tv Immigration Border Security CSPAN April 21, 2018 4:01am-5:03am EDT
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subcommittee on national security will come to order without objection, the member of the chair is authorized to declare recess at any time. over the course of 2 1/2 weeks we have heard news of the southern border. we're here to discuss the arise of the an niche callish called . people are taken credit for organizing the effort, they plan to provide humanitarian aid to refugees and what they're doing now is undermining the rule of law. ten years now the group afforded -- through mexico encouraging many to continue to the united states to take advantage of asylum laws. this year they draw their biggest crowd yet, more than
1200 people. there are similarities to what we experienced in 2014 when wavers of under companied minors and mothers with young children streamed across the border. president trump called out the mexican government's failure to step up and do their part to accommodate these refugees. mexico has der elected its duty. mexico contends to thelet these caravan mass through and be our problem. no anymore. we saw in response was the consistency or conviction of president trump's administration, of course who accompanied on building a wall and it backs the brave men and women of i.c.e. and border patrol and law enforcement every where who are working hard. it took courage to -- like the
previous administration, as commander and chief, the president has every right to take meaningful measures to protect our way of life. maintain the integrity of our borders and safe guard our immigration system. we all know the national guard cannot serve in its capacity. and when we take a hard look of what our existing laws and capabilities are and be honest about whack be done to not only enhance border security but increase the immigration going forward. the caravan helped the trump administration identify its vulnerabilities and provided us with an opportunity to conduct much needed oversight of key immigration loopholes. reminds us of how poorly guarded our border still is. we also see how eliciting activity in one direction we may be leaving a gaping hole for cartels and gangs to pass through in another. there are promising actions that can be taken to get a handle on
this. the trump administration could follow the president's first executive order and interpret the wilbur act. the abuse of the asylum laws, both the department of homeland court and justice should send alie sum officers directly to the border to immediately hold the rapid fire field hearing and conclude that folks trying to abuse the asylum laws are in fact ineligible and then allowing them to be placed and expedited deportation. article 2 of the constitution and the delegated authority given to the president by the congress to keep anyone who has not already entered or even override refugee asylum to determine what's in our best interest. when you have criminals, drug traffickers, this clearly fits this description. congress is apart of any effort to tighten immigration statutes,
must limit at least the power of the lower courts to block expedited deportation or denial of entry wen there's a primi facie of a claim of being a u.s. citizen. i'm glad to introduce our panel of experts here to shed liegtd on this issue. mr. brandon jud is here to speak on behalf of the border patrol agents in his capacity as the president of the national border patrol counsel. cornell steven mckrau serves as public safety which oversees 13 justices. we also have the horizontal art author former immigration judge and studies. lastly we welcome mr. michael breem from the truman center. i'd like to note we also invited the u.s. border patrol to be
here today and they chose not to send a witness to testify on the matter. i'd like to thank the members who joined us today. look forward to their testimony. we will be maintaining order in the hearing room so i thank you and yellield to my ranking memb. the gentleman from massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you and welcome our witnesses today. thank you for helping this committee with its work. as evidence of the bipartisan, on bus appropriate bill that passed last month there are members on both sides of the aisle who look forward to helping in the abilities and -- this agreement which i supported, i voted for provide a total of $14 billion for customs and border protection. including $4.4 billion for cpp, customs and border patrol in
security operations. and $3.7 billion for u.s. border patrol training,.com, assets and other activities. it also makes funding available for the hiring of 351 border patrol agents and officers. while the bill is not a protective bill i believe pit does rent a meaningful step toward enhancing our border security. it is impairment that the government uses these and other sources provided by the agreement in a wise fashion. in the interest of national security, policies designed to secure or border against terrorism, criminal networks and other activities cannot be based on misinformation, or derived from tweets. rather, the strong of our border security frame work is depended
on our development through bipartisan consideration and grounded entirely in fact. to this end they must also be untaken in -- as far as national respect to the fundamental principle of america in the nation immigrants. if view of all these considerations it's important to review president trump's recent decision to order deployment of up to 4,000 national guard personnel to the u.s. mexican border. clearly this decision is not unprecedented, both presidents george w. bush and president obama previously invoked so-called title 32 deployment to temporarily deploy unites.
