tv John Kelly Faces Questions on Border Wall Construction and Extreme Vetting CSPAN April 5, 2017 9:08pm-11:36pm EDT
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intolerance for minor inconveniences. again, all of this required by the law. the public forgets this alternative is probably in a fireball falling from 30,000 feet. they do their work effectively and they worked very hard. the second lesson i have come to realize is what homeland security means. we must no longer think about the defense of the nation in terms of initiatives and funding. in the world of which we live and the never-ending threats directed at us we must adjust , our thinking to ink about security and nonsecurity which required an increased melding of the thinking of the departments of defense and homeland security . mattisry matus -- and his team do it every day. the team i am in charge of fight the home game. the defense of homeland starts
with allies and partners willing to fight the fight in syria, afghanistan while standing ready. closer to home and winning the home game it is all about increasing partnership be -- with willing and reliable friend like mexico, colombia, and canada. indeed, all of the nations in this industry around the globe. security of the border is the primary responsibility of any were sovereign -- sovereign nation. this is nonnegotiable. in despite of the american government has not lived up to its promise of the american people. president trump, in the early days of his mid--- administration, executive -- issued executive orders on this issue and tasked me to a couple it.ld -- accomplish very's executive orders have been put out there, some of them effectively and some not will effectively, but all of them are
worth adhering to once the courts fish with their rulings. what is happened in the last 90 , we have seen an amazing drop in the number of migrants coming out of central america that are taking that dangerous route from central america and to united states. in particular we have seen a , dramatic reduction in the number of families and the number of children that are in that pipeline. it won't last unless we do something, again, to secure the border. wall, a physical barrier. something to secure our border. you know we are looking at that effect. i think the proposal was closed out yesterday. what it will look like how tall , it will be, what color it will be, how thick it will be is yet to be determined. but physical barriers do work if they are put in the right places. talked to the
cbp, and they know where they want to wall and they know how long the wall should be in their sector. they are quick to point out if they can't have a wall from sea sea, then at least give them the physical barrier, the technology that will do the job for them in the locations that they have identified to me. that before i conclude, i would like to highlight the committee to a relentless threat that we are two or three steps ahead of over the years. i talk of those who would do us harm primarily operating out of the middle east. they are unyielding in their attempt to destroy passenger aircraft or flight. in response to this threat, dhs personnel deployed in a thousands overseas, working with airports and air carriers, intelligence and law enforcement partners to deny the terrorist attempt to kill the innocent in
the largest number as possible. as i said, we, the cia and fbi, dni dod, doj, dot and dhs and , all of our international partners have been successful thus far. i recently made decisions that added additional baggage protocols to the number of foreign airports that fly flights directly to the united states. this decision was not about the muslim religion, skin color or ethnicity. i would like to impact the foreign air carriers to the benefit of u.s. air carriers. my -- my decisions were based on save living and protecting the homeland. if wcannot get our arms around the current thread, you can expect additional protocol adjustments in the near future. i'll end by saying i thank you so very much for the support you gave elaine duke, the fact that she is now confirmed and with
any kind of luck i'll return to my building after this meeting or after this committee, swear her in, and put a very, very heavy pack on her back, fill it up with a lot of rocks and make the department of homeland security better than it already is. with that mr. chairman, ranking member i standby for questions. , she had to be looking forward to that. you talked about the study on the border barriers. can you just tell me the -- a little more detail the status of -- detail, the status of that, as well as any surprises in terms of their initial results of that? gen. kelly: we know that a physical barrier works. the parts of the border that have physical barrier now, roughly 650 miles, built some years ago, in those sectors it works. there are other places along the
border, and again, the professionals, cbp, if you walked the terrain boss, if you terrainill tell you -- they will tell you boss, if you can give me 27 more miles here, 16 more miles here, i don't really care about the other 140 miles am responsible for. but i need something that works. to deflect mla from the cities. theseea with coyotes and traffickers is to get them into the city where they disappear. if you can deflect them away from the city, it is easier to pick them up and return them, orther they are mexican whatever. it is actually safer in many ways. last year, somewhere in the
range of 4500 near-death were saved out in the desert. lost theirl hundred lives in this attempt to get across the border. and that is on our border. there is no telling how many, in addition to the rapes and the assault, and the abuse they take, not done by the mexicans, but by the traffickers, there's no way to tell how many lose their life is a dangerous trip. . the barriers work. the technologies work. but it doesn't work unless you have men and women willing to , developing ader relationship with their mexican counterparts. now.s where we are right there's no way i can give the committee an estimate on how
much it will be cost. i don't know what it will be made of, i don't know how high it will be, i don't know if it will have solar panels or how it will be painted. i have no idea. i can't give an estimate. i will say this. it is unlikely it we will build a wall or physical barrier from sea to shining sea, but it is will put ity we where our men and women say. sen. johnson: my assumption is you will target a step-by-step basis and put walls and fences in top priority areas where the border agents are telling you, correct? gen. kelly: exactly right, senator. sen. johnson: we had a meeting last week with heads of unions from border patrol and ice. there were some real problems.
the use of polygraphs, lead to highrejection -- way too rejection rate. the lack of parity. work schedules. ofo talking about how agents are working multiple days in a row, 16 hour shifts. can you address what you are finding out? we will try and do a very cooperated process with you and the white house, a bipartisan, nonpartisan basis really, produce the oversight at the same time you are addressing solutions. can you address those issues? gen. kelly: yes. this will be kind of a cinderblock sized rock in secretary duke's pack. johnsonfriend jeh started, before i took this job, effort to look at all
the departments that is still fairly broken up, to look at all the departments, where it makes sense, and unified things like acquisition and pay. even though it is my understanding some of the hay problems in a couple of the unions was actually negotiated that way by the union. it did not work out so well, as i was informed. i will turn that over to e laine. the secret service calls under another category. there's a better way to do this. -- that unity of effort, we will breathe life into it. to do what theys senator is suggesting, that is come up with better pay systems and better benefits.
cbpof the things these folks, they tend to migrate into ice. the border is ok for maybe a few years, but they want to get back home. that requires a lot of detail work. i don't know what the exact number is in terms of a larger force. for sure, secret service needs to be bigger. for sure they need to be bigger. they are carrying a load that is almost crushing. we will fix that. to your point, we will take on all of that and improve it with your help. sen. johnson: we will want to work with you on that. i come from a manufacturing background. i would love to work with you and the agencies designing a proper shift that doesn't overburden personnel. you did raise this issue about the device searches.
in fiscal year 2015 under the obama administration, there were 8500 devices searched, and they realized it was effective. in 2016, they searched more than 23,000. can you talk about the concern about that? can you allay some of those concerns and talk about the effectiveness of why we should be doing this? gen. kelly: this is roughly one million people a day coming to the united states either by land or aviation. them, one half of 1% might have their devices looked at. generally speaking, these would be foreigners anyways. in almost every case, they would be foreigners. but it is the normal process of coming into the country. what do they look for? it isle of examples is one of the ways they would find pedophiles.
the cbp people, in the course of interviewing travelers in the people intoend secondary. usually they are there for a short period of time. be their papers are out of sync, their stories don't match, there's a myriad of reasons. some of those reasons revolve around men coming from certain that -- whatglobe do they call it -- sexual tourism, i think. we look at their devices, and it is filled with child porn. that is one thing. recently we had an individual traveling here from a middle eastern country during -- middle eastern country. there was process, something not quite right about him matching up with what he told us about where he comes from.
we put him in secondary. ran his contact numbers out of his telephone, and he was in well-knownh several terrorist traffickers and organizers in the middle east. they looked at the pictures and mena full display of gay being thrown off of roofs, and people being beheaded, all of that. we had no reason to hold him because he was not in a database, so we sent him back. that appeared in the newspaper shortly after about he will -- how we were focusing on a muslim male. the point is, there are reasons for it.to senator mccaskill 's concerns, this is not routine, it is a small of her of cases. it will not be done routinely for people coming from anywhere. if there is a reason to do it, we will in fact do it.
