tv Oversight Hearing on President Trumps Travel Ban Part 1 CSPAN October 1, 2019 3:19pm-7:04pm EDT
investigation to this hearing. we are very happy to be working on the supporting issue with you all today. i also like to thank all of the majority and minority members and staff his above subcommittees for the coordination and flexibility while planning is hearing particularly given the cancellation of the yesterday's vote. i want to note that because of the cancellation modes, and every member is able to be here today. i did make a point of talking to mr. colin, and mr. bhatt to be assured that they were ok with proceeding and they assured me that they were right said mr. big, mr. selden will be here. we do appreciate that flexibility and her opportunity to learn more. to probate issues about this matter. i really do think the hearing in many ways is overdue.
for two and half years, the administration has been allowed to arbitrarily to the united states individuals from predominantly muslim countries and there has been no oversight by the congress. today, that oversight starts. as campaign for president, mr. trump promised to be in muslims entering the united states. suggesting without evidence they would somehow make our country safer. immediately upon entering office, he followed through on his promise only to have his , first executive order struck down by the courts as unlawful. it's of the president 10 months, three attempts and inclusion of a waiver process that appears to be something of a sham to create they allow the supreme court to turn a blind eye to the religious side. administration flames that the man is necessary. to keep our country safe from terrorists and yet to bipartisan coalition former national security officers, concluded
otherwise. according to madeleine albright, general michael hayden, former senator turn in many others, overwhelming and is failed to advance our national security. others, overwhelming and is failed to advance our national security. and is in fact, imaging of interest. moreover as we will discuss today, muslim man keeps families apart and harms businesses and supports the false notion that actors are more likely to come from certain countries. this is contrary to american values and our immigration laws. best way of lynn the house of representatives in this challenging legality of the band and why an original cosponsor, and representative judy hsu and senator chris coons, no man act. this legislation would repeal all three versions of the man. strengthen the immigrant nation and nationality act prohibiting discrimination based on religion. in the issuance of immigration decision. in limiting executive authority to issues to travel bans.
they will also delve into the waiver process and rightly so, so many aspects of the remaining mystery. the department of state plans allows 5 percent of waiver applications have been approved. the standards for granting waiver appear to be applied inconsistency across consulate. the lack of established application process only leads to the confusion caused by the inconsistency and lack of transparency. one thing we do know, as once an individual case and refer to a waiver, chances are it will languish in administrative processing for months if not longer. for here today from some individuals have been stuck in limbo who have been waiting for a decision. victims of this policy for is it too long have been enduring the pain of the separation from loved ones. some of these individuals have the birth of a child and unable to start a family, and refuse job offers here in the united
states. ways of this magnitude of major live things must be placed on hold and deftly are unacceptable. un-american and unlawful based on religion. i will continue to oppose every step of the way. i want to thank chairman, a oversight investigation subcommittee for his work making today's joint hearing reality and also for his commitment holding the administration accountable for its policies actions and statements about the man. i also want to thank our witnesses and actually those who are here today, to show how the man so deeply impacted their lives. off of the ranking members of the subcommittee as i mentioned was unable to the candidate hearing, i would like to recognize mr. biggs, for an opening statement. >> thank you madam chair. i think the witnesses for being
here today. if i get into the substance of this, i must put out the title the hearing today seems to be ingenuous to me. my colleagues on the other side of the want to be taken seriously in their oversight of the trump administration his immigration and national security live related policies. the least they can do seven titles of the hearing accurately reflect the issue. my colleagues have decided to ignore this reality surrounding the executive order entitled protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the united states. instead, continue to show this court among the american people, emulate the title of this hearing today. of course the seven countries in the original january tony 17, executive order with those countries specified by this congress. and the obama administration is countries particular concern of terrorism sent to the visa waiver and pursuant of the travel prevention act of 2015 killing a bill which the could be in the house for on
suspension. nineteen votes in opposition. as the united states supreme court noted about the subsequent presidential proclamation, the texas nothing about religion. and policy coverages 8 percent of the world his muslim population. so if the point of the travel of the executive order was not to ban all persons of a particular religion from entering the united states, what was it. the point of it was exactly what the september 24 2017, presence of proper pavement proclamation entitled. processes were depicting entry into the united states by terrorists where other public safety threats. it is ironic that my democratic are holding this hearing two weeks after the september 11th terrorist attacks. the attack which foreign nationals asked exploited u.s. immigration law in order to gain access in the united states for
the sole purpose of killing thousands of our people. maybe we need a refresher on the september 11th terrorist submitted 23 visa applications to the united states government which 22 were approved. they are approved despite the late commissions, and lies in the applications. and they were approved after fact background checks were taken. it was clear that after the vetting and screening was insufficient. in the years since 2001, our vetting is made insufficient enough that we get issued immigration benefits to a number of individuals who are a security risk. if her instance, among others, a student visa issued to at texas terrorist. another one in california. just late last week of the manhattan u.s. attorney announced indictment of naturalized u.s. citizens originally from lebanon on charges of being an agent of fiscal. he entered the united states in 2000 and was naturalized as the u.s. sentencing in 2008 despite
having joint it's not in 1996. in receiving to forced entry was despite an offer operative of his external operations unit, despite recently explosive training in 2004 and 2005, it is obvious our vetting and screening was not sufficient. in a hearing which my colleagues in the investigation for putting forth a policy that it is for was meant to increase immigration vetting. the president promised the american people he would do that in his follow-through. "nobody is perfect. his administration recognizes. this represents a proclamation by 645 requires annually secretaries vhs in consultation with the secretaries of state the attorney general director of national intelligence update the present and procedures related to immigrations reading ability. with the purpose of enhancing safety and security united states initial executive order
has social proclamation are based on the presence power have the immigrate national presence policy value invested by the constitution. states that whenever the first finds an entry of an inhaling, in the united states would be detrimental to the interest of the united states, he made by proclamation of her such. you should deem necessary to suspend the all aliens or any class or nonimmigrants or post- entry of an answer any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. presence of both political parties have used 212f in the meantime. specified eight countries subject to contemporary travel restrictions due to inadequacy in the companies with united states identity management and policies. as well as the terrace presence within those countries. one of those countries chat, had their travel restrictions lifted just seven months later.
