but we've increased and will continue to increase with congress's help to do much more. do you have an additional comment about that? i'm going to put this in the record. >> yes congressman. i have been struck by the fact that very often the most
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sophisticated far-reaching attacks, whether in the private sector or in the government by the most sophisticated actors often starts with a simple act of spear fishing. someone opened an e-mail they shouldn't have and so a large part of our efforts have to be education of our workforce about not opening suspicious e-mails, e-mails they don't recognize. >> thank you. on immigration enforcement priorities, over the past 6 1/2 years, this administration has set many new immigration enforcement records. over the first six years the number of people removed was so much greater than it had been under past administrations, that the president was famously described as the departmenter in chief.
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"the washington post" recently reported that your department is now on pace to remove fewer people in the current fiscal year than in the past fiscal years. can you explain why the removal numbers went down in this past year? >> well, the -- as i mentioned congressman, i would like to see us move in the direction of threats to public safety. that's what we're doing. while the overall number of deportations has been going down, and increasing percentage of those we detain, and hopefully those we ultimately remove, are convicted criminals, recent border arrivals illegally, and threats to public safety. that is the direction that i believe we need to go in. >> good. let me ask you about the decision to replace secure
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communities with priority enforcement program. i understand the secure communities, the fingerprints of every person arrested and booked for a crime by local law enforcement are checked not only by the fbi but also against dcht homeland security immigration records. will that interoperability still be present under the prior enforce many program? >> yes. >> excellent. now the montgomery county chief of police recently said, his office notifies i.c.e. when serious criminals are set to be released. and i.c.e. is always able to get there on the day of release to assume custody. would you say i.c.e. will generally take appropriate
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action when notified about the release of a serious criminal? >> we will generally take appropriate action to avoid the release of a serious criminal, absolutely, yes. >> very good. finally, can you comment on this shooting of kate steinle in pennsylvania. in general, how do you respond to people who say that our southwest border is not secure? how secure is our southwest border compared to other times in our history? >> over the last 15 years in the clinton, bush and obama administrations, we, and i include in the statement we, congress as well have made historic investments in border security. for example, 15 years ago there
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was only 70 miles of fence on the southwest border. now there is 700 miles of fence. we are up to 18,000 in change in terms of border patrol personnel on the southwest border. and i believe that is reflected in the numbers. in the year 2000 apprehensions on the southern border were 1.6 million. in recent years they're down around 400,000. this year i suspect we'll be somewhere in the 300,000s even lower. that is due in very large part to the investments we've made in border security with this congress. and i want to continue that progress through investments in technology surveillance equipment, and so forth. in terms of the san francisco case of kate steinle, and i hope i pronounced her last name correctly -- >> thank you. just finally, i understand
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mr. lopez sanchez has returned to the country multiple times after being deported but in most instances, hasn't he been apprehended right away? can you give us a little illumination on that subject? >> my understanding is he was deported five times and returned five times and he was prosecuted for unlawful re-entry three times, and served fairly significant jail sentences. he was in b.o.p. custody serving his last sentence. we put a detainer on him. then he was transferred to the san francisco sheriff. we put another detainer on him. and he was released. my hope is that jurisdictions like san francisco, san francisco county, will cooperate with our new program. i was pleased that senator
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feinstein wrote the mayor and asked that san francisco participate. as the sheriff himself as acknowledged i personally met with the sheriff in april to ask for his participation in the p.e.p. program along with other san francisco area sheriffs in the month of april. and so as i said, i'm making the rounds with a lot of jurisdictions. my deputy secretary and i other leaders in dhs have been very, very active for the purpose of promoting public safety to get jurisdictions to cooperate with us on this. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy, chairman of the immigration and border security subcommittee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the gentleman from texas for letting me go in his spot. mr. secretary, i've been on this committee for almost five years now. i have listened as witnesses primarily called by colleagues on the other side of the aisle
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have repeated with almost catatonic frequency certain phrases. phrases like citizenship for 11 million aspiring americans as if 11 million of any category could all pass a background check. phrases like functional control of the border. phrases as benign sounding as sanctuary cities. and i've listened pretty carefully, mr. secretary, as i've heard argument, after argument after argument made against empowering state and local law enforcement to actually enforce immigration laws. have you had a chance to look at the criminal history of mr. lopez sanchez? >> i believe i have, yes. >> it dates back to 1991. the criminal conduct occurred in five separate states. he's committed local, state and federal crimes. he was and is by any definition a career criminal. he violated at least three
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separate statutes when he simply picked up the gun before he shot and killed an innocent woman walking with her father. so to me, mr. secretary, he is exhibit "a" that we must not have functional control over the border or he wouldn't have re-entered so many times. he is, i'm assuming not able to pass anyone's background check. i would hope that somebody with his criminal history couldn't even pass our friend in the senate's comprehensive immigration reform background check. now, i want us to look at a legal issue, in a second, mr. secretary, but i want to read a quote to you and i want to ask you if you know who said it. i want people who are living in this country undocumented to come forward to get on the books and subject themselves to a background check so i can know who they are and whether it's the current doca program or a current path to citizenship whether it's earned path to citizenship from a homeland security perspective, i want people to come forward. do you know who said that? >> well i don't knowfy said it or not but that is consistent
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with my own sentiments, so i could have said that. >> you did say that. now, i want you to tell me what defendant lopez sanches's background leads you to to use in your words, believe he would come forward? >> clearly, he is not the type of person that would ever qualify for any sort of deferred action -- >> i know that. nor is he the type of person that would come forward, mr. secretary. so my point is -- my point is when you have a porous -- >> may i be allowed to speak? >> you are welcome to answer the question that was asked, yes. >> give me a chance, please. he is not any type of person that would qualify for any type of deferred action in my book or earned path to citizenship. he is a criminal a dangerous criminal, multiple times over. when we talk about encouraging people to come forward what we're talking about are people who we hope will report crime who will participate in american
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society fully. obviously, somebody like this is not coming forward. >> no, he is not coming forward mr. secretary. i'll let you answer the question, mr. secretary, but i'm not going to let you run out the clock. you're right he's not coming back and he doesn't need to get on the books because he's already been on the books. in fact, better than being on the books, mr. secretary, he was in federal prison. so, i want to know why was somebody in federal prison with a federal detainer on him released to a sanctuary city? >> you'd have to ask the bureau of prisons? >> have you? >> we've had a detainer on him, both when he was in b.o.p. custody and when he was in the custody of san francisco. >> i know you did. my question to you is -- >> there are a lot of questions being asked right now. in my book he is exhibit "a" for why jurisdictions need to work with our priority enforcement program. secure communities was not working. there were over 12,000 detainers
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of mine that were not acted upon -- >> then why don't you make them mandatory, mr. secretary? >> i'm working -- >> why don't you make the detainers mandatory? if cities like san francisco are not complying with federal detainers, why don't you make them mandatory? >> i think that would be a huge setback in our ability to work with state and local law enforcement. i suspect they would agree well. >> i do not agree. i'll tell you why i don't agree, mr. secretary. what i find ironic is you are not willing to mandate federal detainers, but you are willing to mandate that state and local law enforcement cannot assist you in enforcing immigration laws. i mean, help me understand that. you can empower a city like san francisco to ignore federal law, but you won't empower state and local law enforcement to actually enforce immigration laws. help me reconcile that. >> can i speak? >> yes, sir. you can have the rest of the time. >> thank you. thank you for giving me seven seconds. >> you take all the time you want to answer the question