xi. wfc wcoum e mebunoinea china by the u.s. ma. it is an unending struggle. i was just at a meeting last week or early this week with the president and a number of people to get after this drug consumption in the united states. one of the first conversations i had with then candidate trump was when he brought up to me the issue of securing the border. said there was no way we could do that unless we get after drug consumption in the united
states. i don't mean arresting more african-american guys. i mean no kidding, a comprehensive drug reduction program. mr. trump is taking that on and has put together a task force. from rehab to law enforcement, to try to stop the production in mexico, all of that adds up to a much more secure border, if we can stop the drug demand in the u.s. -- some statesad have, some communities have some organizations have tried, but we have never had a comprehensive campaign against it. sen. hoeven: as we increasingly secure the southern border, won't that put more pressure on the northern border and other ports of entry? gen. kelly: yes. the beauty of the northern border is canada.
our partnership with them, just couldn't be stronger. so that's the advantage -- and i hope over time, mexico and again, the strains on the mexican society, the violence, again, corruption, we can hope that gets better. they're trying. my relationship -- in fact, right after this i'll meet with the -- again for the fourth or fifth time with a good friend who is the foreign minister of mexico. i just had the military leadership, which play a different role in their society than our senior military people do. my hsi people, my cvp people, i.c.e. people are in mexico in large numbers. the collaboration is very good, law enforcement. it's just not -- >> you would agree we need to do more on the northern border as well. what are the security measure? uas for example?
censors? you know, what are the priorities on the northern border for you? >> well, right now there is not nearly the same level of cross border crime and whatnot. obviously, we need to watch it. one of the things the canadians recently did was to allow -- mexicans to travel to canada without visas and we're seeing a little bit of increase in mexicans coming illegally into the united states from the north. we're working with them. i'm on the phone with my counterparts in places like canada all the time. but we asbestos have the watch the threat. if we were successful in drawing up the production of heroin in say, mexico, probably impossible -- >> i'm not talking just drugs i'm talking terrorism. as you continue to secure the southern border, it's going to create pressure in oth places that's where i want to make sure we're taking the necessary steps on the northern border as well. iate grand forks, north dakota,
your border station there, they have a responsibility for 900 miles of border all the way from the great lakes through most of montana. we're using everything from predators, the grand forks air force bay as global hawk. we have a test site and the cvp station they fly out of grand forks air force base. i would invite you to come up and see the technology -- you talk about cooperation with the canadians and also an opportunity to build on some of that cooperation with the canadians. you're talking 900 miles of border without a fence. we're going to have to continue to build those relations and that technology to do the job. i hope you'll come see what we're doing up there. >> absolutely, i'll do that senator. >> thank you. >> i'm going to raise the northern border in the very beginning. obviously, the law that was
passed requires that you meet a june deadline for telling us what the threats are and how you're going to secure the northern border. can you tell me whether you're on target to meet that june deadline? >> we're always on target. i was just up up in seattle and met with the local law enforcement folks. i've been on the phone a number of times on real i.d. with the governor up there. we've got a little bit of relationship. more importantly i talked to my people that are responsible for that stretch from the pacific inland for 650 miles, something like that. they have great relations with their counterparts on the other side of the border. >> we can expect a report in june which then we can react to in the next budgetary time period, correct? >> yes, senator, yes. >> i want to remind you that eight of the 15 senators actually represent the northern border.
>> got my attention, believe me. i love the northern border. >> obviously, we would love to host you deeply concerned about personnel issues on the northern border and hope that whatever you are looking at in that study includes securing enough personnel to do the job and to meet the challenges. i want to talk a little bit about central america. it's a topic that i know you're well familiar with. and it was one of, i think, the great opportunities that we had given your position in south command. and given the fact that you have so many great relationships. we continue to be challenged by the northern triangle countries. the rate of murder and mayhem is unparalleled throughout the world which is saying really, something. we're looking at the alliance for progress as a way to build that soft power, not just look
at border security but how can we in fact refugee in place. it's my understanding you're convening a conference in miami. one of the concerns that i have is who is going to be at the table. i think it's critically important that everyone be represented, whether it's ngo's, immigration groups, advocacy groups, that we all understand that we have a role in securing securing -- providing security for those countries. can you tell me what your plan is and what you hope to accomplish in the miami conference? >> yes, ma'am, i am close to the central americans. in the short period of time i've been in the job i've been down to guatemala. the president of honduras was up in my office, someone i've worked closely with before. been to mexico since i've been in this job, and met secretary tillerson there.
so i met all three from the northern tier countries, guatemala, el salvador and honduras. all three of their attorneys general came and we had great discussions, again, friends. mexican -- i go back to that. mr. villagras. planning another trip to mexico. so that's where we are in terms of what we've been doing there. now when i briefed -- had a discussions with mr. trump when he was still mr. trump, i talked to him about the issue of drug use in the united states, drug trafficking what that does to these countries. some of the things -- i'll take a little credit for this. some of the things when i was still on active duty at southern command. some of the things we helped the northern tier countries implement have driven down -- the death rates are horrific. >> what do you hope to accomplish in miami? >> economic -- two day conference.
one day will be economic. we've got one of the real powers behind this is interamerican development back. e.u. will be there. some european countries. obviously, we'll have -- i'm hoping to have secretary of commerce, secretary of treasury, i'll be there. the vice president is coming down. businessmen and women. i believe all three of the central american presidents and their teams will be there for this. i've got the mexicans will co-host this. >> will you be reviewing the alliance for progress and whether that's been valuable and what changes we need to make as it relates to that commitment? >> the alliance for -- as you know, the alliance for -- >> prosperity, excuse me. >> right. and i could go into it if you want.
i'll just say that i had a lot to do with organizing that with the three countries. they put their own money against it. we, you, the congress has put money against it. the real thrust of this event in miami in june i think will be outside investment. as opposed to u.s. investment. outside private investment. that's what we will accomplish. >> i think there's tons of folks they want to help out in the ngo community especially. i think that it takes me to the kind of next topic, which is why people are leaving central america. and, you know, i would say there has been confusion back and forth what's going to happen to women coming to the border with children from central american countries. just a quick yes or no. there has been reports that you are considering separating children from their mothers at
the border. and i want to know yes or no whether that's true. >> can i give you more than a yes or no? >> you can, just a little bit. >> ok, only if the situation at that point in time requires it. you know, the mother -- if the mother is sick or addicted to drugs or whatever. in the same way we would do it here in the united states if we -- >> so if you thought the child was in danger, that's the only circumstance to which you would separate -- >> can't imagine doing anything otherwise. >> i just want to -- i know a lot of people think that that might provide a deterrent. we have a number of people within the heartland alliance program. and i'd ask that this letter -- i know you get a lot of correspondence, obviously, sent to you march 8th. it's some comments from women who asked that this be -- >> without objection. >> you know, i want to read a couple of them. because i think it's really important to understand what's driving people north.
my faith was in god when i made the decision to leave. i had never heard of asylum. all i knew was that the united states was a place where people could be protected and safe. i came to the united states, i didn't think about the policies. i was just considering that the united states is a thing that could protect us from violence where we were living. i think you know almost better than anyone else who serves in this administration, how horrific the conditions are. and i appreciate your answer. no one could disagree that if a child is in danger and you believe that that there should be separation and that that would be a rare circumstance, is that correct, general? >> yes. >> thank you, secretary. >> that's a yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator peters. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's good to see you before the committee, i appreciate your testimony and i also wanted to thank you again publicly for coming to detroit upon my invitation and spending some time with the muslim american
community, latino hispanic community, we had saw the busiest entries into america. i appreciate your interest and involvement in that meeting. as you know, secretary kelly, there has been appreciable uptick in hate crimes and crimes against religious institutions across the country. last month, senator portman and i led a letter that was signed by every single member of the senate asking your department, the doj and fbi, to take action against the rise in hate crimes against jewish cmunity centers, mosques and other religiously associated locations. it's rare to have a letter signed by all 100 of this. this is how serious we take it. it's been 29 days since the letter's been written, i was wondering when should we expect
a response back to all my colleagues? >> it should have been a long time ago. i'll apologize. and i'm on it. i will tell you this, that i've added our approach to this issue to add mosques and, you know, any religious building church, whatever that might be affected by this. we do have some capability within a department to advise individuals that want to be advised about security precautions. my staff told me virtually all of the jewish centers, you know, large groups have taken that advice. we have teams that go out and travel. so we're very -- i don't know if any of the mosques have responded yet. but as i say, add all religious communities to that, not just -- i've told my people let's not talk one religion. let's not talk terrorism for that matter. how about white supremacists and
things like that. i apologize for not getting back and i will get on that today. >> i appreciate that, secretary. and i think it's obviously from your comments, you do believe there is a legitimate fear of hate crimes. >> i do. >> in our communities. they need to be concerned about. given that, will you commit to continued support for programs that support vulnerable locations, such as the non-profits security grant program that your department runs? >> i will. >> thank you, i appreciate it, secretary. as you know, michigan has an extension of the real i.d. enforcement allowing federal authorities to accept cards from michigan. it runs through october 10. what is the current status of real i.d. implementation across the nation? >> as i know, the senator knows, the real i.d. law was passed by congress in 2005. and it's -- the real first big deadline is january coming.