actually improves their identity management and information sharing practices with the united states. proof that the restrictions are temporary in nature. travel restrictions for each country range from only restrictions on immigrate or certain non- immigrant or make sure both. the state of hawaii is sued to have the travel ban struck down. but in june 2018 the united states supreme court reversed and the finding that the plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail on the claim. of course i agree with those who have suggested, secretary john, that the limitation of the initial travel executive order should of been better. it was not rolled out will and communication on the government partners were lacking and it was confused. during the importance of the issue of the national security and those affected, the administration should of been better. only my democratic partners would argue. president trump promised the
immigration vetting and screening. a revised executive order, and presidents approximation, aimed at doing just that. has been successful in getting the majority of the world his countries access to better information. for purposes of immigration vetting. in his actions have made it safer. for that i am grateful. i look forward to the witnesses testimony today and i yelled back. >> i would now turn to my colleague in the chair subcommittee and oversight investigation. >> thank you. first on the muslim band. long overdue. have a deep love for the united states of america. as you think about it, schoolchildren all across this country every day, need to be
safe. in the line that is always struck me is that profound is that one nation on god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. as kids we may not have known what that means, as we get older, and we learn about the constitution and we learn about our values as americans, we might not have those freedoms and core values. the freedom of religion is at the core of that. in this great nation of ours, we don't tell people which god to pray to or how to worship. that is part of what makes our country great. when i think about one of the first actions that president trump took his first days in office. from family we need guesses values. he saw such outcry across the nation. because it really does step against who we are. how we seen several operations of that executive order.
my colleague mr. biggs pointed out, if we are to be objective look at threats and were terrorist threats are coming from, the content here was to keep it safer, we didn't see this. if i think about my privilege now is the member of congress, no lawyer, emma doctor period as such, i will argue that the legal side of this one way or another. i will let's look at that facts. it is her job and that is her constant douching of duty. as members of the congress to conduct oversight. everything about the supreme court ruling when they chose not to dismiss the man. i'm gonna say they upheld it and they didn't toss the men out. if you look at that dissenting opinion, that is the prior suggested, if there was a waiver process and here, that was not
actually objectively being implemented. this was the muslim band. in my oversight, as chair, i want to know what that waiver process looks like. i appreciate that the state provided the data but as i look at that data, as the tens of thousands of waiver applications, only 5 percent has been granted. on a no why 95 percent were denied. 95 percent by trying to come to the united states for reasons of hardship or national interest. or national security risk. again i want to know what happens when that waiver application to the back black box. who makes the decision. what is that process look like. what authority have a counselor and officers been given.
i think about this in the context of our most important fathers members of congress. it's just not from oversight but from people who do work for our constituents. people who would represent us. i think about one of my own constituents, omnia. omni is the two -year-old. like many families industries all across this country. limit share her story. her mother is an american citizen. she happens to be in libya when omnia was born. her father is libyan. she was seven months pregnant. due to the council office and she wanted to come back to the united states for her second child's birth. at two -year-old was denied in vista. omnia his mother was told to return to the united states have a child then come back to libya
and left the process take place. i find it hard to fathom that two -year-old didn't faze undue hardship by being separated from her mom. i find it very difficult to fathom, that two -year-old presented a national security risk. and i find it very difficult given the values that we care about in this country and keeping families together that it wasn't in that two -year-old his interest as well as our national interests to keep that mother and child together. we intervened. we were able to help out we were able to reunite the family. when i saw them in my office a few months ago, that child continues to have anxiety issues and separation issues. that isn't who we are as united states of america. i talked to many of my colleagues. they have similar stories to share about their constituents. the number of spouses that are being kept apart. the number who want to see their
children, even temporarily, who may be dying. you are not able to come visit their children. the number of children who can't see their parents may be dying. again that isn't who we are. i think all of us can agree that we have an obligation to keep our country safe. we have an obligation to have a vetting process. this part of who we are as these values of humidity. these values of freedoms. we do ban entire countries that really smacks against who we are is the united states of america. i look forward to the testimony of the witnesses. i expect answers to the questions and data is about processing and denials etc. as well as approvals and again i look forward to working with you. >> thank you generally meals back i am now happy to recognize ranking member on oversight
investigations, mr. zelman for his opening statement. from new york. >> thank you. today's hearing will examine presidential proclamation vetting capabilities and processes for detecting attempted entry into united states terrace. rather public safety threats. on an immigration process for a country that allows individuals to pursue the american dream elite while also having a process that prioritizes american national security. how generous nation that offers refuge to many seeking asylum or escaping persecution and we must be mindful the bad actors are also looking to abuse the system. nearly one third of the fbi his 1000 domestic terrorists cases admitted the country his refugees. it's important that i want allowing individual into the united states through documentation and interrogation, we are confident that a person is who they say they are and
believe in what they say they believe. and does not pose a terrorist threat to our country. this becomes an increased challenge in cases sufficient documentation is less available. especially because of the country they are traveling from. the supreme court decided the trump last year, found that the president has the authority to exclude certain aliens from the country national security reasons. based on the countries they come from. the travel restrictions were limited to countries previously identified as posing a national security risk by congress or by prior administrations. dhs conducted a thorough wide world review and current identified eight virus profiles countries. failed to satisfy the minimal information sharing standards to ensure proper venting. this includes basic information sharing request by the u.s. government to verify the address of the puc previous residence of a refugee but more important lease known terrorist group.
circumstances which you choose that range from failure to develop verify basic document to the high-risk terrorism havens in each country. exceptions and waivers granted on a case-by-case basis or example arenas are still allowed to seek a non- immigrant visa or an exchange visitors visa. countries such as chad and sudan shared a proven cooperation of the u.s. removed from the visa restriction list. travel restrictions can prevent attacks against individuals especially in affirmative to harm american citizens. osman stands accused of hiding his membership and he also mob terrorist group. there are other examples of terracing of lawfully onto the system vetting and was mentioned just last week the doj charge and naturalized u.s. citizen for conducting intelligence gathering new york in pursuit of terrorist activities on behalf of islam.