-- over 460,000 apprehensions in 2010. in 2017, the agency recorded, quote, the lowest level of illegal cross board immigration on record and pleasured by op he thinks. and inadmissible and counters as u.s. ports of country, close quote. the approximate 310,000 arrests for illegal border acrosses report in 2017 represents the lowest apprehension figure since 1971. 46 years ago. the president has stated, quote, we're looking from 2,000 to 4,000 and we'll probably keep them or a large portion of them until such time as we get the law, close quote. given that congress has not
authorized funding for the entirety of the president's desire border wall and absent further clarification of the president's tweet, the deployment of our national guard units to the border seem to be permanent in duration to this point. according to the independent government accountability office the collected cost of the two previous national guard exceeded $1.35 billion under president bush and obama. it's important for the president to know what military needed to reduce program funding for this operation. in order for this committee to examine the merits of the president's action, today ranking members congress and i join members from the house, services and judiciary committees in requesting your
documents for the department for the defense and homeland security, purr takening to the rationale behind the announcement of deploying national guard troops to the border, as well as specific activities. this includes any memoranda understanding the administration has negotiated with relevant states and the national guard bureau. along these lines it would have been very helpful for us to hear from the department of defense and department of home lan security in tonight's hearing as we continue to -- that we could take to better secure our borders in the balancing and sustainable way. so thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to discussing these issues with our witnesses and i yield back the balance of our time. >> gentleman yields back.
the honorable art author, and mr. michael breem, presidency of the truman center. as you can see there's an empty chair for a witness of the border patrol. all witnesses will be sworn in before they testify so if you could all please stand. and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that the testimony you're about to give & truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? please will seated. all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time for discussion lim your testimony to five minutes. your entire written statement will be admitted into the record. the clock in front of you shows
your time during the opening statement. the light will turn yellow when the time is going, red when your time is up. we'll recognize mr. judd for five minutes. >> chairman, ranging member and subcommittee, i'd like to thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i want to discuss with you the issues of border security and the magnets that draw people across our border legally. this is not limited to the catch and release program, manpower and agents. the catch and release was something termed by border agents years ago. it was for persons captured by the border legally and released into the united states on their own personal recog sents. most immigrants are released with a promise to appear before a judge at a later date yet to be determined. due to an extensive back lock of
case it is date is at least two years from the time of release but it might as well be 10, 15 or 20 years. the vast majority of these individuals never appear before a judge as ordered. they disappear into the shadows of society. on january 25th, 2017, president donald trump signed the border security and immigration improving executive order. its intent was to implement new policies designed to steal immigration. in support, john kelly issued implement tags directs by memoranda do all car corresponding heads catch the release policy should be ended immediately. it was not ended, in november 2017, both field officers for texas and el paso send e-mail messages to texas border saying in part, i have directed my
staff to not set any policy for family units that are not processed to mc as. the privilege not -- my position may change subsequent to discussions with hq. for now, ero in san antonio and el paso position is we will not process cases like s oa. by processing illegal border crossers we continue to catch and release program and send a clear message to cartel that we are not clear with following through with the president and executive orders. cartel continue to exploit our policy, specifically catch and release. they put large people across the border illegally. in an effort to create gaps in our coverage, but creating gaps, criminal cartels are able to
across higher value con band such as opioids and other narcotics without detection, apprehension or seizure. by continuing policies like catch and release we are putting innocent people, like women and children into the hands of dangerous enterprises. the biggest issue we face right now to securing our border is manpower. we are currently 2,000 agents below our floor of 3,270 agents. retention, recruitment and the use of agents is what we lack. the national border patrol agency also use the -- one that will improve our urgent retention criminal case crisis. it will we address these issues we will not be able to secure the border. along with the catch and release
policy securing our border -- the washington times accomplished an order highlighting gross mismanagement in the border patrol station. 700 agents are signed to the station and when annual leaves, sick leaves and days off duty are calculated there are 400 agents that show up to work on any given day. of those on duty, only around 50 are deployed to the border. that's unacceptable. this is well below par for a station that controls approximately 60 miles of the border and is the busiest station in the country. the federal government's decision to devote only 12% of the work force to perform the duties they were hired to perform is- on me but for the sake of border security is highly unjuvl. if you are angry about this you