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because i think it's important. >> i'm sure you're aware of this. the secure communities program was hugely problematic in the courts. the courts were saying that state and local law enforcement does not have the authority have the authority under the due process clause of the constitution to hold people until we could come and get them. last time i looked through federal legislation you cannot rewrite the due process clause of the constitution. that is a problem. i do not believe that mandating through federal legislation the conduct of sheriffs and police chiefs is the way to go. i think it will be hugely controversial. i think it will have problems with the constitution. i want to see us work cooperatively with state and local law enforcement. and i believe that they are poised to do that. >> well my time is up mr. speaker. the last time i looked we had a supremacy clause. and federal law trumps state law, so god knows it trumps the law in san francisco. and when i hear the phrase
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sanctuary city, as benign sounding as it is it may have been a sanctuary for that defendant, but it sure as hell was not a sanctuary for a young woman walking with her father. so at a minimum changed the name of whatever benign sounding program cities like san francisco want to follow and the money ought to be cut. and i would hope you would insist federal detainers be honored and not discretionary. with that i would yield back to the chairman. >> chair thanks the gentleman and recognize the gentleman from new york mr. nadler for five minutes. >> as the former chairman of the constitution subsubcommittee, remind mr. gowdy, the federal courts have held detainers unconstitutional as violations of the fourth amendment. so when secretary johnson said there were troubles in the courts, there were indeed troubles in the courts. and i want to commend the administration for trying to follow a policy that is not unconstitutional illegal on its
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face as the prior policy was. secretary johnson i've heard significant concerns about mistake and fraudulent issues. i realize this is off the one topic we're supposed to talk about. to aliens coming to the u.s. to work in the motion picture industry. movie and tv production jobs provide the livelihood for great many new yorkers, so i take very seriously allegations that cis is improperly allowing unqualified aliens to fill those jobs. i would like your agency to take a serious look at these assertions or allegations. would you commit to working with me on this issue? >> yes. >> thank you. on an allied topic we have been asked and i've looked at it sympathetically frankly to increase the number of h1b visas. in fact we've voted out of this committee which most of us on our side of the aisle voted against only because of the provision to eliminate an equivalent number of diversity visas.
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but the assertion we need more h1b visas because we have to bring engineers and others to this country to fill positions that we can't fill here, we've heard that repeatedly. and yet we see these recent stories about the disney company and others laying off hundreds of their own american employees who were then forced to train foreigners who came here on h1b visas to replace them. now, if that is true, there's a very serious failing of the h1b program. and it being used to displace american workers rather than to supply people for slots that american workers can't fill. is the department looking into that? as to how it's being abused and can be fixed properly? >> through the h1b program those
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who hold visas are not supposed to replace americans with jobs as you know, as you pointed out. any such allegations are very troubling to me. i believe that such matters should be investigated. i also believe congress can help in this regard. i think that congress can help through increased enforcement mechanisms for situations where an employer does in fact replace american workers with h1b holders. that is a recommendation made to me and i support that. >> thank you. mr. speaker, the united states has a long standing commitment to refugee protection. we pride ourselves in our opening and welcoming refugee and asylum laws. >> uh-huh. >> i understand these laws need to be balanced with legitimate border security initiatives, obviously, but i'm concerned in our quest to expedite the removal of individuals from our
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can you want country we may be deporting those serious persecution claims. recently dhs instituted a pilot program expediting the deportation of central americans beyond the normal expedited removal process. these detainees are apprehended by cbp and detained by i.c.e. away from the general population. they're not given any know your rights presentations or access to attorneys and deported within a matter of days. advocates on the ground are being told these detainees are being held in facilities particularly in the port isabel desengs center and other facilities in south texas. i'm also concerned we may have transferred the border concern to the mexican government and that they are not offering any protection under international law. under u.s. pressure mexico has more than doubled its detention of deportation of central american children, families and adults over the last year without committing resources into identifying and offering protection to legitimate refugees. i find these practices troubling given there are several news reports about the horrific violence in the region
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especially against women and girls. an article stating that central americans are being killed upon their deportation for mexico and the united states. i'd like to enter some of these into the record, mr. chairman. >> if the gentleman will at some point designate which one we will put them in the record. >> providing protection from persecution too and vef an obligation to make sure we don't undermine that in our borders with our friends borders. what is the administration doing to ensure that central americans refugees international protection claims are being honored by both our government and that is to say they have an adequate opportunity to make claims with proper legal assistance and by government of mexico. >> well a couple of things there, congressman. first, we have prioritized among our cis personnel interviews of
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people on the border particularly from central america who may have a reasonable fear claim and a credible fear claim. in the most recent guidance i issued i directed that these interviews be conducted in a reasonable period of time as quickly as possible. my hope is we can get those done and on average around 14 days after apprehension. so that's one thing. when it comes to refugees. the other thing that we have begun, which i'd like to see more use of is in-country processing in central america. advice we got last summer when we were dealing with the spike there is we need to offer people a lawful safe path to the united states. and so we set up in-country processing, the ability to interview kids in the three central american countries who have parents who are lawfully
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here to see if they would qualify for a refugee status. frankly not enough people have taken advantage of the program. it's just in the low thousands. i'd like to see more use that method versus trying to make the journey through mexico which is very dangerous and crossing our border illegally. and so we're encouraging people to make use of that program in central america. and i want to see us publicize it, put emphasis on it because it is the lawful safe path to come to the united states. >> my time is expired. i yield back. thank you. >> chair thanks the gentleman and recognize the gentleman from ohio. >> i'll preface my questions with just a comment. we mentioned the secure communities program several times this morning, mr. speaker. i would just note that the administration never went to court to defend the secure
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committees program when the issue was before the courts. but let me turn to my questions. first of all, what is the administration's position on sanctuary cities? >> i'd like to see -- >> does it have one? >> well yes, in the sense that i want to reduce if not eliminate the jurisdictions that don't want to cooperate with us. >> but as far as the existence of actual cities, has the administration actually come out and either condemned them on the one hand or condoned them on the other hand? >> well whatever label you put on it, there are a whole lot of jurisdictions, something like 300. >> what's the definition of a sanctuary city? what's your operating definition of a sanctuary city? >> there are so many around i just know that there are 300 -- something like 300 jurisdictions that have enacted ordinances executive orders acting
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pursuant to state law that will not cooperate with us because of the controversy around the secure communities program. >> so in essence these communities are refusing to cooperate with the federal government in the enforcement of the federal immigration laws would that be a fair representation? >> to one degree or another. >> okay, thank you. and one of the things that's so annoying, so aggravating, so frustrating to a lot of us and a lot of people that i to bring this whole topic up with me is the fact that this administration seems to be anxious to aggressively pursue communities, states that are enforcing the immigration laws. arizona's an example. so when a state is enforcing our immigration laws or immigration laws we go after them. we pursue them. we basically in that case stop them. however, we have communities all over the country that are refusing to enforce the