he came from lebanon a country not of the travel plan list. i would support examining this list on a regular risk basis to allow countries that have improved, full list and the country as necessary to undergo a review to possibly be added. since january 2017, there been several revisions since flutes proclamation. a role in the plan more careful deliberation and resulted in some of the consequences. the interlining policy was parked. difficult to measure the threats we have stopped as a result of this troubled man and as a matter of national security is better to be proactive and reactive. i look forward to hearing about our witnesses about the vetting procedures. by the century his worst chosen and how we get through the process. i yelled back. >> i would now like to recognize chairman and ranking member of the full committee first the chairman of the judiciary committee. a gentleman from new york.
for his opening statement. >> went from administration issued express version of the muslim fannin 20017. with me lately apparent that it was an constitutional. and morally apprehensible. the day after the sign name. we went to jfk airport try to make sure that those who are arriving would have their pieces honored. seeing at the airport was chaotic and heartbreaking. refugees and people with valid visas and people with legal permanent residents were detained for hours and prevented from speaking to their attorneys. in the midst of all of the confusion i also observed american is best. the compassion and support subject to the van, offered by volunteers. . . not . .
>> united against this outrageous policy. and with that little phobic fear. also stop by the courts the trump administration went back to the drawing board a third time sadly the inclusion of a phony process of non- muslim majority countries was enough to look at this latest version did not pass constitutional muster we are now living with the consequences of that
decision since the supreme court ruling is impacted communities set up support systems the cato institute analysis said the damage had more than 9000 family members of us citizens including 500 children on a case-by-case basis at the department of state and customs border officials that they have undue hardship to the individual that admission does not pose a threat to public safety and three that would be an international interest this sound straightforward enough is anything but. and look at this process and
that "there is reason to suspect the proclamation waiver program is nothing more than a sham". the skepticism is warranted 5 percent of adjudicated claims have waiver. with the department of state in the internal guidance of the labor practice with the public representation as we see from media reports the case is a far too many individuals languish for months and more than a year of the black hole of the process. us citizens including children those who are separated from their families is no recourse the muslim band has not made a safer it runs contrary to the philosophical.
it has been and must continue to be the place that embraces all religions and nationalities. the reputation is a beacon of hope and inclusion for those fleeing persecution to reunite with their families but it has been tarnished by the acts of this administration with the ongoing implementation of the muslim pan. it is incumbent upon us in congress without discriminatory policies that are effectively repealed. thank you for holding this hearing today and i look forward to hearing from the witnesses prickle yield back the balance of my time. >> because of the change of schedule ranking members and the chairman are unable to be here but they will be invited to submit their statements for the record.
also congressman has joined us here in congresswoman judy chu has joined us in the audience. there will be two panels of witnesses today first those through custom border protection's department followed by a panel of nongovernmental witnesses including policy experts on the muslim band and those individuals that are personally impacted by this policy i will now introduce the first panel serving as deputy assistant secretary with the state department bureau of consulate affairs to oversee the visa office in washington dc with the domestic processing centers and over 200 and the season consulates working a special assistant to the secretary of state and hill the leadership
post in the consular office in mexico in jamaica and columbia. he is also served in the office of indian affairs of the state department operations center in the white house situation room staff the next as assistant secretary of state of security policy at the department of homeland security office a strategy policy and plans. prior to that she served as deputy chief of staff to the department of homeland security secretaries john kelly and kirsten nielsen also serving under the george w. bush administration and homeland security staff for the department of housing and urban development and department of education between her positions with the executive branch has had many years during which he focused
on homeland and national security issues and finally the executive director of passenger programs us customs border protect protections offices has been in the office since 1981 serving in various capacities including the director at lax long - - long one - - los angeles long beach airport and also as director for the non- inclusive inspection division and program manager for the anti- muslim division - - for that division so please write so i can swear you win. >> raise your right hand do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that testimony about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge so help you god? let the record show the
witnesses have answered in the affirmative and have been seated. please note your full written statements will be part of the record and accordingly we ask you summarize your testimony in about five minutes to help us stay on time we have a lighting system. with one minute left the light will turn to yellow when it's read your five minutes are
the department works closely with the white house on the creation of acceptance of the required the department works closely with the white house and other agencies on the creation of exceptions and waivers we saw authority for the counselor officers because they are in direct content and the best place to assess their circumstances and purpose of travel under the proclamation. the required interagency security is out of necessity
conducted in washington with the assistance of vetting partners rather agencies who have access to relevant intelligence information. the results of that are provided back to the counselor officers. as noted that is the longest part of the process. july 2019 to have a preinterview enhanced automated screening and vetting process after first ensuring the process was just as secure. as a result as of september 14, september 14, 2019 more than 7600 pieces pursuant to a waiver and in addition to that more than 5000 pieces were issued to the nationals of the proclamation countries 8830. we anticipate completing the majority of those that are still ongoing that require review over the next six months. the new system is intended to increase significantly the speed and the efficiency of the
vetting process for future proclamation subject applications and also with the quality of security reviews i like to take the opportunity to invite you to and visit overseas to see how the dedicated professional team works to keep america safe and secure while facilitating legitimate travel. thank you. >> thank you, we will now recognize mrs. newman for your statement. >> thank you to the full committee chair, chairman nadler to thank you for having us here today. today, we observed the 18th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 since its inception dhs has been focused on travel in the early years i worked on the policies needed to prevent acts
of terrorism including breaking down the law between law enforcement and intelligence to establish a foundational policy of information sharing i served at dhs headquarters as the assistant secretary to oversee eight offices of dedicated men and women of screening and vetting. hostile nationstates in criminal organizations the visa waiver
program the real id program office of targeted violence and prevention last friday we released the first strategic framework for countering terrorism it states it is a priority for dhs and describes the multi tiered approach that pushes borders outward. the u.s. government has been successful in preventing another 9/11 we still have more to do to strengthen our screening abilities with a strategic framework is to prevent terrorist and other hostile actors to deny them the opportunity of domestic and international travel system one is critical to accomplishing the goal the screening of vetting programs are in the form as a passport as well as other data provided by the traveler executive order 137080 is to establish management and information sharing criteria and to ensure risk coming from those deficiencies and that they are mitigated. it is similar to the improvement made to the labor program. the visa waiver program expressly required dhs to consolidate foreign government information sharing and border security and earlier legislation
for lost and stolen stolen passport reporting. the information sharing criteria developed through the executive order is also through international norm and reflected in u.n. security council resolution 2396 and through best practices. the usga explained the criteria and the expectations how they are implemented through our official diplomatic channels and today, countries from every continent are complying with criteria. dhs uses interagency approved processes. regular review also helps. sorry, dhs uses interagency approved processes which has also helped to review every governments performance with this criteria that leverages the practical experience of personnel who work with the government and intelligence data on the relative risk and through this routine review to in seat
receive improved cooperation for --improved operation cooperation with foreign governments. or example, one country were instituted a dormant program to identify criminals another helped to revoke the visas of the most notorious criminals including one that was in route , to the united states also another reviews there visa application also helping the command center to adopt more secure passports or to the interpol database for the first time and he countries also report for the first time irregularity to improve u.s. and international security. the travel restrictions that remain in place are there to mitigate the risks of the foreign government that are unwilling or unable to adhere to the criteria. nonetheless, travel restrictions are conditional and will remain in place only as long as necessary to reduce the national security risk.