i think it's 22nd, to where you'll have to have an appropriate real i.d. approved real i.d., if you don't have something, a passport in order to fly domestically and internationally. the map -- and i addressed most of the governors of all of the states, 48 i think of the states about three weeks ago. for those that are not compliant, and right now i think five that for sure aren't trying. that's their call i'm not criticizing them. they're not trying for issues inside the state. there's another 18 or 19 states that are going in the direction, but are unsure if they can be compliant. i can talk to the governors and i can say the same thing here. the governors have to kind of
have a real serious conversation with their citizens, with their staffs first, and decide whether they can hit the mark in january. if they can't, to have a conversation with their citizens about you need to consider getting a passport. passport's for ten years, $110 i think to get a passport, very easy to get. because in january, if they don't have some compliant i.d., they're not going to be able to get on an airplane. domestically or otherwise. this was -- scared me to death actually, because i thought when i -- i just thought that the people i was talking to in washington, which is really a red state right now, probably not going to get there. by the way, several governors have asked me to send out some people from my staff to take a look at where they are to do apn -- an appraisal if they're going to make it. i've made that available to all states.
the point is when i was talking to these business men and women in seattle, very, very well informed people. they were all under the impression that their state enhanced driver's license was real i.d. compatible, which it's not. if people like that were unaware of the i.d. situation, i'd say the vast majority of the good citizens of washington state. the point is, where it is right now. if you're not fully compliant on the 22nd of january, coming, then you'll have to have a form of i.d., like a military i.d. or a passport, passport card in order to get on an airplane. >> under section 102 of the real i.d. act. the dhs can waive laws to facilitate the construction of a border wall. this has been used to waive dozens of laws including environmental laws. what laws does dhs intend to
waive to build the new wall along the southern border? >> first, obviously, do the nuts and bolts survey of where we're going to put wall at those points as i understand it. i'm going to have to consult my lawyers, obviously. places like the indian reservation would be complicated. we're working with the indian reservation in arizona, 75 miles of the border. they already have technology there. that would be a place that would be unwilling, unlikely to take on. there is imminent domain issues. we'll try to do as much as we can without those kind of issues coming to a head. certainly, i'm very very aware of any critical habitat, particularly say in the big bend part of texas. again, senator, not going to build a wall where it doesn't make sense. but we'll do something across
the southwest border. >> i understand you're going to need some time to review some of these issues, perhaps we can work closely with your office as that goes forward. i would ask you if you're willing to commit to one item and that would not to waive foia so we can can full transparentancy? >> can i get back to you? but it sounds like a yes to me. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chair and ranking member and good morning, secretary kelly. nice to see you again. there is a specific program within i.c.e.'s homeland security investigations decision -- division that focuses on bringing scrutiny to the visa applications. it's called the visa security program. right now in 30 united states diplomatic posts around the world, especially trained law enforcement teams are dispatched to provide recommendations to
the state department's offices in order to help these diplomats make decisions about whether to grant a visa to a foreign naemt national bringing law enforcement skills makes a lot of sense, at least to me, i hope it does to you too. it should probably be implemented across the board for all diplomatic posts that issue visas. we're working on possible legislation on this topic. i wanted to ask two questions. would you support the expansion of visa security teams to more diplomatic posts, and is the visa security team fully funded in the fiscal 18 budget request? >> i'll have to check on the funding issue. but i think anything we can do overseas to make better decisions about who might come to the united states for whatever reason, is a good idea and should be reinforced. we should be constantly looking at even better ways to do that. i'll get back to you on the funding if that's all right. >> no, that's fine. thank you. i want to now move to a
different topic. as you know, as well as anyone, we have seen multiple incidents of violence at the public or non-sterile areas of our airports. in 2013, a tsa officer at los angeles international airport was murdered at the tsa checkpoint by a disturbed individual. earlier this year an active shooter killed five people near the baggage claim area at the fort lauderdale airport. last spring, suicide explosions occurred in the public areas at brussels airport and istanbul ataturk airport, killed 61 people. the president's released budget for securing the public portions of airports has been gutted. the budget cuts, the viper teams, behavioral detectn officer is eliminated. and grants to reimburse state anlocal law foemt rcal airports is being slashed. amid this increasing threat to
our airports, why is administration cutting these key counterterrorism measures? >> the viper teams, for sure, are something that i'm working very hard to save. >> ok. >> as far as the grants go, and this doesn't fall under the sanctuary city thing or anything like that. i think the expectation is parking lots and areas outside the immediate -- the tsa security zones really belong to the state and local, you know, the airports are a great generators of revenue necessary for various states. i thinking the thinking there is the state and local folks need to -- i'm familiar with the boston area. i mean, there's more state police that, you know, kind of, you know, cycle around that airport. not to mention boston police. i think the thinking is that for outside the security perimeter that's established by tsa, that
would belong more to the local community. >> well, as a former governor, i might suggest that we discuss that a little bit more. because i know how much additional work securing even the non-sterile areas are. and as a partnership to be sure, but i am very concerned. money is not growing on trees in our state budgets. and so i think it's something we really need to look at. because the overall security climate at airports, i think, will really be compromised with those grants. i look forward to discussing that with you more. i'll submit for the record a question on airport -- foreign airport staff screening. but i did want to talk a little bit about dhs and cyber defenses. in an effort to strengthen its cyber defense, the department of defense recently launched two programs to capitalize on the vast network of u.s. computer security researchers who may not
want to work for the federal government, but still want to help secure our nation from cyber threats. the first was a pilot program called hack the pentagon and it provided hackers across the country with legal authorization to spot vulnerabilities in d.o.d. networks in return for cash payments. the second program was the establishment of a vulnerability disclosure program. i think these are really forward thinking cyber programs that leverage an untapped resource in the united states. so the question is, has dhs considered implementing similar programs? >> one of the things -- i don't know if the senator was here. one of the things now that i have a deputy, this is a critically important issue. goes without saying. this is another one of those things, the whole cyber enterprise within dhs, but
another thing, we're already doing, and that is -- that's one of the reasons i was in seattle recently, is reaching out as is, i think, all of government, reaching out to the commercial sector because the answers are just not -- they're definitely not just in the federal government. they're everywhere. so elaine duke, now that she's confirmed, and thank you for that, will take this on among a number of other things that she'll focus on. i'm with you on this. and i was not aware of these programs but i am now. i can get back to you, come over and talk to you about it. >> i think it would be great because we have a lot of people with talent and skill and interest in serving their country who may not want to come work for the government but we really need their skill and their insight. last area i wanted to touch on. i know you referenced this morning the president's commission on the opioid epidemic.