should be. it is my hope that the members of this committee recognize that this and exercise their oversight responsibility to hold border patrol amount accountable. i want to thank you for this opportunity of testifying and i look forward to answering any of your questions. >> thank you. kernel you're up. >> chairman, members, i have my written testimony soly not go into anything that i discussed. there are four things i would like to mention. first, obviously the texas/mexico border is unclear. the consequences as a public safety and national security threat, not just to texas but every community in the united states. ranking member you noted some of those thing in your comments, everyone is concerned about impact of criminal organization in their communities. we're all recognize we're concerned about fentanyl and
meth an fed mean. so, clearly it's the most significant as a ruvulnerable t face right now from a texas standpoint. from a stks standpoint we recognize it's a sovereign responsibility of the federal government to secure the border. if it doesn't happen it impacts our community. governor abbott in the state legislature in texas is not going to sit around and do nothing. they've allocated billions of dollars to support direct support u.s. border patrol. to deter, detect and inner detect smoking between the entry. it includes units we put in place and over a thousand troopers engaged in border activities. we have 13 aircraft including nine helicopters and four bored planes that are dedicated.
we have 42 texas rangers to establish and address public corruption. but also to work on occasion. we had to work on federal officers because they weren't -- at the federal level, they are now. those are the types of thing that are important to texans. as texas goes, so goes the nation. we recognize it could be done. it's not rocket science. mr. judd mentioned a few of those things that clearly would enhance or secure the border, without a question. so, those things is people, technology, infrastructure. the equipment and recourses that they need and there's no question that they could do it if they had that. because they don't have it, the department of public safety, state of texas are dedicating
resources time and energy to be able expense sate what they're doing. we've had them involved in border security operations from the beginning, we'll continue to do it. recently been able to plus up, they bring with them not just the u 8-72s but other equipment that they have to use. i'm sure i've used my time so i'll stop right now and move on. >> thank you, chairman. >> thank you. chair now recognizes mr. author for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch and gem of the subcommittee. thank you. >> make sure your mic's on. >> i should know that. a caravan organized by immigrant's rights group in the middle of march in 2017 had
drown more than a thousand people by the end of the month. this was the 8th year such caravan had been assembled but more notable because of a large number of participates. this caravan went through a number of issues, that is a short increase for a number of admissions reverses a downward trend that it be done in november of 2016. from 66,712 to october 16, illegals entering had dropped to 15,780 by april 2017. the numbers increased before it began to climb in the mid-30,000s. the numbers skyrocketed to 50,308 apprehended aliens.
if this continue it will be 60,000 in a year. this brought into focus some crucial loopholes and flaws in immigration law. in 1996 congress amended the law to expedite the movement of aliens entering illegally. these included a provision to allow aliens fleeing harm to avoid expedited removal by asserting fear of prosecution lieui lieu allowing them to apply for asylum. by 2013 the aliens applying for asylum climbed in number. 2016 there were 91,000 of
credible fear to get into the united states. the reasons for this including a lack of clear guidance and adjudicating asylum claim. the low standards lack evident area burden to make such a claim. most of the aliens in caravan should they come to the united states claim credible fear will likely be released. this is not the only flaw in our immigration laws however that renders our borders secure. the tvpra resulted in the release for the removals of tens of thousands of minors from countries other than mexico. most of them whom were never trafficked to begin with. this provided for thousands of other misdemeanors and their parents to trust their minors lives to smuggling and take to the united states. in floren versus reno included
the law that came into the united states with their parent should be released -- finally, 2008 expansion has provided a third of minors to enter the united states illegally and for parents to entrust their children to smugglers. most of the minors in the caravan will likely be processed and released into the united states if they decide to come here. the administration is taking steps to send the recent flow of illegal aliens, including united states, setting national guard troops to the border and establishing a zero tolerance policy for legal entry prosecutions. each of these evidence wieffort will fail to secure the border as long as these loopholes
exist. thank you. i look forward to your country. >> thank you. mr. breem five minutes. >> thank you. the situation under foreign border represent a drug policy problem, immigration policy problem, a series of legal problem, yew man they're problem, law enforcement problem and much beside. it's not tip definitively not a military problem. i respect the service and sacrifice of border progress agents, texas department of safety troopers and other law enforcement who guide our borders. i'm a third generation of law enforcement family. my dad was serving a state trooper who was in fort brag in 1997. so, we show military men and women a great deal of administration in this country but not frequently enough in law enforcement and their families. thank you that you guys do and all you represent.