when a foreign government identifies the deficiencies, a travel restrictions may be recommended. for example, the country of chad by establishing criteria and holding foreign governments accountable, dhs is modernizing the international travel system from one that relies solely on thatg passport data to one takes more risk. thank you. >> down to the final witness. >> thank you. chairman nadler and ranking members, and distinguished committee members, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. the focus of my testimony will be on the action cvb took over one week. two and a half years ago to comply with the executive order
13769. congress receiving the executive order to take immediate steps of policy guidance to comply with the order to work very closely with the department of state on multiple occasions despite the actions we took to comply with the order progress report entry to allow to withdraw the application for admission and to process for waivers and to take immediate action as necessary to modify the policies by various court orders and implementation. cbp leadership performed admirably to ensure all infected traveler - - affected
travelers were deeded with dignity treated with dignity and respect. to comply with the executive order two and a half years ago the proclamation currently in effect asking that the travelers apply for a visa thank you and look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your testimony we will now proceed to the question - - to the members questions of the committee and then have the opportunity to question these witnesses for five minutes. i will begin with myself. we know the department of state can improve waivers that the data that we received in july said the state department doesn't know the number of individuals currently under
review. is that correct madame chairman, let me first correct the record on the number of waivers. as a said in my testimony, we have issued more than 7600 waivers which is considerably more. that is due to the change of the process which makes a significant difference. >> i appreciate that but is it true you don't know quick. >> we do know. but that number changes daily. >> so that report was inaccurate. >> know. it reflected what we knew at the time but that has changed. >> yes it has. >> it is my understanding from
the feedback we have received from constituents looks like some officers had supplementary materials is this a consistent and coherent policy it was created rapidly and at that point officers who did not have familiarity with the process were briefed on the provisions of what they were and all the different requirements. >> i need to interrupt you said the provision of the application is there an application process quick. >> know.
what i said. >> then i misheard you. >> there's a gentleman here we met early this morning getting her phd and was born in iran but as a permanent resident of norway. and that's his fiancée. waiting for several years no application cannot get any information is there a way to apply cracks now this person is a resident of norway to have their wedding here quick. >> of course. as i mentioned in the testimony they will consider the application it is an automatic process. >> but there is no application. >> they need the information
it asks about purpose of trave travel, type of visa the individual is seeking. and they have the applicant right there. is not available at that time. >> so that is discretionary. >> all of us want our country to be safe. there is no exception every single member of this committee once the country to be safe. however some of the examples lebanon is not on the list. so i'm just struck and
venezuela is on the list but nobody is subject to the band from venezuela. when those 57 waivers it with the last election they are not on the list. so it seems to be singling out these countries whose residents are primarily muslim as a basis for assessing the threat is irrational. >> and those who don't pose a threat or what your religion is or how a two -year-old would pose a threat it is a mystery to us. so i'm wondering if we cannot come up with a process to keep us safe i see my time is
expired and i want to set a good example for the rest of the hearing so i now recognize the chairman for his question. >> thank you. >> so when they apply for a visa to be automatically reviewed. >> that's correct. >> so they don't need a new application. >> it makes no sense to apply for a visa. >> looking back at the 2015 law. and with iraq and syria to
effectively have a travel ban are you familiar with that? but then dhs secretary jay johnson added several countries to the list. so you end up under the obama administration iraq and sudan. >> correct. and now it became outrageous policy and xenophobic muslim band and without moral and philosophic that's what i heard from the chairman of the judiciary committee the trump administration didn't just pull the names out of their hat. basically as the previous
administration with the addition of north korea and venezuela. so it's interesting to hear this inflammatory language being used. so will this change for any of the countries or any others in the world cracks spent the basic immigrant visa application has not changed. >> doesn't ask about religion quick. >> it does not. >> so do they ask about religion and interview quick. >> know they don't. and with that adjudication process. >> are there countries that
provide information that they cannot trust the us information. and not just in this effort but we see that which is possible and then we will not accept on the watch list because of the political dissidents are on that list so you have to evaluate by country. >> so then they expand so one example of korea not
participating or cooperating with the criteria of the information sharing. one of this criteria is to share that passport exemplar you give us a symbol of the passport in order to detect fraud but if we don't have that it's very difficult for off officers to see if it is fraudulent and north korea does not provide the exemplars or any information sharing criteria. >> with that proclamation. >> from my point of view with executive order a lot of the work done under section five
made significant improvements to the vetting process. >> are there individuals based on national security concerns that would not have been denied? under the manual screening process quick. >> i'm sorry repeat the questio question. >> you say under the new process we just introduced versus the old manual screening process? they are identical. so the new system is just as secure much faster. >> at the state department there was one person for the
proclamation to that policy is that correct and with those offices abroad and then you see the men and women who serve our country every day they go to the language training i know these are men and women who were doing the best job possible but also represent the values of our country. so the proclamation states counsel our officers have the discretion. >> that's correct. >> do you believe they have the sole discretion quick.
