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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 30, 2014 5:00am-7:01am EDT

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subsequent hearing. so it seems to me that increasing that standard and doing it now would send worth to people if they truly are seeking political asylum in the united states, they should state that when they come to this country and be prepared to show that it at least is more likely than not that they have a case that deserves to go on to that final hearing rather than being rubber stamped through, as i would argue, they are being now. >> congressman, i would not necessarily adopt the view these claims are being rubber stamped through. on my third day in office, i sat in on a credible interview. i am a former prosecutor. i conducted probably thousands of interrogations myself. i was very favorably impressed actually by the quality of the interrogation that i saw, by the probing nature of the interrogation i saw. i do think these interviews are being conducted in an effective
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manner. that said, the legal standard to establish credible fear is obviously a threshold standard that only then qualifies the individual for later adjudication. >> those later adjudications are now riser to approval rates that approach 70%, which is, to my knowledge, much higher than it has been in previous years. >> and in acknowledging that concern, chairman, i look forward to a continuing conversation about this issue. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. time has expired and the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. would you discuss director rodriguez, the sheer numbers we are talking about? how many young people have come across our southwest border so
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far this year and last year and the year before? >> congressman, i apologize that as i sit before you, i can't tell you the specific numbers. certainly those numbers have grown over time. they remain essentially in the tens of thousands, but it is the fact that those numbers continue to grow. >> well, i have 50,000 for 2013, 25,000 for 2012, and even lesser number for 2011. does that figure in agreeably with your thoughts on this? >> my general understanding is that the trend until very recently was an upward trend. i think that trend has begun to level off. one thing i would notice i
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actually started reading latin american newspapers in honduras, guatemala and el salvador. spanish is actually my first language. there are increasingly stories in the media, one about individuals being returned, two about the fact daca offers no benefit to these individuals. and i think that and the marshalling of efforts by the government, specifically by my agency, appears possibly to have started to take some effect with individuals in central america. >> now, what about personnel? i mentioned just a handful of judges and so forth here. i don't think we can realistically on your 15th day
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in office ask you why we aren't doing more when i have some pretty low figures of personnel that you have. >> well, this is actually my fifth transition, congressman, into a new agency. and one of the key aspects of doing that is you need to be ready to drink from a fire hose, jump on 100 mile-an-hour train, chew gum and rub your head all at the same time. so i've been busy trying to do exactly that. what i do know is the agency has recognized this additional burden. it has added 150 asylum officers or is in the process of adding 150 asylum officers, noting the additional demands being placed on it, at least in part by the situation at the border.
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>> you were the lead attorney in united states versus flores, which involved enslavement of mexican and guatemalan nationals who had been smuggled from border areas in arizona to farms in south carolina and florida. what, if you can recall, did you get out of that experience and working with vulnerable populations, and how do you think it may positively affect your work as the direct or of this very important office that you hold now? united states citizenship and immigration services? >> thank you, congressman conyers for that question.
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customs was a career highlight for me. on many levels i have to tell you i was inspired by the stories of the victims that i met in that case. these were individuals very often from indigenous areas of guatemala. for many of them, spanish was a second language. their first language were indigenous dialects in those countries. these were strong, hard-working, really amazing individuals. the opportunity to vindicate their rights and to fight the victimization that had occurred to them was really an important career opportunity for me. it sensitized me to the fact human trafficking and labor exploitation are serious problems that particularly befall individuals who work in our shadow economy, as these individuals did. that certainly will influence, it will sensitize me to certain issues that uscis faces. >> i think your experiences have
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prepared you well for your responsibili responsibility. we want to work as closely as we can. this committee has a great concern about this challenge at our southwest border, and we'd like to stay in touch with you for your past two weeks and one day on the job. >> i look forward to a very fruitful relationship, congressman. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. conyers. the gentleman from north carolina is recognized for his questions. >> pleasure, mr. chairman. director rodriguez, good to have you with us this morning. mr. rodriguez, the bush administration required that certain employers such as federal contraries, those employing foreign students in the optical practical training program and others use e-verify. what plans do you have to expand mandatory e-verify use?
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>> right now there are obviously very limited segment of employers subject to mandatory e-verify. i have been pleased to say that the accuracy rate for e-verify is at a high level. and our ability to adjudicate temporary nonconfirmations appears to be very effective. employers who utilize e-verify report high level satisfaction with that system. our agency has prepared a report to this body which was delivered some time ago that talked about what would be required to move to universal mandatory e-verify as a capability that we could achieve. i look forward to a continuing conversation with how we get there. >> i thank you for that. how do you ensure that
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employers -- strike that. how do you ensure those employers required to use e-verify such as federal contractors and employers of students in the optical practical training program are, in fact, using the system? >> congressman, i will acknowledge that as part of the many things i'm trying to learn as i come on to the agency, i have not yet had the opportunity to brief on that specific issue. i certainly would look forward to following up with your office about the steps that we take to verify utilization by that particular portion of employers. >> if you would keep us current on that, i would appreciate. >> you can count on it, congressman. >> when will the uscis implement its programs to allow individuals to lock their social security numbers for work authorization purposes in an
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effort to prevent the number being used fraudulently to obtain employment or a job? >> i understand we have the capacity to lock social security numbers in those instances where we believe a social security number is being used fraudulently. i am not familiar with the ability of specific individuals to lock their own social security numbers. i imagine they can ask us to do it. again, that is an area i look forward to working with your office to get you the answers you need. >> thank you, sir. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott, is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, mr. rodriguez. about the present process. if we are going to shorten the wait period for determining status, obviously we have to hire more personnel. who do we need to hire and how much would it cost to significantly reduce the time
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for hearings? >> i am in the process right now of reviewing various issues related to wait time. i do know that there was a time when, for example, the family petiti petition where the wait times for those had been unacceptably long. the agency has been able to restore the wait times to five months, a more acceptable time frame. i am going to continue as part of my transition into the agency to look at this issue of wait times to ensure that we are moving as efficiently as possible. it's important to note that we are a fee-funded agency. there are pressures on us from all sides to do all kinds of things with our fees. we need to live within our budget is the bottom line. we are going to continue to look at how we operate most efficiently, deliver the highest level of customer service within
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the fee structure that we have. >> you mentioned five months. what is your goal? is there any way you can get down to a couple of days? >> the goal for those is about five months. i'm not sure we would ever be in a position to get it down to a couple of days for those family petition. there are other categories we are able to process far more quickly. in some cases we are required by law, actually, to process benefits more quickly. that is, that goal really represents over time what has been seen as the target time for adjudication of those particular benefits. >> the people are entitled to attorneys at their own expense, i understand in many cases there are pro bono attorneys available, is that true? >> i have no doubt that there are pro bono attorneys who are available to assist people with various aspects, various
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immigration issues. >> what do lawyers typically charge for these cases when they are payed? >> i don't know, congressman. i imagine actually that there is probably just having been a former private practice lawyer myself, i imagine there is a wide variety of what lawyers may cost in this particular field. >> if someone is deported, where do they go? >> i'm sorry? >> where do they go? [ no audio ] >> your mic is not on. director rodriguez, your mic is not on. you might want to repeat that last sentence. >> sorry. my agency, of course, congressman, does not handle deportations and an enforcement and removal. i did have some bit of
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experience as a private practice lawyer with the removal process. this can vary a lot. my understanding generally is people are in detention in some cases, and at some point they are sent back generally flown back to their country of origin. honestly, because it's not what my agency does, i'm not fully familiar with that process. >> we had an influx of young children coming to our borders. have other countries experienced similar influxes? >> i am at least aware that mexico has had its own influx driven by many of the same factors as the individuals coming to our country. i am not fully familiar where else those individuals might be going. >> mr. chairman, i yield the balance of my time to the gentle lady of california. >> thank you, mr. scott. i have just a couple of -- i have many questions, but i wanted to address the issue of
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in absentia rates. oftentimes we hear compliance that the unaccompanied children don't show up for the immigration hearings. in fact, i heard some of my colleagues across the aisle say 90% of the kids do not show up. politifact ruled that claim false. most recently the department of justice testified before the senate that a little bit of half the kids show up, but we now have a complete picture because the american immigration council analyzed the raw immigration court data made public by the transactional records access clearinghouse. they looked at every single case of juveniles appearing in immigration court beginning in 2005 through june of this year. looking at only closed cases of children not detained, over 60% of the children appeared in immigration court. here is an important data point.