you d i have spoken about the issue, both at the one-on-one meeting d your confirmation hearing, we agreed on the need to crack down on the demand side of the program. i'm looking to find out more about the goals of the president's new commission on combatting drug addiction and the opioid crisis which he established by executive order last week. and i want to insure that the rhetoric is met by real action that reflects the seriousness of the crisis. the news reporting has been scattered. are you a member of the commission? >> i am. >> that's great to know. and my understanding from the executive order is that the commission has 90 days to make a report on interim recommendations. do you know what the process wul
will be to get to those recommendations? >> i don't. it's in the staff realm. this to say the least is a passion for me. my entire time in southern command, i talked about this to the point of getting cross wise with fair amount of people in the white house and other parts of our government. the beauty, i think, of this president, was -- i don't know if you were in the room when i made this comment before. one of the first conversations i had with president elect trump was this issue of drugs, drug demand what it does to not only our own country but certainly to the hemisphere and the money it makes available for corruption and things like that. he's taken this bit and he's going to make this work i believe. it's a comprehensive, everything from drug demand reduction to rehab to law enforcement to helping out the central american republics. to working with mexico on the
heroin production. we have great partners down there. it's a very long 2,000 mile, if you will, process of trying to get at the drug demand. >> well, i appreciate that very much. i appreciate your presence on the commission. i look forward to working with you on it. and i'd put a plug in for a central benefits in our healthcare so people can get the treatment they need. thanks. >> thank you, but by the way i've seen cherry blossoms growing on trees here in washington. unfortunately, i haven't seen money growing trees here in washington either. senator danes. >> thank you for being here today. i figured when he put a four star marine in charge of homeland security good things would start to happen. >> not everyone agrees with that. >> well, i do. i was struck yesterday, we were in the same room, in fact, the same table you had one of your former commissioners of the u.s. customs border protection david aguilar was here testifying.
i asked him a question about the reductions we're seeing in apprehension rates of illegal southwest border crossings, that february data point came out and saw a 40% reduction in february. saw a 40% reduction in february. when we typically see because of seasonalities anywhere from a 10% to 20% increase, we saw a 40% decrease in february. david then followed up and said i believe we're going to revise those numbers as we have a little more time here, because that release came out on march 8th. he said it looks like it's a 67% reduction in the month of february. this is not a statistical anomaly, something is going on. we talked about what that is in terms of the message that's coming from the administration about enforcement and rule of law. i want to congratulate you and the administration with some early success. my question is, these are encouraging results. what substantive actions will
you be taking in order to make sure that we can sustain the reductions we're seeing early on in this administration? >> the first would be to gain control of our southwest border. much of what we're seeing here -- and the second would be to work -- i don't know if you were here when we were talking about this. the central american issue of helping them, security, and economically. again, i've travelled it many times. the people from central america that are coming here, overwhelmingly nice people. simple, for the most part. rural. not highly educated. that's just the nature of their societies. but they come here for two reasons. one, lack of economic opportunity. and two, levels of violence, particularly in the cities that are astronomical. although to use the honduras as an example, in the four years
that the current president there, has taken it from 91 per 100,000, which is what it was when i was in miami, active duty, highest in the world. it's down to 59. that is still astronomical. as violence in our country is five per hundred thousand. the point is, they are bringing it down. i was speaking with the president of honduras. economically,ne he expects to grow his economy by 600 thousand jobs. this is phenomenal information. progress. jimmy morale is from guatemala, similar kind of efforts and success reducing the violence. is why i think this economic forum, if you will in miami will add to it.
why aren't they coming? they're not coming for the most part becse they don't know what's going on. they've heard of the actions of the i.c.e. agents in the united states. much of it terribly misreported by our press, but with that said it's added to the deterrent effect. what we're doing on the boarder, what we intend to do on the boarder has added to that deterrent effect. these people are not wealthy people. their entire life savings are given to traffickers to get one, two, three of them in the united states. we know because of the focus we're putting on the traffickers now and catching them and prosecuting them, the traffickers now have raised their fairs, their prices, two and three times. so what used to be $4,000 per individual to get into the
united states from say honduras is now $8,000, $10,000, $12,000. the people can't afford that kind of money. they're paying more than they can afford. all of that has added to a deterrent effect. my appeals to the press and the president and the attorney generals from those three countries, i met with the los angeles roman catholic arch bishop asked them to contact their counterparts in those questions to ask, beg, to people not to take that horribly dangerous trip to the united states because you will be sent back and you won't have the money and you'll probably if you're a woman have been assaulted once if you're lucky. or if you're a young man, you could be taken to the cartel
gang. that's why they're not coming. >> i think you're also demonstrating in my opinion the experience you're bringing from your southern command leadership. i think it is having already a significant impact on our country and protecting our southern boarder. >> thanks for that. >> thank you, truly. i appreciate your compassion as you're looking at the effect it's having on poor people who are being taken advantage of. i'm from montana. we think about our northern boarder, but the southern boarder and the method fet means coming into montana and from the southern boarder having a huge impact on our state, mitigating the flow of drugs before they reach our boarder, as you are well we're from your time in command at south com is important. what steps have you taken on the job to stop the flow of drugs as well as violence into our
country? >> great question. one of the things we know about the flow of hard drugs, marijuana, comes in vast amounts, but it's also produced in the united states in vast amounts, but heroine and cocaine are the big killers. along with that are opiates that are counterfeited as well. the average person abuse opiates in the united states doesn't know a lot of it is not produced -- they're produced in labs in mexico or other places. the point is most of that comes in to the united states in ten, 15, 20 kilo loads via the ports of entry, in trucks and things like that. what have yi done? we're looking at the ports of
entry, but look at the ports of entry. if there is better technology out there and i think there is to look into vehicles without unloading the vehicle, particularly tractor-trailers to get after it that way, but i will tell you working with the mexicans, they're good partners in law enforcement, my folks are proud to say, my homeland security investigation working with the mexicans led them to two huge labs that were destroyed by the mexican marines, working with them and identifying the poppy fields in the south -- the pacific southwest of their country in helping offering them perhaps help in how to eradicate those much as we've done for so many years in colombia with cocoa.
the big issues on drugs coming into the united states is the ports of entry and a part of that as well is what goes south. we don't look as much as going south of our country. the mexicans don't look at that very well either. i'd like to extend the effort to look in vastly more vehicles going south because bulk money in unbelievable amounts travels south of the united states to the rest of the hemisphere to get laundered. billions and billions of dollars in guns. if we point a finger at the mexicans or countries that produce drugs, if we point our finger at them about the production of drugs, they will point their finger back and say what about guns. we need to do better in the south to go after the money and to go after the flow of guns. that will take some time, some money and efforts.
the next step is technology. i was looking at the busiest traffic point between detroit and canada, technology that looks into trucks and tractor-trailers is pretty good, but i know there's better stuff out there and we'll get after it. mostly the drugs come in, we believe, we know, comes in in relatively small amounts, 10, 15 kilos at a time in automobiles and those kind of conveyances. >> thank you. >> thank you. i want to remind everybody watch the clock. i want to make sure everybody gets a chance to ask questions. >> thanks. general kelly. how are you holding up? >> i've been in this job for 15 years, but it's -- three months seems like 15 years. >> i'm sure it does. >> this is the most enjoyable thing i'll do this week.
>> for us too. we say this often. we say it from our hearts, thanks for taking this on. thank you for being a voice of reason and thanks for being a great patriot. we've been talking about -- i'll follow up. i think that the message i hear from both sides and from you as well is we need all the above strategy on the boarder. it's not just a wall, fencing. those are important and appropriate in certain places, but it's immigration reform that takes away for the need to come up here and get stuck and can go back and forth and do good for our country and go back to that own. i'm delighted the hear the economic summit that you're planning for being held in may. do you have the dates on that yet? >> it's going to be in june and
that was based our vice president's desire to attend. either the 12th -- i think it will be the 12th. it might be later. it will be in miami because that is a great place to bring latin americans. that's the place to do it. >> i'm glad you're doing. one of the things we need to do is we need to in order to insent the private countries and organizations to help out in the work that needs to be done in central america so it has economic hope and opportunity and do a better job combatting crime and violence, we set the example. my hope is you can continue to support and you know it makes sense. >> absolutely. >> i like to say for the folks down in central america, you can do it and we can help. they have to do the heavy lifting, but we have to help and i think we're doing that. boarder security, the force
multiplie multipliers. there's a ton of them. we talked about the invasion and technology. it's those aircraft, but it's with the right kind of surveillance technology. it's so much more helpful. i mentioned yesterday 23 years in the navy, bedid a lot of work for stuff off the coast of vietnam. we did search and rescue. it's hard to find anything. the system makes sense. part of the force multipliers is observation towers that can be fixed. they have to have the right surveillance systems. part of it can be horses. some of us have been to see the horses do their work and be a force multiplier.