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immigration laws. and we saw this tragic incident in california with this totally innocent 32-year-old woman who was brutally murdered by somebody who shouldn't even have been here. the administration hasn't actively opposed cities that are flaunting our immigration laws. isn't that -- can you understand that frustration a lot of people have? >> well, all i know is i've been spending a whole lot of time of my own meeting with mayors governors, county execs, sheriffs who have been opposed to cooperating with us to encourage them to eliminate those barriers. that has not included arizona. that's including a lot of very large jurisdictions that have passed these types of laws to encourage them to repeal them or interpret them in a certain way consistent with our new program which is aiming at getting at the criminals. >> let me switch gears. has the administration reached
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out to the steinle family, to your knowledge? >> to who? >> to the family of the woman who was brutally murdered by this individual who had committed seven different felonies in four different states in my understanding who'd been deported, kept coming back. has the administration reached out to that family? >> i'm sorry, i don't know the answer to that question, sir. >> as i would just note that the administration has reached out in a whole range of homicide cases, criminal cases around the country. and i'm not being critical of them having done that. i think certainly there are times when the administration should do that. but there are also times -- perhaps they need to do that. i would strongly recommend that. could you check into that and see if they have or haven't? >> speaking for myself i have developed a practice of reaching out to every sheriff or
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commissioner or chief who has had a law enforcement officer who has died in the line of duty myself. i write a letter personally. >> my understanding is they have not, but i would ask that the administration check into that. i'm almost out of time. let me ask you, the fence, how long is our border with mexico? >> 2,700 miles, i believe. >> and how much of the fence is actually complete at this point? >> 700 pursuant to congressional direction, something around 700, yes, sir. >> okay. what did the administration do back in 2010 which suspended expansion of the virtual portion of the fence? >> well my understanding is that the 700 miles -- it's 700 and change was built pursuant to congressional mandate. i know that there was some litigation around an environmental issue. i also know that a lot of the southwest border is very remote
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as i'm sure you know. some of it includes the rio grande, other parts of the border are very mountainous. so the fence we have built has been built in places where it makes the most sense to have a fence. >> my time's expired. let me conclude by noting that's one of the other things i think is very frustrating to the american public as a fact the law says the fence is to be built. i know not all of it is a fence as we understand it, some is virtual, but the length of time this has taken and the environmental lawsuits that have been filed and all the rest, the fence needs to be completed. we need to have a secure border. i yield back my time. >> i believe that it's almost all completed pursuant to the mandate we have from congress, sir. >> i don't think that's correct but i'll follow up on it. thank you. >> chair thanks the gentleman. recognize the gentlewoman from california for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. and thank you mr. speaker for being here and for the work you
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do on behalf of our country to keep us safe. it is a tough job, but you have approached your duties with skill and dignity. and we very much appreciate that. i want to touch just briefly on the tragedy in san francisco, the young lady who was walking with her father. obviously an outrageous situation that she was shot and killed. and i think whenever an innocent citizen loses their life, it should cause us to review what are the policies, what could be changed that would make our communities safer. some have said we ought to do mandatory sentencing, but my understanding is mr. sanchez just finished four years in prison for the prosecution. so it doesn't appear that that is necessarily the answer. one of the questions i wanted to explore was the policy of
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transfer ing transferring from the bureau of prisons to a locality on a warrant. it's my understanding that there was like a 20-year-old warrant it was a bench warrant for mr. sanchez. but the underlying offense was possession of a small amount of marijuana. now, i don't fault -- i don't know. i mean, we've asked the bureau of prisons what discretion they had. and clearly if you had an outstanding warrant against somebody who committed a crime you know, two weeks ago, you don't want the department of homeland security to thwart that criminal prosecution locality. but if you have a very old warrant with an offense that, you know probably wouldn't be prosecuted, is there some way that we could explore either clearing those warrants if there's no intent to prosecute? i mean in that case you would have a situation where probably the arresting officers were tired, there would be no witnesses, you couldn't really have an effective prosecution --
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possession of small amount of marijuana's infraction. doesn't even give rise to a prosecution. what do you agree with that process? >> i agree with the spirit of your question. i think we're in a situation where the bureau of prisons has someone they are about to release because that person has completed his sentence. and there's an immigration detainer and there's a 20-year-old warrant on a marijuana charge. there ought to be some discretion and balancing built into that. >> or maybe some communication with the locality to find out whether they intend to prosecute? >> look, i think we need to look at this question. it may be that they give priority to a criminal warrant,
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which in all cases is not necessarily the best outcome. and so i want to look at the question of whether or not we and b.o.p. can work more effectively together to make the appropriate assessment that it's better that this person go to immigration detention versus go to 20-year-old warrant. >> i'm glad to hear that and would like to keep apprised. i think it's an important element of this situation that's sort of not been examined. i want to talk today about the gao reports just released today. you may not have had a chance to review it. but it really talks about the manner in which the dhs is screening and caring for unaccompanied children when it comes to mexican children at the border. this is an issue that i've raised in the past both publicly and privately that mexican
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children under the age of 14 are presumed not to be competent to make a decision about whether to voluntarily return. but what the gao found is that we're not really getting the kind of examination that the law envisioned under the trafficking provisions. and it does trouble me and i know there are several members on both sides of the aisle who are concerned, you have a child who may be a victim of trafficking, they may have been a victim of sexual abuse. and yet their interrogation is conducted by a uniformed officer who may or may not speak their language in front of other people, other children you wouldn't have a police agency in the whole united states that would interview a child's sexual abuse victim in that manner. so i'm wondering now that we have the gao report whether we
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can revisit how we are doing these interviews and whether we might take a clue from police agencies around the united states to make sure that potential sex trafficking victims who are children are interviewed in an appropriate setting by a skilled, nonuniformed people, so we can get the truth whether in fact they're a victim or whether they're not. when you've had a chance to take a look at that report, could we discuss this further? >> i'm aware of the report. and its conclusions. i haven't had a chance to carefully study it but it's something we will look at. yes, ma'am. >> thank you. my time's expired, mr. chairman. >> chair thanks the gentlewoman recognizes the chairman from virginia mr. forbes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good to see you here, mr. speaker. >> good to see you too, mr. forbes. >> at the opening of this hearing the ranking member for
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whom i have enormous respect -- leader of the house for impacting and even slowing some of the policies of this administration. i assumed he was talking about the policy of releasing terrorists from guantanamo bay or perhaps releasing criminals on our streets. while i'm sure the leadership would be flattered, they'd be the first to say we still have a lot of work to do. he also mentioned that your job needs to be done humanely. you know and we've talked about before we have a huge gang problem in the country. it's a dproegrowing problem. in fact, if we took gang members in the united states today they would equal the six largest army in the world. so my question to you is this is it humane to leave individuals who are here illegally and who have been active participants in a criminal street gang or who intentionally participated in organized criminal gang to remain in the united states? >> such an individual is among my top priorities for removal, sir. >> good.
