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tv   DHS Secretary Nielsen on Homeland Security Budget  CSPAN  April 28, 2018 3:18am-5:56am EDT

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>> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. monday at 7:00 p.m., james comey will be on book tv with his book, a higher loyalty. he will discuss the russia investigation, hillary clinton's onils, and his views president trump. watch james comey live on book tv on c-span2 in primetime monday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. >> next, homeland security secretary kristin nelson testifies before -- testifies about her 2019 budget request and was asked about election
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security, counterterrorism , and aviation security. this hearing is just over 2.5 hours. mr. mccaul: terrorists seek to attack our country and kill americans. human traffickers, drug smugglers and gangs are crossing our borders and infecting our neighborhoods. nation states and hackers are engaged in cyber war fare and the next natural disaster can strike at any moment. we cannot let our guard down. we need a budget that matches these most pressing needs. fortunately, the president's
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f.y. 2019 budget addresses many of these concerns. the $1.6 billion for a border wall and additional funds to hire more i.c.e. officers will help curb illegal imgation. securing our borders continues to be one of my top priorities. that is why i introduced legislation to get the job done. my bill authorizes $18 billion for the construction of a border wall and funding for sanctuary cities, closes dangerous loopholes and puts more boots on the ground and secures ports of entry, authorizes the national guard to provide aviation and intelligence support and targets visa overstays and provides for strong technology, which is desperately needed down there. this administration has been a strong supporter of the solutions and i commend the recent decision to deploy the national guard to the border. i'm pleased to see $713 million requested for cybersecurity operations was requested. cybersecurity is one of the most important missions of the department. as americans become more reliant on cyber space we are all
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targets. this committee has a strong bipartisan track record on this issue. we pass bills to expedite hiring at d.h.s. and enhanced cyberthreat information sharing and secured $26 million to support election infrastructure. in january, the house approved our landmark bill to create a stand-alone organization to elevate the cybersecurity mission at d.h.s. i'm hopeful that the senate will get this bill to the president's desk very soon. another area of concern for me is aviation security. i have been very disappointed, i have to be honest with the slow pace of installing scans in our airports. i was pleased to see we secured $65 million in the omnibus for t.s.a. to begin installing this technology immediately. these c.t. scanners provide 3-d
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im-- imagery. compared to the technology we have now, it's the difference between an x-ray and m.r.i. the budget request also requests $71.5 million for c.t. which will help, but i don't believe that's enough to mitigate the threat landscape we have currently. many terrorists are only one plane ride away from the united states and our aviation sector is the crown jewel of targets. d.h.s. must fight through all bureaucratic hurdles so c.t. scanners are in our airports and airports for inbound flights as soon as possible. some parts of this budget request will carry out its mission. the 473 million cuts of fema grants first responders is a major step backwards. many parts of the country
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including my home state of texas were devastated by natural disasters last year. i personally toured the devastation after hurricane harry and our responders played a key role. our committee reviewed the lessons learned from the boston marathon bombing and recent bombings in my home town of austin. first responders were crucial and they need our support. i hope today's hearing will shed light why these grants are targeted for cuts. protecting our homeland must be a unifying cause. last july, the house passed the first ever comprehensive re-authorization of d.h.s. with overwhelming bipartisan support. this re-authorization reaverts congress' authority to write laws, streamline redundant programs and protect taxpayer dollars and supports front line defenders and first responders. our friends in the senate have yet to pass our bill. i strongly urge them to do so without further delay. madam secretary, in this congress alone, our committee
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has passed 82 bills through the house and six were signed into law. politico named us as the hardest working committee in congress. a strong d.h.s. is our goal and we are here to support you. all of us are grateful for your service and hard working professionals and the men and women at d.h.s. we look forward to working with you in keeping our homeland safe. the chair recognizes the ranking member, mr. thompson. mr. thompson: today is your first appearance before the committee on homeland security. 4 1/2 months after your swearing in as secretary. i have served on the committee on homeland security since its establishment and i have been fortunate to work with all five of your predecessors from both political parties. each of them including your former boss, secretary john kelly, stopped by to establish a
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working relationship within days of being sworn in to the position. that did not happen with you, which is a shame. just like you met some of the republicans on this committee this morning, democrats stand ready likewise to meet with you. perhaps next time, another 15 minutes from your schedule and you can stop by and meet some of the wonderful democrats who love america, too, and want to do all they can to continue to keep america safe. while we disagree with many of the trump administration's
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policies, i can assure you that democrats on this committee are just as committed as our republican counterparts to keeping our nation secure while upholding our most important barriers. even in his opening statement of this committee, perhaps if other than congress did as we -- we could, in fact, have a better situation. 82 pieces of legislation passed by this committee is no small feat. i would say to him, it is not democrats' fault that the legislation hadn't been signed. we'll try to fix that, too, in time. i hope that in the future, madam secretary, you'll make more of an effort to conduct outreach to members of the democratic side on the committee. we have former chiefs of police,
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county commissioners, members of the legislative, district attorneys. everyone you can name. and they all love this country. the american people expect no
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america faces threats from the rise of domestic terrorism, mass shootings and foreign terrorist organizations that seek to do us harm. russia and other actors are likely to continue their interference in our election systems, including the upcoming mid term elections. puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands are still devastated by hurricane maria and irma and other hurricane -- another hurricane season is just weeks away. meanwhile, president trump's muslim travel ban, his decision to terminate the daca program, his executive order on immigration enforcement and border security which seeks to do us a nation of immigrants no more. no longer the chief of staff but the secretary, its leader, the buck stops with you, madam secretary. i am concerned that since becoming secretary, you have not always been forthcoming on certain matters. you testified before the senate -- you testified before senate that you do not specifically remember whether president trump used a slur to describe african countries during a white house meeting. you claim, i actually do not know that when asked the senate -- at the senate hearing whether norway is a predominantly caucasian question -- caucasian country after the president requested why we can't have more immigrants from norway.
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and most recently, you declined to explain the president's tweet referring to a breeding concept in sanctuary cities in california. if this is any indication how you as secretary interact with the white house on homeland security policy matters, there may be calls for concerns. your recent statement on homeland security matters have been less than encouraging. based on your press release this week, you would think the most important homeland security problem facing the nation is a handful of central americans moving through mexico. that does not make it so. we know who they are. we know where they are. and we know they generally do not accept attempt to evade the border patrol but rather present themselves to the agents and officers upon arrival.
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before many feared about this so-called caravan gets air time on certain media outlet and plays well with elements of president trump's political base. better to distract the american people from the real issues facing the department and perhaps from the own president's problems, too. likewise, we've heard about so-called loopholes in our immigration system as it relates to children. these are not loopholes. they are basic humanitarian protections enacted by congress to protect vulnerable children and ensure those who have legitimate asylum claims are heard and those who do not are returned home safely. we need only look at some of the terrible cases that occurred within this legal framework which implemented to why congress acted. politicizing and demonizing children should be the need the department, and congress must
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not go down that path. as you know, madam secretary, the mission of the homeland security department is to safeguard the american people, the homeland and our values. i appreciate -- i appreciate this and understand it's no easy task, and that we are living in challenging times in more ways than one. i hope that the department, under your leadership, and with over 240,000 employees strong live up to that. with that, mr. chair, i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yield back. members are reminded that opening statements may be submitted for the record. on december 6, 2017, kirstjen nielsen was sworn in as sixth secretary of department of homeland security. this is also the secretary's first appearance before our committee. we thank you for being here today. your full statement will appear in the record. the chair now recognizes the secretary for an opening statement.
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secretary nielsen: try that again. thank you. chairman mccaul, ranking member thompson, distinguished members of the committee, it's a privilege to be here to be before you here today. i am honored to present the budget and how9 that budget will help keep america safe. let me first thank the committee for its support for the $48.2 billion provided to the department in the recently passed consolidated appropriations act. the support of this committee is critical to advancing many of the d.h.s. missions and i truly thank you for your continued support. i'd also like to thank you for your support for our re-authorization. as you know, it is critical that the men and women of the department have the tools, resources, and skill sets that they need to further the mission of this country. the president's 2019 budget builds on the f.y. 2018 budget and requests $47.5 billion in net discretionary funding for the department of homeland security. it also includes an additional
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$6.73 for the disaster relief -- -- for disaster relief funds. today i'd like to outline several core missions empowered by this budget. first, securing and managing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws. two, protecting our nation from terrorism and countering threats. three, preserving and upholding the nation's prosperity and economic security. four, securing cyberspace and critical infrastructure. and, five, strengthening homeland security preparedness and achieving resilience. within all of these missions, we're aiming to put our employees first and empower our front line defenders to do their job. this will help mature the and achieving resilience. department and more importantly help us better secure the homeland. for border immigration, first, we're focused on securing and managing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws. while we have made vast improvements in border security over the last 15 months we continue to see unacceptable levels of illegal drugs,
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dangerous gang and transnational criminal organization activity and illegal immigration flow across our southern border. the current statistics from last month tell a different story. the number of illegal aliens encountered at the border increased more than 200% when compared to the same time last year. perhaps more troubling than number of alien children and -- encountered increased over 800% and the number of families encountered increased over 680%. we also saw 37% increase in drug seizures at the border in march, and i'm sad to report we report we have an increase of 73% in assaults on our border agents. this is unacceptable and must be addressed. we must do more to secure our borders against threats and illegal entry and close dangerous loopholes that make us vulnerable. we've been apprehending gangs and aliens at the border with historic efficiency, but smuggling groups understand the
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ability to actually remove those who come here illegally doesn't keep pace. they have discovered and continue to exploit legal loopholes to avoid detention and removal and have shown no intentions of stopping. these legal loopholes are strong factors that entice those looking to circumvent the law. for border security to work, violation of the law must have consequences. as i've said many times interdiction without the ability to promptly remove those who have no lawful basis to enter or remain is not border security. it undermines the national security and we must work together to close these loopholes. this budget would invest in new border wall construction, technology and infrastructure to stop this illegal activity. i would be remiss if i didn't say one of our greatest investments is in our people, recruiting, hiring and training additional u.s. border patrol agents, additional customs and immigration enforcement officers and additional support personnel to carry out these missions.
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secondly, we must continue to protect our nation from terrorism and decisively counter threats. this is the reason the department was created and it remains a cornerstone of our work. terrorists are adapting. they're taking an all-of-the-above approach to spreading violence. that includes promoting attacks on soft targets using homemade weapons and weapons they can bring in a bring-your-own weapon style approach. it includes crowdsourcing the violence to online radicalization, inspiration, interdiction, and recruitment. but they also remain focused on conducting sophisticated attacks including using concealed weapons, weapons of mass destruction, and modifying new technologies such as drones into deadly weapons. this budget ensures that we keep up with the innovation of our enemies. for instance, it allows t.s.a. to employ advanced tools to detect new threats. it funds new c.b.p. initiatives to identify high-risk travelers , it ramps up the defense
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against wmd and provides vital targetsto protect soft from concert venues to schools from against attacks. we're focused on preserving and upholding the nation's prosperity and economic security. on the average day, the coast guard facilitates the movement of $8.7 billion worth of goods and commodities through the nation's maritime transportation system. each day at our nation's 328 air, land and seaports of entry, c.b.p. welcomes nearly one million visitors, screens more than 67,000 cargo containers, arrests more than 1100 individuals and seizes nearly six times of illicit drugs. annually, cbp facilitates an average of more than $3 trillion in legitimate trade enforcing the trade law and processing $2.4 trillion in international trade transactions every year. the president's budget helps provide resources to these efforts to keep the country
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competitive and advance the prosperity of the people. the budget will also help us continue efforts to keep the adversaries from stealing trade secrets from technology and innovation. fourth, we must secure cyberspace. this is one of my personal priorities as there is much to do in this area. our networks are under attack constantly from all corners of the physical world. that's why d.h.s. has taken taken historic strides to address the systemic cyber risk, com networks and strengthen the security and resilience of the infrastructure. the budget would enable them to support state and local officials defending the integrity of our election systems. as you know the department's mission is to provide assistance to election officials in the form of advice, intelligence, technical support and response planning with the ultimate goal of building a more resilient and secure election enterprise. through investing in hardware, software, intrusion detection and analytical capabilities we are better able to secure the digital ecosystem that makes our american way of life possible.