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when the child has a lawyer, 92. >> paula: 5% of those children appeared in court. it never dipped below 89% in any fiscal year. i would like to ask unanimous consent to put into the record the analysis prepared by the immigration policy center indicating this very high appearance rate. >> without objection, the analysis will be made a part of the record. the gentleman from virginia's time is expired. i recognize myself for questions. director rodriguez, last thursday "the new york times" reported on a leaked dhs memo laying out a program to allow individuals in honduras who are not eligible for refugee status to be paroled in the united states. as you know, historically parole has been used in very rare instances on a case by case basis for temporary admittance for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. your own website notices that parole, "is used sparingly to
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bring someone who is otherwise inadmissible into the united states for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency." since the uscis grants parole, would you tell the committee how such a program intended for a large group of individuals would not be an illegitimate expansion of authority. we use parole for individuals not being persecuted. why isn't that a violation of current law? >> first of all, i think it's important to underscore in this area, as well, no decisions have been made. secretary johnson, my colleagues throughout dhs recognize the significance, the importance of dealing -- >> would you agree that if such were to occur it would be unprecedented? >> i would not be able to say. >> give me an example where there is a precedent for such type of action. >> again, i think the main thing
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is any parole program or any other sort of program would need to be of certain criteria. >> assuming the leaked memo is accurate, we never had a program where individuals in another country have been able to take advantage of the system as the president presumably or you have proposed. i can't think of any president. again, can you think of any president? >> i could not specifically tell you whether there is or is not a precedent at this point. i underscore no decisions have been made. i will say we are working very hard throughout dhs to find solutions to what we all agree is a significant issue being presented at our border. >> if there is a precedent, we would like to know it. i assume since you can't think of one there is not. even the uscis union has stated that uscis adjudicators are being pressured to, quote, get to yes, on petition and applications for immigration
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benefits. don't you agree that any uscis emphasis on adjudicators having to meet quotas, numbers of applications add ju s adjudicat day undermine the integrity about the issues you seem concerned in your opening testimony? >> interestingly enough, as many individuals told me there is a culture of getting to yes, i heard other individuals saying there is a culture getting to no. let me suggest that the culture we need to have and the culture i have observed is a culture of getting to the right answer. >> are you aware of any pressure on the adjudicators to try to get to an affirmative answer? >> i am aware those allegations have been made. >> i know, but are you aware of any incidents where that occurred? >> i am not aware of any specific incidents where that occurred. >> let me go to the program already mentioned several times today that was unilaterally instituted by the president two years ago, that has allowed
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almost 600,000 individuals to stay in this country who were previously in an illegal status. among the documents that could be proffered by these individuals to show they were eligible for the program or educational records, employment records and military records. what i would like to ask you is how often does uscis actually verify whether the educational records or military records or employment records submitted are actually valid and are not an indication of fraud? >> congressman, i would not be able to give you a specific percentage as to when that occurs. what i would be able to tell you is that it is my understand based on my initial review of how our agency operates that extensive training is given to our adjudicators. >> i understand that. if you are not going to verify
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the record and just take them at face value, that's an open invitation to a lot of individuals to apply for the legalization program, and have pretty good confidence they are going to be approved whether eligible or not. >> well, our people are trained to look for indicators of fraud. >> right. why wouldn't you be able to give us an estimate as to how many out of 100 applications would be verified? >> i'm not able to. i'm not sure we studied that in that way. it is the sense that i get from the staff that does this work that their judgment is that most of these documents are, in fact, valid and authentic. >> thank you, director rodriguez. that cone includes my questions. the gentleman from california, miss lofgren is recognized for hers. >> thank you. i want to ask a little bit about how we are doing the credible
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fear interviews for families detained? it is my understanding the committee staff requested data involving the positive and negative and we don't have that yet. you don't have it either, but we are looking forward to receiving that. here are some of the concerns that have been relayed to me. recent news reports indicate there was a 9-year-old boy from guatemala who threatened to commit suicide while he was there if he was deported, but that he was sent back any how. that there are other instances where families were put on a plane and actually then were taken off when staff were able to provide information they would be killed if they were returned. here is my question. it is my understanding from attorneys who have represented
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some of the older children that the credible fear interviews are being held in groups. for example, a mother would be interviewed with her children present. i think that's problematic because if that mother has been the victim of rape or other kinds of serious matters, she may be reluctant to discuss that in front of her children. similarly, older children who might have been subject to sexual abuse might be reluctant to say that in front of a parent. so i'm looking to you to see, is it possible to have these credible fear interviews done with the necessary privacy to elicit actual truth from some of these individuals? if they don't have a fear matter, they will be removed, but if they are, in fact, a
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victim of trafficking, we want to find that out. >> thank you, congresswoman for that question. it is my understanding that our staff is trained first to interview children specifically in techniques required for interviewing children. i'm a former sex crimes special victims prosecutor, and i know full well that is a different process than interviewing adults. generally for interviewing people who have endured some sort of trauma. i am aware of the concern that you raise. as part of my transition, i will look into these particular concerns as soon as i can and to determine whether there is anything we need to do differently. >> i appreciate that. we'll look forward to receiving further information from you. i wanted to address the issue just briefly of the data that was recently transmitted by the
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department about the number of unaccompanied children applying for asylum. i would ask unanimous consent to put my analysis in the record, but i think it is flawed data because it does not include the children who receive special immigrant juvenile status because a state court has found them to be abandoned and certain trafficking victim visas and the like. so i would ask that you review that analysis, mr. director, and see if you concur in the analysis. i also want to talk about the need for efficiency in the agency. it's tough to do, but coming from silicon valley, it's important we do it once, do it right and not come back. for example, i recently had a situation that came to my attention from a business case
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where there was request for evidence and notice of intent to deny that don't make any sense. for example, one case where there was an allegation that the business person had departed the country but he hadn't. he had been able to disapprove that, but he had to prove it over and over and over again the same point. i'm looking for you prospectively, how do we get technology deployed so that these matters aren't relitigated, wasting the time not only of the government but the businesses and families that rely on quick resolution? then a final question on the five-month delay. on the business side, we allow individuals to pay an additional fee for rapid adjudication of a matter. we haven't really gotten into that on the family side, but i'm wondering if we could look at that. for example, if you are an
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american citizen and you marry someone from another country, the five months might be fine. you have no plans to leave the united states, whatever. but if the spouse is a technology business guy in the valley, he's got to travel all over. it might be worth a substantial fee to get it resolved because of the need to travel. so could you take a look at that opportunity to see if the different family circumstances could be accommodated in that way? >> thank you for both those questions. i would like to share that for me one of my top challenges and top priorities is tackling the, our agency's information system. in many cases the systems we have are paper systems or legacy electronic systems that really are not enabling us to
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operate -- we are operating very well as much as anything else because the ingenuity and work ethic of our people, but we could be operating bet fter modn systems. we have to make sure at a minimum before i conclude my tenure that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel for those challenges will be a top priority. i think your second question was whether we can look at the possibility of premium processing for other benefits for the business fees premium processing is utilized. i will certainly look into that and communicate with this committee about those possibilities. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thanks. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your service, mr. director. my first question would be this. my district is basically most of
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the city of cincinnati, most of the greater cincinnati area. we are down in the southwestern portion of ohio. they oftentimes refer to our area as the tri-state area because we have kentucky across the ohio river and indiana is right next to my district, as well. they call it the tri-state area. there was an article recently printed in the "cincinnati inquirer" that indicated there have been 842 of these unaccompanied children that were -- let me ask you a question about that, first of all. should we keep referring to them as children? i've seen an article recently that pointed out actually something like 91% of them are teenagers. to your knowledge, is that accurate? i understand there is a big difference between a teenage their was 12 and just 13 and one that is 19 and just turned 20. your understanding would 90% or so of these folks be teenager
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rather than little 5 or 6-year-old kids? >> i spent a lot of time in your district. i had a case as a federal prosecutor in cincinnati and really enjoyed my time there. the question really for us is a legal question. under the law these are children in terms of what their rights are under the law. >> i understand. we call them infants even if they are under 21 years of age, age of majority which in ohio has come down to 18. we call them infants. when people think of infants they are talking about a baby. my only question really thus far is, do you know, is it accurate to say 90%, the article said 91%, 90% are teenagers, meaning they are from 13 to 19? >> i don't know specifically. >> that's fine. >> thank you. so getting on to the question that i put the question within.