there's motion detectors. how are we doing on the intelligence. >> the law enforcement intelligence information sharing is good. >> part of that is boats. we can get the boats in the water. some places it makes sense and other places it does not. i want to ask you to talk about leadership and the ability to manage this organization. senator johnson and i -- members of this committee work closely with jay johnson to try to make sure that the department had terrific leadership teams confird leadership team and i think many of them are gone now as you know and we had an election. we want to be helpful. we want to be helpful in bringing the rest of your leadership team in.
you have to tell us who you want. we look forward to hearing about that. the other thing on leadership i found and we've talked about this before, it would be nice to have instead of all of the departments spread throughout the greater washington metropolitan area, it would be nice to have people consolidated in a more close knit area. that could be st. elizabeth's. it should be. i wasn't always a fan of the project, but i've come to believe it's a smart thing to do. your thoughts, please. >> if i could comment on the leadership, i would tell you you're right. elaine and myself are the only two political types and -- we have tremendous career
professionals. so it has not stopped at all. we have tremendous long serving public servants that are running the department now and as time goes on of course political appointees will be confirmed by the senate and they'll learn their jobs. >> that's a good point. dhs will never be a functioning cohesi organization to the degree it should be and could be unless it does consolidate somewhere in more or less the same building or on the same campus. first issue and the second issue is -- as long as thdepartment
as soon answers to as many -- jim mattis has four kmeets he has to concern himself with and a number of subcommittees. that was my life before. this is a different beast. i don't think it will ever be as cohesive as it could be so long as we have -- it's 119 plus committees and subcommittees that still have jurisdiction from the olden days from when the department was formed. it's not impossible to function, but it won't be the same so long as there's so many committees to answer to and that generates -- >> does st. elizabeth makes sense. >> yes. >> my time has expired. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> senator harris.
>> i was heartened to hear your response about the separation of children fromheir parents. i understood you to say only if the life of the child is in danger would there be a separation, is that correct? >> depending on what's going on on the ground, but that would be my approach. >> are you willing to issue a statement to your staff tt that i you aroh andha yopocy staff knows already that they will not separate anyone unless i'm informed and get my permission. >> you have issued a directive to that extent. >> they know that. >> that's not my question, sir. >> my response is they know that. yes i have through the leadership told them if that's going to happen it will only be me. >> with all due respect, sir, are you willing to issue a directive to your staff that that's your policy? >> i have already done that. >> you have issued a directive. >> through my leadership. >> i'd like a copy of that then. is that in writing. >> it's verbal. >> okay. are you willing to issue a
written directive to your staff that's the policy of the department. you have an organization of 230,000 people, is that correct? >> yes. >> why are you reluctant to issue a directive if that is your policy. >> i'm not reluctant. i've given the verbal and it only -- >> are you unwilling to issue a written directive it is the policy of the department to not separate children from their mothers unless the life of the child is in danger? >> i don't need to do that. i've done it verbally. >> is your answer no. >> my answer is i don't need to that. >> you don need to do it. are you aware that sean spicer said that with the new administration tt now finally the president wanted to take the shackles off individuals in this agency? are you familiar with that? >> no. >> are you familiar with brandon judd who before our committee in response to a question said that
now that we can take the handcuffs off us and put the handcuffs on the criminals. are you aware of that. >> no. >> are you a aware that your spokesperson said yesterday to "the washington post" that immigration agents may arrest crime victims and witnesses at courthouses. >> yes. >> are you willing to exempt witnesses and victims who do not have serious criminal backgro d backgrounds from that policy. >> every case is different. as the agents do their work the people that are taken into custody are put into a legal justice system so that's where the decision would be made to deport, export, whatever. >> are you willing to initiate a policy that says that if that person who is a victim or a witness to a crime who is at courthouse in any county in the
united states appearing as a victim or witness to a crime if they do not have a serious criminal background they would be exempt from a policy of picking them up at that courthouse. >> no. >> are you aware this has created a concern and has resulted in a reluctance to show up and testify about crimes. >> i have heard some number of law enforcement people say that, but i also hear the opposite view. >> during your confirmation hearing before this committee on january tenth you committed to doing a top to bottom assessment of dhs, is that correct. >> yes. >> have you finished. >> no. >> when do you plan to finish it. >> i don't know. >> you don't have a goal. >> i have a general date. >> when is that date. >> my new deputy will take that on. >> have you given her a date. >> no. when she wasn't confirmed i
didn't deal with her as a deputy. >> so you do not have a goal for your department on when that -- >> we will discuss the goal. >> you have read the as part of the asectisessment that needs t done have you read the report that was issued four months ago entitled major management challenges. >> i'm aware of the report. >> have you read it. >> i'm aware of. >> you've not read it. >> executive summery. >> this year we are presenting a broader picture of management challenges by highlighting those we have repeatedly identified over several years. we remain concerned about the nature of these challenges, some of which span multiple administrations and department leadership. do you agree many of these challenges are deeply rooted in the department? >> well, of course that would was pre-kelly. >> it was four months ago that report was issued. do you agree with the statement.
>> that was pre-kelly. i am committed -- >> meaning yourself? >> i wasn't in the job yet. >> okay. as i've committed to the committee before and to the congress in general, we're going to take a look at how we're organized and how we can do business better and that includes how we do the leadership functions. >> are you aware a on march 22nd officials appeared before this committee and during that hearing chris crane who is the president said there is a toxic and failed management culture. he said a good old boy network exists within your department and officers are tripping over managers in the field and then said also that the agency has outdated and practically no policies in place. are you aware that is a sentiment among leadership in
your department. >> certainly that's the sentiment throughout dhs. going forward it won't be run like that anymore. once i determine how we're going to change the leadership approach. >> so you are going to come up with a plan for fixing this for the 230,000 people in your department. >> yes. >> is this a priority. >> it is. >> at the same hearing spoke of an extensive moral issue which is published by o approximapm. are you aware it raungs last. >> that was the case under the obama administration, but we're changing that already. >> you're going to change that with in what time period. >> it's already changing. >> it is changing. in records to your top to bottom
assessment has it included looking into the moral issues at the agency and putting in place programs and initiatives to actually improve the moral. >> it's what i do, yes. >> can you provide us with a list of the policies that yooef unstietd to improve moral. >> my leadership is a start point and we'll continue to look at ways to improve the moral. one of the issues most focused on by the workforce since over the last eight years that effected their moral was an inability to do their jobs. opened the aperture in terms of the amount of work they're allowed to do, the -- i'm deflecting a lot of outside influences into the work force, so they can do their jobs. >> sir, my question, with all due respect, my question to you is, what have you put in place to turn the morale around in this department and the morale,
which is at the lowest of any large federal agency and the condition has existed throughout the -- it appears, the life of the agency and certainly has passed through many administrations. >> under the obama administration, the morale suffered terribly. >> so, what plans have you put in place, sir? >> my leadership. >> you're saying by virtue of you being there, morale will change? >> the greatest impact in raising the morale in the last 90 days or so has been that the work force now is allowed to do their job. >> and that would be they're now unshackled, is that correct? >> they're allowed to do their job as the professionals they are. >> the administration has proposed tripling the number of ice agents and border patrol agents by 25%. in addition to requesting a $4 billion to begin the construction of a wall, which has been discussed. are you in support of actually bringing on these new agents before you have repaired the damage that has existed in your
agency? >> it's simultaneous, sure. >> senator harris, we're going to give you an opportunity -- >> i'll go to round two. thank you, chairman. >> we'll have opportunities to submit questions for the record. >> i do have more questions, so, if we can do a second round, i'd appreciate that. >> i want to be thoughtful of people's time. senator portman? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and general kelly, it's good to have you before the committee again. first of all, i'm glad we finally gottal great ohio in that department. including big roles over at dhs as a career expert in management and procurement and some of the big challenges that you face trying to bring together all these departments and agencies into one. i'm glad she's there and i know she will be a tremendous asset to you. at your nomination, we talked a