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fifth and finally, it's a core mission of d.h.s. to strengthen homeland security preparedness and achieve national result lands -- national resilience. last year, noaa said our country experienced one of the most costly and damaging seasons for natural disasters and it is to be with a cumulative effect costing $300 billion. through fema, in cooperation with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments across the country we will devote the resources and attention needed to ensure recovery. but we must also help communities across the nation create a culture of preparedness, to be more resilient to disasters. a culture of preparedness is an -- a national effort to be ready for the worst disasters at all levels. this budget helps us with these efforts and supports the d.r.f. which is necessary to help state and local governments respond and recover. in conclusion, we need to empower the men and women to carry out these missions and many others by giving them the resources that they need. in addition to the various areas i mentioned today, i'm committed
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to maturing the department and putting our employees first. it's an honor to serve alongside the men and women of dhs who work tirelessly each day to secure the country and who are often unrecognized. i thank them for their service. i thank the committee to support the budget and support our employees and missions helping to make the nation more secure. thank you for your time and i look forward to your questions. mr. mccaul: i recognize myself for questions. first, let me just say the committee passed a historic border security bill providing $38 billion in funding for the wall, technology personnel, join chairman goodlatte and his legislation to close the legal loopholes. before we get to that, i think to justify that need, it is important to look at the threats we face from the southern border. your predecessors, both general kelly and acting secretary duke talked about transnational
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criminal organizations, providing potential means for transferring weapons of mass destruction to terrorists and there are reports today that the caravan is on its way to tijuana. can you tell us about the threats we face as a nation and why border security is so important? secretary nielsen: the way to think about it is any threat we face as a nation is that it can get across the border the adversaries will do all they can to bring it across the border. so what we look at is everything from drugs to the transnational criminal organizations as you mentioned, to smugglers and traffickers who smuggle all kinds of illicit things, not just people, but potentially weapons of mass destruction and other illicit technology. they avoid our trade regulations, putting our economic prosperity at risk. and we see increasing violence on the border. i would also point out we have seen isis in written materials encourage isis followers to
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cross our southwest borders given the loopholes they are also aware of. so we have a multitude of threats. we have emerging threats as you know. we're probably likely to talk about u.a.s. at some point today. u.a.s.. is another -- is a another form of threat we are beginning to see more and more of at the southwest border. mr. mccaul: i recall being briefed on an isis sort of bragging about the ease with which it would take to bring a weapon of mass destruction to the united states. i have to take that seriously as they appear to be warning us of their intentions. when we talk about closing legal loopholes, you know, the first bill i ever filed in congress, 14 years ago, was to end the catch-and-release program. and here we are 14 years later still dealing with this problem. i'm very frustrated as i know you are. can you tell me why this is so important? secretary nielsen: i can. so the way i think about this is in terms of home security.
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if you have an alarm in your home and you catch a burglar and you call the police and the police come and in fact it is an illegal entry in your home but the police tell you they have no ability to detain and remove those criminals and the criminals stay in your house, you would not tell me that is home security. that is what we face at the border. we stop people and interdict them but we don't have the authority given the loopholes in many cases to detain and remove them. we are forced to release them back into the communities after they have committed crimes. we have eliminated the administrative use of catch and release which was popular in the last administration. we do all we can to enforce the rules that you have passed, but given some of the court cases and some of the legal loopholes, we are unable to do that in all cases. mr. mccaul: i think most americans, they just don't understand that, how that can -- you can detain but you can't deport them and then they get released into the -- our society in the united states. this so-called described
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caravan, as i understand it, may be already in tijuana. in your opinion, if they cross into the united states, which is their full intention, what will you be able to do? secretary nielsen: well, i think we have made quite clear. first of all, the attorney general made quite clear. we have a zero tolerance for illegal entry. but we have advised in every way possible that we are aware of to let those participating in the so-called caravan know that the caravan does not give you additional rights. if you illegally intrigued our country, you will be referred for prosecution. if you aid and abet or coach someone to break our laws, you also will be referred for prosecution. so we are very clear about this. we will enforce our laws. it is an unfortunate situation but there is a believe that by coming in groups it affords you some sort of legal protection that is not otherwise afforded under our law.
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mr. mccaul: my concern is what the legal loopholes which is really congress' role to act. under article 1 we have the authority under the constitution to pass immigration laws. if we fail to act on these legal loopholes, my concern is they will be released. you will have the same problem with this caravan. once they come to the united states, they will be detained and released into our society. and that is congress to blame, madam secretary, not you. and that's why it's imperative i think congress act on this bill that we have before us. my final question as to due with -- has to due with aviation security. as you received the threat briefings, i can say everyone on this committee has received the threat to our aviation sector, the briefing involving computer laptops and poisonous gases. i think i speak for everybody on the committee, we are very alarmed by this and want to do everything in our power to make sure the american people are protected on flights, both
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domestic and international. we appropriated in the omnibus $65 million to move this forward. we will complete that full appropriation september for 300 c.t. machines so that your men and women can properly screen at airports to protect americans from explosive devices that may not be seen today. my question is, how quickly can these machines be deployed? and finally, i think the highest risk is the departure coming from istanbul and cairo and riyadh and places where i've been to where airport security is not as good as ours. what is your plan to make sure this technology is also the last point of departure airports? secretary nielsen: as you said in your opening statements, sir, unfortunately, the terrorists continue to see this as a crown jewel, if you will. we also remain very concerned about aviation security and in particular how quickly they
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advance tactics and techniques and weaponry to bring down an airplane. so the c.t. machines, we thank you for your support. they are critical in our -- very critical in our ability to detect these emerging threats and as you know we are testing the machines and algorithms to go with them and enable us to detect the new threats this summer. we look forward to the appropriation in 2019 so that we can in fact cover down over the united states in terms of protecting americans here. last points of departure are another type of threat area. what we've done there is as you know last year we substantially raised the bar in aviation security across the world. we had a tiered plan. we continue to work with countries to encourage them to adopt the c.t. technology. in exchange for that, we pull back on other requirements that we have levied on them. so we have tremendous outreach occurring.
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i met with my g-7 security ministers monday, tuesday. we talked about this, again. we talk about this in almost every way we can. but you are exactly right to highlight the threat and we will continue to focus on it. mr. mccaul: thank you. i think it's one of the biggest threats we face from the terrorists today. it's a spectacular event they like to talk about. not a one to two-man operation or vehicle assault. it would be a major event that i think it's one of the biggest threats we face from the we want to do everything we can to work with you to make sure it never happens. thank you for being here. i now recognize the ranking member. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, one of the oversight responsibilities we have with dhs is to kind of see whether or not things are going according to the wishes of congress in this committee. to that extent, there are a number of policy deliverables that are outstanding from the
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department at this point. and i'm going to go through the list and try to get an idea of when we will receive them. the quadrennial homeland security review was due december 31, 2017. do you have any idea when we might get that document? secretary nielsen: sir, i believe we've coordinated with this committee as well as your sister committee on the senate side to work through the best way to present that information. we want to make sure it's part of a larger national security strategy, counterterrorism strategy. as you know we have other strategies that are due at the department. so the idea is to get the timing right so that they actually work in parallel. we don't have one that isn't consistent with another. happy to come wreath you further -- to come brief you further and how that nests into the
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further requirements. mr. thompson: madam secretary, it's the law. secretary nielsen: we have worked on the timing and i'm happy to brief you as i said. mr. thompson: so you to follow -- don't plan to follow the law on delivering the report? to say that we've coordinated that is all right, but it is the law that you produce the report. secretary nielsen: i didn't say i wouldn't follow the law. we are working on it, we will tell you the timing on it, and i'm happy to come brief with you further if you'd like. mr. thompson: it's not necessarily looking for a briefing. i need from you, very simple, when you plan to follow the law. secretary nielsen: we will get back to you. mr. thompson: beg your pardon? secretary nielsen: we will get back to you. mr. thompson: will you get back to us in writing? secretary nielsen: if you prefer that instead of a briefing? mr. thompson: i'll absolutely prefer that in writing. we have also a departmentwide
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cybersecurity strategy that was due march 23, 2017. secretary nielsen: yes. so we were out at the -- our state conference last week. we spent quite a bit of time talking to stakeholders to finalize that as a last very important effort to make sure we had stakeholders involved. we will have four pillars of that strategy. we're looking to identify the risks, to reduce threats, reduce vulnerabilities and mitigate consequences. we have it based on five trends. mr. thompson: i appreciate that but when can we as members of this committee receive the written report that's outstanding? secretary nielsen: shortly. the strategy. mr. thompson: a week, two weeks? a month? secretary nielsen: it should be within the next two weeks, yes, sir. mr. thompson: within the next two weeks. thank you. now, the long-awaited update plan for the department's major headquarters consolidation project, it was actually due
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august 27, 2016. when do you anticipate getting that to us? secretary nielsen: that one i'll have to get back to you, sir. i am not as familiar. i know we're continuing to be in discussions. as you know we had some funding issues as well as some construction delays given the historic nature of the property. so i'll get back to you on that. mr. thompson: thank you. those three reports, if you would provide in writing the status updates and when we can expect them, i would appreciate it. with respect to hurricane maria, are you satisfied with fema's response to hurricane maria as it relates to puerto rico and the virgin islands? secretary nielsen: fema -- well, as you know, it's not over yet. fema will continue to provide recovery services under its statutory mission until it's complete. we continue to work very closely with the governor and local government.
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the mayors in the case of puerto rico. we can always do more with a very difficult situation given especially in puerto rico the status of the infrastructure before the storm they pre positioned more than it ever had before. we had many people there in conjunction with our interagency partners and we're going through the formal lessons learned process now, but recovery is ongoing. we should have our findings from the initial response shortly. mr. thompson: so your testimony -- you're not satisfied with it or you are? secretary nielsen: it was a big storm, sir. i think fema went above and beyond in performing its statutory mission but we always learn lessons and make it better for the next time. mr. thompson: what systems have you put in place so that whatever shortcomings occurred with hurricane maria won't occur again? secretary nielsen: one of them is the administrator is
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deploying federal integration teams. the concept here is to send steady-state people out into the field who are expert in preparedness, prevention to help different areas and jurisdictions be able to prepare for an event. so what we're trying to do is push resources left to the event. recent studies have shown for every dollar of mitigation we save $6 million -- excuse me $1 in prevention and mitigation, we have six dollars saved in response and recovery. so what we're doing is we are doing is looking at the systems to build those cultures of resilience and preparedness. mr. thompson: madam secretary, on january 16, you testified before the senate, 90% of unoccupied alien children released never show up for court. can you provide the committee
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with how you came up with this 90% figure? secretary nielsen: sure. when we encounter u.a.c. we register them. as you know we turn them over to the department of health and human services. so we have the numbers. mr. thompson: what i'm saying is in writing? secretary nielsen: oh, ok, sure. mr. thompson: i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields. the chair will recognize members who were present at the start of the hearing by seniority on the committee according to the rules. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. king. mr. king: thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for your testimony today and thank you for your service. i have two questions. i will ask them together so you will have more time to answer. first is grants. homeland security grants. i live right outside new york city. new york city, in westchester county are the number one targus
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-- targets in the country. there are more than 100,000 officers that work full time on counterterrorism and intelligence. we have subways carrying more than five million people a day. thousands of entrances and exits. we have commuter lines, metro north. hundreds of thousands more. and yet in uasi grants are being cut. maybe some other alternative plans but the fact is these police departments and these fire departments and these emergency service units in these locales and i am not disparaging any other part of the country. they need it, too. we have been attacked many times. twice in the last six months. there's been over 20 attempted attacks against new york besides the two attacks on the world trade center. i would ask you to reconsider and look how that money is being distributed and why have cuts in a time like this when the threats are more than they were
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before 9/11. it may not be the same magnitude as 9/11 as far as numbers and metastasizing is more threats today than there were then. that's my first question. an easy one. second is ms-13. it's focused in my district. we had over 25 murders in the last two years. they are right now digging for bodies within a mile of my house. this goes on continuously. let me commend before h.s.i. and i.c.e. for the work they're doing. they're working very closely with local police, local district attorneys and the f.b.i. progress has been made. one of the deficiencies we have, this is not necessarily your department's responsibility. this is on the question of unaccompanied minors. it was brought to my attention last year both before federal intelligence and also local police that many of these minors who come across -- not many -- maybe 5%, 10%, whatever the number may be, are sent here by ms-13 in el salvador. when they come to the border,
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they are apprehended by border patrol but turned it over to h.h.s. then h.h.s. places those kids with families around the country. a disproportionate amount are going to brentwood up in my district. intelligence, as i understand, is showing that the families who are asking for these kids are either in many cases, too many cases either supporters of ms-13 or relatives back in el salvador being threatened by ms-13. in the most recent murders of the people indicted for the 11 murders, six were unaccompanied minors who came across the border within the last two, three years. when i talked to the school superintendents, they talk about a number of them are recruiting within the schools. and yet h.h.s., the office of refugee resettlement, does very little as far as notifying local police when these children, unaccompanied minors being placed in the community. i would ask if you'll get the administration to work with h.h.s. and your own department to better coordinate this so the
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local police are told who these kids are, where they're coming from. and also a better job vetting the families that they're being placed with and also better job of vetting the families they came from. so those are my two questions. thank you. secretary nielsen: thank you, sir. as you said, grants are not an easy conversation. the way we're looking at this -- we'd love to work with you further. we put out, as you know, about $50 billion in grants since 9/11. the idea there was to help state thatocals build capacity they did not necessarily have to address before. it was very important at that time to make sure the state and locals had what they needed to protect their communities. as the threat environment quickly changes, with a we're trying to do is find ways to have grants, not just maintain and help state and locals to continue the capacities they built but enable them to focus on the new and emerging threats. so what this budget proposes is a new $525 million program,
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preparedness program to focus on emerging threats. so it's not -- i understand the question but i just want to make the point. what we're frying to do is use the grants holistically in a way to -- mr. king: i am saying the threats -- i realize there are new threats. a large amount of this money is spent on surveillance, on programs which are ongoing. the threat is ongoing. it's not as if he they always need new equipment. sometimes they do. they have to have the training and constant work when you have 1,500 working on it and they are working full time, whether the threats change, those 1500 still have to work. secretary nielsen: yes. we need to balance the maintenance and sustainment with the idea what the grants are, to build capacity. i do want to take a few minutes to answer your other question.