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so 842 are apparently going to the tri-state area. i think 360 of those are to ohio, the state i happen to have one of the districts. in exactly how many are in the greater cincinnati area, didn't point out. but my question is this. it says that they're going to families, for example, going to individuals, trying to farm them out to different people. they are going to watch them until their hearings are ultimately held or whatever happens happens. how much of an effort is determined, to determine the legal status of the people that they're going to? >> so congressman, what i have to share is i'm a little bit outside my lane here in the sense that the actual placement of these young people, these children is conducted by the administration with children of family age. i don't know what they do to deal with it. >> it would seem to me that
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would be -- i don't want to put you on the spot -- it would seem to me that would be an important thing to be determined by the executive branch of the government and probably legislative branch ought to know that, as well. if we are taking folks that are here and i hesitate to say illegally because the way the law was written, which was supposed to deal with trafficking issues, where people were criminally trafficked and so legislation was passed back in 2008, as we know, and so there are some questions whether they are here legally or illegally. if people don't really have legal status and a lot of americans are concerned about are here, and we are putting them with people that are also here illegally, maybe under different circumstances, that doesn't seem like a very good idea to me. would you agree with that? >> again, i'm outside my lane. i don't want to substitute my
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judgment. i legally refer policy matter to the individuals responsible for that placement. >> i have one other question i wanted to get to. as you are probably aware, carnivals and fair industries rely on laborers, seasonal guest workers to substitute their work force. these fairs are important to americaning aagriculture and fund-raising which supports youth and civic programs, beginning in early december 2013, a significant portion of mobile amusement industry paid premium processing fees for handling of their h2b petition. apparently there is a long delay to getting approval of these and setting back a bunch of businesses across america. because i'm running out of time here, if i could have my staff
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follow up with you to see if we can't determine why that delay is happening and expedite that matter so we can get folks hired here who we do want to come legally. could we work together on that? >> yes. >> i see a thumbs up. i appreciate that. your staffer in the background also nodding in the affirmative. thank you very much. >> thank you, congressman. >> chair recognizes. gentlewoman from texas ms. jackson lee for five minutes. >> i thank the chair very much. mr. rodriguez, congratulations on your prior service to this nation. now a new start in your service to this nation. president befitted himself well as he always does in your appointment. i think it is important to take note of what i heard as i came in, as you were explaining to mr. conyers an extensive background where you understand your responsibilities of enforcing the law, but you also
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understand the plight of people. so let me start, first of all, by asking about the plight of people and the ability of this government to balance, particularly under immigration services following the law, those surges that may come for reasons of fleeing. i know that there is an office of refugee resettlement that has dual hats in state and homeland security, as well. why don't you give me a brief philosophy. i have more pointed questions, but just how do we balance that? you've been a prosecutor. we are on a judiciary committee. we are not calling for the violation of laws, but we are trying to find a balance. how do you see that balance? >> congresswoman, i appreciate you pointing to my experience as a prosecutor. every chief prosecutor i ever worked for has exercised prosecutorial discretion in some
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way. they have determined priorities. when i was a street prosecutor, we knew that we needed to dedicate more prosecutorial resources to murderers than to individuals who are trying to get on the subway for free. so similar principles apply in our immigration processing, as well. i think your question is how do we deal with surges? one of the things i am pleased to see as the new director of cis is with surges in our work for different reasons at many different times. in one respect, the first surge was actually the birth of our agency. our agency was created in the early part of the bush administration. it was separated away from the former ins. that required a huge lift by leadership and staff in order to make this now an independent, fully functioning agency. when daca came along, we had a surge as well. and we learned a number of very
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useful lessons from that experience, which we can apply for whatever surges we may face in the future. >> let me thank you for that. you made a very valid point. i just want to take a moment of personal privilege to acknowledge the late lionel castillo, who was a neighbor of mine, a constituent of mine, who was on the immigration services under jimmy carter. just came to mind. i only say that because he seemed to have had that same philosophy. that was many, many years ago. as i look at the work that you all have to do, 10 million applications, over 50 different types of petitions applications. a prosecutor always lays out his or her case. to win, i think you have to be orderly. from your perspective, a comprehensive immigration reform structure, obviously it is a work of the executive and congress. but an ordering of the responsibility that you have
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which would then see an enhancement of staffing. it would see more resources because one of the proposals, of course, are the fines that individuals would pay to get in an orderly line. no, not in front of those who have been in line. what's your assessment on getting order to the immigration system in america? >> so of course, thank goodness we're not charging fines. we're actually charging fees because these are -- >> and i stand corrected. they are fees. there will be a multiple of fees. >> -- that individuals are paying. i think order is sort of the core business -- one of our core business objectives. >> would you add to that we can deal with the question of dealing with humanitarian crises in your whole answer? thank you. >> yeah, and we have to, of course, address those aggressively when they occur. i think that's the nature of your question. >> well, the nature of my question is that if we pass comprehensive immigration
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reform, you sort of put in order all that you're dealing with now. you have the ability through laws to address these questions. would it be better to have an order that allows you now to get your hands around the many disparate aspects of immigration in this country, one of which are individuals here to work that are already here in this country. >> that is what we've done. that's what we'll always do, is balance different lines of business for most -- the most efficient processing across our lines of business. >> and the eb-5 petitions, are they something you can work with as well that generates jobs and other aspects of economic opportunity? >> yes, the eb-5 petitions are. we are in the process right now of affecting some important changes that were started by now deputy secretary. among other things, centralizing
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our eb-5 petitions and fully staffing the office to enable us to very efficiently and correctly process those applications. >> i think -- let me just say, the chairman and i have looked at this issue. i think we had some legislation that was moving at one point in time. so i'm looking forward to the ordering of that because i think there is merit to the eb-5 in terms of its investment. if it is an orderly process and as well the benefits that come. but i want to make sure the benefits are not overly excessive for the investment in the job creation that is so very important. i'll just finish on this note. is it important for a nation that has shown itself to have been built on immigration and laws to have a humanitarian element to continuing in this process of immigration even in the 21st century? we know what we did in the
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1800s, the 1900s, the 20th century in terms of the flow of immigration. do we still have that role now in the 21st century? >> time of the gentlewoman has expired. chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama, mr. backus, for his questions. >> thank you. we've had several words that have been used time and time again here this morning. i've heard the word discretion. i've heard the term humanitarian. you use the word freedom and enterprise. you stress the pillars of our democracy. but i've heard discretion, discretion, discretion. i've heard you say that six times. what i hadn't heard you say is rule of law. you're a prosecutor. you enforce the law. my parents, your parents are immigrants. they came here legally. you know, they followed a rule
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of law. what i'm seeing here is when a rule of law, there's a reason. and you may exercise discretion toward someone that violates that law, but there's also the victim. we also -- you know, you dealt with a lot of victims. you met with those who survived their death, a lot of times. i want to talk about -- and someone on the democratic side said plight of the people. i'd like to talk about those that are suffering from the president's actions on encouraging -- and i think it's encouraging. he admitted that daca has incentivized unauthorized immigration, particularly with respect for children. he said that's a problem. that's why people are sending people here. "the new york times" -- i'm going to talk about a very
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conservative paper. and that's the cameron smith, who's general council for the alabama policy institute. very conservative organization. "the new york times," they agreed on one thing. they said the program, talking about daca, is benefitting some immigrants but it extends the visa wait for others. he talks about daca and the lengthy backlogs on visa and citizenship applications where people are following the law. you mentioned all the people that have been transferred to the border from immigration to deal with these children. what "the new york times" said -- and this is an article i'd like you to read maybe when you get back. february the 8th, 2014. the long waits came when the
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agency, your agency, shifted attention and resources to a program president obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young, undocumented immigrants according to administration officials. not me. they go on and talk about u.s. citizens petitions for green cards for immediate relatives are at a high, if not the highest, priority in the way congress sets up the immigration system. but there's nightmare story after nightmare story of a man coming back from czechoslovakia, his wife a citizen having to wait eight months and still not hearing. a family in australia, he's american, she's australian. they have children. he's been back for six months. they're still there. i don't think it was intended.
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in fact, the congress also passed a resolution here just july the 8th saying there are now 900 children in tcongo waiting with their adopted parents in the united states because immigration quit processing these applications and assigned it to the state department. the state department has slowed down on it. i don't know why you did that. but there's a resolution. i'm going to submit for the record a letter signed by about 20 democratic senators, elizabeth warren, mitch mcconnell, republican, but on both sides, and about 90 of us from the house that said, please process these claims, please pay
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attention to the democratic republic of congo and quit slowing these things up. so the victims, just like "the new york times" said, the program benefits -- daca is benefitting some. you're having children coming here. you're offering humanitarian thing, but we've got a lot of relatives and families that are being separated because you have taken resources. even the administration in this letter said because of this plight on the border, some immigrants extending a visa wait for others. these are people that go through the process. let me close with what cameron smith said in "the birmingham business journal." the governance by rule of law is being challenged as it may be in times crucially important to the
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american system. by circumventing immigration law, the president has encouraged even more unlawful immigration. in response, america has a choice to either create yet another incentive for unlawful activity by caring for immigrant children and attending to their health needs or processing those who are going through the system. i'd just like to submit this to you and say, please, don't sacrifice families in asia, families in europe and deploy all your resources about these children. you know, it tugs at our heart strings, but what you're not seeing is all these examples of people who are suffering. and rule of law, you're a prosecutor. rule of law is what it country is built on. >> the gentleman is very eloquent, but his time has expired. is there a question there to the
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secretary? if he wants to respond. >> i don't know if you're aware of the resolution for congress on the children. >> yeah, i look forward to reviewing these materials. i am aware of the congo situation. i look forward to discussing that with you. i am committed to the rule of law. that's why when i mentioned to congressman smith the question about the culture of getting to the right answer. under the facts and under the law. and absolutely we need -- we have an obligation of stewardship to the people you describe to run an efficient and fair system. >> all right. thank you. >> chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california, ms. chu, for five minutes. >> thank you. first i would like to put into the record this document for the humane immigration rights of los angeles pertaining to oversight. >> without objection, it will be made a part of the record.