lot about this drug issue, and as you know, i was very complimentary of comments that you had made to this committee about a year and a half ago now regarding importance of focusing on the demand side. that's where i've focused in the last 25 years. and that's the single most important thing, lessening the demand. treatment, recovery, so on. i was a little concerned about the comments earlier about the commission. i do hope the commission, you know, heeds your comments and your thoughts on that, but you should also know, just by way of information, congress just spent three years going through this process that the commission's going to do in 90 days, apparently, which is helping identify the problem. we had five conferences here, not just numerous hearings, but conferences, bringing in experts from all around the country, looking at best practices and came up with this addiction and recovery act, bill that was finally passed last year, and one of my concerns is that only
three of the eight programs provided there, including things like, you know, helping out on drug courts and some of the things you talked about in terms of diversiodiversion. only three of those eight programs have been implemented. and i pushed the obama administration on this and i'm now pushing the trump administration on . i hope you'll get up to speed about what k.c.a.r.e. is. it's based on a lot of work that's been done, not just over the last few years, but around the country over time. because i don't think we need to recreate the wheel. i think we need to go to action. this is a crisis. and it's an epidemic, certainly in my state and many other states around the country. and it's one that is particularly difficult, because of the opioid issue. in other words, crystal meth is increasing in some communities, cocaine is back in some communities. this opioid issue, the grip of
it has been a huge challenge for treatment and recovery. we're beginning to learn more about it, how to do it better, we have to get the legislation implemented and get the money pro rated again. i hope the budget will reflect that. an extra $5 billion. on fentanyl, it's the new issue. as you know, in so many of our states, we probably are hit harder in ohio than any other state, but this is this toxic substance this is a synthetic heroin. it's created by evil scientists in a laboratory somewhere, and you mentioned it coming in from mexico. yeah, some does, but primarily, that's coming from china to hear, as i understand it, then going to mexico and back here. the vast majority of it, and there's a new commission report saying it's coming from china. and it's coming from laboratories in economy that and it's coming by the u.s. mail system. you and i talked about this, again, during your confirmation process, and it's a very
others have identifying these packages, but the u.s. mail does not quirequire advanc information. fedex and ups and dhl and other private carriers do require that. what we heard from your folks, including todd owen, executive assistant commissioner in the office of field operations, when he testified, is that having thissed ed advance data would b to help you to be able to target these packages to find the ones that are suspect. we have legislation as you know, the stop act, that is bipartisan, myself, senator rubio and others, that we are trying to get passed, let's require these packages have this. this is what we've heard about from your people as the solution of being able to target some of this fentanyl, to be able to stop some of this poison coming into our communities and killing our citizens. i had a roundtable discussion
just ten days ago in ohio. two of your port chiefs were there, we had folks there who are from your hsi group, your group of individuals who work with law enforcement every day to try to find this material. we also had folks from dea who testified on this, and so my question to you is, what can we do to get this done? president trump in the campaign talked favorably about the stop act. you have talked favorably about the need to have this information. i guess what i would ask is two questions, one, do you agree with me that having this advance data on shipments coming into the united states from both the post office and private carriers would help your officers be able to target illegal shipments? >> i do. >> second, would this informed targeting by cpb reduce the ability of the post office to be used for illicit shipping of all kinds of contraband? >> i think it will. >> and have you had a chance to review the stop acts, and what
are your thoughts and comments and its potential to be able to help? >> just in preparation for this hearing, we had a long conversation with the cvp people, and apparently, of course, they don't work for us, but the post office leadership is starting to move in the right direction. just the other day, again, a doj effort, dea, agreement such as they are with china, but an agreement, at least, that they will get after the fentanyl production and shipment out of their country, i'll see how that turns out. one of the problems is, as i think you know, senator, that my folks have pointed out to me is, a lot of the countries that, where these parcells come from, you know, just don't cooperate. but that's an effort that we should focus on, to have them cooperate in terms of identifying the package, what's in the package, those kind of things, so, again, i was probably not as aware of this issue three days ago as i am
now, and kevin, who we hope some day will be the commissioner, he's the acting now, has this very much on his front burner, as it is now on mine. >> i appreciate that. and we're asking president trump to raise this to president xi, because you're right, china is not doing enough. it's a problem in china, as well, i'm told fentanyl is leaking out -- >> i think that's the only reason why they are interested, because it is a problem. >> three flakes of this stuff can kill you. it is being put in relatively small packages and there are millions of packages. do you agree the stop act would be helpful to identify these packages? >> yes, sir. >> thank you for that. the final thing i want to say, with we guard to the border. we talked about this earlier, and i really appreciate your comment, which is, we're not going to build a wall where it doesn't make sense. we do need a wall. in certain areas, including some urban and suburban areas and we need the technology that was
talked about earlier in other areas. you mentioned specifically the big bend of texas, i was there at the end of the year, i've been there several times. and you're not going to build a wall on those cyon walls. so, we need to reassure people that this is about an effective way to secure the border, and i appreciate your comments on it. i think that will help clarify the situation. thank you. >> thank you. >> appreciate your service. >> senator tester? >> thank you, chairman. i want to thank you, senator kelly, for your service. i mean that. i go back to what the ranking member said in the opening remarks. we have faith in you. we have faith in you being the adult in the room, because of your past record and performance. we believe that will carry on as secretary of the department of homeland security. i've got a number of questions. one deals with, there was $20 million worth of reprogramming money that you requested and that senator bozeman and i signed a letter basically stating, utilize the money, but
utilize it in the best way to protect the border, not necessarily a concrete wall, could be a fence, could be drones, could be technology, could be a number of things. have you determined how that $20 million is going to be spent? >> again, senator, the -- on the barrier wall technology, whatever, we'll do it where it makes sense and what makes sense. but we won't waste any money. but we have not determined right now what this thing will look like, how long it will be, you know -- >> so -- and i appreciate that response, but really, the question is, we reprogrammed $20 million. the question becomes, if we use all that $20 million to put up a prot type concrete wall for a prototype, to be used, that
pretty much tells me what we're going to be doing. if you use that $20 million, part of it to put up a concrete wall, part of it to use, maybe blue rose technology, part of it to maybe use drones, part of it maybe to use radar, part of it maybe for manpower discussions, that puts my heart at more of an ease. so, the question is, if you have how this reprogramming money is going to be used, i would like to know it and if you haven't, could you tell you when you might have? >> let me get back to you specifically on that, senator, but you can rest assured, we won't waste the money and we're not going to build, you know, one prototype, we're going to take a look at what makes sense along that whole border. >> okay. secret service was brought up earlier, and i also agree that due to circumstances with this administration, your secret service is probably stressed more than it ever has been before. had you made any requests of congress -- am i reading that right?
i may be reading it wrong. if i am, that's fine. but have you made any requests on secret service and the demands that have been put on the secret service and if we need to deal with that through the budget? >> not as of yet. again, first i would like to say, and i think you'd agree, individually, the best men and women -- >> yeah. >> imaginable. they are just phenomenal people. and they work so hard and they max out their overtime, i mean, they are meeting themselves coming and going. senator, they need -- and we will come forward to the congress and make the case, but they need a lot more agents, not just because of the trump era, if you will, although that is additional, he's got a lot of children, grandchildren. we need more agents and we need more uniform personnel regardless of whether it's a mr. trump or a mr. obama or a mister anybody, because what they do is much larger than simply, you know, the mission there at the white house and with
presidential travel. i mean -- things like the -- any foreign dignitary that comes to the united states, you know -- >> i got you. >> it's much bigger than just that. we need a larger secret service. because we need to get some of these people a little bit of time at home with their families. >> got you. coast guard. you talked about it in your openg remarks. the president's budget came out and whacked coast guard. along with a lot of tsa and a lot of other agencies that are under your purview. question number one is, how much input did you have in that budget? question number two is, what are we going to do about fixing it? >> question number one, very little. i talked to them about a way forward. and we made -- we're going to make the money -- we'll make the money good for the coast guard. they're too vital -- >> yeah. >> securing e southwest border. and a lot of other things. >> and mar-a-lago and a lot of other things. okay, thank you. northern ports.