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ms-13 does continue to be a problem, as you know better most in this room, given the violence that's occurred in your area through operation matador and others. h.h.s. does play an active role. we work very closely with our partners at the department of justice to attack this from a network perspective which means going all the way back to where they're originating, watching their travel patterns, stop them at the border. if they enter make sure we know where they're headed. look forward to working with h.h.s. to make sure that process works better and effectively. one of the loopholes i often
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talk about is the fact we cannot, based on gang affiliation alone, prohibit somebody from entering the united states. it is not a legal criteria in and of itself for ined a military. we have to look at inadmissibilities and removability of gangs to make sure we can remove them. the final point on the u.a.c.'s, we're working with h.h.s. to vet the sponsors and family members affiliation alone, prohibit somebody from entering the united states. it is not a legal criteria in and of itself for ined a so we can understand where the -- for the children's safety are going and who will take care of them. but also so we can identify other issues that might occur. as you say, we see recruiting from the gangs in new york all the way down to central america and we see the push from central america to send u.a.c.'s who are gang members into the united states. mr. king: let me emphasize homeland, h.h.s., i.c.e., do a tremendous job working with the f.b.i., local police. secretary nielsen: thank you. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from texas, ms. jackson lee. ms. jackson lee: mr. chairman, thank you so very much. thank you for this hearing along with the ranking member. let me welcome you, and i don't often make this comment.
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but i think the ranking member made a point that i quickly want to say and that is that i had the tragic privilege of being on this committee shortly after the beginnings of this committee shortly after 9/11. and i was able to go to ground zero during the long extended period of the recovery of remains. so there's nothing more precious than the security of this nation, and i think it's bipartisan. i do want to acknowledge takala and madison. they are take your daughters to congress and they are in the room today and i wanted to acknowledge them. i want to put a series of questions on the record and then i will ask which ones that i'd like to you do in writing or i'll indicate. i want you to tell me how many african-americans do you have in your immediate circle, staff?
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i don't see any in the room that seem to be with you today. i want to know your efforts on that. as it relates to the wall, i'd be interested in knowing whether mexico is going to pay for the wall and so how the wall is going to proceed. as well as the 4,000 national guard. you mentioned and certainly i want to respond to the assaults on border patrol agents. we need to respond to that in whatever recommendations you have. but the 4,000 national guard, as i understand, coming from texas, being on the border, they will be armed and i see no way -- unarmed and i see no way they'll have an impact on the border patrol guards that are there now. what is the purpose of the 4,000? and did you have input into that selection? we know there's a recent court decision that indicates that the daca structure right now and the president's removal of daca status is illegal. and frankly there has been no placement.
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we have a number of bipartisan bills and to put these on the floor and did you ask paul ryan to put these bills on the floor for us to vote? secondly, would you instruct your border patrol agents to not treat daca-eligible and/or daca-status individuals unfairly at the border by stopping them at the border, not allowing them to come back and forth? the other question is that i have been working extensively on a young man from el salvador who lived in this country more than half of his life, two american children, citizen wife, manager of a paint store and i repeatedly asked the homeland security department to address the question of jose escobar who was i would say duped what he does which is reporting to the i.c.e. office and precipitously being deported to a place he has no knowledge of and we have not gotten one answer regarding the ability for him to have
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humanitarian parole to come back into this country because he's daca eligible? t.s.a. is in definitive need of retention programs and salary programs because in your major airports -- and i don't know if you've been to all the major airports, there is a constant rotation or departure of t.s.o.'s and that needs to be fixed. fema needs to be fixed in terms of bifurcating recovery as opposed to rescue. and in houston, reimbursement -- and i want to thank fema and their staff. they are dedicated persons. reimbursement moneys have not come to schools and other facilities and people in desperate need. two other points. domestic terrorism. the mark anthony did kill other people in austin but did kill two african-americans initially. it's appropriate to think of his inclination and call it domestic terrorism.
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we heard nothing from the department of homeland security. finally, the president has gone to mar-a-lago one day out of every week he's been 100 and 110 times he's played golf. and i want you to respond to the secret service's long hours. let me ask you to answer the african-american question. all the others i want in writing. the t.s.a. retention question and domestic terrorism and you can just do quick sentencing and secret service in terms of payment and the responsibility of taking secret service to these joyful places and the long hours that they have to do, t.s.a. retention? are you working on that? secretary nielsen: yes, ma'am. throughout the department, as you know, we do have some attrition problems that remain. it's a priority of mine as part of maturing the department to become much more innovative. ms. jackson lee: i will let you go quickly. domestic terrorism.
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secretary nielsen: we've created an office of terrorism prevention partnerships, as you know, to take very seriously all forms of terrorism in this country. ms. jackson lee: did you speak about the incident in austin, texas, in terms of potential of being domestic terrorism? secretary nielsen: i can speak generally to say we are working with state and local -- ms. jackson lee: if you have anything in writing i appreciate that. mr. escobar, would you look up mr. escobar? i joined a bill with mr. green asking for him to be able to return. but more importantly, this can be handled by administratively by homeland security. will you look at the point of mr. escobar from houston, texas? secretary nielsen: we will look at the case, yes. ms. jackson lee: secret service and the many trips of the president to places beyond camp david, which is an appropriately beautiful place, and the extra hours and the tiredness of secret service and the need for extra staff, how are you handling that burden? secretary nielsen: we're working on hiring initiatives, we're working on cross-training.
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we thank congress for recently passing the bill that allows secret service to be paid overtime it will help with attrition and morale. and we're looking to cross-train and their ability to work within the secret service. ms. jackson lee: african-americans and your staff? secretary nielsen: i don't have the exact number in front of me. we do have diversity programs. we work with that. ms. jackson lee: do you have any on your immediate staff? secretary nielsen: my immediate staff is large. ms. jackson lee: in your front office? secretary nielsen: in our office, we do not. ms. jackson lee: the other questions, i would like if you more extensively answer it in writing. i do want to conclude by emphasizing the treatment of daca status individuals. what is the department's position since most courts have indicated that daca is a legitimate status to indicate to your employees that they should
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not be treated precipitously and disrespectfully and detained which is what is happening? not be treated precipitously and secretary nielsen: we are complying with all court orders. what that means if you are currently registered daca recipient, you will not be deported. if you have applied for recertification as a daca individual, you also will not be -- ms. jackson lee: and you take new applications? secretary nielsen: we are not taking new applications right now, no, ma'am. ms. jackson lee: if you can give us answers -- secretary nielsen: it's not required at the moment. so as you know we ended the program because it was an inappropriate use of -- ms. jackson lee: i understand. if you can put it in writing since the ending of the program was not -- secretary nielsen: the courts have not said that. what the courts have said as recently in the last couple days, they asked the department within 90 days to come and provide them with additional information. should they find that that information is not sufficient, they reserve the right to take additional action. no court has ordered me to allow
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new daca recipients. ms. jackson lee: i disagree with you but i would prefer if you submit that to me in writing along with the other questions i did not specifically get. i thank the chairman and the ranking member. i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from alabama, mr. rogers, is recognized. mr. rogers: madam secretary, thank you for being here and for your service to our country. parochial note, i want to personally invite you to -- now you're settled in -- come and center the preparedness in alabama. as you know it's done a stellar one since 9/11 in training first responders all around the country. hospital personnel. mr. mccaul: the gentlewoman's it has the only live agent training facility for biological and chemical agents. i think you'd find it interesting. the last secretary to be there was janet napolitano. i'm sure you will be as impressed as she was. in your written statement, written system you said, quote, investments in our laird defense at the border would include 65 miles of new border wall construction in the highest
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traffic zones along the southwest border. yesterday, we had the c.b.p. commissioner testify before the transportation security subcommittee. he talked about in addition to the wall itself, the importance of technologies associated with it to give us situational awareness at those borders, can you describe for us what you see as your idea as a border wall system? not just the wall itself but what would that system be comprised of? secretary nielsen: sure. so border wall system is the infrastructure, which is important for the impedance and denial technology. the technology helps to gain awareness also the ports of entry. nonintrusive to detect drugs the personnel mission readiness and elastase -- and the last is access and mobility.
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so it's important the border parts of the border where there is a wall or isn't a wall to make sure it doesn't interdict. it's a combination of all of this. mr. rogers: have you been able to ascertain what percentage of the cost associated with the border. security system is actually the wall or the rest of that system that you described the technology is substantial. secretary nielsen: yes. we asked for $1 billion alone for some of the technology talking about the $25 billion total number on the wall. it changes. frankly, as a work with congress with appropriated money. so we are prioritizing and reorganizing those funds.
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mr. rogers: what are the things we have heard is critics talk the numbers being unreasonably high per mile for the wall and about just the wall in the fencing itself. we have to help people understand there's a lot more that goes to it than just putting that fencing up or whether it's see-through or concrete or whatever at different points. let me ask this. do you feel like you have enough money right now to take on that challenge and secure the southwest border in its entirety? secretary nielsen: not in its entirety, no, sir. our goal is operational control at the border. those would have the four master capabilities i mentioned. we do not have funding to secure the whole bothered. mr. rogers: one of the things my friend and colleague from texas, ms. jackson lee, requested
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challenge and secure the information about a while ago whether or not mexico or south america will help pay for the wall. one of the things i would draw to your attention if you are not aware is a bill i introduced is the border wall funding act which would assess a 2% fee on all remittances going to south america. it would generate right at $1 billion a year. half of that coming from mexico. the other half from the other south american countries. where these -- most of these illegal alien who is are coming to our country are leaving. it would require mexico pay for half the wall. it wouldn't do it all. i hope you look to embrace as one of several funding mechanisms to get the money we need to secure that wall. you also in your testimony said, quote, some critical missions are impeded by jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with d.h.s. on enforcement of federal law. i think you're talking about sanctuary cities there? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. mr. rogers: what kind of expense do you encounter when you go
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into a sanctuary city and they refuse to cooperate? secretary nielsen: i'll give you the figures. technology. it's certainly an additional use of manpower. it's additional planning. additional contingencies that are built in. the safe environment which would be the jail. it would require our agents to go out in the community, putting themselves at risk but putting our community at risk to be able to interdict yet again that criminal to be able to remove them. mr. rogers: if we can get our heads around that added cost, i want this committee to consider legislation that would force those sanctuary cities to ream bores the department for those -- reimburse the department for those costs. with that i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. keating, is
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recognized. mr. keating: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being here. you are talking about a culture of preparedness. in response to congressman king's questioning. you said you want to build up a greater capability for emerging threats. we'll never know where the emerging threats will come from but we're pretty sure where the response to those threats are coming from. and those responses are coming but we're pretty sure where the from the front lines. in fact, my years here on the committee i often ask, what's the most important aspect to our homeland security? and the answer almost always is our front line responders. that being said, this budget does not reflect that commitment to preparedness at all in terms of those responders. there's cuts to the state homeland security grants in states like massachusetts.