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>> thank you. director rodriguez, i am grat y gratified to hear that you are a prosecutor and that you were in a strong position to challenge false claims to tell truth from fact. and what i want to know is whether the current credible fear system works. i understand the current credible fear asylum system is a robust process that requires an asylum seeker to demonstrate a significant possibility of succeeding in demonstrating a past persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution to an immigration judge. so, mr. rodriguez, could you please walk us through what an asylum officer does when conducting a credible fear interview and how does the officer test the correct of an applicant, and how does the officer determine whether there's a significant possibility the individual could be eligible for asylum? >> sure. thank you, congresswoman.
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i appreciate that question. i don't mind sharing one of the most important sort of transitional activities that i've conducted was actually sitting in on a credible fear interview. it's important to note that the credible fear standard is a threshold standard. in other words, it is not the final determination of whether somebody gets asylum. it's simply a threshold determination to determine whether that individual who otherwise is in an expedited removal proceeding can fully assert those claims. i observed the credible fear interview. i understood it to be based on a basic rubric that's used by the asylum office to evaluate those claims. it asks questions specifically targeted to determine whether, in fact, the individual could potentially show a credible fear of persecution or torture on
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various bases. race, national origin, membership in a particular social group. from that interview, i was satisfied that there is an appropriate matrix of question and appropriate training to our asylum officers to assess those individuals given what is the threshold standard that applies under credible fear. i'll be continuing to look into that to satisfy myself that my initial assessment correct. >> well, in fact, i would like to know about that training. it's my understanding that asylum officers receive extensive training to detect fraud and make credibility determinations such as through the u.s. cis academy. can you elaborate on how they are trained to detect such fear? and would you say that u.s. cis officials are effective in detecting such legitimate cases of credible fear? >> thank you, because i realize i hadn't answered that portion
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of your initial question. and yes, the manner in which the questioning was done did ask questions that go to the question of whether the individual presenting the credible fear claim is themselves a credible person, in a sense whether their story hangs together, whether it makes sense given both the general facts, the country conditions, and the applicable legal standard in that case. now, i am not fully familiar with the exact training curriculum. that's something i'll look into and make a judgment about. >> and are they effective? >> and whether they're effective. my sense is that the interviews are effective. my initial assessment is that they are effective in determining whether that threshold standard is actually met. >> there are those in the public who are saying the increase in asylum applications are evidence of fraud in and of itself. i'm struck by the fact that not only has the recent increase in credible fear claims been driven largely by an increase in claims
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from el salvador, honduras, and guatemala, but the percentage of cases in those countries of finding credible fear have also been increasing. is there a reason to believe that deteriorating conditions in those countries explain the increase in credible fear claims and the increase in credible fear findings? >> congresswoman, the deteriorating conditions in those countries are, in fact, well documented in terms of violent crime, human rights abuses. those sorts of concerns are, in fact, well documented. in fact, there is reason to believe that they play a role in the situation we're seeing at our border. >> and are they to be distinguished from the other countries in central america? >> i am most familiar right now with the northern triangle because it's really where a lot of our workload is coming from. i know that similar concerns have emerged from other countries in latin america and frankly throughout the world.
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>> finally, temporary protective status for filipinos. this is very important to individuals in my district since the devastation of the earthquake. we have been constantly asking for that protective status so filipinos could send remittances and get protective status. what is the status of that? >> i appreciate that question. there is, as you know, ongoing consideration as part of an interagency review process to determine whether temporary protective status should be granted in the case of the philippines. that process is ongoing. i do know that prior to my arrival, the agency expedited a number of other benefit categories for which various filipino nationals or filipino immigrants might be eligible in order to afford relief to those
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individuals in that area. we'll continue to work on concluding the evaluation of the tps process. >> i hope it is soon, mr. rodriguez. >> thank you. i appreciate that. >> thank you. i yield back. >> chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. forbes, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, thank you. mr. director, thank you so much for being here today. let's cut to the chase. the president is not enforcing the immigration laws because any time you issue an order for the massive unilateral nonprosecution of individuals who are breaking the law, that's by definition not enforcing the law. and what bothers me even more than that, because i recognize some people in this committee don't want him to enforce the law, other people that want him to enforce the law. but when we have the head of the i.c.e. agent unions sitting right beside you and the head of the border patrol agents union, who unlike you have been on the job much longer than three weeks who have conducted literally
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thousands of interviews with these individuals coming across the border and they say unequivocally that the reason we're having this crisis is because of the president's policies and they've told the president that through their agents, that's what concerns this committee. but one of the other concerns we have is this. they're concerned about gang members that are being released and coming through because their efforts are being take somewhere else. in that probing interrogation you talked about earlier that you were so impressed with, if during the background check or other information that's uncovered during the review of a request for deferred action an individual's presence in the united states threatens the public safety or national security, is it not true that that individual will not be able to receive deferred action? >> that is correct. >> all right. do you -- does gang membership qualify as a threat to public
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safety or national security? >> without a doubt. >> does former gang membership qualify? >> in general, yes. former gang membership would also be a potentially disqualifying -- >> if an individual renounces their membership in a violent criminal gang, are they eligible for asylum or withholding from removal, or are they continued to be recognized as a potential public safety or national security threat? >> generally they would be seen as a threat and denied a benefit. again, these things depend on facts and circumstances. >> i'm talking about -- so your testimony earlier was that if they were a member of a gang, then they would be viewed as a public safety -- >> that's correct. if they're a current member of a gang, they would be denied. >> my question is this. how do you know -- i don't think they have i.d. badges or membership cards that they have. if it comes up that they have -- are you asking them in the
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interview if they were ever a member of a gang? >> among the things that i've prosecuted in the past is organized crime, specifically -- >> i just want to know. i don't question -- >> i want to tell you about my ability to judge what i'm seeing. >> i appreciate that. what i want to know is what your agency is doing in their interviews. are they asking the question, are you a gang member or are you not a gang member when they're doing these interviews. >> the agency through the fraud detection and national security director is doing a robust series of checks to determine whether an individual has a disqualifying criminal history. >> are they asking the individuals if they've ever been a member of a violent criminal gang? >> i'm not able to speak to that specific question. >> that's what just absolutely frightens me, when you come in here and you can testify about the broad comprehensive nature we need to review and change this process. when that's asked to you by the other side of the aisle. but when we ask you a simple
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question on the fact you have testified that gang membership constitutes a public safety or national security threat and we don't even know if we're asking that question. that gives me pause for concern. if you don't know if we're asking the question, do you know what an individual would have to do to renounce that gang membership? do they just have to say, i'm no longer a member? >> congressman, i'm looking into those issues right now. it is my understanding that we have generally been very effective at screening out individuals who pose some sort of national security or criminal justice threat. >> you know, mr. director, i don't want to be harsh on you. it's just, can you understand why the american people are so frustrated with this administration? when you come in here and say gang membership is a threat to national security, it's a threat to public safety, and you as the director don't even know on the interviews if you're asking the question if they were a member of a gang and you don't know
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whether or not they can just say, oh, yes, i was a member, but i'm no longer a member. that is concerning. i'll finish with this and let you respond. when the border agents who are having to do this are saying they're worried because we're letting gang members in the country, then we find you don't even know if we're asking that question, that's a big concern to us. i'll let you respond because my time is up. >> sure. what i do know is where we have cause to believe that an individual has been -- >> cause -- the question should be asked every single time in every single interview if you think it's a public threat and national security issue, which you testified it was. to say if you have cause, if somebody shows up and they make the allegation, you ought to be at least asking that question if the border agents are saying this is a big concern. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back with a great deal of frustration. >> the chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. gutierrez, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm looking forward to writing my letter to leader pelosi.