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if that's the case and that is indeed the memo that you mentioned, we had a little difficulty because three months ago your director of i.c.e. sarah saldana, did not have a clue when she was asked. and you can look at the testimony and the record. when we asked her how many criminal aliens with violent gangs has i.c.e. and/or cbp processed and deported since dhs updated its policies, the policies you reference, how many has i.c.e. or cbp released? and third, what type of process is dhs using to determine who's a member of a criminal gang? so my first question to you is can you give us today the number of criminal aliens with violent gang ties that i.c.e. and/or cbp has processed and deported since your policy was updated? >> well, as a knowable number, which we can get to you for the record sitting here right now i
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don't know the number, but it is a knowable number. >> here's the problem we have. this is one of your top priorities. the director said she didn't have a clue. and today when we have a hearing to look at this, we don't have that number. so if you would get it back to us. but i would assume then that you also don't know how many i.c.e. or cbp has released. >> again, it's a knowable number, sir. i just did not come prepared with the number. if i could have anticipated your question, i would have. >> i would have just thought if it was one of your top priorities that might have been a metric you would look to see if it's working. >> it is one of my top priorities, sir. >> but you just don't know whether it's working or not? >> like i said it is a knowable number. i just don't have it with me. >> but you don't know the knowable number? >> i do know this i have mandated as part of that same directive that we track who we remove -- >> can i ask you this? i don't have but five minutes,
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what type of process are you using to doing that tracking you've mandated? how do you know who is a member of a criminal gang? do you ask them? >> well, in fact we have tightened up the guidance so that it is more -- we can more effectively identify -- >> share with us if you would as a committee how you've tightened it up. do you ask the individuals if they are members of violent criminal gangs? >> well if you're referring to applicants for deferred action, the answer is yes. >> so your testimony today is that you ask every member who is an applicant whether they're a member of a violent criminal gang? because that would be in conflict with what the director said. so that is your testimony today? >> my understanding is that -- >> let me just make sure. you're saying it is the policy, you're sure of that, or you don't know what the policy is? >> i know that being a member of a criminal street gang is
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certainly a disqualifier. >> i understand that. but if we don't know who they are, it doesn't help us. can you state under oath today that you know that each one of those applicants are asked whether they're even a member of a violent criminal gang? >> i believe the answer is yes, sir. >> you believe it is but you do not know? >> well -- >> can you confirm that and get it back to us for the record? >> yes. >> do you know whether or not they're reviewing their criminal records, their trial records? >> i'm sorry what's the question? >> do you know whether the applicants' trial records are reviewed before decision is made as to whether or not they will be released? >> a trial record? >> yes, sir. >> what's a trial record? >> trial record would be when they're going to court and they are prosecuted for a crime there would be a record of that. and the reason it's important is because oftentimes it doesn't say on their conviction that they were a member of a violent criminal gang, unless you're reviewing the records you wouldn't have any way of knowing. i know, mr. chairman, my time is up. >> i know what a criminal record is. i don't know if i've ever heard
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the term trial record. >> let's use your word then, criminal record if you want to. but the problem with the criminal record is it doesn't always show all the details that was in the trial and if you don't know that, you won't know when they plead they were actually a member of a violent criminal gang or not. mr. chairman, with that i yield back. very concerning that you have a major priority and we don't even know the metrics as to whether or not it's working or not. thank you, mr. chairman. >> that would be a mischaracterization of what i said, sir. >> the time the gentleman has expire expired. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from texas ms. jackson lee for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. thank you for your testimony. to your colleagues i think i've said this before that i've said on the homeland security committee since the tragedy of 9/11. i think it's important to note that secretary johnson has made incredible advances in securing this nation. and i always say when we are apt to criticize the transportation security administration and other agencies within homeland
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security that we have faced challenges, but america has been made safer and more secure with the creation of this department. in particular let me thank secretary johnson for noting the decrease in the surge of unaccompanied children. but as well when a group of us went to visit kearns and dilly in san antonio and viewed circumstances that were unacceptable to us viewing children and mothers that the department was responsive. and we appreciate the decrease in population legally of mothers and children dealing with the unaccompanied circumstances. i think it is important to take note that this is a huge challenge in securing this nation. and so allow me to quickly -- and mr. speaker if you just say
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yes or no on the reasons, because i want to get to my real questions, but i want to say the p.e.p. program you have announced, would that have been a sizable intervention for the sheriff's department and other sanctuary cities to be able to respond to a circumstance like mr. sanchez? does this give them a greater latitude and remain their sanctuary city status? >> yes. >> and let me just say for my colleagues, a sanctuary city is not choosing of the secretary of homeland security, it is states rights, it is individual cities making their determination. i would offer to say and ask unanimous consent to put into the record and might i do this to my colleagues know my deepest sympathy to that family and i personally apologize to the family for this tragedy that has occurred in san francisco. none of us would want to counter that or to support that or to be supporters of comprehensive immigration reform and support that violent act. but i do think it's important to note that murderers in san
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francisco for example compared to cities of minneapolis and dallas of the same size those murders are 5.75 and indianapolis 15.17 and 11.39. over the years the homicides in san francisco has gone down. i don't necessarily want to condemn sanctuary cities but i do want to condemn the idea of communication. and i want to join with mayor ed lee who said could somebody simply pick up the phone. i'm looking at an order of activities here. and i see that i.c.e. sent a detainer on 3-27-2015. and my question to the law enforcement of that city it would not negate the sanctuary city authority to have simply picked up the phone and called i.c.e. to be able to say this individual who has a long criminal history is in our facilities. mr. secretary was that a possibility? in light of this horrible