ensuring our law enforcement agencies have the recourses they need must be a national priority and no question of border essential. fortunately we've been on the right track toward those goals over the past decades. we've tripled the budget since 2001. even as apprehensions dropped dramatically. a large portion of who were asylum seekers sought out border patrol agents rather than attempting to avoid them. there's much more important work to be done and it'll critical that we do it. these numbers report to success story to the nation and changes in the hemisphere. what these numbers do not point to and what we do not in fact face is a true crisis or emergency on the border. the challenges we face are addressed by strengthening the institute we have, not but using the military. nonetheless, president trump frequently speaks of the need
for a great wall across nearly 5,000 miles of southern border. he claims this wall will be paid for by the again of mexico, declined to do so. then he said it would be paid for by congress, and they declined. now the president's idea is to hold national guard at the border until he closes the wall, end point. the decisions likely to negatively impact redness for the national guard, do nothing to strength the border in the long run and little to protect security. essentially it comes down to readiness and cost. it's still unclear where the fund from this will come from but cost are likely to be in the
hundreds and millions. if that funds is from the limited defense, congress should ask for contact on the country's priority. there's also a cost to the national guard. guard who are standing duty, clearing brush,manning if anies doing other things on the border are not training with their team for emission, which is combat. that impact the national security as a whole. if we faced an actual emergency on the border those cost and risks would be worth incurring but considering this threat that prompted this hearing. a caravan of migrants who presented no serious national security threat to the united states in the first place and is now largely dissipated. only a fraction of 1200 travellers continuing their european where they attempt to present themselves at a port of
industry and seek alasylum. the national gourd uard is goin grow continually towards our military. ongoing wards in afghanistan, syria and iraq. counter terrorism in east africa, west africa and yemen. missions in the current gulf and peninsula where their border is more in danger than in any point in the korean war. secretary mass tis testifying down the hall, led by 15 -- of war. this is not a time to pull troops from -- there is much we can and should do to improve the situation on our southern border. the pulling of national guard in this matter right now is not one of those thing. thank you. and i look forward to your question. >> thank you. chair now recognizes himself for
five minutes. colonel mckrau when they had the border surge in 2014 was that something that was good or bad for the drug cartels? >> it's always good for the cartel it is they can overwhelm border patrol resources, that's what happened in 2014. it overwhelmed the border resources. the threat is more significant than i think some have led on to. when you think about mexican cartel that dominate the drug and smuggling market, they engage in trafficking people, you got trans gangs and agents. when you have our children recruited, all these thing result in a serious public safety threat. like i said before, not just mexico, what happens in texas/mexico border is something that happens throughout the nation. we saw that.