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my state used of $157 million the urban area security initiatives which were so critical in the boston bombing marathon and in responses to cities like new york, cut $180 million. the transit security grants which is a target of great concern given what's happened in other parts of the world, cut $64 million. the emergency performance grants, $70 million. the funds to our local fire departments, front line responders, have been cut. is a lot more than just to put -- if you could tell us how cutting that funding help america be safer? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. so grants are part of a holistic approach to help state and locals prepare. as you know. i mentioned earlier, it was the national institute of building sciences that released the report, but $1 on the front end saves us $6 on the back end. that means us culture of preparedness. it's capacity building. we do that through programs that
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are not a direct distribution of funds. we help with exercises. we help with training. we do have money in the budget of equipment through our cwmd office. we have money in the office for mppd to help state and local officials as well as owners and operators in cybersecurity. we continue to invest to provide -- mr. keating: i understand that, madam secretary. why are you cutting where we know with certainty the response is coming from? secretary nielsen: so -- mr. keating: those are good things. secretary nielsen: that's what those programs do, they help local communities and first responders to respond. mr. keating: these are tried and tested. those things i mentioned all save lives. with a culture of preparedness with emerging threats, how is that greater? how are we safer with that? those are critical moneys to police, fire, that they cannot
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do on their own and includes regional kind of preparedness. i leave it with that. i'm concerned. police, fire, that they cannot do on their own and includes i think i am not alone on this committee on both sides of the aisle in terms of that concern because we have seen the effectiveness. if i could shift very quickly one other area. president trump in his private life, even though he's president he continues in his private life and private business life to take advantage of h-2-b visas for his personal visa. they are there for him. they are not there for everyone right now because there's a demand. i represent a seasonal area where small businesses really rely on this. under the bush administration, they nearly raised the cap. under the obama administration, they raised the cap several times in the past responding to this demand. but you had the opportunity to deal with it. the small businesses in my district are telling me that the way that rolled out last year, the regulations, the uncertainty, the burdens on
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small business was so great that they didn't even dare and they were being advised by their own attorneys, even, not to enter into it. can you tell us the time frame acting on these additional h-2-b visas? the clock is ticking and businesses are losing money. american jobs are being hurt by this because not hiring a full complement of workers, they're closing down for weeks they would normally be open, days they would be open. so it's hurting american jobs as well. why, if we're going to roll this out, not do what president bush did, what president obama did, just raise the cap on returning workers? those are the safest workers. you don't see returning workers overstay their visas. we have a problem in other visas. these are people that have a history of working, by the way, paying into social security and have the benefits that they're never going to realize, going
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home and then coming back. they're safe. this is tried and tested. this is common sense. why can't the department simply have the cap raised on returning workers and deal with this in a timely fashion and not leave so many revenues that would be important for our economy wasted and lost? it doesn't affect the president, but it's affecting people in my district. secretary nielsen: yes, sir. so as you know, we did raise the cap last year. i worked in -- mr. keating: yes. i told you what my businesses are telling me loud and clear. many of them wouldn't even take advantage of it because supposedly a pro-business-friendly administration made if so uncertain and -- they wouldn't even dare try. they just shut down for weeks. secretary nielsen: sure. mr. keating: i know you did it last year. i ask you not to do it the same way this year. secretary nielsen: so it's done.
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it's as a result of talking to many members who have a concern in their district and the concern was the visas were being given to those who are not seasonal workers. we unfortunately have seen an increase in fraud. what it was -- mr. keating: but that's an enforcement issue. so the answer to better enforcement is not to scuttle the program, not to make it ineffective. it's to do better in ineffective. it's to do better in enforcement. you know -- secretary nielsen: yeah. i would ask congress to act. i mean, i personally worked into the wee hours of the night to get he this addressed in the omnibus. it's congress' job to legislate legislation. i asked repeatedly for you to put the cap in law and -- mr. keating: if i could amplify it. 85 members, bipartisan members that signed a letter asking the leadership to do that. now, they didn't. they gave you the authority, again, as they did before. within that authority you still have the ability to do it.
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secretary nielsen: yes. so the visas are -- mr. keating: i'm asking you to do it in a timely way and for businesses to take advantage of this. secretary nielsen: i agree. there is no reason to have a visa program that puts american businesses out of business. that's not the intention. we are working. we should have -- mr. keating: if you could get back with me on that i'd appreciate it. i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. perry, is recognized. mr. perry: madam secretary, you have a tough job. i appreciate your service. i have four questions. i will try to ask them all. there is a narrative for each one for context and then i am going to let you answer and try to be respectful of everybody's one for context and then i am time. some cases in the past including iraqi refugees living in bowling green were arrested in 2007. and a saudi resident living in oklahoma were arrested last year. it showed how individuals can
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make it through d.h.s. vetting despite being associated with terror groups. in both of these cases derogatory information was then later discovered in d.o.d. databases showing both of these men were linked to al qaeda. terror groups. in both of these cases ensuring the battlefield information is available is essential for homeland security and the question is essentially, will the proposed national vetting center, created by this administration in february of this year, prioritize addressing this vetting vulnerability and how do you feel about that if you think that will be adequate? question number two -- what is d.h.s. doing collecting d.n.a. from non-u.s. persons being detained under united states law? i understand there is a requirement they're -- the collection of the d.n.a. from detainees to send a cotus for law enforcement purposes. question number three, many americans hope we end the catch-and-release program but it seems the current i.c.e. requirement they're -- the patrol policy is the definition of catch and release and that was not codified in law. it was enacted under the last
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administration and can be unenacted, so to speak, under the current administration. people who claim asylum should receive it but those who claim it unlawfully should not be paroled in our country where we rely on those individuals who were unlawful and un -- dishonest to willingly reappear at a hearing. question number four, i have the privilege of chairing the oversight and efficiency committee. as the name might suggest it is to look what waste can be eliminated in d.h.s. this congress -- in this congress we have held hearings on the consolidation of st. elizabeth campus, integration and updating of financial systems for some of the components of d.h.s. which is currently, i might add, undergoing the fourth iteration and failure. some of the cumbersome character fitness organization process is contractors undergo before they can work on some project. here is the problem, madam. none of these are particularly headlining topics, they are not
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sexy. while i know the country and you have much bigger fish to fry, they remain systemic problems year after year. while i know the country and you these things remain systemic problems year after year. and i'm just wondering, you know, let's just pick like -- if we look at the individual parts stheerges to be doing their job and doing could it fairly well, but the integration component, where leadership is required to bring them together, never seems to somehow come through. so i'm wondering, the question is this, does the agency have benchmarks in that regard for congress to evaluate not only integration, but some of these these things remain systemic other problems in the successes? i stand ready to re-ask any of those questions if you haven't gotten them. secretary nielsen: thank you. the national vetting center, the short answer is yes. that's what it's created to do. it's to use both high side information and information from our allies to help us continuously screen those who seek benefits.
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as you say, unfortunately sometimes between the initial screening and the granting of the status or benefit, additional information comes to light that would necessitate us changing the original determination. mr. perry: i know it's hard to be perfect but we want to strive for that. secretary nielsen: we continue to expand agreements which is an agreement with the foreign country to provide known and suspected terrorist lists. we have over 60 now. and we continue to work with all of our allies to implement the u.n. security council 2396, which would include that transmission of passenger name record information. the second one, the d.n.a. yes, it is required in law, but as you also know, a waiver was signed between then attorney general holder and then secretary napolitano exempting most of d.h.s. from that. the second one, the d.n.a. yes, it is required in law, but mr. perry: don't we want to side on law enforcement to collect that d.n.a. while we have those people? i know there's a waiver but shouldn't we -- secretary nielsen: yeah. so we are working with the
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attorney general currently to form a pilot to start doing that. to start collecting the d.n.a. mr. perry: you have an expected start date? secretary nielsen: we're working on the pilot right now. mr. perry: the pilot's occurring right now? secretary nielsen: we're in the planning stages and doing it in batches. some of it is processing. we want to make sure we have the chain of custody. but yes. mr. perry: i want to keep the conversation open on that. all right. secretary nielsen: the third one, i.c.e. paroles. we have eliminated catch and release which i believe is what you're talking about. mr. perry: you come and claim a credible fear, right? secretary nielsen: so if you claim a credible fear, we do -- you do then go into the asylum process. if it's deemed that you have a credible fear, you then go through an immigration judge and go through -- mr. perry: right. but in the past there wasn't the parole situation, right? so you claimed a credible fear, credible fear, right? secretary nielsen: so if you we detained you to determine,
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and if you didn't, then it was essentially fraudulent and then we had the opportunity to send you back to wherever you came from. now people claim a credible fear, we'll parole you. you're released out into our country, and we never see you again and we don't know whether you had a credible fear. it seems like the current parole policy is actually a magnet. people know that and they know they can just come and claim it and they'll be paroled and never have to answer for that parole. that's what i think most of my constituents that are interested in ending catch and release are concerned about. secretary nielsen: understood. part of that is detention bed capacities. so if you're not a flight risk, there are lamented number of people who are provide -- there are a limited number of people that are provided ankle bracelets so we can track them. mr. perry: do you need more money for ankle bracelets? secretary nielsen: we need more money for detention beds. mr. perry: can we use the ankle bracelets? is that viable, not viable? do they take them off? what's the story? secretary nielsen: they can evade them, yes, sir. it does help us. it's not a silver bullet. but in terms of numbers and if we need more, happy to get back
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to you on specific numbers on that. the last one was integration. it's not a destination. it's a constant endeavor. we have developed some benchmarks internally. everything from measurements to performance controls, internal controls, to work on joint task force, to eliminate inefficiencies, happy to give you more. mr. perry: yeah, can we get that information? thank you, i yield. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from new england, mr. -- the gentleman from new jersey, mr. payne. mr. payne: thank you, mr. chairman. madame secretary, thank you for being here. i apologize initially. i didn't realize i recognized, when they brought up the norway, you not knowing norway was -- then i remembered. i knew who you were. secretary nielsen: that's a funny one. i'm proud of my heritage. but i am american.
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all scandinavian countries aren't the same. i wasn't going to testify under oath to something that i can't guarantee was right. not really sure why that became a story. i don't know why it would be a requirement of the secretary of homeland security to know the racial makeup of every country. i do not do screening based on race, religion or creed, but thank you for raising that again, sir. mr. payne: as we've had to do in other committees, reclaiming my time. i would think that -- i was just saying how i remembered who you were related in that. let me ask you also, since we're on topics, the wall. it is something that seems very important to many people in this country. would you agree? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. mr. payne: and who's going to pay for it? secretary nielsen: the president continues to ask congress to
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appropriate and so we thank you for the funds this year. we have $1.6 billion requested in 2019. mr. payne: did you during the campaign, who was going to pay for it? secretary nielsen: i can't speak to the campaign, sir. mr. payne: i'll tell you. i didn't even watch that much. mexico was going to pay for the wall. how much have we gotten from mexico for the wall? secretary nielsen: we have continued to work with you all to request money in the budget to build the wall system. mr. payne: not mexico? secretary nielsen: we have requested money from congress through the appropriations process. mr. payne: i heard a lot about mexico paying for it. i just wanted to be clear. you know, there are a lot of issues in t.s.a. with low morale. i can see why. what are you doing in terms of
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looking at this issue in your organization, you know, when it comes to employee satisfaction with their job, their pay, organization, and their willingness to recommend their organization as a good place to work? secretary nielsen: i think morale is a multifaceted issue, one that we must take very -- it's critical. we must look at it very importantly. i think helping to understand the mission and your part in the mission is part one of morale. making sure that you have the training, that you understand what is available to you for retirement, understanding the mobility that you might have within an organization. these are all things that are important. communications from leadership i find to be very important. i don't expect employees to learn about things in the news. i hope to always keep them in the loop and help them to understand what it is that we do on a day to day basis. mr. payne: there seems to be a question of consistency in
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training. new t.s.a. officer, t.s.o.'s, as opposed to old t.s.o.'s, not getting the same training and therefore creating gaps in the system, which they're working in. also issues around, you know, not enough t.s.o.'s, that they can't even take bathroom breaks, where i even heard a report of a t.s.o. having an accident on herself because they weren't allowed to leave their post. that's going a bit too far, where people can't do humanly bodily functions because they're not allowed to leave their post. that is something i think that really needs to be looked into. and addressed. we have to make this situation
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where people want to come to work. they're on the front lines, they're doing difficult work with people that are not necessarily always patient with the processes we have to go through in order to make sure that they're safe. so there's a lot of stress on these officers. so we need to do what we can to identify ways of making this circumstance a little more palatable for them throughout the course of their shift. and i see my time is up and i'll yield back. secretary nielsen: sir, if you could provide me the name of that employee, i'm happy to personally look into that. that's not an acceptable situation. mr. payne: yes. i was shocked by that myself. so i will -- i'll try to get that information to you. secretary nielsen: thank you. mr. mccaul: thank you. the gentleman yields.