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tragedy that we don't diminish could that have been a phone conversation to i.c.e. at that time? from the sheriff's department and not violate sanctuary city rules per se? >> my strong intent with the new p.e.p. program is that we have the type of cooperative relationship with local law enforcement such that such that we get notification before somebody is released. >> right. >> so we get there in time to pick them up when they are released. >> and they could also made a call at that time as well? >> yes. >> i won't get into warrants and orders, but they could have made a call. let me move quickly to this issue of violent extremism and just cite for you an article from the "new york times" that made it clear that since 9/11 there were 19 nonmuslim extremist attacks versus seven islamist militant attacks. we all know we're concerned
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about isil a cell in every state, but i am concerned as well about homeland security looking at violent extremism that are dealing with antigovernment feeling or racist feelings. i have every respect for opinion and speech that expresses hatred toward me because i'm an african-american, but not violence as evidenced by mother emanuel. can you explain what you will be doing about capturing those who engage in violent antiextreme antigovernment activities and of course racial violence that is rising as a perspective of domestic terrorism? >> well of course there's always the law enforcement approach to hate crime, to violence. our efforts across the department should be comprehensive in my view. i have personally spent a lot of time on cv engagements as you
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know, we attended one together in houston about a month ago. at the moment my priority has been focusing on communities that i believe are most vulnerable, at least some members of the community, to appeals from isil, al qaeda and other terrorist groups overseas. we're actively targeting individuals in these communities. and so i think we need to focus on communities that themselves have the ability to influence somebody who may be turning in the direction of violence. without a doubt there is the potential, the very real potential, of domestic acts of terrorism. i just went to oklahoma city for the 20th anniversary of the bombing there. in april. a program that counters domestic violent extremism,
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domestic-based violent extremism is in my judgment a little more complicate complicated. the terrorist threat to the homeland from overseas that i'm concerned about is one that is making active efforts to recruit people in response to isil's recruitment efforts. and so we've been, as you know, very focused on that. but i do agree with the spirit of your question that violent extremism in this country can exist in a lot of different forms, ma'am. >> let me thank you, mr. chairman may i add consent to include these two documents in the record? and may i just put one sentence on the record. thank you for your indulgence, mr. secretary i implore you to consider domestic terrorism. and i'd like to work with the department to seriously add that to its broad agenda. i think it would be a vital and important step forward. and let me thank you for your
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service. >> the time of the gentlewoman has expired. that was a long run-on sentence but we'll allow it. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> those two documents will be made part of the record and the chair now recognizes the gentleman from iowa mr. king. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. secretary, i also appreciate your testimony here. there we go. listening to testimony about i.c.e. detainers and -- pause for a minute here. can i have a clear path? thank you. listening for the moment about i.c.e. detainers, this first question occurs to me and that is, how long have we been operating under i.c.e. detainers when they were mandatory? do you know when the inception was? >> i.c.e. detainers go back a long way. >> '96? >> when i was a federal prosecutor 25 years ago we had immigration detainers. >> so they were mandatory for a long time. and how long has this been a problem? in your testimony you said in the last year 12,000 i.c.e.
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detainers were ignored or not responded to by local law enforcement. 12,000. is that indicative of a problem we've had over a 20-year period of time? or is that a short-term anomaly? >> i think that that number has been growing with the number of jurisdictions that have been passing ordinances and laws and signing executive orders that limited their ability to cooperate with us. so i suspect the number has been growing annually, sir. >> would it be perhaps in sync with a 2012 aclu, quote, fact sheet, that was sent to local law enforcement nationwide that said that i.c.e. detainers are not mandatory because no penalty existed? and they have this legal rationale reach if there's no penalty then there is no law to be enforced? are you familiar with that? >> i'm not familiar with that fact sheet sir, no. >> i would make sure you'll get a copy of that so you are. but february 25th of 2014, so can you tell me if that's about
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the date that the number of local jurisdictions ignoring the detainers began to accelerate? >> i do not know the answer to that question, sir. >> but we do know that the department has cooperated to some degree with i.c.e. -- excuse me with aclu. and i'm looking at a letter that was sent to a member of congress, member of this committee dated february 25th 2014, from u.s. immigrations, from i.c.e. says while immigration detainers are an important part of i.c.e.'s effort to remove criminal aliens in state local and federal custody, they are not mandatory as a matter of law. congress was informed february 25th that i.c.e. and your department was going to back away from detainers. and i'm listening to an i.c.e. spokesman tell the people they're trying to enforce the law in san francisco that it's all their sanctuary city policy not a policy that has to do with i.c.e.'s decision. so i would just raise this as a
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point that there are a whole series of jurisdictions that are culpable here. and i want to ask, have you sat down or do you have people in your department that have sat down and calculated the resources necessary to enforce all of the law? and i would express that in sync with rudy giuliani's former policy in new york, the broken windows policy, we arrest people that break the law as quickly as we can and enforce the law so that there is an expectation that it's a deterrent? to get to that point to restore the respect for immigration law, which has been damaged perhaps i still believe we can repair it, what would the calculation be for the resources necessary to accomplish such a thing? >> congressman you refer to restoring respect for immigration law -- >> let's just call it forward enforcement. >> that's exactly what i'm trying to do. >> and what resources do you need then to do that? you've got more beds than you're
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using, you've increased the number of officers, we've got a significantly fewer arrests taking place. that doesn't convince me there are fewer border crossings. if the order were issued to arrest half the people you were, that would be all that it would take to see those numbers go down. it's never been indicative to me to lower border crossings. >> i'm glad you asked that question, what resources do we need. i would like to see our immigration enforcement personnel put on a pay scale with other law enforcement personnel. as you probably know a lot of them are topped out at gs-9. one of our executive actions was to have pay reform for immigration enforcement personnel -- >> i'm happy to take that conversation up as i do believe we ought to be supportive as we can especially of the people that put their lives on the line. but they also want to do their job. and i want to make sure we have the foundation to get that done. and when you're asked the length of the fence, how long is the border? the southern border? >> how long is the southern border? >> yes.