the border patrol agents were there were involved in activity, in the same way trying to deal with children and family units and could not put enough people in line. in texas, they get that point and time, they decide the leadership and state legislature decided to spend enough resources to connect and send troopers around, from around the state, maintain surge operations for 3 1/2 years until we can assign troopers down to that area. from a texas standpoint they've been pailing the bill thus far. the long-term solution's clearly invest in border patrol. right down to it, the patrol funk has never bumper valued, period. investigate function yes, but not the patrol function. they don't have the incentive bonuses or salary. they don't have the thing recruit -- they can readily recruit and compete with some of the other services at the
federal level. patrol is extremely important. unless you invest in it, you're not going to have the type of capability that you need. identify said it a number of occasions and not just here, border patrol can do it, they don't need texas to help them if they're given the proper resources to do it. if it's national guard right now we're all for it. anything you can, because we looked at it, every day matters. every day a community is impacted in texas. every day something goes on that's criminal, that's trans national crime that we have to deal with in texas. anything the federal government can do we're all for. >> mr. judd in terms of the cartel and bringing -- i think we're seeing in our country a huge problem with fentanyl and some opioids, these are street drugs. they're being brought in, a lot of it across the border, a lot of it originates in china. where is the majority of that coming in?
are these controlled access points? are they sneaking past the guards or are there parents of the border that's unsecure? >> most of it coming across is coming between the ports of entry because it's easy. if you go through a controlled environment you got kay ficanin handlers and all that. they force people to come illegally across the border, take our fields out of recourses, create a gap and process in the gaps they created. under those apprehensions we had in march only 13,000 was at the ports of entry. 38,000 was between the ports of entry. >> mr. author, in terms of asylum, how does it work? if somebody's living in a poor country where there's crime, can they come here and say, asay lum, or do they have to quaff
for certain types -- maybe they were persecuted on the basis of race or give us an idea of how it's working? >> to create asylum in the united states you have to show a fear of per cushion on behalf of race and -- four of those are easy to find. the fifth one, membership in a particular social group is vague in its interpretation. fortunately, general sessions has certified a case to himself which he will classify the parameters for claiming asylum. >> so, most of us believe that, you know there is a role for people who are being persecuted in the united states, does want to be a refuge for folks in that situation. but, if you're coming in because you want to better job
opportunity, or here using some other thing, isn't that the kind of run around, the legal immigration process where they should be applying to come here if they're not in any of those buckets that you're talking about? >> unfortunately. unfortunately it's worse than that. the bad claims take away from the good claims. they take away from the time the judge has to grant asylum. once granted asylum those immigration can petition to bring their families out of that dangerous situation. when the system gets clogged up with fraudulent or non-meritorious claim the system breaks down and that's what we're seeing out of our courts. >> thank you. i'm out of time. i'll recognize the ranking member for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first, i'd like to have in the record from amnesty regarding this hearing. >> without objections. >> thank you. as i noted earlier the omnibus
abortion bi aappropriation bill allocated $20 billion in border protection. that include a lot for security and hiring 351 additional border patrol agents. that bill did not anticipate moving 4,000 national guard to the border, that's a separate budget that's going to come off dod's account. secretary defense mattis recognized comptroller to quote, identify available funding to pay for the 4,000 national guard troops to be moved to the border. we still don't have an estimate how much the operation will cost but it will divert recourses from other military priorities. and, chairman mcthornberry, a texas native said, if you take
away money you can't do some of the things -- you take away money from the defense budget -- you can't do some of those thing you were trying to do like add pilots, repair ships, some of those other things. so, mr. brk reem, first of all thank you for your service to your country, we appreciate it. what do you think about pulling money from, as a core defense and combat training, activities and diverting, you know, 2,000 to 4,000 of our national guard, men and women to the border? what do you think about that move? >> it's a dangerous game we're playing and i think history indicates that all the way back to the task force and war. the cost of that can be very high when you get yourself into a fight. i agree with a great deal of what the kernel had to be, in
the sense that we do need to invest in these capabilities, but i think there's a great danger one policy makers reach for the military as a band-aid to solve problem in the other areas of government. the military can only do so many thing, it's been overstretched. the secretary of defense knows a few things opinion being in a fight, down the hal saying -- number one priority. he has no number two priority. he's identified critical our readiness needs in terms of the fors ability to go toe to toe with russia and other monetary rising our military. we've been tied down toe encounter -- and looking at everything we do and training and manning and equipping specifically to fight us. we've got to really catch up to
that. again, going back into history, tesla smith i think five years after world war 2. it doesn't take long. five years later, puts an source in the field against the second rate army is routed because investmented were made in that combat capability. the other thing i'd say is that it impacts the entire guard. it sounds like there's only 4,000 guardsmen. the guards need to fight as a brigade combat team. that's 5,000 soldier. when you start removing elements of that team for other tasks it degrades the team's time to train. so, this directly undermines those priorities. >> thank you.