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mr. katko: earlier today the ranking minority member, it is something, a problem that preceded you at the agency. and that is basically ignoring deadlines, both statutory and our congressional deadlines. i was a federal prosecutor for 20 years and wouldn't dare ignore a deadline set by a court. and i see the same obligation with respect to your agency. we have a similar problem with respect to t.s.a. and we've had frank discussions on my subcommittee, oversight of t.s.a., and i dare say that they've improved dramatically with respect to honoring deadlines. and the culture that preceded you, nevertheless, is under your watch now. i would implore you to follow the deadlines. i don't think they're optional and don't think response as such as we'll get back to you is acceptable. i think that's a bipartisan feeling. especially when it's a statutory deadline. that's law. i would ask that you treat that with less cavalierly and
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understand that those are deadlines that should be answered. secretary nielsen: sir, if i could. i apologize if i misspoke earlier. all i was trying to suggest is i couldn't give you a specific date, we get back to you on giving you a specific date. i completely understand what you're saying and you have my commitment to work not only with t.s.a. but throughout the department to meet all statutory deadlines. mr. katko: that's all we're asking. thank you very much. with respect to the border, i spent a lot of time as a federal prosecutor in el paso going after cartel level members and i saw the border for the sieve that it is. i spent a significant amount of my time at the northern border and it doesn't get the attention that it deserves. about 95% to 96% of the northern border is unsecure. and i was just wondering how much time you spent analyzing the issue and whether you've had -- you have looked at the northern border threat assessment that was recently done? secretary nielsen: yes. what comes after that is the
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northern border security strategy. which we hope to release shortly. we do spend a lot of time talking about the southwest border. but we do have issues on the northern border. i was just in canada monday, tuesday, talking to my counterparts there about ways in which we can coordinate better some of the unique aspects on that northern border. but, yes. we need to keep that in mind always. mr. katko: thank you investment switching gears again. during my oversight of t.s.a., we've had much discussion with the chairman here, as well as others, about replacing -- having updated technology. we all know the bad guys are getting more advanced with their technology, especially with respect to aviation. it's quite concerning. we also believe and i think you will agree that the c.t. scanners are a new generation of helping ameliorate that threat. not only that, expediting through airports is always a concern. you see the high traffic season coming. there is about 2,500 x-ray
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machines nationwide and if you replace all those with c.t.'s, what we're doing this year and next year is a drop in the bucket. we've asked t.s.a., i don't know if they spoke with you yet, about examining whether we should reprogram some of that money from other areas of homeland security, to plow that into getting more of these x-ray -- or these c.t. scanners up and running. i say that because we saw them firsthand, myself and my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, in europe, they're already on the front lines there. they're already being used there. i understand the need to test these things. there must be an expedited way to test them, when they're already being used overseas. they are american companies and they're ready to provide these to you. the delay, but number two more importantly, the reprogramming of that money. if you can look into where -- about reprogramming areas of homeland security, i think it would be a prudent thing to do. secretary nielsen: as you know we did that in 2017. the current plan is if t.s.a. is
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working as quickly as they can with industry to deploy them, and if they're able to deploy the ones we have appropriated, we'll look to reprogram as we have done before. mr. katko: thank you very much. with respect to t.s.a., there seems to be an ongoing practice here, we've tried hard both in this committee and in my subcommittee to try and stop t.s.a. from had having people go through precheck lines when they're not precheck registered. precheck is a known and trusted traveler type program. it's there because you minimize the risk because of their involvement in precheck. the practice started as manage inclusion. then they had body detection officers and they were throwing people into that lane that shouldn't have been. now we're told they can't do manage inclusion, they can't do. they're just basically calling it by a different name. we've made it clear to t.s.a. that we're going to introduce legislation to make it mandatory that you not do that. but i just want to know, do you have discussions with the administrator at t.s.a. about
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this precheck problem? secretary nielsen: not this specific problem, no. but precheck should be reserved to those who qualify for precheck. so i will work with the administration. mr. katko: thank you very much for your time. i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from new jersey is recognized. mrs. watson coleman: watson thank you, mr. chairman. madame secretary, is this budget, your budget? did you have anything -- did you have any input in this budget? secretary nielsen: we did, yes, ma'am. the men and women of d.h.s. put together their request and it goes all the way up, if you will. mrs. watson coleman: so this happened under your watch? secretary nielsen: the 2019 budget. i joined in december. mrs. watson coleman: our greatest value statement is where we're putting our resources and i'm just not 100% sure that there's a consistency between where your people or your budget applies its resources and its ability to keep this homeland safe. with regard to land transportation issues, there is
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a reduction in the security grants. there's a reduction in the viper teams, there's a reduction or elimination of the law enforcement officers grants. there's a reduction in the exit lane staffing. t.s.o. staffing still is somewhere around 2,500 people short. i don't know how that helps us to be more secure in those areas where we're supposed to be. i don't understand where we are addressing the fact that our subways and our land transportation areas are soft targets and are being targeted. and so i'm going to ask that you respond to how this budget, in writing to me, because i have a lot of questions, how these particular issues that i raised are a reflection of more security for our homeland.
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i want to know the difference or i want to know if there is a difference between refugees and illegal immigrants as far as you're concerned. i want to know, is there a written statement as to what our u.s. policy is on people who are fleeing very dangerous countries or very oppressive countries or famine or whatever, versus other types of people who are coming over. because i get the sense that we're locking them together. i'm particularly interested in this caravan that is coming, reaching our borders. i got the impression that we think of them as illegal immigrants who are going to come to our border and then we're going to detain them, these are women and children, yet we know who's in that caravan. if we really wanted to know if there was any danger in that caravan, you'd have the capacity right now to be vetting some of those people. so i want to understand what
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your policy is going to be when it comes to that caravan actually coming to our borders, willingly acknowledging that they're here and why they're here and what they're looking for. so i'd like you to answer that in writing. i want to understand this policy that we have where, since i guess it's december or october of 2017, we've taken more than 700 children away from their families, 100 of those children were under the age of 4 and they've been taken from their parents in immigration detention. i want to know how that makes our country safer and more secure. and i want to know what our policy is with regard to dealing with the trauma that that must inflict upon both these children, these babies and these children, and as well as their families. i have a question with regard to the secret service.
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i sent a letter asking you all to explain to us the costs associated with protecting the trump kids going around the world doing trump business. i need to have an answer to that question. i want to associate myself with mr. katko because i was up there in the northern border and a lot of concerns were expressed with regard to trafficking, as well as drugs. opioids in particular. and it just seems to me that we think that we have this responsibility to the southern border, and not to any of the other areas. and i guess the last thing i need to understand from you in writing is, explain how we're justifying putting additional resources down on the southern border, particularly in the form of our national guard, when all of the data that we have been
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receiving, even data coming from your office, is that there has been quite a significant diminishment of people coming across the border. so what is the justification for putting more people and ramping up the southern border as opposed to shoring up some of our other targets, our soft targets? i mean, is there really a rationale or is this just a campaign promise being fulfilled that has absolutely no anchoring in logic or consideration of where our tax dollars are going? i see that i'm 23 minutes over my time. so, madam speaker, i just appreciate if i could get the answers to all of my questions in writing and then, mr. chairman, i just would like to acknowledge that i do have two foster daughters here today, amina and lauren, who are observing democracy in action. thank you very much.
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mr. mccaul: welcome to the committee to your step-daughters. very nice. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from arizona, ms. mcsally. ms. mcsally: thank you, mr. chairman. good to see you again. earlier this week a unisector border patrol apprehended 61 people who entered the u.s. illegally. during an initial interview, one of these individuals claimed to be an unaccompanied minor. he later admitted he was an adult and a part of the ms-13 gang. u.a.c. from el salvador and other central american countries are given different treatment than those from mexico. or other continuous countries, and are allowed to remain in the united states only to disappear into the shadows. we also have other data points, that in a joint d.h.s.-d.o.j.-ms-13 operation last year, of the 267 gang members arrested, 25% entered the u.s. as unaccompanied minors. and in june of 2017, a spot check of one of the h.h.s.
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facilities that had 138 teens being held, 39 of them, roughly 30%, had ties to ms-13 and other gangs. is it in your view, ms-13 is using the loop holes in our law in order to send individuals to the united states? there's about 10,000 members of ms-13 estimated in the united states and their motto is to kill, rape and control. i just want to hear your perspective on what's going on with them and how they're using these loop holes in order to further endanger communities around the country. secretary nielsen: we see them as starting in their countries of origin. they recruit young children. they train them, they train them how to be smuggled across our border, how to then join up with gang members in the united states. we similarly see gang presence within the united states reaching back down into countries within central america and recruiting and also providing instruction. we see smugglers increasingly smuggle specific to ms-13.
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and we see the resulting effects of that from violence in general across the border. but also the drugs and other illicit things that go with that smuggling. ms. mcsally: so these loop holes we're talking about are very real, right? you're saying ms-13 gang members that are here are recruiting minors and they know they'll be able to be let into the united states? secretary nielsen: yes. ms. mcsally: and others probably that are adults, they either, like in this case pretend they're minors, or they tell them to say the right words. i have a credible fear. what's happening is they're then being released with a future court date that they never show up for, right? secretary nielsen: right. we estimate we only have 3.5% of u.a.c.'s that are eventually removed because they do not show up. ms. mcsally: so closing these loopholes is paramount for our national security, for our public safety. the bill that chairman mccaul and i have, that we've been working diligently with you on that i know you support, closes these loopholes. i really want to urge our colleagues that when we have to bring some form of our bill to
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the floor. this is just one of the many issues that we're addressing in that bill. this is not partisan. this is a public safety, local community and important security issue that we're trying to address. specifically highlighting this gang issue. so we also saw in california, according to d.h.s., 100 gang members, many of which belong to ms-13, recently released from october, 2016, to june, 2017, because of their sanctuary policies in california. so you have these gang members and other violent felons, that because of the dangerous policies of california, these individuals are being released back into our communities to be further danger to our communities instead of being handed over to federal authorities in prison where it's safer for the community and safer for your agents. can you speak to the dangers of that and what needs to be done? secretary nielsen: yes. so it began as a sanctuary city for victims.
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what they have become over time is a very contorted version of that. which is a sanctuary for criminals. and we need to be very clear about that. sanctuary city protects criminals. it does not protect the community. as i mentioned earlier, what it requires us to do is send our agents, not moving from a controlled environment back into the communities, putting that community at risk, and other immigrants in that community that are not serious felons, and putting my officers and agents at risk. it doesn't make any sense. it's a way in which we're pitting blue against blue, federal law enforcement against state law enforcement. where we should all be working together to protect our communities. ms. mcsally: thank you for clarifying that. because sometimes this gets misunderstood by people as to what the real impact. is cracking down on these sanctuary cities is also in chairman mccaul's and my bill and we look forward to move that forward. i fully support the national guard being deployed to support border security at the southern border. i represent a southern border district.
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can you touch on how it's going so far? and we'd love to you you back to arizona, love to host you there in order to be able to talk to the ranchers, local residents and see how things are going down at the border. secretary nielsen: thank you for the invite. i try to get to the border whenever i can. it's very important to learn from the people there who are on the front lines of what works and what doesn't work. we have about 1,000 national guard deployed. we have 600 actually active within the border communities. what they're doing is they're supporting c.v.p. so we have more badges on the border. c.b.p. can do their law enforcement mission. they're helping us with road clearing, maintenance, all of the enabling functions that help c.b.p. so c.b.p. can do what they need to do. mr. mccaul: did i meet with an orange county sheriff, it was of interest to me, of sanctuary cities. while they're barred by their state law, they do put the i.c.e. detainees on a website that is
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then used publicly so i.c.e. can make the safe transfer of the prisoner to i.c.e. custody without releasing that criminal alien onto the streets. i think that's very innovative. with that, the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new york, miss rice. ms. rice: thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome, madam secretary. i have three questions i'll lay out for you and hopefully i'll do them quickly so you can answer. what is your personal opinion in your capacity as secretary of homeland security on whether russia interfered in our elections in 2016? and the likelihood that they will continue their attack on our democracy in 2018 and beyond? that's number one. number two is, earlier this month uscis released internal documents pertaining to the decision to end temporary protected status for haiti. the agency's report stated that many of the conditions in haiti that prompted the 2010
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original t.p.s. designation remained and that country was still vulnerable. despite this report, director sis in a then wrote to the acting secretary that haiti had made enough progress and no longer met the conditions of the t.p.s. designations. why did the director, if you know, make that recommendation, which was clearly in conflict with his own agency's internal findings? number one. and number two, are there any similar internal reports from uscis on the t.p.s. designation for el salvador and if so, if you could provide those documents to this committee? and my last question, when you testified before the house appropriations homeland security subcommittee earlier this month, you committed to ensuring that -- and this is a quote from you, any pregnant woman in our care in detention receives adequate care. based on the recent change to i.c.e.'s policy on detaining pregnant women. so three questions. which detention facilities currently offer prenatal care? can you define for me what
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d.h.s.'s definition of, quote, adequate care is? and how you as the secretary intend to ensure each pregnant woman receives it? and how will you hold the detention centers and individuals accountable? and finally, what steps specifically are you taking to ensure that i.c.e. is meeting the assurances that you made? secretary nielsen: thank you. so on russia, yes, i don't think there's any question, russia did attempt to interfere, did interfere in our election system through a variety of means. as you know, they released everything from emails to, through foreign influence techniques, to try to manipulate public opinion and they did in fact attempt to undermine our elections by attacking our election infrastructure. i have no doubt they will continue to try to do this. it is a priority of mine, the portion that we play is to protect help the state and locals, they have the primary responsibility in protecting the critical infrastructure related to elections. so we'll continue to do that.