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>> i believe it's 2,700 miles. >> i brought that up because i want to give you an opportunity to state that. it's actually very close to 2,000 miles, the estimates run just a bit under that. but i bring this up because i think it's important for this committee and for you and the public to consider what we're doing. we're spending $13 billion on our southern border to secure our border. that's the 50-mile line. when you add everything up. i don't know anybody else that even tracks that number. that comes out to be a little less than $6.6 million a mile. now, that might not be astonishing unless you think that about 25% of those that are attempting to cross the border actually are interdicted and many of them are released again maybe for five times, actually 27 times is the highest number that i see, we're building interstate highway across expensive iowa corn fields for $4 million a mile. that's two fences, that's grading, paving shouldering and signage and all the things necessary plus archaeological and environmental. if we can build interstate highway for $4 million a mile
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we could take a third of that budget down there in a matter of two years we'd have that whole thing fence, wall and fence we would have patrol roads in between two no-man lands zones. and by the way, if we do that these fences don't have prosecutorial discretion. they will be effective. the israelis is up to at least 99.something percent effective. they put $1.8 million a mile in theirs, they had 14,000 illegal crossings in one section cut it to 40. and so i think there's an economic equation that your department could bring forward and i'd be very happy to sit down and go through the numbers. i spent my life in the contracting business, and i think we could put a lot better application to these resources that are being used today. i thank you for your testimony. i yield back the balance of my time. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from tennessee mr. cohen recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. first i'd like to recognize and say hello to mr. johnson who is from the other great city in tennessee, which has the second
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best barbecue. but the greatest hbcu and one of the -- in the country where his father was actively involved. i want to follow-up on miss jackson lee's questions. we need to be concerned about threats from afar and recruitment of our people from afar and isis. but the fact is we've got more of a threat domestically to our lives than we do internationally. an article in the "new york times" just this past year june 16th, just this past month, cites the fact that since 9/11 an average of nine american muslims per year have been involved in an average of six terrorism-related plots against targets in the u.s. most were disrupted. but the 20 plots that were carried out accounted for 50
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fatalities over the past 13 and a half years. in contrast right wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11 causing 254 fatalities over five times as many as the muslim caused fatalities. this was according to a study by a professor at the united states military academy's combatting terrorism center. and that toll has increased since this study was released in 2012. so i ask you about our efforts to curtail domestic right wing extremists extremists. i believe that in 2011 there might have been a department that funding was cut or even abolished. do you have any -- is there any consideration that you've given to increasing funding and/or renewing that department? i think that the department of homeland security in 2009 the
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department disbanded the extreme extremism and homeland analysis division. do you think it would be appropriate to have that division recreated or reinstated? >> congressman, if you don't mind, let me answer it this way. we fund over $2 billion a year in grants to state and local law enforcement for homeland security slash public safety purposes of a lot of different stripes. so the first responder equipment that we fund is valuable whether it's a terrorist attack, a mass shooting incident motivated by whatever purpose so, for example, the boston marathon attack which is very definitely an act of terrorism, our first
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responders there were funded to a very large measure by my department even though they were local. and so our grant money goes to a lot of valuable things to promote public safety. we have active shooter training, for example -- >> i understand that and appreciate that, sir. but what i'm asking about is department had -- a department called the extremism and radicalization branch of the homeland analysis division and apparently that division was not reinstated. that's different than grants. that's something specifically looking at the internet and see if they can't ferret out some of these folks before they get their weapon and go to a church and commit a mass atrocity. have you considered reinstating such a division in light of the fact that the statistics are overwhelming that they are continuing to threaten our people? >> well i agree with the spirit of your question when it comes to the statistics. i would have to look into your
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specific question sir. >> i'd appreciate if you would. after charleston, the union of orthodox jewish congregations of america noted that we need as everybody i think would agree freedom of worship, we need freedom from fear. houses of worship need to be safe. the national security grant program provides grants to communities to buy surveillance equipment and shatter proof windows. much of that goes and has been going and i'm pleased it has been going to jewish organizations and synagogues which have been targeted over the years with threats. but now that we see in the south in particular and we've seen it over the years but a rash recently of attacks on african-american churches. can your department look into requesting an increase in funding so they can cover african-american churches that are also threatened in this day and time? >> we can, sir. i just met with officials of the american jewish committee last
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week who are very complementary of the relationship that we have with the jewish community in this regard. as i think i mentioned to you, congressman, my great-grandfather was a baptist preacher in southwest virginia near roanoke little town on the virginia-tennessee line called bristol. and back in the turn of the century 115 years ago a lot of that being a baptist preacher in that part of the world meant breaking up the occasional lynching attempt. so i appreciate the importance of your question, sir. >> and i appreciate your service. thank you, sir. i yield back. >> chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman from arizona mr. king for five
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minutes -- i mean mr. franks for five minutes. >> you've insulted both of us mr. chairman. thank you, sir. secretary johnson, a report from the national academy of sciences places, quote, an estimate of $1 to $2 trillion during the first year alone for the societal and economic costs of a severe geo geomagnetic storm scenario with recovery time up to ten years. another report stated between 20 and 40 million people in america are at risk of extended outages for up to one to two years in duration. and i can read you excerpts of 11 major government reports that all share very similar findings for hours here as you know. and yet the federal government has really done next to nothing to help protect the electric grid. i just would remind you last year you testified it was the main responsibility of the national programs and
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protections protections directorate to protect the electric grid. so i'd like to ask you what is being done today at dhs to protect the grid from geo geomagnetic disturbance or from weaponized electromagnetic pulse? and do you support legislative efforts like the critical infrastructure protection act now come out of the homeland security committee to actually focus on this threat and act upon it? >> in general, sir, i'm very supportive of the efforts being made. i know that the threat you mentioned is one we study and evaluate. i'm happy to get back to you more specifically for the record an answer to what detailed steps we are taking and how we regard this particular threat, sir. >> well, i appreciate that. i hope that you would take a special look at the critical infrastructure protection act. it's going to be entirely within your purview to respond to it.