and, i thank you all for your service to our country. thank you all. we've had a chance, member of this committee to go down, we went down to honduras, el salvador to look at the human trafficking down there, that are endeucing people to come up to the border. we've had an active role where we have got hezbollah on the ground. my concern is the efficiency about funding. is it better to try to divert money to the national guard or? i voted for this $14 billion for border patrol -- you know, enhance border security. is that a better way to address the challenge that we have or should we still try to make it up as we go along using our national guard folks to do a job
they necessarily weren't really -- they didn't sign up for, i guess ? >> the investment in the border patrol has to be there. so, we're not retaining our border patrol agents, we do have to have a stock gap. as far as our national guard, they're about put in situations like combat situations. they're sitting in observation post, which they would be required to do in the military in the event this a war was to take place. as a uniformed officer i'd work right now to my uniform national guard counter parts they feel the operation that they're doing -- >> my time is running short. all i'm saying is secretary mattis had other stuff for those folks to be doing rather than being sitting on the border. and i'm just worried about the orr priorities that are being ignored. but thank you. i appreciate it. i yield back. >> gentleman's time expired.
chair recognize it is gentleman from tennessee for five minutes. >> thank you, more champir. cha. when i was growing up, my family was in the poorest family in the u.s. they had ten kids and an outhouse and nothing more. all ten of those children end up doing real well but they all grew up in what would be considered better poverty today, starting with nothing. so, i've spoken many times at the nachlkization meetings and express my admiration for these people who come to this country with nothing, except desire to work and who have made good living for themselves. the american people are the most kindest generous people in the world and we have allowed far more immigration than any other country over the last 50 years or so than any other country, no
other country's come close. when i google the question of percentage of world population that lives on $10 a day or less, the fir thing that pops up says at least 80% of man live on less than $10 a day. almost half a world over $3 billion people live on $2.50 a day. they had similar articles like that. we all have tremendous symptom think for people living in poverty around the world. whether you talk about 3 billion people living with almost nothing, you can understand that we have no telling how many people who would come here tomorrow if they possibly could. so it seems to me we have to have some sort of legal orderly system of immigration and it has to be enforced.
if we didn't, our whole infrastructure, hospitals, jails, sewers, whole economy, we couldn't handle such a rapid influx as we have over the next three or four years if we simply opened our border and didn't enforce our immigration laws. i've heard for -- i'm now in my 30th year in the congress. every year since i've been here i've heard this figure, 11 million immigrants. i believe it has to be two or three times that many that are here, living here illegally, because i'm not near a border, but every place in the country is overrun, it seems to me with illegal immigrants. i just wonder, it's not being mean or cruel or harsh to say we have to have some of these immigration laws and it have to
be enforced. we have to do it, it seems to me unless we almost want to destroy this country economically. mr. judd, what do you think would happen if we did away with the border patrol and basically didn't -- just have no borders, open borders? >> well, just from my experience of the people who cross the border illegally now we'll have a massive influx of people coming across the border. i wish that my colleague from management was here to testify as well because they could tell you why we're allocating recourses where we're allocating them. if we were allocating them properly maybe we wouldn't need the national guard but we'll never know that because we didn't do it. >> well, i -- it seems to me that we've got to have stronger enforcement of our immigration laws for many many reasons. and, i -- i think almost all of
us, probable everybody at this table believer in illegal immigration and continue to allow many many people to immigrate here illegally. we just have a problem that we are forced to do something about. kerral do you want to say anything? or author? >> first, we have to break a relationship with u.s. border patrol, the leadership has worked very well with us along the border. it's a seamless operation, we understand in terms of important of integrating, in terms of air, marine, land operations and special operation groups, all of those thing are happening. we can use more agents to argument infrastructure in some of those areas. i want to give a clear indication to you and members that we do work very well with our federal partners and we're