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on t.p.s. haiti, t.p.s. decisions require us under law to look at, and maybe this is what you're referencing, the originating conditions that necessitated the designation of t.p.s. if those specific conditions no longer exist, the statute requires us to terminate t.p.s. because it was meant to be a temporary program. so i'm not particularly familiar with the back and forth that you referenced but i can just say broadly, unfortunately what that means is some countries remain perhaps unstable and have difficult conditions. but if they are not a result of the originating designation, that designation must be terminated. ms. rice: i would ask if you could look into that. it seemed clear that the report -- they say many of the conditions, i don't know if one doesn't exist that means that it's over, but it seems pretty arbitrary. if you could just, you know -- secretary nielsen: i will look into it. with respect to your question for documents regarding to el salvador, of course we'll be
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happy to provide relevant once. -- relevant ones. neonatal care. i do take this very seriously. as i mentioned in my last hearing. we do screen for pregnancy for women ages 18 to 56. we do provide -- we put them in a center if they must be detained. that doesn't provide the neonatal care. i'll get you the names of the specific detention. we provide counseling and access to outside experts, if they seek additional medical guidance or prescriptions or other things they need that we can't provide. we give them that option. and then in terms of how i'm making sure they do that, i've had many conversations with the director. we have audits in place where we're taking this very seriously and i would ask as i did then, if you have any concerns or specific examples of when that is not occurring, to please let me know and we'll take that seriously. ms. rice: thank you. i would appreciate you following up and thank you for your service. i would like to note that i
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think i'm the only person that stayed under five minutes, mr. chairman. thank you for that, secretary. mr. mccaul: congratulations. thank you so much for that. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. donovan. mr. donovan: and i think, miss rice. -- i thank you, miss rice. thank you, mr. chairman. before i begin, i'd ask unanimous consent to insert into the record a letter from the jewish federations of north america, discussing the importance of the not for profit security grant program, a program that has made a big difference to the not for profits in my district. mr. mccaul: without objection, so ordered. mr. donovan: thank you. i hate to do this to you but everyone's asking for your answers to writing and i have to go into the speaker's chair in about four minutes so i'd like to lay out my questions and ask you to do so as well. earlier this week my subcommittee held a field hearing in my district which focused on the importance of federal counterterrorism support to high-risk urban areas like new york city. witnesses representing law enforcement, first responders in new york and new jersey discussed the importance of intelligence information sharing
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and homeland security grant programs to their operations. we must fully fund these grant programs, particularly in light of the evolving terrorist threat. another topic of discussion at the hearing was the difficulty in securing mass transit systems. the transit security grant program is vital to those efforts. but the overall focus on surface transportation security programs dwarfs that of aviation security. our witnesses expressed great concern about mass transit security and that is a concern i share, especially in light of the attempted bombing at the new york city port authority terminal in december. can you please speak or write to us to what more we can do to enhance the security of this transportation mode? how is d.h.s. supporting information sharing when it comes to threats to mass transit? and my other question would be -- involving the -- countering weapons of mass destruction
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office. office. the president's budget request for that office proposes changes to the securing the cities program, a program that has proven very successful in new york city. we're hearing concerns from securing city jurisdictions about proposed changes in permissible equipment, to whom the equipment would be provided to, and the impact it would have on the jurisdiction's ability to conduct radiological detection and response operations. this committee has long supported the securing the cities program as it is currently operating and the house passed my legislation authorizing the program just last year. my three questions involving that would be, what changes is the department proposing to the program? what outreach you have done to participating jurisdictions to solicit their feedback? and how are you addressing the concerns that the department is receiving from securing the cities' jurisdictions? i thank you for your service to our nation. i thank you for answering my question. i thank you for indulging me. i have to run. and i yield back and, mr. chairman, i used less time than
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rice did. mr. mccaul: you yield back for the record, 2:15. that's a record, i think. [laughter] thank you for that. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. correa, who i noticed brought in three or four children to the hearing? mr. correa: yes. mr. mccaul: i want to welcome them as well. mr. correa: they're all our children. those are survivors of our veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom around the world. i thought it was important for them to follow us here and shadow us. thank you very much, mr. chairman, for pointing them out. mr. mccaul: thank you for bringing them. mr. correa: thank you, mr. chairman. and ranking member, for holding this hearing. commissioner nielsen, thank you
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for being here. i wanted to follow up on some of the comments made by my colleague, mr. katko, from new york. i represent orange county, california. our nation's security is very foreign my constituents who are constituents to our state. these are issues that are also very important to our taxpayers. right now, as i travel through our district, which is democrat and very republican as well, i don't hear much talk about undocumented workers. as a matter of fact, in central valley, i hear the need for more farm workers. newport beach area, i don't hear people talking about the nannies that are undocumented. i don't see that as a complaint. then in disneyland, our area that's heavy in tourism, i don't hear a lot of people complaining about the undocumented workers, waiters, waitresses and clerks. but i'll tell you what i do hear complaints about in my district. i think throughout the country. is this opioid crisis. some numbers have it as high as 500% increase in usage throughout the nation. deaths have skyrocketed because of the opioids. my question really is, according
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to one of your d.h.s. reports, the northern border threat, northern border threat, you have more and more coming through canada. what are we planning to do in the northern border? as mr. katko said, 95% of that border is essentially open. so any thoughts about where we're going in terms of protecting our northern border? secretary nielsen: yes. as i mentioned, i was speaking what are we planning to do in with my colleague in canada about this. so part of it is the partnership on both sides to make sure that we facilitate legal trade and travel, but that we reduce any illicit activity, including drugs. opioids continue to be a problem throughout the nation. mr. correa: what kind of partnership does we have right now with people north and south of the border? secretary nielsen: they're strong, very strong with the
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canadians, yes, sir. mr. correa: how about the mexicans? secretary nielsen: we have a strong partnership with the mexicans as well. mr. correa: general kelly, who was in your position here a few months back, made some comments and i agree with him, to the fact that if anything gets near our border, we've essentially lost a battle. if we want to stop terrorists we have to work with the mexicans and the canadians and the brazilians and afghans and some of the others. are you building those relationships three formalized information sharing agreements? secretary nielsen: we are. absolutely. mr. correa: so, following up on that, we're looking at building a border wall in the mexican border. i presume we're going to do something like that at the northern border as well? secretary nielsen: we're working with the canadians. mr. correa: are we going to build on the northern border as well? secretary nielsen: in some places, yes.
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mr. correa: we're going to build a physical barrier as well? secretary nielsen: we do not have a current plan right now to build an equivalent structure that we have on the southern border. mr. correa: coming back to the opioid issue. before this committee, this homeland security was created, 30 years ago we had a lot of our drugs coming into this country through miami, through florida. this country did a great job of stopping those trades of illicit drugs through the caribbean. what we did is we shifted it inland through mexico. as a result we destabilized a whole country, with our money that went to buy drugs, weapons, so on and so forth. so as we cut off the mexico side, are they going to start flowing into canada and are they going to start going in through our seaports? i say that to you because here a few months back our coast guard commandant told us a couple years ago they identified about 600 known drug vessels bringing drugs into this country, and they did not, the coast guard did not have the resources to stop, to intercede, to stop those shipments. so, again, as a taxpayer i'm running out of time, my question is, is the money best spent on a border wall or is it, you know, cooperating with the other nations, or is it -- if you had $1, where would you spend it?
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secretary nielsen: if i had $1. i think it needs to be all of the above. the short answer. mr. correa: if you had a priority? secretary nielsen: we have to secure our southern border. that's where we see the greatest threat between the two borders. mr. correa: threat in terms of? secretary nielsen: drug smuggling, terrorists, traffickers, illicit activity and violence. mr. correa: mr. chair, i'm out of time. i'd like to have written information on that compared to what's coming through canada and through the ports.
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mr. chair, i yield time. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from louisiana is recognized. mr. higgins: thank you, mr. chairman. madame secretary, i appreciate you appearing before myself and my colleagues today. thank you for your service to our country. i'm concerned about authorization of department of homeland security. as you know, this committee thank you for your service to crafted and the house of representatives in july of 2017, with overwhelming bipartisan support, 386-41 by vote, passed the full authorization of department of homeland security. yet we've seen no action in the senate and this greatly concerns me and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the house. how has this lack of action in the senate injured your ability to serve and protect our nation? secretary nielsen: first of all, i want to continue to thank this committee for your support. it is very important to have this re-authorization. it would give us some additional authorities that we need.
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it would clarify parts of the law. it would clarify our mission sets and it would give us the ability to more effectively manage to the mission by reorganizing within the department. >> centralized command and control, by your definition and those of us who sit on this committee, we would concur that centralized command and control is crucial to the efficiency of any operation, would you not agree? secretary nielsen: i would agree because we do this based on risk. so it has to be a centralized look at risk, so we can match the mission set and resources accordingly. mr. higgins: the effect of re-authorization, would you see that as allowing your department to operate in all the components that agencies within your department, to operate more efficiently? and be better able to serve the nation and to protect the interests of national security? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. not having re-authorization binds my hands and those of the men and women of the d.h.s.
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mr. higgins: thank you. i hope my colleagues in the senate are listening. it's been stated by some members here of this committee today, several times, regarding the caravan, that you know who those caravan, that you know who those people are. i find that difficult to believe. is that true? how is that possible? have they been vetted and interviewed by your agents? secretary nielsen: no, sir. mr. higgins: how would you possibly know who they are then? secretary nielsen: i don't know. mr. higgins: thank you very much for clarifying that. regarding my colleague's request for confirmation of your 90% number for these have been issued a citation, it's a summons for court? secretary nielsen: yes. mr. higgins: and that calls for probable cause stating that there's been some criminal act. that criminal act would have been illegally entering our nation, is that correct? secretary nielsen: yes, illegal entry without inspection. mr. higgins: so these illegal immigrants receive a summons for court and then you're stating that 90% don't show up for court. i'd like to see the demographics
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of those numbers as well. because i'd be surprised if 10% show up for court. during the course might have career as a police officer for over a decade, many interactions with illegal immigrants. either in field interviews, or by stopping a car with no registration, expired inspections, etc. and there's nothing that can be done. you stop these guys, have no driver's license, driver's license is faked, might be three or four of them in a car. you can't -- it's pointless to give them a citation for a misdemeanor traffic violation because they're certainly not returning for traffic court. you can't tow their car because then they're on foot in your jurisdiction. you have phone calls all night. you can't bring them to jail because i.c.e. won't pick them up. that's what happens to us. nothing. whereas an american citizen in the same situation will be cited, issued a summons, perhaps brought to jail.