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i want to come back to this committee in the next congress of the united states. nothing is more interesting than coming to this committee each and every time. well, guess what? welcome, mr. rodriguez. >> good to be here. >> you finally heard the republicans say they love a union. one union. one union only. of course, it's the union that helps them promote the kind of sent phobic attitude towards immigrants they like to promote in the congress of the united states. that's unfortunate, but they do like a union. finally there's one. i don't know if the members of the aflcio or what they are. just so we get clear, he keeps talking about the testimony about the i.c.e. union. are there i.c.e. members on the border stopping people from crossing the border? >> my understanding is the responsibility of u.s. customs and border patrol. >> there we go. so there's one union you should stop talking about at the border since i.c.e. agents aren't at the border of the united states. but why let the facts get in the
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way of a good story? so here once again we talk about gang members, gang members. do you ask 5-year-olds whether they're in gangs? >> again, i'm looking into -- >> because you got to ask them all, right? 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-year-olds. >> it is my understanding when we believe someone presents a national security or criminal justice threat, based on the biometric data we collect, we follow up. i don't imagine we often do that with 5-year-olds or probably never. >> that's what i thought. but they're probably going to want you to ask 5-year-olds if they're gang members. do you check them for ebola virus? >> well, i do know that individuals -- >> because they're very concerned about that. >> i do know that individuals do receive health screenings at the border. >> they do receive health screenings. so maybe next time they're going to ask you, you should check them, see if they have that virus before they contaminate everybody in the united states. so when they come across -- so
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what we hear constantly is about -- and just so we have clear, i wish i had the article, but it appears the american public, 70% of the american public, looks at the children at the borders as refugees. they don't look at them as people coming here to take away jobs from hard-working american citizens. they look at them as refugees. they don't look at them as gun-toting, tattoo-wearing, disease-ridden criminal elements coming to destroy america. but as refugees. i would suggest that people go down to the border and visit. i think you will see that they are refugees too. there's going to be another trip, bipartisan trip, this coming thursday. i look forward to participating in that. and i guess as a member of the select committee an intelligence, we have absolutely no reports from our intelligence
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services. this isn't these guys. these are the guys that are there to protect us and everything. they're saying they have found no relationship between those people crossing the border and gangs. none. haven't been able to find any. they're searching because they want to find some for you. but they haven't found any yet, any connection yet. they're trying to say there aren't any, but it's just not the prevalent case. what you have is children fleeing violence, fleeing poverty, and trying to reunite with their families. all of those things are true. i want to ask you a question because there was a time in california when they had good old governor pete wilson decided he would propose proposition 187 using similar language that is being used today about disease-ridden, gang-banging, tattoo-wearing people taking away jobs and corrupting america. so he proposed proposition 187 so they wouldn't be able to get educated. do you know how many people
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became citizens of the united states of america in, like, 1994, '95, and '96? >> i confess i don't actually know. >> over a million. promoted by none other than pete wilson. so pete wilson said, you know, i really don't like those immigrants. you know what immigrants did? they came. here's the issue, mr. rodriguez. it was $95 back then. it is now how much? >> it's my understanding that the naturalization fee now is -- i think it's about $680. >> so it's a lot more than it was back then. are you doing anything in order to make citizenship? because it just seems to me if somebody wants to become a permanent resident of the united states, that is they want to renew their permanent resident, it's around the $400 range. but it's over $600 if you want to become a citizen. why is it so much more expensive if you want to be a citizen than if you just want to be a
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permanent resident? >> the price of any particular benefit, the cost of any particular benefit is determined by the time and effort involved in adjudicating that benefit. so naturalization, we're talking about language interview, we're talking about a general interview. so there's a significant time and effort involved. we have to pay our own way. >> my time is up. >> and you have fee waivers that are granted to about 20% of our applicants. >> okay. you might want to decide -- thank you for the indulgence of the chair. you might want to decide to kind of switch. that is to say, if i want to make a permanent relationship with the united states, a citizen of the united states, you might want to have that cost less. i just want to maybe hang around for ten more years, not make that permanent. because the guy that does want to become a citizen or the woman, he learns english and civics and takes a big chance because he might fail the test. whereas, the other person just pretty much automatically gets extended for ten years.
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might want to switch that around since there are 8.8 million permanent residents that can become citizens today, 6 million of them mexican nationals that could become slcitizens overnig. might want to think about that so they can defend themselves. >> we thank the gentleman. now recognize the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director rodriguez, i do appreciate your testimony. i'd like to give you a little bit of a narrative of what's in the front of my mind listening to this. that is that i took mr. gutierrez's advice last weekend and went down to the border. started at the mouth of the rio grande river, right there at the physical border. worked my way upstream all the way to loredo. stopped at multiple places in brownsville, mcallen, other places at the river and received briefings from border protection, border patrol, from each law enforcement entity that's down there, including the department of public safety of texas and texas rangers and
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talked to people on the street. here's what comes out of that for me. that is -- and they will all tell us that daca is the magnet. one of the excuses is the '08 law for the other than mexican unaccompanied alien children. that is developing into a broader policy because it's being exploited. these children are being sent into the united states at the expense of the american taxpayer. but i met with them. i went also to an hhs not-for-profit subcontractor who are housing 188 of the unaccompanied alien children between the ages of 10 and 17. there were 144 males and 44 females. that's the 188. there and many other places we learned this. they said that in some cases 100% of the females that are being sent out of central america are given birth control before they leave because it's anticipated that they will be raped along the way. i don't believe that number is
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100%. i see other numbers that are less than that. but those that are sexually abused, the reports that we got and asking this question at nearly every stop, range between one-third of the females that are coming up -- this is the children, the under-18 children between one-third of them raped and up to 70% of them raped. that does comport with the expectation that handing them birth control pills. so apparently it's this. i expect my daughter, my granddaughter, my niece, my neighbor, whoever it is that's in custody when they send them is going to be raped and i can deal with the sexually transmitted diseases and the mental trauma and the physical trauma as long as she doesn't have a baby that comes along with that. that seems to be the psychology. and we went into the centers where they are detention centers and the border patrol and saw unaccompanied alien children, males and females. we saw mothers with nursing babies. we saw women that were ready to have a baby. and we watched that process go all the way through, and we went to the bus station to see where they're being dispatched out
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across the country. i did go and do these things. and here's -- asylum is a big piece. at a border crossing upstream from that crossing and downstream from loredo. and i have in this phone here a video of two kwie yoe tees that loaded a pregnant female in and braisingly took her across the river within plain sight of the border patrol and the local city police, deposited her on the shoreline. she gave herself up for asylum. before she gets a hearing, the baby is an anchor baby. there's not a level of anxiety about this happening on an hourly basis in front of the bodder patrol and city police. there's anxiety on my part because i'm watching the rule of law being deconstructed by this administration. i have in my hand here, this is a request for proposals from your operation dated june 19th which i'd ask be entered into
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the record. >> without objection. >> this is 162 pages titled "solicitation contract order for commercial item." one of the things it says in the rfp is this. based on experience over the past few years, u.s. cis estimates that application petition receipt levels could increase or decrease up to 2 million forms over the next five years. for asylum applications, up to 2 million. and the decision has not been made by this administration to expand daca, which is the foundation for this human tragedy of thousands of girls being raped on their way from the central america to the united states. and apparently we don't have a conscience about what's happening to -- and boys, too, by the way. significant numbers being sexually abused. not to mention the murders and death that take place along the way. this administration has made the decision. this rfp put out by your administration would not have been put out if the decision weren't at least on the cusp of imminent. can you tell me what might cause
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the administration to retract from this, this addition, this rfp asking for the ability to process -- by the way, u.s. cis, this is from the report, needs to acquire records management and support services for its service centers, the objective of the acquisition is to provide comprehensive record management services for service centers in a manner that ensures efficient, effectived adjudication, financial responsibility, and excellent customer service. i appreciate that part. and it anticipates implementation of new laws and policies as a cause for this. i think the administration has made the decision to totally tear us under the rule of law and grant administrative amnesty to 5 or more million people and do so while this congress is out of session. how would you respond to that, director rodriguez? >> well, first of all, let me start by saying -- am i audible? daca offers no benefit to the individuals coming over the border. they are not eligible for daca
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or any version of daca. secondly, to the extent -- and i'm not familiar with the specific contract that you described. we prepare for surges in work that can come from all kinds of sources. so i will certainly look into that particular contract when i return to my office this afternoon. but i would not necessarily attribute it to the situation at the border. as far as adults, roughly 15% are asserting credible fear claims. as far as children, it is in the low single digits the number of individual -- number of children who are actually claiming, making asylum claims at some point in the proscess. that's a different process than the credible fear process. i just thought those facts would be potentially helpful. >> we have those who are lawfully present during daca. there's an anticipation that daca will be expanded.