>> yes i do. >> who makes the final decision of somebody who does not receive waiver quick. >> they are based on three review prongs. the counselor officer makes the decision on the first two which is national interest and undue hardship they are unable to make independently the third decision without referring the case back to washington. >> so washington makes the final determination quick spirit the final determination is not made in washington on that case but what washington does is conduct a deep dive intensive review of each case and in the results that are derogatory from that review will be provided back to the counselor officer.
>> i would imagine for any visa applicant, coming from india or any other country we would have a secure vetting process. >> correct. >> is that vetting process , does that counselor agent have the ability to clear that security quick. >> know. the only clearance it is sent back to washington is called a security advisory opinion that is the initial automated checks with a visa application to reflect any derogatory or a red line and the case is set back for detailed interagency review. up until the new modern i.c.e. system was introduced those cases got the extra deep dive manual review as other cases from other countries do not
require that accounts from the lengthy delays. >> with the new automated processes that your sense that you will close the gap with those seven countries quick. >> yes it is making a very significant difference the information the committee cited earlier 5 percent the number is higher than that now. >> but we can certainly provide. >> to think about this to have a thorough vetting process to
keep bad guys out of the country but they don't just come from seven countries they can come from anywhere. and to have that zero guidance and to have that ability and of the visa office in that process who makes the final decision on that waiver or is it all automated quick. >> know it's not automated. look at all other aspects it are they qualified for those benefits they are seeking? if they are not that it is not sick consistent is this one of
the exceptions? if it is not than the counselor officer considers the grounds with national interest and undue hardship and that's in the best position to decide that. >> is it possible to say why they were denied quick. >> generally we have information the system was with this process in mind we are operating on legacy systems so most information is included in the database. >> we can provide whatever we can. >> your time is expired.
>> and as pointed out the list of countries is born out of the past administrations the last administration when coming before congress talking about security concerns they had republicans and democrats conservatives and the liberals were all working together with the administration with national security concerns to identify we have seven countries on the list may be 2 percent of the world muslim population is not included on this list. the top ten majority muslim one - - majority muslim nations in the world and there
are concerns with individual countries that leads to the current administration coming before congress just like the last administration did because they still have issues. so you can argue they are in the worst place they and the last administration. our great employees to execute vetting don't have a partner on the other side because your partner in the syrian government for the yemenis government we have some documentation to identify we have a question can you assist. there's a lot of countries all over the world but the
documentation is verifiable when the country has been completely destabilized to the point we don't have that willing partner of the documentation with that extra vetting that is not required. yemen was overthrown by the houthis. with this current risk even majority muslim. >> it is really important progressive think it's important that you are here for americans to understand that component and those that are on the list that have been significantly destabilized by factors to impact our ability. so to walk us through through documentation and how do you
apparatus has my colleagues have testified to is to be able to identify the individual we tried to do that to make sure the person presenting with any information we can get. >> in those countries that we have been reviewing that are based on that 2015 law with that recognition we are concerned and to implement a very robust process to identify the criteria to adhere to to ensure with identity management to help us detect that is a child sexual predator or a terrorist.
there is no one solution any times of is brought into the country that is what we have said we are willing to bear because that is the nation and foundation of our country to invite others to join us. we want to do that with risk in mind. we know terrorist do want to attack a country and we believe this effort under the proclamation has enhanced our security. but otherwise it is kind of boring with information sharing protocols. and then to say you really need to do better but because we pay attention. >> gentlemen's time is expired
>> i don't object to things that i object to the comments surrounding. and certainly they will be part of the record but there is not an appropriate way quite frankly for me to respond to those. >> noted for the record with unanimous consent with that part of the record returned to the judiciary committee. >> thank you madam chairman. >> you stated the countries on the ban. but we trust the information from russia. >> i think what i said is that
the way in which they manage their identity and the types of information that they share and what they don't share with us brings a certain amount of risk. >> today share everything with us quick. sified session. to specific >> that is not in or open. >> what about china quick. >> to we trust information from china quick. >> with respect to proclamation 9645. >> china and russia are not predominantly muslim countries, are they quick to my department homeland security does not assess that. >> come on. china and russia are not predominantly muslim countries. you can look that up in the
encyclopaedia britannica or wikipedia. so to discuss the initial announcement of the airports with the leadership of the cbp january 2017 were you or anyone else in cbp shown the draft of the first ban before it was issued in january 2017 quick. >> no sir. >> reappointed to any conversations to bar muslims from the united states quick. >> i was not. >> it sounds like no one was consulted according to the inspector general, dhs and its components had no opportunity to put input from the cag report revealed two days before acting cbp commissioner
received a detailed summary from the congressional staff that was in the executive order instead of at the white house. was the shown to the commissioner was at the executive order that it was coming to be shared with cbp staff quick. >> can you clarify your question quick. >> did any of this information shown to the commissioner through executive order shared with dhs leadership without extensive media reporting was this shared with cbp staff quick. >> not to my knowledge i would refer to the inspector general. >> they cannot make any per preparations for the executive order. >> prior to the executive order anyone in leadership given advanced warning that it
would need to be implemented immediately like. >> no. >> with that immediately policy change is at unusual quick. >> it is a typical and then we would give some feedback but it is unusual. >> what usually happens quick. >> and then to provide feedback quick. >> one month later with the executive order 13780 we had a comprehensive rollout strategy with the department. >> that is normal procedure quick. >> what i could say we are poised through the executive order. >> so with that first iteration of the band is it
>> im perplexed by the title of this hearing oversight by the trump administration muslim than has been vetted a couple of times here those that are on the travel ban only make up 8 percent of the muslim population. and as my democratic colleague can contend is to ban muslims doing a poor job of it because 92 percent. but once again week after week bashing the trump administration to influence the 2020 election. that's all that's happening in
this committee day after day, week after week from the party of impeachment. that seems conservative in my opinion. so miss newman, with the us department of homeland security with the executive orders proclamation. >> thank you for your question as noted in my testimony the secretary highlighted for the strategic framework with the information sharing relationships to regularly
prioritize engagement against other priorities and there is no competition against the agencies to allow the dhs with the colleagues at the state department that sharing information for purposes of security is critical to ensure all of our safety and it has allowed us to better prioritize our system one of the things that might be getting lost as we are able to use this tool as the assessment to follow along with engagement because most efforts are engaging countries to encourage them to strengthen the capabilities to
report lost and stolen passports and make a long-term investment into our system so by having this systematic routine and deliberative review process and then work with the department of state. >> into improve national security. because of that work the work under section five in particular to have access to real-time classification and
also my understanding to provide a clearinghouse for real-time classified information and then to make those informed decision decisions. >> i yield back my time. >>. >> in reference to the chaos at the airports it may not feel that way too cbp but i was one of the first members to go to the airport and it was absolute chaos. and then with the aclu and
then to stop a plane that people were incorrectly turned away and that was is devastating for green card holders. 92 percent of muslims not everybody in that discriminated class to be discriminatory so let's just talk about those original countries and those two that are not better in north korea have very different waiver rates. the supreme court upheld the third iteration on the waiver position that would keep the ban from being a blanket ban.