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i think it's something you'll probably support. i sort of changed the subject there, but i have to get back to the subject now of the constitution. i have the privilege here of chairing the constitution subcommittee, and so that's part of the predicate. article 1, section 8, calls for, of the constitution provides that the congress shall have power to, quote establish a uniform rule of naturalization and grants congress power over immigration policies. that's very, very very clear. aren't your administrative actions and your agency's administrative actions to examine millions of unlawful and criminal aliens of any enforcement use of congress constitutional role? >> inherent in the enforcement of any law, sir, is the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
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that's what we do in the enforcement of our laws. that's what the department of justice does. and that's what multiple other agencies do. >> well in all due deference to you, prosecutorial discretion is one thing. the suspension of the law is another. and i will probably leave it right there, mr. chairman. >> chair thanks the gentleman. recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is a hearing where republicans are arguing that the administration is not enforcing the immigration laws and that this is leading to increased crime crime, exhibit a, the murder of ms. steinle in san francisco. and that event happened within the last two weeks. and i am really impressed with the speed by which this
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committee has sprung into action to bring this issue before a hearing. you know i mean, and then going to take advantage of it for political purposes is basically what's happening. however, something like the flying of confederate battle flags in national park spaces something that is assailant, germane and they want to put that off to a committee for a study or for a hearing that will never be held. so it's politics what we're playing up here, secretary johnson, i appreciate your service by the way. what we have is a situation where ms. steinle was allegedly
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murdered by mr. juan francisco lopez sanchez who had been in federal custody for about six years on an illegal -- on a felony illegal entry into the u.s. i.c.e. had a hold on him so that when he was released from the bureau of prisons he would go into i.c.e. custody for deportation again. however, i.c.e. also has a policy that when a local jurisdiction has an active warrant against an individual then i.c.e. yields to that local authority holding that warrant. and that local authority, san francisco county in this case decided to pursue its warrant. so it took custody of mr.
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sanchez -- mr. lopez sanchez. and after they took custody of him, i.c.e. had a warrant or a detainer launched against mr. lopez sanchez so that when san francisco finished its prosecution then it would turn mr. lopez sanchez back over to i.c.e. for deportation. and then what happened was after mr. lopez sanchez was in the custody of san francisco county the authorities there decided not to prosecute him. which meant that he was eligible for release. and ideally it would have been to i.c.e. which had the detainer in place. however, due to its local politics san francisco county
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had a situation, a sanctuary policy, where they just did not honor those warrants. and so it was not -- so i go through that to say that it was not the fault of i.c.e. or it was not a breakdown in federal immigration enforcement that resulted in -- that resulted in kathrine steinle's murder allegedly by mr. lopez sanchez. it was not the fault of your department although they're trying to make it appear to be that way. and in fact under this president there have been -- this president is now known as the deporter in chief. why is that mr. johnson? is it because over 2 million people have been deported under his presidency?
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which is more than were deported under the previous administration in eight years with 17 months left on this term. is that the reason why he's known as the deporter in chief? >> well, let me answer -- let me say two things sir. one, as i have mention eded, i believe it is important that we focus our deportation resources on threats to public safety. and with our new policy i believe we are doing that increasingly. so a higher percentage of those in immigration detention today than used to be the case are those who are in my top two priorities for removal. 76% of those in immigration detention today are in my top priority for removal the felons, those apprehended at the border. so i want to focus our resources
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on threats to public safety. and i know the president supports that. and he shares that view. the other thing i'll say in response to your question sir is as i mentioned earlier i think we need to evaluate carefully whether it is appropriate in every case for a criminal warrant to be a priority over an immigration detainer. there may need to be some additional flexibility and discretion built into that. so i want to evaluate any such policy. >> thank you. and i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chair would now recognize the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan. >> thank the chairman secretary johnson, on november 20th 2014, the president issued his now somewhat famous executive order. you did a memo regarding daca and deferred action, you recall that, mr. johnson? >> yes, sir. >> all right.
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and in february 16th of this year judge hanen has a ruling that blocks the action of the president and the action outlined in your memo correct? >> yes, sir. >> and during the hearing in front of mr. hanen, judge hanen's court, january 15th 2015, your counsel represented to the court quote, no applications for revised daca would be accepted until the 18th of february 2015, is that correct, mr. johnson? >> i don't know exactly what the kal colloquy was, sir. >> regardless of what it was, the representation that no application would be, for revised data, would be accepted until the 18th of february that turned out to be wrong is that accurate, mr. johnson? >> well in fact -- >> that representation that was made in front of the court was not accurate? >> like i said, i don't know the exact colloquy. i do know that in november we
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began issuing three-year renewals consistent with the policy, it was on the face of the policy. >> let me read what the -- what judge hanen said because your counsel actually filed an advisory with the court clarifying saying that even though you said you would not accept applications, and they would not be revised they in fact were up to 100,000. and here's what the advisory -- you advised the court. and here's what the judge said, the court expects all parties including the government of the united states to act in a forthright manner and not hide behind deceptive representations and half-truths. that is why the court is extremely troubled by the multiple representations made by the government's counsel both in writing and orally that no action would be taken pursuant to the 2014 dhs directive until february 18th 2015. so here's what i want to understand. you said you weren't going to
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issue, but you'd already issued 100,000 three-year deferrals. you had to go tell the court oh, what we told you in the earlier hearing wasn't in fact true. when did you know, as the head of this agency, the head of this department, that the representation made to judge hanen and to the court was in fact not accurate? >> well i definitely know that this is an issue for the judge. that he's very troubled about. >> that's not my question. when did you know what you had told the court, your counsel had told the court, when did you personally know as the head of the agency, that it wasn't accurate? did you know when they said it? did you know clear back in january when they had the hearing that what they were conveying to the court wasn't true? >> no. i do not know when they said it. >> so when did you learn? >> some time around -- some time shortly -- i don't have the exact timeframe, but some time in early march i became aware that this was an issue. >> and who told you? >> i don't recall, sir.