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anybody thinks that -- they think if they can get into america, they get to stay into america, stay in america and we know -- we know that number is well above 98% who get into america who get to stay in america. the asylum applications that come. this woman will apply for asylum. before she's heard, the baby will be born, and there will be an anchor in this country. that came right under my nose. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. i will now recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here, director. i'm looking at numbers from u.s. cis from march of 2014, and it indicates -- looks like through march of 2014 that there have been a cumulative total since 2012 of 553,197 requests approved under daca, the president's law that passed his
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lips but not congress. do you have any updated numbers since march? where are we now? obviously more than 553,000. >> yeah, i believe that -- and we'll make sure to get the committee specific updated numbers. i believe that the, but please don't hold me to this, the number now is -- >> i want to get somebody i can hold to. >> i just don't have it at my fingertips. i'll get you the exact information you need. i believe the number is now at 714,000 of individuals who have been daca recipients. that's my understanding. >> i see. you said that in an answer to an earlier question that you've heard people say there's a culture of getting to yes, but there's also a culture of getting to no. i would submit to you based on your own numbers that the figures bear out there's a culture of getting to yes. you can't get to 700,000 and
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maybe have 20,000 nos and not have a culture of yes. you said you observed a credible fear interview. let me ask you in your prosecutorial role, did you ever prosecute any drug crimes? >> yes, sir. >> okay. so i'm curious. during your prosecution of drug crimes, did you ever refer to someone who gave money to buy a big load of drugs as a drug trafficking victim? someone that paid massive money to get a load of drugs, did you ever refer to them as a drug-trafficking victim? >> yeah, let me suggest that perhaps we're talking about apples and oranges, but no, i certainly did not refer to someone -- >> well, let's talk about the apples and oranges, director.
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when someone pays a human trafficker to move them, then i would submit to you they're not a victim, they're a participant in the human trafficking business. they're keeping the human traffickers in business. when i was down there, let's see, weekend before last south of mcallen, right on the river, talking late at night to one of the border patrolman there's, who's hispanic, he was telling me that, you know, 90% of the time when he asks them out there by the river, they say, oh, i was fleeing gangs and gang violence. he said, i get tough with them because i know where they're coming from, and i speak the language well, and i tell them, you may tell that garbage to somebody else, but you and i both know that it was gangs that brought you up here. that's who the drug cartels
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normally hire to bring people up here through mexico. and he said, 90% of the time or better they'll say, well, you're right, but we were told to say we're fleeing gang violence. are you aware, director, of who it is the powerful drug cartels in mexico hire to move people who have paid their thousands of dollars to cross mexico to the u.s.? do you know who they hire? >> no, not specifically. i mean, obviously i know there are the human trafficking environment involves drug cartels, involves all kind of alien smugglers. it's not exactly our lane, so i'm not fully familiar with -- >> would you call them criminals? >> human traffickers and drug cartels? >> yes. >> sure. >> that get paid to move people illegally into the united states. >> sure. i've prosecuted alien smuggling, yes. of course they're criminals. >> so i would submit to you that's what we're talking about.
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we're talking about people who are paying criminals. and i would submit to you that the evidence will get down and dirty and show that there are many gang members that are getting paid to transport people to the u.s. only to have them get here and say, i'm fleeing gang violence. so i would encourage you to be more skeptical in these interviews without further evidence. and mr. chairman, i would ask that i be allowed to submit to the record the evidence from honduran security minister that there's been a tremendous drop in homicides between 2012 and june of 2014 from 32,045 to 2,634. so it doesn't appear things are deteriorating down south. thank you. i yield back.
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>> without objection, so ordered, we'll enter that into the record. i'll now recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. powe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you once again for being here. of course, i'm from texas. been to the border a lot. was down there this weekend. saw federal officials and state officials both trying to secure the texas-mexico border. went down the river, the rio grande river. they see us coming in a state boat, folks that are in the water swim back. coyotes in a raft moving folks, he bails and leaves the raft on its own. rocks were thrown at us going down the river. does not seem to be uncommon based upon the law enforcement officers i was with. just ask a lot of questions to the people on the front line
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about the influx of the people from really all over the world. border patrol sector chief said -- i asked him, who's coming? he said it's 144 countries have come recently, from all over the world, including ukraine coming into texas from mexico. shows the magnitude of the problem. was in honduras and kwaut guate earlier in the year. saw the beginning of some of these folks that are making the trek. and here's the message, whether it's a right message or not, that if you get to the united states, you can stay. especially if you're 17 or under. y you're going to be able to stay. the united states will take care of you. based on that, people move. the people motivating this are the drug cartels. in this whole scheme of things, the winners, the people who are
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making money are the drug cartels and the coyotes. they're the ones that make the money off of smuggling people and trafficking people, which as you know, as a lawyer, that is different. but they make the money. drug dealers for $6,000 tell folks in central america, give us $6,000, that'll get you three tries to get into the united states. get to the texas-mexico border, they're turned over to individuals -- individuals are turned over to coyotes. many of them, but not all, criminal gangs, juveniles under 17, criminals, to smuggle them into the united states. many of them are used as bait in a sense that they start moving some people into the united states. drug cartels call border patrol, say here comes more folks
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crossing the border. they use them as decoys to move their drugs further down river across the river. so the drug cartels are the criminals. and the ms-13 gang and the smugglers. so that message is out there that right or wrong, we'll take care of folks. people hear that all the way down to central america and all over the world, 144 countries coming in. my question goes back to deferred action that has been talked about incessantly since you've been here all morning. do you think expanding deferred action to include more people is legal? if the administration does it -- set congress aside. administration defers action to another group of people. i'm not talking about specific individuals, but to another group. you think that would be legal or not? >> it is my understanding that
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there is -- and my legal understanding, and it's something that's been acknowledged by scholars across the political spectrum that, yes, there is prosecutorial discretion which can be exercised in these sorts of situations. >> all right. is there a limit? >> of course there's a limit. it's based on whatever the law actually allows. >> what does the law allow? >> in most enforcement realms, generally there is pretty broad discretion. >> so it could allow everybody? >> i'm sorry? >> technically, if it's broad, it allows -- could be expanded to allow everybody. just everybody who wants to come. if it's discretionary. >> i don't think that's what anybody is suggesting or saying. >> but you're not saying it's unlawful to expand it to include more people. >> again, it's my understanding based on my experience, based on my reading that there's pretty broad prosecutorial discretion. >> based on your position, where
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you are in this long chain of immigrants and all of the things we've been talking about, expanding that concept of deferred action, do you think more people will come or less? >> i think the key thing when we talk about daca -- >> excuse me. do you think more people would be encouraged to the united states? >> not if they don't believe there's benefit. i think it's been made clear there is no benefit for individuals who are currently trying to address our border, unless they have a claim such as an asylum claim. >> but they may perceive that daca will apply to them, whether they realize the legal ramifications or not once they're here. don't you think that would -- >> i think it's possible there are unscrupulous individuals who are trying to deceive those people who are attempting to enter our country through the
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border. the fact is nothing like daca offers those individuals any benefit. >> they're surprised when they get here in many cases. is that a fair statement? >> i've actually looked at latin american media where it's reported that daca offers them no benefits. >> all right. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. i'm over time. >> thank the gentleman. will now recognize the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. rodriguez, thank you for being here. start with a little bit of housekeeping in reviewing your confirmation proceedings over in the senate. i note that april 3rd executive meeting, senator grassley pointed out you had admitted to the judiciary committee you were personally aware of e-mails between political employees and career prosecutors discussing the decision to decline to prosecute the new black panther party voter intimidation case and that had contradicted the testimony of your boss, mr. perez. so i thought i'd take the
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opportunity to ask you if you were aware of any e-mails between lois lerner or a different member of the internal revenue service and career prosecutors in the department of justice regarding the prosecution or investigation of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. >> you're asking me if i know anything about lois lerner, congressman? >> if you're aware of any e-mails -- >> i only know what i've read in the paper about that situation. >> so while you're in the department of justice as chief of staff for the civil division -- >> civil rights division. >> civil rights division. you're not aware of any e-mails? >> i have no involvement or any awareness other than what you and i both read in the papers, congressman. >> are you aware of when the civil rights division was tasked with beginning the investigation of the irs? >> i left the civil rights division to go to the department of health and human services in september of 2011.