so mister t9 there are three factors to evaluate and then to pose a national security threat and that's in the national interest. >> correct. isn't there a process for the individual to affirmatively for those factor. >> as part of the visa application process. >> so no there's no way for the individual to address these. so with them state department to rule on 30000 applications between december 82017 and octo. >> correct. >> and according to the state department they have granted waivers and 5 percent of the cases. >> at that time that is
correct. >> on among iranians the approval rate is one.3 percent. >> at the time. >> march 2019 approval rate with north korea was 72 percent. >> yes. >> in terms of venezuela zero have been subjected so they don't have to be considered for a waiver. >> that's right. just granting five.1 percent of workers in those only to the waiver approval rate is 72 percent or zero because no venezuelans have been subjected but the waiver granted rates from iran is one.3 percen
one.3 percent, syria five.4 percent commie olivia 7 percent. long - - olivia long - - libya so they are discriminated against unless you believe all the people in those countries somehow deserve they have a very low approval rating. >> as i mentioned we have significantly updated data that report is almost one year old. >> i would love to see that data it is supposed to have been posted already we got the most recent data that we have which is through march 31st , 2019 it is not one -year-old but it is all that it should have an updated report it is not on the website i would love it if you provide me with statistics that are different. are you saying they are significantly different than what i have quoted quick. >> yes they are.
as i mentioned, 7600 waivers have been granted which is more than double of the total at that time. >> what is the total number. >> of waivers quick. >>. >> what about the applicants you can't just look at waivers but how many people applied just to say it has double doesn't make sense if you also double or triple the applications. >> i do have data on that there is approximately 31334 through september 14, 2019. we have data by country. in we have information on a number of waivers issued by country. . . . .
stopped there five minutes on time and we are going overtime to one minute and 15 seconds beyond the time that's interesting to me and then just pointing it out because that is the way this has been. so i want to ask someone said why aren't they on this list, that was the implication. so, my question to you is when we start talking about china and russia and you tell us, and maybe you can't end this long classified setting.
i cannot talk about the specifics, but if you will allow me to explain the process, let me go through what might help answer in a roundabout way. on the 180 day cycle they are working with partners at state to request information all countries across the globe. those are all identified public information. when we go through the process of updating how people are doing, we are asking questions like did we see people reporting within the country reporting, so
we have posts at the embassy reporting back on the status to the country's adherence to the criteria and collecting information from operators. the customs and border protection officials are seeing certain trends perhaps fraudulent task force trends. we take all of that and assess against a pretty rigorous rubric and we would be happy and closed settings to brief on that and then on the other side coming you have the country leaving those criteria. it leads one to ask under the obama administration the secretary pursuant to the statute that has now been brought up to the record gave a
list of countries. it didn't mention russia or china. were they adhering to the process of the obama administration that they felt were appropriate five years ago under the obama administration for it's to be added and didn't see fit to include them on the list. i'm going to make my comments. they make recommendations whether any of the countries that are currently facing travel restrictions have still improved if the status is changed in some way and we also reports this has
determined a country poses a significant risk to the united states because of the deficiency and it has been at the time to make the decision. we've seen them nominated. 200 countries, everybody has room to improve and we are working very hard for a variety of mechanisms including the programs that are concerned about the flow coming out of syria which is why it passed the act to make sure all of the tools in the toolkit apply to this potential challenge so everybody has room to improve. >> the gentleman yields back.
>> june of 2017 became the second and third version of the muslim ban, more than 100 signed a memo that said, quote, banning travelers calls back to some of the worst times in history. they hav had to get approval frm the state department. the national interest and undue hardship and then the interagency security review provides guidance. >> so it's not a decision you get to make. as the white housis the white hn
that decision? >> not at all. >> another former official at sign up process to cnn that fellow officers felt pressure to review as few as possible for the waiver it was by the layers and it can be easy to forget that it's even happening. it looks like congress hasn't forgotten and i have a signed testimony from four former episodes i would like to enter into the record. >> gets put into the record by unanimous consent. >> the ambassador john foley said he can no longer represent president trump and still hold true to the value that makes this country great.
among the policies he listed were the muslim ban. in the end, how many diplomats and officers assigned to this protesting the ban? >> we don' >> we don't have an exact number for you. >> will you be able to get back that number by how do you respond to the claim that the officers have t to get the waivh your office? >> i would say as i said before, the officers make the determination of the first two, national interest and undue hardship and at the security check is conducted back here in washington. you are saying that his claim is false? >> how do you respond to the
claim that the officers are implicitly or explicitly pressured to deny the waiver's? >> we are not pressuring anyone to act in any way contrary to the wall. >> how do you respond to the claim shared by all the people that signed the memo that the ban is that the trail of american values? >> he's certainly entitled to his opinion on that. was the role in formulating the reiterations of the ban? >> i'm not aware of any role played by stephen miller.