we talked about ports of entries where the drugs are coming through, and we all are focused, like a laser on the southern border, and i think that's cool, but the northern border has its challenges, too. can you -- can you tell me how concerned you are on the northern border, and if you're concern is with -- i don't think this is classified information, is it with drugs, is it with undocumented people coming across the line? is it with terrorist activities? where is your -- where is your concern with the northern border? and then we'll have a followup on that. >> not as, obviously, as concerned with what comes -- with the northern border also the southern border, but it is our border, so i'm concerned with all the borders. the great -- the absolutely great news story in the northern border is that we have canada there, that is, you know, to say the least, a friend, an ally, they interact with us at every
level. they are very careful about who comes into their country, maybe not as careful as i want us to be going forward about who comes into our country, but the good ne story, again, up there is the canadians, their law enforcement, their commitment. this might surprise you, but i think -- not a concern, really, but i'd like to see the northern border as even thinner, if you will, so the movement, safely, in securely, of commerce and people can be even, you know, even streamlined more. >> that's a big deal. last thing, and excuse me if this has been asked before, i don't know that it has been. eminent domain. on the southern border, if we're going to build a wall, if we're going to do anything, but it's going to require permission from the land owner. on the northern border, those people are critically important. they are an extra set of eyes we don't have to pay for. how are you going to deal with eminent domain on the southern border? >> we'll do it judiciously.
there may be places we have to do it, again, that would be part of the -- of the evaluation, about where we build a wall, how we build a wall. >> well, i would just say that, and this point has been brought up if these hearings before, if you want to get people's attention, just talk about eminent domain. >> you know, senator, i'm told back in the 2008 effort to put fencing on the border, we're still in court with people about eminent domain. >> yeah. >> nine years ago. >> look, i've got it. i have a farm that has been in the family 100 years. those years are 140, 150. if somebody tried to eminent domain my place, they'd take me off in a box because i wouldn't let them do it. so, that's where we're at. thanks. >> thanks. >> this hearing is setting a lot of hair on fire. senator paul? >> and his is so special, to be on fire.
>> general kelly, thank you for coming. if i travel abroad and i'm coming back home, do you think it's appropriate to deny me entry to the country unless i let you search my cell phone? >> under -- under very, very critical circumstances, i would say that an american citizen ought to be able to come back and not have their electronics search. >> we've got from 5,000 people having their cell phones searched to 25,000. we're denying people entry, who are citizens or green card holders who are coming back home and your department is saying to them, you cannot return to your home without giving us your fingerprint and giving us all of the data on your phone, access to all of the data on your phone. i think this is an extraordinarily unreasonable standard. i also think that you probably can differentiate between citizens, u.s. persons, and
those who are coming to visit. i'm not saying you can't have some standards, and that based on suspicious, you ccan deny someone entry to the country, but not a citizen, not a green card holder. they are denying access to our own country. i could travel abroad and be told i can't enter america unless i let you look at my phone. that's on on scene. do you have a response? we're up to 25,000 of those now. >> certainly has n't increased n the 90 days i've been in the job and 90 days mr. trump has been the president. i don't believe we're -- i don't think we ever turned back legal citizens -- i mean, citizens or legal residents. >> that's what's in the paper. in the last month. they're telling -- there was a guy that had a green card, his wife was a citizen, he lived here for many years, he was told he could not enter if he did not give his fingerprint to the government. >> let me take that on, senator.
the one thing i have learned in this job that everything i read about this department or what goes on on our border borders, s always more to the story. but in general, just like an american citizen coming in and having his bags searched at the port of entry, generally speaking, it's done for a reason. >> right. but i think there are different -- and i'm not blaming you, may sound like i'm blaming you, you've been on the job for a month or two. in your nomination hearing, you said you were going to respect the fourth amouendment and respt people's privacy. my hope is, you're going to ask people, why are we doing this? >> you know i will. >> there have been many reports of this. i would argue there's a difference between searching my bag and my cell phone, okay? if i'm coming in, there is -- it is known that one of the things that happens at the border are drugs, we have dogs, we have all of that stuff and we do random searches of bags. i think we can accept that. but i think people are going to be horrified, the more they hear
their cell phone, all their contacts. we don't know what's happening to our cell phone why it is gone. are they downloading? the story was this, they're downloading everybody's contacts and information -- there's extraordinary amount of information on your phone. >> not happening. citiz citizens. and in some cases, it's certainly happening to foreigners coming in, but not routinely. >> but it's gone from 5,000 a year to 25,000. if you wouldn't mind, if you would look into it and have your people get bk to my office on this. >> will do. >> but -- you know, we put forward legislation, bipartisan legislation, because we're so upset about this, really, if you are a citizen, a green card holder, even if you had suspicion, the way it would probably work, if you were obeying the spirit of the constitution is, you might be able to seize my phone, but we would go to a court and a court would determine whether you have probable cause to actually get the access to my phone for a
citizen. but and for a noncitizen, if you don't give it, you can probably deny entry. there are rules on travel to our country. but i think for a citizen or a noncitizen to say, i can't come back to my country without giving you the contents of my phone is, i think, really a -- >> i just don't believe we're doing that. >> we'll -- please look at the news recoports. it wasn't just one. there were a whole series of them, and a few interviews of people who are green card holders not being allowed entry. thanks. >> we will do a second round, but i'm going to limit to five minutes, because i want to be respectful of the senator's time. senator mccaskill? >> following up on senator palm, i had to smile when senator mccain said i was being hysterical -- i was being focused and passionate and i learned it from him, by the way. so, i was -- and i want to be very clear, i completely understand that we have to take
steps to keep terrorists out of our country that are coming here to kill us. i completely understand that this is a global threat, that we have to pay attention to it, and i understand and completely accept that there are people being trained in raqqah to come here and hurt us. my point is, i want to make sure what we're doing is effective. it's now out there that we're taking people's phones. i mean, no terrorist that has the ability to come into this country and hurt us is going to come in with anything other than a clean phone. and the people who are going to get caught up in this are going to be a lot of people who aren't probably terrorists, because if they were, they'd be smart enough to clean their phone. the same thing with some of the, like i talked about, the questions, they're going to lie and we aren't going to, you know, maybe we're going -- for some, maybe we should do polygraphs, if we have good information they are terrorists. i'm not saying i don't want you to go after terrorists, and i don't want you to figure out ways to find the people and
we're taking lots of steps around the globe to do that, and i certainly identify with senator hassan's remarks about the law enforcement teams helping embassies. all great. so, electronic devices. i agree with senator mccain, i think we've got to be doing some extraordinary steps about electronic devices, and i was supportive, i appreciate youed giving me a call of you doing the unprecedented step of not allowing laptops in cabins from certain countries, and if you wanted to take a moment, i only have one other brief question, so, if you wanted to take a moment of maybe explaining that, so we all understand what steps you've taken and why it's important. >> senator, as we discussed on the phone, and i made, you know, 15 phone calls that day to make sure the leadership, both sides of the aisle, both sides of the hill understood what we were doing, and then we provided classified breechiefs to the hi again.