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i think you're asking about a specific individual who was designated to conduct some review. i'm not fully familiar. that happened, i'm pretty sure, long after i left the civil rights division. >> okay. also during your confirmation hearing it was determined or discovered you had served on the board of directors of casa de maryland, which was an organization known for finding employment for individuals without proper documentation. so i assume you supported this objective of the organization while you were on the board of directors. >> in the context of the community in which i lived, yes, i did support that mission. >> do you believe that prosecutorial discretion could be used to allow for finding employment or allowing for employment of individuals without proper documentation? >> if the individual has a right, for example, through some
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sort of deferred action or parole or some other mechanism to be in the united states, then, yes, those individuals can then be given employment authorization. in fact, it's often a good idea so that they're not in the shadow economy. >> so in your opinion, as an attorney, an experienced attorney at that, the -- as the president, you know, looks at his options for -- to continue to act administratively to change u.s. immigration policy, you know, the chairman asked you at the beginning of the hearing as to whether, you know, what you had reviewed, what were the president's next plans. i'd like to change the question a little bit and ask in your learned opinion, you know, what you know of the law. what do you think the president's options are to act administratively to change u.s. immigration policy? >> so of course no decisions have been made. i think it's important to
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underscore that at the beginning. i think the options are many that are permissible under the law. that's a deliberation ongoing as we speak. >> give me two examples. >> i'm not really in a position to be able to give specific examples other than to make the general observation that the options are many. >> you could give examples just based on your understanding of the law. you don't have to -- >> well, certainly daca, as we've done it already, is one very concrete example of how that discretion might be exercised. >> all right. i was looking at a u.s. cis chart regarding the number of daca requests by requester country of birth. it lists the top 25 countries of the requester's birth. there are 19,200 requests on this chart from other and unknown countries. so how many of those daca requests have you received from
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applications whose home countries are listed as state sponsors of terrorism? >> i am not specifically -- i could probably tell you the top five. beyond that, i'm not specifically aware. >> could you get back with the committee with specific numbers on that? >> absolutely, congressman. yes. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. i'm going to yield to myself for five minutes. director, again, we thank you for being here. i want to walk through the process and understand some of the metrics. so if you're here -- if you came to this country illegally, you can apply for daca, correct? >> if you qualify under the vary criteria. >> how old can you be before you file for daca? how old can you be? >> it is my understanding you need to be between -- you can be no older than 31. >> so you can be a 30-year-old and apply for deferred action for childhood arrivals? >> that is correct.
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>> at that time, you're also applying for the -- the guidance says you can apply for employment, a work permit. >> that is correct, in order that you not be in the shadow economy, that you pay taxes. >> so you come here illegally and then you apply for daca and you get a work permit. now, you said there are more than 700,000 people that have been put into this process, correct? >> that is my -- i want to confirm those numbers with the -- >> your written testimony says over 580,000. you're now saying something like 700,000. >> it is hundreds of thousands, yes. >> they're here illegally. you haven't gone through the proper channels. now you're going to apply for daca. you can be 30 years old. you get a work permit. how many of those work permits have been terminated or revoked? >> so, first of all, the key
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thing about these daca individuals, that they were brought here. they did not come here. these were individuals who were brought here -- >> how do you verify that? >> based on their ages and what we know about their -- >> they could be 30 years old. >> they would have been brought here as children. that's one of the criteria to establish -- >> how long are these interviews? >> i am not specifically -- >> how long was the interview you sat in? >> i'm sorry? >> you sat in on one of these -- >> it was an asylum interview. >> how long was that interview? >> it was a full hour. >> and we heard previous testimony from i believe the last hearing that normally these hearings or interviews are 15 to 20 minutes. >> if we're talking about asylum interviews, my understanding is they're generally far longer than that. they are closer to about an hour. >> so a credible, fair hearing is how long? >> it was an hour. the one i observed was an hour. it is my understanding that is the norm. >> i think the record will correct you on that one.
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of the people who applied or get daca, they now have work permits so they can compete for a job against a united states citizen. how many of those get terminate? if you're convicted of a felony, how many of those are terminated? >> as of june 31st -- well, i don't know the specific reasons for termination. 147 people have been terminated. >> so you've -- wait, there's over 700,000 and there's been how many that have been terminated? 100? >> i would rely actually on the number that's in my testimony. again -- >> it's not specific. there's no number. >> oh, i thought you had a specific number of -- >> no, that's the problem. we've been asking -- >> we were talking about hundreds of thousands of people. there's no dispute about that. 147 individuals have been terminated as of the end of june. >> how do you get this information? if somebody is convicted of a felony in utah or north carolina, how do you get that
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information? whose responsibility is that? >> that is -- it comes to us through various mechanisms. could be reported to us by the individual as part of the renewabr renewabr renewal process. >> really? you think that's going to happen? >> or it comes to us through other processes. >> so you just wait? >> through law enforcement agencies. >> do you get reports of this? do you have a list of this information? is there anything proactive you do to get this information? >> my understanding at this point is we get the information from a variety of different sources. >> when you get this work permit and you're here, are there any limits to the type of work you can do? can you get a job in law enforcement? >> if you are otherwise qualified for that job. now, i know most very often law enforcement agencies have various sorts of -- >> but there's no limits on the type of job you can get. >> in and of itself, there is no limit unless that job itself has some limits associated with it. >> what do you say to the united
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states citizen who's doing everything legally and lawfully that they're now competing for a job with somebody who came here illegally and applied and obama administration said,well, we're just going to defer that. you can go ahead and compete for that? what do you say to that person? >> i've had the opportunity during the course of this brief time as my tenure to meet some of the daca recipients. these are individuals who are going to school. in one case, somebody who's about to graduate -- >> what do you say to the citizen who now has 700,000 people in the workforce that wouldn't be there otherwise. >> what we have explained about the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, we don't have the resources to remove 10, 11 million individuals. so the question is are we going to have them exist in the shadow economy or work and pay taxes. the choice that been made to work and pay taxes. >> that's not what the law is
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and that's what's sickening about this. i yield back and recognize the gentleman from arizona. my apologize. >> thank you. i appreciate it. sir, i guess, you know, the first thing to deal with any problem is dissect it and realize what it is. from my perspective, two main concerns i have. number one, the rule of law and constitution of the united states has been undermined here and continues to be undermined. number two, tens of thousands of children have been put at terrible risk and continue can be put at risk. i'm convinced, just going to tell you up front where i'm coming from. intelligence report interviewed a significant number of these unlawful imgrans coming over. 95% of them cited that the
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primary reason for migrating to the united states was the perception of united states immigration laws granting free passes allowing them to stay. there's no question in my mind, when you see -- you've got projected from 2011 through 2015 now, 2,230% increase in these unlawful immigrants coming over the united states border. now, that's a systemic issue there. i'm absolutely convinced the president's telegraphic message superfund central america and other places is the central reason this kumpltd i lay the suffering and some of the things that happen to these children at the feet of the president of the united states. i have no doubt about that. certainly that's an opinion but it's a strong conviction and, i think, one upheld by the evidence.
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so my question is to deal with those things. first of all, i know you're oath of office is to uphold the constitution. i'm not trying to be tough or arrogant but trying to make a appoint, how can you defend article 1 section 8 clause 4 which specifically bestows on congress the duty to create immigration law given his rewriting the law at his executive whim. how do you deal with your oath of office in following some of those perspectives? >> well, among other things i don't necessarily -- i don't accept the characterization that we're simply ceasing in any way to enforce immigration law. we're exercising our discretion to prioritize the most important cases, most serious cases for enforcement and removal and
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investigation and focusing on those and dealing with individuals not in those occasion. >> let me try to accept that. do you agree -- i'll ask you, leave an open question. does the president have the capability with existing funding to help stem the flow of unlawful immigrants into the united states. does he have the ability now? >> certainly some capabilities. the administration made clear it needs additional funding in order to deal with what has been onsignificant surge, a significant issue, significant surge across the border. >> he can't do that now, correct? >> more resources are needed to be able to deal with that. >> are you saying without additional funding that the president cannot cease to use his prosecutorial discretion authority to shield a whole category from prosecution or can't implement standards. he can't do that without
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additional funding. correct? >> the credible fear standard is the standard that's in law. >> and always standard, as you know, almost 600% greater incidence than it was before under this administration. almost 600%. i'm just wondering how do we close our eyes to the fact that this president's message to central america and other places was that we won't do anything. if somebody comes over, that is their perception. it occurs to me if the president is the cause of this, and i absolutely believe the american people believe he is, he also has the ability to send a different message and end the suffering of these children. i believe that's real. sometimes they try to make it that people want to secure the border, like i do, as somehow we don't care about the children and we do. i'm convinced the children we might give a better living
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standard here, we're going to hurt four or five more by incenting them to make this dangerous, treacherous trip where they run into all kinds of problems. if we have this issue, can't we call on the president to send a message back that, no, there's a false thought here they will be welcomed here and won't be sent back. right now they don't think so. he's getting ready it's another executive order that underscores that concern. >> the message that these individuals for the most part will ultimately not qualify in the united states, that message has been delivered. >> they are not hearing it, my friend. 95% of them say this is why they are coming. that's this president's fault. i yield back. go ahead and answer the question. >> the flights have started going back. the message is delivered.