proud to work with them, the u.s. border patrol. the brave men and women, they risk their lives daily to protect texas and the rest of this nation. i just wanted to get that on the record. our concerns is this, if the border is not secure you're opening it up to increase judge, criminal aliens, trans national gangs, some of the things you're seeing because the border's not security. no question it's an impact on public safety in texas. texas sheriffs will tell you that, this is a nonpartisan issue. this is a national security and public safety threat. this is nothing about politics, in terms of where the money comes from, way above my pay grade. how it happens, how border patrol gets the recourses they need to secure the ports of entry, that's above my pay grade. i'm sure you could figure it out if you wanted to. believe me, i can assure you from my discussions -- i got a
meeting in texas, they want to find out in the state standpoint. right now when the governor made it clear, we're not backing off an inch. we're not giving one inch to the cartels, the trans national gangs to support them. >> i certainly agree with you but my time is up. thank you very much. >> gentleman's time has expired. rex nice the gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for the witness else who showed up, for showing up. i appreciate that. i believe it is quite evident that the recent deployment of national guard troops to the southern border is hardly the result of carefully considered fact-based decisions. on april 1st, president trump manufactured a crisis on twitter and justified the deployment of national troops after watching fox news describe a caravan of central american migrants who entered the u.s. through the so-called catch and release. as with a lot of his tweets, there's plenty of misinformation
to impact. first, he appears to be claiming it is getting more dangerous due to a caravan of largely honduran asylum seekers fleeing violence, most of who are women and babies. is this also your understanding? >> yes, my understanding is the caravan is essentially asylum seekers fleeing and extremely triangle in central america. yes. >> do you agree this caravan of asylum seekers poses a national security threat? >> i have no reason to believe that, no. >> president trump also seemed to imply that the caravans were coming in part because of daca, the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. among other conditions, only individuals who have lived here in the u.s. since 2007 would be eligible. with that in mind, would it be possible for any new arrival from a caravan to be eligible
for daca? >> by definition, no, it would not. >> president trump's decision to send national guard troops to the border until a 2,000 mile wall is built is baffling from a policy. is constructing a border wall the most effective way to improve border security? >> i do not believe so, no. the wall would -- i mean basically every expert that looked at this, you can construct a physical fortification at great cost that will take a great period of time. you will have to use eminent domain a lot to do that, run through a lot of private property. major challenges there. in the absence of the kind of patrol and interdix resources the colonel is talking about all you have is an expensive wall people get over. to say nothing of the fact as border apprehensions are increasing the coast guard apprehensions at sea have been increasing at the same time. there are places you can put the $20 billion or whatever it costs from added capacity for
immigration courts, better resources for border patrol, but, no, i don't think the wall is an effective solution. >> also, mattis signed a memo that stated that the national guard will not perform law enforcement activities or interact with migrants. mr. breen, is that right? what would the national guard's role consist of and how effective would they be? >> that is correct. it is the right thing to do. it is worth noting this is title 32 situation, not a title 10 situation. so secretary mattis is not in position, as strange as it may sound, to directly issue guidance to the guard. that fall also to the governors. i definitely think it is the wisest course of action. what ends up happening, of course, is that in theory the national guard will do things like man towers and do other tasks so border patrol agents are free to go out. as mr. judd has already stated, border patrol has already got in some situations 75% of its man strength not patrolling already. so it is a little hard to see in
a management situation like that how you're not just going to have a lot of guys frankly standing around. >> i don't have much time, so one of the things i want to kind of point out and ask, because it was justified that the deployment of national guard troops based on catch-and-release and daca, does sending national guard troops to the border hang any policy you know of, catch-and-release or daca? >> no, not at all. >> so my point is that it seems that this policy was decided at a whim to send national guard to the border. i'm not saying it won't be necessary, but i would like to have something that is fact-based, something that is thought out, that is done with coordination and understands that there is a real crisis going on the border. if your justification is drug cartels, state it. don't make up another fact that kind of gives red meat to your base, right? that's what this president did,