>> it wasn't at the department in january. >> what instructions were they given from the white house on how to implement the ban? >> i wasn't given any instruction from the white hou house. i wasn't at the department in january of 2017. >> we were not consulted about the first consecutive order we turn now to the gentleman from north dakota, mr. armstrong. >> we have three car accidents in a weekend drove to the highest percentage with 750,000 people so when we talk about the percentages the first question
is how many people from north korea actually apply? >> very few. we have 115 so when we are talking about a 72%, i'm just going to go to 100 because i don't do math very well. all the countries that have gotten grants, who are the fewest numbers printed? >> according to the data, north korea has five and 78 are issued an exception to the proclamati proclamation. that's the smallest number. you are absolutely correct the entire group doesn't have to be discriminated against but i also agree with the correlation and
causation it's being referred to constantly as the muslim ban. indonesia, india and pakistan are 13, 11% in total worldwide muslim population soap if you were dealing with this in that manner if that was your ultimate goal wouldn't it make sense to have them on the list? >> i would defer to homeland security. >> i know you can't speak to the specifics but these are supposed to be temporary, correct and as we are in more sharing information we know chad came off the list but what do other countries have to do to work to get off the list? >> we have a rubric and in closed session with we would ho review some aspects of the. across a variety of criteria in
the categories of identity management and sharing, we would need to see improvements and we are not looking for a gold standard which is maybe you look at the standards we these are kind of minimal capabilities we are looking for the country to have so again the purpose isn't because of anything other than we need to know the passports being presented as the individual that it says it is and we need to know that individual in their home country has a criminal record or known suspected terrorist. that is kind of what this comes down to we need you to tell us more about this relationship and have that conversation and you need a certain basic infrastructure to be able to do those tasks. would it be fair to say countries are bad actors in other ways? this is a very specific thing even if they are bad actors in other ways they could be
complying here am i correct? >> this is a tailored tool to prevent terrorists and serious criminals from being able to gain entry into the country. when we talk about iraq one of the things we forget as we have a relationship from countries well over a decade and that is one of the reasons out of the government interacting we actually have knowledgebase to deal with individuals that are applying. >> that's correct and we take into account that kind of relationship that may get us access to information to be able to do those identity checks. and i would contrast that with everybody is former fbi director that testified in front of this committee in 2015 and he said we can only go against that which we have collected so if someone hasn't made a ripple in the pond
in a way that would get their identity or interest reflected in the database weekend cleared the database until the cows come home but nothing will show up because we have no record of the person. it's only on what you have collected and with respect to iraq this is where they have the relationship so if you don't have any information we are talking about moving to the third from if you don't have any information at all you cannot have any identifying marks on somebody that is going through the process. what happens next? >> the cases brought back to washington electronically given an intensive screening by various partner agencies. we could freeze in more detail in a classified setting but that is exactly what their responsibility is to try to see is there anything under the u.s.
government holdings that might be derogatory that might represent -- >> the gentleman from new york is recognized. >> what we go back to january, 2017 as it is stated by a colleague nadler at jfk airport and i also was at jfk airport. like the chairman was there with another member of congress, i deplore to a terminal where i was the only member of congress or three people coming from the muslim ban countries being detained. there was a student from nyu being received by one of the professors that did life-saving research at the university that was being detained. there were two other family
members that were members of the armed forces, a mother and a wife. one of the members refused to speak to the press or any of us until he spoke to one of his superiors. he wanted some guidance as to what was the protocol of the members before he spoke to the press or any of us. that underscores the kind of allegiance he has to the nation. we were assisted by the office of immigrant affairs at new york city and eventually these cases were resolved. i inter the facility and to say to somebody because he had offereall characteristics of a jailhouse and i was approached by members of your department and surrounded by them there was
about seven of them surrounded by me as i advocated for these three individuals. what is your protocol within your department on the implementation of the ban but you may have been in disarray but i was surrounded by members of your department. do you have a policy when addressing someone advocating words not just a member of congress but attorney, community organization, is there a policy to deal with people that advocate for folks being detained related to members of the armed forces you have a policy for the? >> we do have a policy for congressional engagement essentially members of congress
are to advise a headquarters and make arrangements for the courtesy to make arrangements visiting the port of entry. >> are we entitled to ask to speak to one of the superiors of the members of customs and border patrol that are deployed to these airports? >> as you do arrive at the facilities and we know that you are there we should give you the courtesy to come home and speak with you. >> is there a way i can communicate with one of the superiors because i was denied the opportunity. >> is a protocol in place whereby you will contact congressional affairs in washington at a national level and they will make arrangements. >> i am 5-foot nine and i was surrounded by folks i suspect
for over 6 feet tall and several of them over 200 pounds. i never carry a weapon nor have i ever held a weapon in my hands. you perceive me to be a threat to them? >> i can't speak to that instance. i understand your frustration and i don't know what happened, so i can't speak to it. let me state for the record in my efforts to advocate for the folks including a student at nyu high school and college and to members of the armed forces i enter what looked to be a holding facility in the jail. i was accosted by members of customs and border patrol denied my right to contact one of the superiors and i thought that was a very threatening moments not just for me but for any americ
american. >> the gentleman yields back into the gentle lady from texas is recognized. >> good morning and thanks to the witnesses for coming today. in my view it's another tactic in this administrations use of anti-immigrant policies. it's infected several of our districts including my very own in texas and for the record let me state maybe the witness doesn't think it was chaos but certainly the inspector general, the international airport in houston was in my view complete chaos. there were news reports all of those showing the chaos but it's so hard for me to believe we have with us today and in my
district, some of this confusion and fear and frustration still exists. we have a constituent that reached out in my office who states and these are direct quotes more than two and a half years ago my life changed when i met my now fiancé and decided to apply shortly after becoming engaged in turkey but much to our dismay after applying some of the ban was expanded and include applicants and since then i've not been able to be with my fiancé. the embassy where he had more than 14 months ago it's still an administrative process with no change or update since july of 2018. i've tried reaching out to the senators but had no luck and i received a message from senator
cornyn applying the cause and not offering any help for the case. metaphorically it was another door shut. the past few years have taken a toll on my dreams yet my faith keeps me strong. if there's anything you can do to help, i would be grateful. madam chair i would like her entire statement to be entered into the record. >> without objection. it seems there is still a lot of backlog and distress on so many people still waiting. i asked each one of you very quickly because i'm only going to ask one question why is it taking so long? the longest source was the
intensive security clearance checks that had to be done in the cases and again starting in july of this year we improved the speed of the process. >> we look forward to those. >> the one case you mentioned if you will let our team now. >> i share your concern for security checks take so long and i would like to point out we can go to the closed session and discuss this further but for a lot of the populations not just the seven countries the process takes a long time and we've been working for several years. i will defer to the department of state. i will yield the rest of my time to my colleagues.