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in most cases these individuals will not be able to stay in the united states. including leadership in those countries. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> director, can you clarify when you say most cases they are going to be sent back, there's no metric i see that says that. >> in other words, recognizing that some individuals may be able to claim status in the united states, qualify for asylum. some status that enables them to stay in the united states. in the majority of the cases these individuals will need to be sent back to their countries. >> thank you. appreciate the time. get right to it. just a little ago secretary testified on this committee. he claimed administration unilateral amnesty problems
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created legal ambiguity for the status of illegal aliens. i objected at the time. on page 6, the docket does not confer legal status on the resip yen. you agree it's wrong any action that creates a legal ambiguity. >> it certainly doesn't create a status, that's the thrust of your question. >> what secretary johnson basically said was is because of these mismatch of policies we created legal ambiguity for people who walk across the border illegally. daca not part of this program. do you agree, legal ambiguity or do you believe they are illegally into the united states, coming in illegally, there's an ambiguity to that situation. >> i don't know the specific context in which secretary
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johnson might have been speaking. our people who are benefiting from daca, do they otherwise have a legal right to be in the united states. it is a requirement in order to qualify for daca that you not have another legal basis to be in the united states. those are individuals who, in fact, are not gaining any sort of perfectly inventory status through being able to be in the daca program. i don't know secretary johnson's comments about legal ambiguity were made so i'm not able to speak to them. >> i'll ask you directly. do you believe there's a legal ambiguity that is caused by differences -- he includes states and other things. it goes back down to the bottom line. if you cross over our border illegally, that doesn't automatically, by the basis of fact or changing or diversion or discretion change the legal fact you walked across the border illegally. correct or not? >> i suppose that's true by definition, congressman. in order to qualify for the daca
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status, again, you have no other legal basis, means you have no other legal basis to be in the united states. >> let me just follow up. i apologize, several different meetings going on. earlier when asking you, requirement of daca that they were brought here by someone else. that's not true. daca enter before age 16, under 31 when applying. i think sometimes there needs to be -- i think there's a misunderstanding on daca and some of the things many of us don't like because of the way it basically subverted the regular process. lets move onto something else. what steps made as part of the advance team planning, in anticipation there's some sort of path to legalization. how much has been spent on that?
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>> i don't specifically missokn. there were efforts to prepare for compensation reform specifically as contemplated in central bill 44. i can certainly get back to you with that information. >> can we have time and money when you get back? >> yes. >> "new york times" reports prioritizing processing of daca applications over those trying to enter the country lawfully. in fact, until recently a u.s. citizen could obtain green card in five months or left. after instituted daca service diverted attention in typical wait lengthened to 15 months. why are you prioritizing illegal aliens over u.s. citizens. >> first of all, i'm pleased to report i-130 petitions returned within normal processing times. we have surges of work -- >> so you're saying within five months now. >> now win five months or around five months. >> okay.
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i apologize. around five months or five months? because around five months could be eight. it could be ten. it could be two. i'm trying to get a clarification. >> at five months. >> at five months. thank you. let me go back then. i'm glad it's back where it should be. why was there a process you were prioritizing these over those who are immediate relatives of u.s. citizens. >> congressman we have surges of work that come from all different sources. our job is to implement entirety of our mission, balance among business. one of the things from the daca experience, we learn important lessons on how we observe surges in work, which is why we were able over time to return to our normal processing times for i-130s. >> okay. again, it's just frustrating i know for those here legally, doing it the right way, to put off any length of time or surge
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over a program that has put them behind the priority. that's something very frustrating as you look at it. how much is the service spent on daca applications? again, spent moneywise, timewise on this, again, applications. you talk about the surge, how you've adapted, how much you had to divert. how much does it cost you? >> my understanding, i don't know the specific, i do know the fee collected for employment authorization and biometrics has enabled us for processing daca applicants. >> we can get back to you with specific information. >> my time has expired at this point. >> i just wanted to, as you proceed, it's my understanding, but please confirm this, that all of these applications were paid for by the applicants through their fees. there was no taxpayer funds involved in these application
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processes. >> congresswoman, that is my understanding as well. >> if the gentleman from georgia will yield back, we'll -- as we wrap up, just a few items we'd appreciate if you would provide for the committee. first, regarding the daca application, could you provide the metrics by which you can sustain this claim that there's no net expense to this? my understanding, there is no daca fee. there is for biometrics, there is for worker application. if you have 700,000 plus people getting a daca application and there's no application fee, i'd be curious to figure out where under the circumstances those funds. >> we will provide you information on the cost of daca. >> when would you -- when do you anticipate we're going to get this? what's reasonable for us to get
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these documents? >> would 30 days be appropriate? >> i'm not sure if the information is immediately available, whether it's going to take it time to assemble. >> thirty days. that would be fine. >> next one is, 147 felony convictions, these are people, daca recipients, 147 referred to ice for removal, we would love to know how many of those have been removed from the united states and have they been referred to ice for removal. probably reverse order. how many referred to ice for removal and how many removed from the united states? we also need updated credible fear numbers, and we would also like to know how many work authorizations have been granted. this would be comprehensive over
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everything that you do. you can break it out in category, but certainly how many work authorizations have been approved. >> thank you, congressman. we will work to get you that information as soon as possible. >> if you can break that number out for the work authorizations for daca, we would also appreciate it. again, if it's reasonable to think we could have these questions in the 30-day window. >> i believe so. if i'm mistaken -- >> we hope you can prioritize that. appreciate your participation here. this concludes today's hearing. i think i thank the witness for attending. that objection all members have five legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witness or additional materials for the record. the hearing is now adjourned. him more now on
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congressional plans for an emergency spending bill for border security. we spoke with a reporter covering the issue. >> house republicans waited today with their 659 million dollar proposal to deal with the crisis on the u.s.-mexico border. covering the fund during --
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spending process for cq roll call. what will the focus of the bill be like? of the moneythirds is going toward border security. most of it going to the department of homeland security. they are looking to beef up funding for ice, which transports migrants what's -- once they are transported at the boarded -- border and deport immigrants after their case. also, a lot of money going to put in more judges on the border , including conferencing technology to allow for quicker immigration hearings before a judge, which they are hoping to get done with in seven days. >> your article pointed out that this bill was not only far less than what the president had proposed but quite a bit paired back in the bill that hal rogers introduced last week, 1.5 billion. why was the figure not
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acceptable? >> we do not know exactly what was cut out for chairman rogers quoted the initial 1.5 billion dollar proposal and did not seem like it was getting enough support. in order to shore up as much support as possible, they really had to pare down the spending. a lot of people were worried the money was not necessary. >> what about the reaction from the congress when it was released today? >> they seem to get pretty decent support, although there was a group who said they were still concerned about the money. they work concerned did not include changes to the executive order in 2000 12 that deferred action on immigrants who arrived in the u.s. as children. they were concerned that issue was not addressed. some were concerned the senate would jam them with a comprehensive immigration overall that they are fundamentally opposed to.
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>> no wildfire, no iron dome funding according to the israeli missile defense program. >> the iron dome was included in the senate proposal, correct? >> it gave 15 million to fighting wildfires out west in 225 million for the iron dome suppression system in israel. on the house i chairman rogers says he was hoping to address the iron dome issue separately. they think that is something they can get taking care of pretty quickly. the wildfire issue thinks it is something they have been grappling with for some time. it is currently not considered a natural disaster. and under fema's program. chairmanouse budget paul ryan is against the approach proposed by the administration.
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rogers andchairman leadership stepped off to decide that is something they could deal with later. >> to me ask you about the tweet 2008 anti-traffic and law emerges as a potential bargaining chip. what is that law all about and how does it affect? is it included in the house proposal and doesn't affect the overall debate with the senate? >> that easily passed both chambers as an anti-trafficking bell. conservatives say it in courage is immigrants to come across the border because it gives them their day in court per se. they say a lot of immigrants. right now mexican and comedian
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-- canadian immigrants are allowed to choose to self support. >> lastly, about the process for debate in the house this week, what does it look like? a few days left obviously. >> it looks like they will take up the measure thursday under a close rule, which means there are known mms him look like they will send it off to the senate really quickly and run away from town for about five weeks. >> he is on twitter. also the corporation reporter for roll call. thank you for the update. >> a couple of live events. >> holding a hearing on the .iolence against women act at 10:00 house foreign affairs the statebriefs
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department about u.s. policy toward north korea. >and a few moments washington journal will take your calls and questions. 10:00 the house will double in the general speeches. today's agenda includes a gop resolution to allow john boehner to sue president obama. in 45 minutes, we will talk about immigration policy with republican representative steep pierce of new mexico. he are also discussing border issues with representative diana te and the status of the highway spending bill. and paul crowe zac will focus on affects1974 budget legislative debate today.
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