is using something that's not correlated with what he's calling a crisis, because there's no crisis because of these asylum seekers, right? and it doesn't change policy at all. all you are doing is sending more troops to the border that are going to probably not produce the result of keeping away people who would be catch-and-release or daca recipients. so i just appreciate the time. in closing, i would like to enter a level from civil rights groups in california asking governor brown to reject the xenophobia driving the deployment of the national guard to our border. >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. mccall, i understand that your department is responsible in texas for maintaining the statewide sex offender registry, is that correct? okay. this is a little off topic i
understand, but it is a great concern to me, the threat that's been posed by convicted sex offenders who have entered this country illegally and under the previous administration, many of those individuals were released from i.c.e. custody without local law enforcement being notified and without ensuring that they were placed on the national sex offender registry. i realize a lot has been done within i.c.e. over the last couple of years and the law enforcement notification system, progress is being made. i understand that. i deeply appreciate that. i'm, likewise, very much concerned that we've still got a long ways to go with this. so it is my understanding, for example, that when i.c.e. enforcement and removal operations is scheduled to release an illegal alien who is required supposedly to register on the sex offender list, that
i.c.e. sends notification through the department of justice sorno, the exchange portal. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> okay. so when you receive this information, what kind of information is provided? what do you get from i.c.e.? for example, are you getting criminal histories, country of origin, fingerprints, aliases, what do you get? >> we are getting all of the information we need to be able to follow state law and follow-up also federal requirements so we can get them registered at that point in time. in fact, with i.c.e. ero we have actually done some operations with them to capture sex offenders that were criminal aliens here in texas that have been registered and have them deported. >> are you getting fingerprints? >> yes, sir, and i have no reason to know otherwise, if there's anything rather to that i'll get back to you. as i understand it right now we are getting all we need from i.c.e. ero on a situation like
that. >> i'm glad to hear that. if you would get back with me on what you do receive. >> yes, sir. >> i would like that. all right. so at this point in the process, is it then your department or i.c.e. that has the responsibility to ensure that local law enforcement knows about these individuals? >> we certainly do -- we go through the process, once they are registered in the texas registry because they live in texas, at that point we notify local agencies at that point. >> so i.c.e. hands the baton to you and at this point it is your responsibility? >> yes, sir. >> and texas is doing a good job notifying law enforcement locally and so forth. it is my understanding a lot of states are dropping the ball on that. are you aware of that? >> i'm not aware of what they're doing in other states. i just know that the governor and legislature won't stand for anything less than getting it done correctly. >> okay. it is my understanding that local law enforcement is unable, and certainly citizens likewise,
but local law enforcement is unable to access the doj sorna exchange portal. is that -- >> i'm not aware of that. i know they can access the texas sex offender registry. i know they have access to that. i can't tell you from the federal standpoint. >> okay. so that's where it becomes your responsibility to make sure they get it? >> yes, sir. >> because they're not able to, as i understand it, and i just want to make sure. so how can we better fix this whole process, improve the notification, the information-sharing process and this type of thing when it comes to sex offenders? >> again, you are looking at different states, different things. some of those things are laws, some things have taken a more proactive approach to the concern. in texas the legislature and governor have been very proactive and concerned about sex trafficking, whether it is international sex trafficking or we're seeing domestic sex trafficking by gangs. they've been very proactive in that area. >> listen, i want to thank you for your work with this.
i wanted to -- like i say, i know it is a little off topic, but it is still very much related to the overall topic because we're dealing with this stuff on a regular basis. i appreciate your expertise and what you do. i just want to make it known i'm willing to work and look forward to working with you, your department, any of you who are interested in helping find ways to close the gaps and insure safety of the american public in this regard. i appreciate your work in that regard. i'll yield back. >> sex trafficking is a problem, it clearly is. we'll get back to you if we have anything. >> gentleman yields back. i want to thank the witnesses again for appearing before us today. the hearing record will remain open for two weeks for any member to submit a written open statement or question for the record. if there's no further business, without objection the subcommittee on national security stands adjourned.
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