it's a real threat. i mean, we know on any given day there are dozens of cells that are talking about aviation -- attacking aviation. and you just watch them over time and see if they develop, if they go from talking to actually doing something. so, there's a real threat all of the time, you saw, you know, the russian airplane that was blown up coming out of egypt, the somali airplane that, thankfully, didn't catastrophically come apart, but a hole was blown in the side of the airplane, and only because the airplane was not at altitude, the pilot was able to bring that aircraft home. it's real. based on the threat, and this was my decision, certainly briefed it to the president, but this was my decision. once i took in all the information from all the sources, that there is a real threat against aviation right --
always, but a specific threat and the airports that i decided to prohibit, or, to do the additional, the new baggage protocol, that is to say, large electronic devices, into the cargo hold, are predominantly muslim countries. i didn't do it because of the muslim religion or the color of their skin or as some have accused, i was trying to help out the american aircraft industry in places like the irates. it's real. i think it's getting realer, so to speak. we may take measures in the not too distant future to expand the number of airports. it's real. >> we appreciate your focus on it and i certainly support the steps you've taken in that regard. missouri is one of the states that's not done real i.d., and i just -- i just want to make sure
that you clarify what is going to happen next year, and the reason i say this is, the missouri legislature is struggling with this, you know, this -- this happened before i came to the senate, both republican senators voted for this in 2005, in fact, all hundred senators voted for it in 2005. and i understand why it's controversial, and frankly, i kind of identify with that, in many ways, because of the state i'm from and our distrust of government in our dna, but i -- the governor said recently that he had gotten some signals from the trump administration that would indicate that it wasn't going to be enforced and so as a result, the missouri legislature, i think, is now struggling with whether they need to do anything. i don't know what you're going to do, but whatever you're going to do, the more quickly you clarify whether or not this is going to be enforced next year is really important. because i think there's some mixed signals going on and as a result, i worry about missourians and their ability to
participate in aviation in this country, come this time next year. >> senator, your comment just now is the only time i've heard anyone say that we're not going to enforce the law in january. i mean, as i said, i've been saying it to the press, we've been saying it to the governors, i -- >> well, you need to call the governor from missouri, because the headline was trump administration indicates they may make a change and then it goes on to say that people who are against doing it in missouri say, well, we need to give trump time to change. >> i'll call the governors right away. >> that would be very helpful. i know he wants missourians to fly, too. this isn't partisan. we want missourians to fly next year. >> my advice to all of the states that are not right now compatible is to just tell their citizens to, you know, the best thing to do is get a passport. and, again -- >> or a passport card. >> or a passport card.
and this issue up in seattle last week, i was with this business group, all of whom thought that their state license enhanced will fill the bill and it won't and if they didn't know that, then i'd say the average joe and jane doe -- they are probably under that misconception, but there's about, i'd say 10 or 12 states, anyways, that are questionable, that they could pull this off, and, so, i will call the governor. >> really appreciate it. >> senator harris for five minutes. >> i appreciate that. secretary kelly, i represent a state of almost 39 million people. which is also a state with the largest number of immigrants, documented and undocumented of any state in this country, and they have a right to have an understanding, a clear understanding of the picy priorities of your department. march 8th confirmation hearing for elaine duke, i asked her how
the seven enforcement categories from your february 20th memo would be prioritized, and she said they are listed in descending order. >> no. >> can you rank the priority among them? >> those seven factors allow the ice folks to make their decision as to who they will develop a target package on and then go try and apprehend, but they're not in descending order. just those are the categories. >> so, what has been your direction to the folks on the ground about what the priorities should be, understanding that they, like all law enforcement agencies, have limited resources, and a very important charge. are you not giving them any direction around priorities within the seven criteria? >> the direction they have is, the start point is illegal -- illegal status, and then something from the priorities.
but we're not going to go after, as an example, all the murder -- all the very, very serious criminals and once we get all of them, go after the next and the next and the next, they can go after an individua if they, according to the law, if they are on the list, because they are illegal and then something. >> so, sir, among the seven categories, you have number one, convicted of any criminal offense and obviously there's no doubt that especially if someone has been convicted of a serious and violent felony, they should be apprehended and dealt with. second is that anyone charged with a criminal offense, so, there's not been a finding of guilt. the third is they've committed an act which would constitute a chargeable criminal offense. they haven't been charged with the offense. the list goes onto number seven, or in the judgment of immigration officers, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security. how are you training the folks on the ground to exercise their
judgment as it relates to factor three or factor seven as an example? >> they're already trained. and they, through -- through that direction, down through the leadership of ice down to the local agents in charge and what not, they train them to execute that policy. >> so, as a former manager of a very large law enforcement organization, the california department of justice, i am well aware that you cannot lead a department just from the top down. and it is critical that you communicate the policies of leadership to everyone at every stage, including those at the lowest level who, in your agency, as in most law enforcement agencies, have wide discretion to exert and use their authority. i would like to know what specifically you are doing to train those people and i would like a copy of what you are doing that is beyond the
conversations that you've had with managers but actually what policies have you put in place to train those folks on how they should exercise the discretion that you have given them, as it relates to this expanded list of folks that can be contacted by the folks in your agency. i would like to have a list submitted, sir, and if you would agree to give us a written copy of the training that you are instituting in your department, to train folks about how they should exercise their discretion. >> we'll certainly provide you the policy statements and from that, the training takes place. again, they're already highly trained individuals. >> well, we've already discussed how they have the lowest morale of any federal agency. >> under the obama administration. >> okay. so, sir, given the extent and depth of the problems that existed a dhs and that we have
so far received no assessment or any program that you have or plan that you have to address these issues, how can you justify such massive increases in hiring and resources and should the american public really be expected to give you billions of dollars and provide billions of dollars to your agency when, on blind faith inspite of the fact that there's been no clear change of direction or course beyond the fact that you were appointed to lead the agency. should the american public believe to have blind faith in the fact that you are now the leader and therefore everything has changed? >> they should have faith in the fact that i'm the leader. they should also have faith that the rank and file have now been allowed to do their job. we've already seen a change in the morale. yes. >> thank you, i have no further questions. >> senator, senator hathank you.
just a little clarity to the device searches. in fiscal year 2015, there were 77.5 million people that came to this country internationally into flights. that included canada and mexico. there were 38.4 million that came in overseas. the 23,877 devices that were searched in fiscal year 2016 was under a different administration. representing .03% of total international arrivals, .06% of overseas arrivals. just put it in perspective. my concern about all of a sudden this now new administration, this is all of a sudden a big problem, we're publicizing this, we may be taking a tool out of the tool box. kind of like when osama bin laden found out we could track his location based on his cell phone. so, again, i appreciate your comments on how it's being administered and kind of extraordinary circumstances in many cases, again, .03% of the
time, .06% on overseas flights and -- i don't know. it's just unfortunate. >> you know, chairman, if i could, i think -- and this has a lot to do with the press reporting, not against the press, just they pick up and intend to write off whatever the base story is, i think an awful lot of people are confusing what we're doing at the ports of entry today and the kind of thinking i have in terms of the additional vetting that we will be implementing, whether it's for, you know, for -- overseas, in overseas locations, whether it's for, you know, visa requests to come for the united states, or for that matter, asylum requests. we're going to do a lot more of this electronic stuff in addition to other things, whether it's in refugee camps in kenya or in, you know, some other country. and we'll do it -- but we won't
probably do the same type of additional vetting in, say, britain or japan. it just depends on the country, depends on the threat. i think an awful lot of people have jumped to the conclusion, a little bit, certainly the press has picked up, for whatever reasons and i'll assume they were doing it, you know, honestly, that we're not going to do everyone's phone and, you know, computer at the border. >> and of course that's the impression the press leaves, so, we blow it out of proportion. we take what could be an effective tool out of our tool box and we make this nation less safe. so, again, i think it's unfortunate. i want to lay out -- and i think you explained it pretty well. you look at a phone, you look at the photos, no password required for that. i see a potential pedophile if there, and that helps prevent something. and it's just unfortunate that we do publicize some of these things that, from my standpoint,
ought to remain more at a classified level or just not really discussed in public domain. >> mr. chairman, i just want to say, having these hearings is how we get to the bottom of it and find out the facts. that's why we do this, and the questions are important to be asked so we can get the clarification. >> i understand. >> so, i think -- i think the secretary now is in a position to understand the concerns and i think he'll respond to them and we'll all be in a better place. >> unfortunately, way ahead, and if jim comey and people like that, sitting here with me, law enforcement in general, these new applications that will make it impossible to look into someone's phone or electronic device, we will lose a huge -- this country -- the good guys and gals in the world, in the west and other places, well, in the world, that are trying to protect their people, will lose tremendous asset when these
applications become more widespread than they are. tremendous advantage lost. >> last time director comey was before this committee, he was predicting, when we end the c l caliphate, we're going to have to deal with that. general kelly, thank you for coming here. thank you for your service. thank you for your testimony, your answers to our questions. with that, the hearing record will remain open for 15 days until april 20th at 5:00 p.m. for the submission of states and questions for the record. this hearing is adjourned.
politico talks to house freedom caucus chair and members mark meadows, jim jordan and just in mosh about the political news of the day and the caucuses agenda. etern.ve ting20 commissi joh kkinen o col hil tscuss ncy's eraturing the se fieg sn. comme at:50 a.m.astern on c-span ree. can it on websi www.an.oorol rewaa ris