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so i'd be surprised if 10% of those that are issued a summons to american court and federal court for entering our nation illegally show up. so i would be interested as well to receive the demographics. can you respond at all? do you have those demographics? who they are, their age, their gender, their nation of origin, whether or not they have an anchor family, etc.? do you -- can you provide that information? secretary nielsen: we have much of that, yes, sir, we're happy to provide. mr. higgins: i would appreciate that. certainly be interested in looking at it. thank you, madam, for your poise and your grace during your testimony, your continued service to our country is greatly appreciated. mr. chairman, i yield back. mr. mccaul: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from florida is recognized. mrs. demings: thank you so much, mr. chairman. and thank you to our ranking member. before i get into my line of questions, madam secretary, welcome. it's good to meet you. i want to follow up on a
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question. your answer is you have no way to identify who is possibly in a caravan. i just wonder, why didn't you give that answer to the person who asked you that question? secretary nielsen: he didn't ask, it was just part of his speech. i just didn't want to interrupt. mrs. demings: you didn't feel a need to clear that -- you've cleared up some other things this morning. you didn't feel a need to clear that up, just kind of for the record? secretary nielsen: i was happy to do it just now. mrs. demings: ok, all right. budgets are certainly, i believe, a list of priorities, many say that they kind of express our values and -- of the things we talked about this morning, we've certainly talked about building a wall and even detention beds and immigration enforcement. when you gave your list of your missions at the department of d.h.s., it was listed first on your list. so i would just like to know, do
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you consider building a wall or immigration enforcement a higher priority than, say, restoring or increasing grant funding to local communities, local first responders who deal with violent acts and other threats every day? secretary nielsen: i think they're both important issues. i would hope -- mrs. demings: do you consider one a higher priority? that's the business that you're in. it's a tough job. it's a tough job. i just want to know, do you consider, based on your knowledge, training and experience, keeping our country safe and secure is a tough but a big job. and i certainly believe you're capable of doing that. i want to hear from you based on your knowledge, training and experience, do you believe that building a wall or immigration enforcement is a higher priority? because you have to decide how those dollars are spent. than increasing or restoring funding to first responders to deal with, oh, my gosh, just a myriad of threats every day. secretary nielsen: i think if we can keep the threat out of our
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country through strong border security, that is the first and best way to help those state and locals prepare. so we see 15 terrorists who are known or suspected who attempt to travel or travel here every day. border security is homeland security. if i can do my job and keeping them out of this country, i'm thereby helping state and locals. mrs. demings: can you tell me how many people have been killed, by an act of violence, at the southwest border during your tenure as secretary? secretary nielsen: i cannot but i'd be happy to get back to you with that figure. mrs. demings: can you tell me how many, if any, custom and border patrol officers or agents have been killed at the southwest border, or even let me say this, severely injured at the southwest border during your tenure? secretary nielsen: sure. two. and then the assaults are up 73%. secretary nielsen: sure. mrs. demings: so two officers, two c.b.p. officers have been
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killed in the line of duty. secretary nielsen: last year, yes. mrs. demings: last year. but you can't tell me overall how many persons have died at the southwest border through acts of violence? secretary nielsen: i can't give you a specific number right now, no. mrs. demings: and you know, coming from florida, where we just had a school shooting, 14 people died, in orlando a year and a half ago we had 49 people who were killed in what we labeled domestic terrorism. and then folks who were just trying to go and enjoy a concert in las vegas died, lost their lives, 58. but you have no idea how many people overall died during your tenure at the southwest border, but you would consider that a greater priority than the 58, the 49 or the 14, those that are classified as domestic acts of terrorism, with your dollars,
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you believe that putting them at the southwest border is a greater priority? how do you justify that? obviously you do. but please tell me how you justify that. secretary nielsen: sure. i'm not sure i'm following all of the -- what i was saying is, border security is a priority and the reason to that are -- for that is because if we can keep the threat from coming in our borders, whether that's drugs or terrorists, whether that's t.s.o.'s or gangs, then we eliminate part of the threat environment that the state and locals have to deal with. so that's why i was saying border security. mrs. demings: can you tell me quickly, because i'm from florida, i think fema has, gosh, been criticized quite a bit, as you know, their response to puerto rico. and housing has been an issue. you know there are multiple people in hotel rooms, eight people, two beds, but the program that would assist them has not been utilized to assist in the disaster housing
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assistance program. could you tell me if you have any plans to implement that program? to help the victims from puerto rico? secretary nielsen: sure. so as you know, under the national disaster recovery framework, that's actually h.u.d. that has that recovery function for housing, we're working very closely with secretary carson, actually governor scott from florida has been very helpful in providing lessons learned from florida in what we can apply to puerto rico. mrs. demings: so you are working with the secretary to utilize that program? secretary nielsen: of h.u.d. we're working with him and what he can do in his program. mrs. demings: do you feel like we're going to be able to reach an agreement? secretary nielsen: i refer to you h.u.d. but i'm happy to commit to you to continue to work with h.u.d. mrs. demings: thank you. thank you so much, mr. chairman. mr. mccaul: thank you. the gentlelady yields. the gentleman from nebraska, don bacon, is recognized. mr. bacon: thank you, mr. chairman.
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thank you, secretary nielsen, for your leadership. we appreciate all the folks who work at homeland security, keeping us safe. we're grateful. i want to follow up on a statement made. you said 15 suspected terrorists try to cross our border every day. is that correct? secretary nielsen: who plan to travel or travel, yes, sir. mr. bacon: could you detail for us at the unclassified level obviously, who are the sunni extremists, whether it's isis or al qaeda, what have you seen and detect with them trying to cross our border? most people in our country don't realize this effort is going on every day. secretary nielsen: yes, sir. much more broadly. let me say that we've also seen, i'm trying to think of what i can say. we see these numbers in terrorists. we're happy to come and brief you on the breakdown. what i can also say is isis in social media has encouraged its followers to utilize our refugee program, to come here. they in writing have encouraged people to come across our southwestern border. so we do see an uptick in any
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type of terrorist groups, trying to come here. but happy to come brief you on the specific breakdowns. mr. bacon: i think it would be important, at the unclassified level, carefully vetted by you and your team, to put this out to our citizens. because i think it's an important topic for our border wall and border security. a lot of folks think about the immigration issue when it comes to the wall and that becomes caught up in political controversy. but when you know there's terrorists trying to cross, and we have actual data, i think it would help shape this debate in a positive way. that would be my input. on a different topic. we know the russians and chinese are working to infiltrate our energy grid and indeed the next december 7 won't be zeros with torpedoes coming in at pearl harbor. it's going to be preceded by rolling blackouts and the chaos that follows. some of our bases don't have the alternative power. could you talk about what is homeland security doing to help build that resiliency and
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protection for the energy grid, how do we defend against this and how can we help? secretary nielsen: i think you described the threat. i agree with your characterization. unfortunately itself is persistent. they're becoming much more nimble and creative. so what we do is we work with a variety of partners, we put out alerts and technical alerts, joint one actually with the united kingdom just last week, about how we have seen nation states manipulating some of our systems to do some of the things you were just describing. we worked very closely with state and local operators and department of energy, we give them best practices, we share information, we've set up councils with the governance structures and work through fusion centers. a lot of this is, basic hygiene. so we want to make sure that we're raising the level. everything from access control
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to passwords, to basic malware detection. we have a system at d.h.s. called the automated indicated sharing program. so at machine speed we can advise them of incoming threat factors. mr. bacon: thank you. one last question. we're seeing criminal organizations and terrorists using more encrypted data in their communications devices. very hard to penetrate at times. to know what they're doing. it impacts our law enforcement. what can we do to help you with this and how do you partner with say d.o.j. or local and state authorities because they're ones often caught having to deal with this? secretary nielsen: as we all know, this is a tough area of how to balance the conversation around encryption. we do work closely with d.o.j. and d.h.s. we have many, many law enforcement men and women. but particular mission sets that require their own use of encrypted data. so we have both sides of the debate, if you will. part of this is increasing in going back to human intelligence. so that we can really track those that we're trying to track.
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understand who they communicate with. who they are participating with. we certainly take that approach in t.c.o.'s, for example. some of this is technological solutions and we're working with the private sector on that but some of it is good old detective work. mr. bacon: let us know how we can facilitate or make this an easier problem for you all to tackle. secretary nielsen: thank you. mr. bacon: mr. chairman, i yield back, thank you. and i'm under my five. mr. mccaul: congratulations. nice job. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from california, ms. barragan. ms. barragan: thank you. did you testify that 90% of unaccompanied minors don't show up to court? secretary nielsen: i believe what has been referenced in my testimony in the last hearing. ms. barragan: what was the percentage you said a minute ago? 90%? secretary nielsen: i hadn't said that but i think people were quoting me. ms. barragan: i wanted to correct the record because there's so much false information that comes out of this administration. and this is one of those. my records, which is the department of justice immigration court's data states that 69% show up to court and when unaccompanied minors have
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counsel, 95% show up to court. somebody who has represented an unaccompanied minor in an immigration proceeding, i think that send a message that we should make sure unaccompanied minors have access to counsel. your predecessor, secretary kelly, he committed to meeting with the congressional hispanic caucus regularly. will you commit to meeting with the congressional hispanic caucus regularly like your predecessor? secretary nielsen: be happy to. ms. barragan: great. hopefully we can get that scheduled soon because i know since you've been sworn in we have not seen you. so thank you for that. back in mid january, my friend, senator booker, had asked if you had met with any daca recipients. at that time you mentioned you had not. you have met with any daca
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recipients since that time? secretary nielsen: i have not. ms. barragan: great. thank you. my colleague earlier, ms. jackson lee, had mentioned this recent court decision that came out this week about daca applications and i pulled the decision just to clarify for the record the order says d.h.s. must accept and process new as well as renewal daca applications. this is in the court order. now, that is the actual court order. the court order goes on to say that they're going to have a stay for 90 days, so d.h.s. can explain why they ended the program. because it was arbitrary and capricious. you are the head of homeland security. that they're going to have a do you have a better explanation? secretary nielsen: i'm sorry, for the court's decision? ms. barragan: yeah. the court decision said you had 90 days to better explain why the program ended because what was given before was
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insufficient. i'm asking, do you have a better explanation? secretary nielsen: the explanation is very simple. it was an inappropriate use of executive power. ms. barragan: do you have a better explanation? because the court has already ruled that that explanation was insufficient. do you have a better explanation? secretary nielsen: i sitting here today, we're reviewing the court decision that just came down. we will be prepared to provide the court the requested information. ms. barragan: ok. so you don't have one yet? thank you very much. secretary nielsen: i don't. ms. barragan: i'm looking forward -- secretary nielsen: the justice department does. i'd refer to the justice department on arguing the cases on behalf of the united states government as we do with all cases. ms. barragan: but the department of homeland security enforces them and i think the court order is very specific. secretary nielsen: we'll comply and provide them the information requested. ms. barragan: great. you are responsible for more than 200 employees at department of homeland security correct? secretary nielsen: yes.
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ms. barragan: and many of them have security clearance, correct? secretary nielsen: that's correct. ms. barragan: we sent you a letter about your handling of security clearance. you have not responded to that, i'll see if i can get some answers here today. were you aware of the allegations of domestic abuse by mr. porter in february of 2018? secretary nielsen: whatever was in the press is what i was awear of. ms. barragan: so you were not aware of allegations of abuse? secretary nielsen: i did not access or review adjudication, that was not part of my job. ms. barragan: so "the new york times" is inaccurate that you as deputy chief of staff, you're saying you did not see the f.b.i. report? secretary nielsen: i did not see the report. ms. barragan: so you did not have any report of the security clearance. secretary nielsen: i did not, it
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was not in my job description. ms. barragan: what's the policy on interim security clearance? secretary nielsen: it takes a long time to go through the adjudication process, so we don't bring someone onboard until they're adjudicated. ms. barragan: can you commit to
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answering this let for the writing from march 5? secretary nielsen: yes, i can. >> i want to go into uscis, a constituent of mine whose initials are j.b. i would like to hold up his -- documentation that outlines his efforts to adopt a young woman from senegal. i think you may have had conversations. i would describe it in the interest of conserving my time as tragic and ridiculous what this woman has been through to include over a dozen trips to this nation of senegal and they cannot complete the adoption of this young girl who has known no family but this particular in her life while she's in the country thus creating a circumstance wherein in 6-year-old child needs to be sent back to africa to an orphanage to complete the paperwork. i don't take this tone to be
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derisive, i want to make sure this paper gets in your staff's hand and ask for your specific attention. this is a tragedy of bureaucracy that has a human toll and impact. moving on, i'll set it there, please. secretary nielsen: you have my commitment to look into that >> moving on, there's been some interest expressed by some of my colleagues in prioritization of saving american lives. my good friend and colleague mrs. demings pointed to tragedies in las vegas, orlando and parkland, would it surprise you, madam speaker if i were to inform you that the federal
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government reporting system indicates that about 20% of all automobile accident fatalities involve unlicensed drivers and about half of those are illegals? secretary nielsen: i'm not familiar with that number but it wouldn't surprise me. mr. garrett: or that in federal incarceration we have 709,440 illegal people detained? would that surprise you? secretary nielsen: no. mr. garrett: would it surprise you to learn the best estimate of incart rated illegals is 279,000? secretary nielsen: no. mr. garrett: would it surprise you that it costs $32 billion annually. if we had $32 billion to build a border wall could we keep those people out of the country and save lives. secretary nielsen: we could keep most of them out if we protected the southern border.
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mr. garrett: presumably if they weren't here we couldn't -- they couldn't be arrested and incarcerated and we'd save money. secretary nielsen: that's correct. mr. garrett: so that's like 300,000,000,000 we could save? and the countries from which these individuals come. secretary nielsen: it would save live, save money and protect our communities. mr. garrett: and paid for by the folk whors braking our laws thus reducing the cost would it not? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. mr. garrett: i'm just having fun but i think these are points that need to be made.