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and wanted to be sure that we promptly advised the court of this issue. and we did. i will say also that the fact that we began began issuing three-year renewals was on the face of the policy which was in the record of the court. i know this is an issue and i know the judge is troubled by it -- >> he's not troubled by it he said it was half trues, deceptive representation and he is extremely troubled by it and those are his words not mine. when a judge says that, that you falsely represented something in the court and you later learned you did that and then convey it to them. i want to know when you learned and how long after you learned did you convey it to the court. >> i've already answered that question. >> but when you learned did you convey it that day or did you wait a couple of days when did you convey it. >> it could have by the same day, two days i don't know. >> do you know what day you
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advised the court that you have misrepresented the facts to the court. do you know what day you sent the advisory? >> i don't know when the advisory was filed. >> march 3rd, 2015. >> i was going to say, i knew it was in early march. >> do you know what else happened on march 3rd, 2015. >> a lot of things sir. >> well relative to your agency. do you know what happened that day. >> refresh my recollection. >> we were having a funding debate in congress for your agency. so the same day you decide to tell the court oh, by the way we lied to you back when we didn't give you the facts earlier on. doan you think it would have been nice if the congress, during that heated debate in fact i remember, you secretary you were on tv that entire weekend, that march 1st, march 2nd, that entire weekend you were talking about if this bill doesn't get done -- >> you have your -- >> no, hang on. the sky is going to fall. it would have been nice if you
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would have told the congress and the american people, oh by the way, we misrepresented the facts to the court dealing with this issue. but you send the advisory the same day -- the same day that we pass the bill, would have been nice if we had that information before the date we voted on this and went on record. >> there are so many things wrong with that question. i do not have 37 seconds to answer it. >> well let me do this -- mr. chairman if i could real quick. march 3rd you file the advisory. right. march 3rd you file the advisory. march 3rd the dhs bill passes. is that a coincidence. >> gentleman is out of time but i'll allow the secretary to answer the question. >> first of all, my recollection was i was on the sunday shows earlier in the month of february, so that doesn't work, okay. second -- >> that is why i would like to know when you found out. >> i don't recall exactly when in the course of the day the funding bill was passed and i
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really don't think one has anything to do with the other. i knew this was an issue. i found out about it in early march -- >> it was important enough to advise the court and might be important enough to let congress know about this is the central issue of the debate by the way our counsel didn't represent the facts to the court and that is an important element for the congress and the american people to know in the course of the fundamental debate we were having. you don't think it is important to know that. >> the gentleman is out of time this time and i'm going to allow you to respond and then i need to go to my chu from california. >> i do not believe one has anything to do with the other. i do not recall whether congress voted for our funding on march 3rd or march 4th. i tend to think but i don't have the calendar in front of me that it was on march 4th. so that is my recollection. i was intensely interested obviously in the debate going on
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in this congress about funding our department so that i wasn't going to have to furlough a whole lot of people. so my recollection is that it passed the congress on march 4th but i could be wrong. but i don't have a calendar in front of me. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair will recognize the gentle lady from california miss chu. >> secretary johnson i was one of the eight congress members that visited the carnes detention center and i was horrified by the detection center and i thank you by re-evaluated the detention center and i.c.e. will not detain families for credible or reasonable fear. it is a huge step forward and i hope it will bring our policies in line with our internet obligation to protect those fleeing persecution. the families i spoke with when i was there were not criminals they were victims escaping extreme violence. i heard from a mother from
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honduras whose son and daughter were forced into the drug cartels. she was raped and her 15-year-old daughter. they skyped and ended up in the de -- they escaped and ended up in the decent center -- detention center for months. she was given a $10,000 bond obligation which made her desperate because she couldn't afford it and it might have been a million dollars because it was unattainable and her daughter in reaction had to be taken to the medical unit for wanting to commit suicide. it is my hope that new policy will mean that families like this will no longer be detained and subject to such bonds. can you describe how the agency will implement this new policy and how long do you expect the review to take? >> well much of the reforms that we announced and that i directed have -- are underway already in terms of the review
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of the cases the older cases, that review has already br undertaken and it has produced results. in terms of the new bond policy, i believe also that policy has, in fact, been implemented and is underway. the review that director saldana directed of the facilities themselves, the advisory committee, i would have to get back to you in terms of the exact status of that. >> in fact -- >> thank you also for visiting the facility and meeting with me after you did so. >> thank you. in fact, i wanted to get more clarity on bonds for the families. will i.c.e. continue using bonds for these families and how will you work to ensure that these bonds remain reasonable for them? >> well i've directed this they be realistic and be reasonable and i've asked that i receive regular reports on what the bond levels are and i know that
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i.c.e. is developing -- if they haven't already developed, criteria for setting bonds at a consistent and affordable rate. when i was -- when i was at one of these facilities, i was struck by the number of people who were there who had a bond set but they were not able to produce the cash. and so this is one of the things that i want to be sure we set at a realistic rate. >> i also wanted to ask about a different detention center that is adel anto detention center in california. there are numerous reports documenting care by detainees. it is run by a private company called gio group and we know of their failure to provide adequate medical care resulted in the death of one detainee mr. fernando dominguez who was detained for five years and died
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of in testinal cancer several days after he was rushed to the hospital with unusual bleeding. this facility has been expanded by 640 beds and it is of concern considering the history of medical neglect. so mr. secretary, what is i.c.e. doing to ensure that the private companies it contracts with provides adequate medical care and abides by the i.c.e. performance-based national detention standards. >> this is a priority and a focus of mine and i believe it is a priority and a focus of director saldana. i've heard concerns raised by private contractors running detention facilities and i want to be sure that we get this right both with respect to the conditions and with respect to clarity about lines of authority and responsibility. so when you have a private contractor in the mix, who is responsible day-to-day to ensure
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the conditions of confinement. and so it is something that we're looking into and something i'm very interested in. >> thank you. and i yield back. >> gentle lady yields back. the chair will recognize the chair from pennsylvania mr. moreno. >> thank you chairman. good afternoon. >> good afternoon. >> mr. secretary i first -- as a former u.s. attorney realized the complications with local law enforcement entities. it can be quite chaotic but i'm disappointed in the administration in the way it is not directly handling sanctuary cities. i think the agency can have a much bigger impact as it has in other areas to force sanctuary cities to be in contact with city. i have worked with i.c.e. for a
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great deal of time. i think they are some of the best agents we have in the federal system and i do agree with your position on the pay. but i put most of the blame on sanctuary cities at this point but i put part of the blame on homeland because of the void between the detainer and a warrant. and know in some situations a warrant may not be applicable but give me in insight on how you see or what directive you can give to sanctuary cities in particular of letting i.c.e. know when an illegal individual an illegal person that is in this country is being released from any facility do you have anything on mind at this point? >> well if it is something that we

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