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as it relates to the homeland facility consolidation plan i would comment i'm as frustrated as anyone. having said that, sometimes i think it's time to start anew. i read the o.i.g. report when i read and a quote, perhaps too much time, energy and money was spent on revitalizing washington, d.c. neighborhoods, having said that, sometimes i think it's time to start anew. renovations. sit within the mission of homeland security to revitalize washington, d.c. neighborhoods? secretary nielsen: no, sir. mr. garrett: is this what the taxpayers expect their money to be spent on? secretary nielsen: i doubt it. mr. garrett: so there are large former government facilities located within 53 miles of where we sit where we wouldn't have the costs, and finally, we included in the authorizing
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budgetary language the ability to reinstate the waiver for returning workers under h-2 hb because we wanted you to be able to do it. allow me to join mr. keating from the other side of the aisle in saying, please help. it's not about foreign workers, it's about american businesses that are shuttering because we can't create a system and circumstance wherein they have reliability and predictability. secretary nielsen: i understand. mr. garrett: not to attack you. secretary nielsen: i agree. i ask for your help in passing
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it. that is a sustained program. mr. garrett: i agree however just because we haven't done our jobs yet, given that we've given you purview in your job to do that and a returning worker is somebody who already demonstrated a willingness to go home. >> the gentleman from rhode island, mr. langevin is recognized. mr. langevin: thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for being here and your testimony today. in your testimony before the appropriations committee two weeks ago, you stated the department is divert regular sources to help secure election infrastructure. i applaud the focus on election infrastructure. yet the budget request included a modest $7 million increase for the organization that carries out this analysis and support. and i certainly commend the undersecretary designate krebs for his prioritization of election assessment but i worry about the strain on the
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resources especially since they are responsible for working with other areas of critical train structure making them priority resources especially since they customers as well. is the request sufficient to support important assessments in other areas of critical infrastructure sectors? secretary nielsen: we went to e.a.c. and in conjunction with them will help state and locals prepare. we had 26 million that went to nppt my comments on privatization were simply that we all, and i know you share this, take this election very seriously so in terms of vulnerability assessments providing clearances, we are prioritizing the election subsectors. we'll continue to work with sector agencies to have a whole. mr. langevin: what data are you using to make sure mppd has what it needs to respond to other areas of critical infrastructure so it's not being ignored? there's many attack factors they
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have to defend against and how we make sure that those priority customers are not going to be ignored at the expense of the election which i certainly applaud the focus to take me -- particularly now on secure election infrastructure but we need to be focused on other areas of critical infrastructure.
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sec secretary nielsen: you have my commitment. mr. langevin: your budget requests shifts money from cyber sector to nppd. i'm concerned about this proposal. i'm skeptical about it. so what gives you confidence that nppd would which has become primarily an operational organization has the right tools and people to take over this responsibility from s&t, again because this is an r&d function which s&t would be the appropriation place to do, i worry that the high tempo at nppd will distract from the r&d work, or that the r&d work will take a back seat. secretary nielsen: that's not the intention. it was to more closely align the needs of the critical infrastructure owners and operators in the 16 sectors to an r&d plan. it's meant to make it more requirements based. it's a priority to do so. the threat continues to evolve very, very quickly. we need to be continuing to do r&d as we operate, innovate as we go. that was the idea behind moving toyota nppd. happy to work with you on how we make sure that's used in the appropriate way. mr. langevin: i remain skeptical and this is something i'll watch closely and stay on top of to
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make sure it's not ignored. some of my colleagues have introduced legislation to start a bounty program at d.h.s. some in your department have criticized the idea as being premature without robust vulnerability triage processes. i appreciate the concern. however the newly revised stat tutt framework and other international standards point to having a vulnerability disclosure program. so with or without a bounty, as best practice, in the department, general services administration have both implemented successful policies. what would prevent d.h.s. from having a vulnerability program that helps inform d.h.s. about problems in its own systems? secretary nielsen: i agree that a bounty program is an important tool. it's not a silver bullet but nothing is. it's an important tool. we look forward to learning the lesson d.o.d. has learned on their own. we're watching the legislation going through congress very closely and we will prepare on our side to have the resources
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and planning we need to respond to what we find out through the program. mr. langevin: we talked about two things, yes on the bounty program but also vulnerability disclosure verdictor so -- program so when research is -- researchers find a vulnerability they can report it -- report it to someone. right now there's nobody home. in other words, the security researchers don't have a way to contact d.h.s. and make sure the data -- make sure d.h.s. follows up on the program. the bounty program is good but why don't you have a vulnerability disclosure, the department of defense does. general services administration does, d.h.s. does not. >> we do have a way in which they can contact us and revive calls frequently within the nkik. we are formalizing the program. mr. langevin: that one helps outside agencies. it's a vulnerability in a medical vice that i call u.s.
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cert. they make sure they get in touch with the right person in the company. the problem is, that's not the case, u.s. cert doesn't do that for disclosures within d.h.s. with the right person in the >> they pass it to the correct people. i'm suggesting different ways to get into d.h.s. to report things like that. we are formalizing the program. it's very important, i don't disagree at all. we need to notify victims but we need to in an appropriate way disclose vulnerabilities. mr. langevin: would you work with us to make sure we develop a vulnerability disclosure program? >> last but not least, the gentleman from texas, mr. ratcliffe. mr. ratcliffe: madam secretary, thank you for being here today. i appreciate the information you've given on how d.h.s. is prioritizing resources to accomplish the president's agenda for safety and security
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of the american people. as the chairman of the cyber security subcommittee i want to focus my few minutes with you on this particular area and i will start off by saying with all due respect to your predecessors who have had considerable talents and abilities, i'm of the opinion that you have brought with you to this office a greater knowledge and appreciation and are more steeped in cyber security than anyone before you and i want to with you to this office a help you take advantage of that. i know we share a common goal of wanting to improve d.h.s.'s ability to impact the nation's cyber posture and defense because i know we also, i think, agree that cyber security poses one of our greatest national security threats right now.
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so in the spirit of wanting to help you be successful, one of my priorities early in this term has been to investigate the continuing -- the continuous diagnostics and mitt fwation program. we've held two hearings, we've had a number of briefings, countless meetings and i'm of the opinion that c.d.m. is certainly a value-add to our federal cyber security, a way to fortify our government networks and systems. so let me start out and ask if you share that opinion. secretary nielsen: i do. i think it's part and parcel of one of our tools to find out what's on our network, who is on our network. >> so looking toward the continued success, hopefully of
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c.d.m., help me make the case to appropriator, other members on this committee as well as to the administration what we can do to ensure the value of the c.d.m. program so that it's reflected in future budget cycles. nip we hope through the newest vehicle, the defend vehicle, we hope to be much more agile and hope to be able to utilize that to not only be up on the emerging threats but to use it to understand the threat patterns that we can more quickly come to you with requests for additional resources and tools. >> one of the other priorities the chairman and i have spent considerable time on and will continue to do so is d.h.s.'s cyber work force. mr. ratcliffe: in light of the growing cyber threat landscape it's imperative d.h.s. be staffed with a cyber work force to meet the cyber mission and to counter what are obviously some highly sophisticated cyber
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adversaries. i know you haven't been the secretary for that long but early on, are there programs or initiatives that you have identified as being most effective in recruiting and retention? secretary nielsen: we have. the nice -- acronym nice out of nist and others which helps us unique skill sets that we need to hire is part of it. but the other part is helping, frankly, folks within the community understand the mission. when you understand the threat and the mission i find they're much more interested in coming to serve their government. we can't pay them the same amount but we can provide them an opportunity to serve their country and serve a mission. we are looking at retention, benefits, different programs, cross training, what we can do on the back end and we're working on some pilots with industry to cross train or do exchange so we can both benefit
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from that experience. mr. ratcliffe: one thing we've already done what congress did in 2014 is provide for accepted service and expedited in 2014 is provide for accepted authorities to address this you know, the indications are that that really hasn't been utilized or maximized to the extent we would hope. is that something you're focused on? secretary nielsen: it is, and i agree it hasn't been utilized as it should be. we thank you for that and for the cyber pay. mr. ratcliffe: i think we have a cyber shortage if you will and great opportunity under your
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leadership and stewardship to improve the historical improve the historical reputation of d.h.s., particularly as it relates to cyber issues, so i want to help you in that regard. to move the need until a positive and appreciable way. so my door will be open to you in that regard. secretary nielsen: thank you, i'll take you up on that, i appreciate it. >> the gentleman yields back. i want to thank you for your leadership in cyber security. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzpatrick. mr. fitzpatrick: thank you madam secretary for being here. i think we all agree you have a tough job and i want you to know we do appreciate the work, we appreciate the difficulty and the long hours and stress. keep at it, you're doing all right. i want to talk about school safety. i don't know if my colleagues have addressed this earlier. but certainly there's a local role to play. certainly there's a statewide role to play. the federal government has a role. what do you view as the responsibility of the department
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of homeland security in helping us get to the point where we can keep our kids safe and secure in their schools? secretary nielsen: we haven't discussed that, thank you for raising the question. this is a very important topic, one on which we have spent a lot of focus. so we created internal to the adjustment task force a working group, there are many parts of d.h.s. that are parts of this mission, we do everything from active shooter training to awareness to warning capabilities. we also just released a soft target crowded places plan, just a couple of weeks ago. which goes for best practices on what to do and how to respond. importantly how to prepare. we also are part of the commission on school safety that's led by the department of education working closely with the national governors' association. we're bringing everything we can bring to bear, information sharing, we do have suspicious activity reporting as you know. we are updating that process.
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working with state and local training. it goes on and on. but yes, you have a full commitment from d.h.s. mr. fitzpatrick: is there a lack of funding? secretary nielsen: most of this is what we've always done, but if i find any i'll be happy to reach out to you and let you know. >> secondly, i know this has been discussed, i want to raise it independently, aviation security piece we talked about the transition from the -- to the t.t. screening devices. ideally we want all these in our airports, 450 airports that we have and i hope that cost is never an issue. with all the tens of billions of dollars we spent on aviation security, i think this is money well spent.
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my question is, is there any concern about the deployment and the time it would take given there's only five or so suppliers of these types of machines? so even if we had the full financial commitment and the commitment of d.h.s. to implement, are we looking at a lag time base odd then pure supply issue and the number of machines we would need? secretary nielsen: i hope it is we deploy the full amount and come back with a reprogramming request to do more. part of it is helping industry in every way to go faster. takes both of us together. >> would the gentleman like to make closing remarks? >> i have a record -- a letter for the record signed by a number of members of this committee, both democrat and republican, talking about the h-2-b visa program and the
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implementation of it for this year. to the secretary. i hope we bill get some response. i have a letter from a constituent who has had a business for quite a while utilizing this program and is threatened to be closed because of their inability to access workers for this program. so i'd like to submit these two for the record. >> without objection, so ordered. while you raise that issue, i have had a lot of members come up to me asking about the h-2-b program. would you mind addressing that and what is the current status? secretary nielsen: sure. we have finalized, the law requires us to work with the department of labor, we've done that.
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we've met with and i talked to a variety of members of congress who share your concerns. variety of members of congress who share your concerns. they have very specific companies within their districts who are a threat to go out of business if they dent receive additional visas. so we are very aware, we have finalized our recommendation, it's working its way through the process but we hope that we will be able to issue additional visas next month. >> let me also mention, u.a.f. didn't come up today but it's an important issue to both of us and the united states security. these drones crossing across the border and domestically pose a grave threat. i can assure you we are working on draft legislation right now and working with your staff, madam speaker, to accomplish that goal. so i want to thank you for being here. i want to also thank you for your public service. you know, it's a tough job. i think a lot of people look at homeland security and all they think of is border and
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immigration and it's so many other things as well that you have on your plate. i want to work with you to make your job successful and so with that, the hearing record will be open for 10 days for any additional questions and without objection the committee stands adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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>> connect with c-span to personalize the information you get from us. go to c-span.org/connect to sign up with the email. it is a daily email with the most updated primetime schedule upcoming live coverage. the most interesting daily video highlights with no commentary. the book tv newsletter is an insiders look at upcoming offers an book festivals. tv the american history newsletter gives you the upcoming programming exploring our nation's past. visit c-span.org/connect & up today -- and sign up today. upcoming live coverage. the most>> the annual white houe correspondents dinner gets underway this weekend. previous presidents have attended. president trump has opted not to attend for the second year in a row. the dinner celebrates journalists' first amendment

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