thank you. i just wanted to follow up who at the state is working on the review report and how do we know you are doing the review? >> the process i was describing earlier the conduct of every 180 days and report at the end of the process. >> earlier you said the state was not consulted in regards to the formulation. how did you know how to implement it and what challenges existed? it was definitely very
challenging and we didn't have any advanced notice or consultation. >> the gentleman from colorado is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. i first want to echo the words of my colleagues and associate the remarks of policy we are examining today runs counter to our american values. from its inception the nation has been a beacon of hope since
the moment president of trump went into office he and his administration encountered these ideas with anti-immigrant policies like the one we are addressing here today. established and successfully ran her own business which was closed. she's currently in the united luckily, the united kingdom has allowed the two of them turning together while they await the outcome of the u.s. integration process. and however the temporary status in the uk is about to expire which
would force them to separate. this would cause them hardship and put both of their lives and physical dangers to u.s. citizens on unfair. with the completion of the degree the father is suffering from an illness in colorado and zachary is being forced to undergo the event of decisions about the well-being of their te family and safety of one another with no definitive resolution in sight so i just cannot raise it more straightforward than after submitting they had no criminal history, no assumption of the threat or risk to be rejected simply because of the national origin or religion it is simply un-american to discriminate against immigrants simply because of where they come from. i share that story because i
think individual stories can get lost in some of the debate we're havinweare having about the tecl intricacies of immigration law in the way the presidential population has been implemented and i hope that each of you will take these stories back to your colleagues because these are people who are struggling under what i believe to be immigrant order. i want to yield the balance of my time and we have other members that would like to get questions in as well. following up on the representatives point as you all know, and i think it's been in the hearing already the population requires dhs to produce the report every 180 days to the president, and it sounds as though in the prior exchange that has happened, is that correct quite how that happened every 100 days, and are those reports public? you can understand the
difficulty we would have as members of congress from an oversight perspective when there is a representation of this being done for security reasons and apparently those would be within the substance of the report. if none of us have access to that document info to be able to apply as to whether or not in fact the department of homeland security is working to ascertain the security so that countries can be lifted up off of the order it is a hard argument for us to take it seriously, and we are not the only ones that have that skepticism. justice sotomayor discussed this but they haven't been fully disclosed to the public in a few conclusions disclosed appeared to not have justified the
demand. pointing to documents and other lawsuits, she expressed doubts and the review of hundreds of countries and vetting practices which as you said takes a long time and would result in an agency of a mere 10 107 pages, o you can understand why this committee is very skeptical and we will continue the oversight we are engaged in today. with that, i was yield back my time. >> the gentle man is recognized. >> we have heard a lot about national security, and i think that it bears repeating that there hasn't been a single terrorist attack committed on the u.s. soil by any of the muslim man countries. we have had attacks by saudis, pakistanis, every single case my colleagues have mentioned from a country that is not on the list of the notion we trust these others to work with us is
obviously preposterous. we've heard about the list of the obama administration produced a few years ago. actually, iraq was on the list and is not now on the travel ban list. one reason because influential iraqis and the pentagon frantically lobbied the white house last minute. let's talk about a country that is on the list. iran. we don't like the government we are on their side and we know that it has nothing to do with 9/11. it is to say to the iranian people even as we claim to be on their side none of them are trustworthy enough to come to the united states unless they can go through this proving that
the denial would cause them undue friction. we are looking for partners in the government to help us figure out who can safely come to the united states. we are waiting for a partner in the government before we allow the iranian grandmother to come visit in the united states. that's why we are in the process and the proclamation. let me give you a specific case. leila, human rights lawyer, iranian human rights lawyer, director of the center for human
rights in iran, she bravely defended iranian dissidents before the revolutionary courts in this country and was forced into exile. she lived in the united kingdom. the passed resolutions condemning iran, are we waiting for an iranian partner or government partner to allow her to come to the united states? i don't have any details on a particular case. >> with specific security checks are conducted.
when the citizens of the countries or responsible for 100% of the terrorist attacks that have been committed in the country. what checks are we conducting on the folks that are not conducting the nationals of those countries can anybody answer that >> the executive orders that were issued in the hearing, these applicants will be checked more closely when they first arrive. it might be furthering anti-fraud review or some sort of extra and analysis done at the post. then if the individual that qualified for the waiver it would be sent into the interagency review back here. that's up until july of 2019 was a very manual labor intensive
time, intensive process for the partner agency. that process is also being used for other visa applicants. >> we are subjecting these people from countries that have committed no terrorist attacks to more onerous vetting and security checks and on top of that in order to get the waiver if you are from pakistan, lebanon, explain to me the national security justification. >> the security checks that have been referred to are also done from other countries. it's the same process. >> if it's the same process, why haven't? >> is between the waiver
situation and the visa process. >> the time is expired. we will go to the gentle lady from florida. >> thank you all for coming here this morning. now, i want to take just one second and put partisanship aside. you hear from the minority party many times that democrats don't care about the safety of the communities. keeping the community safe is why i've been advocating for gun reform since i got into congress in january. that using a muslim man as a basis for national security is completely false.
it is a sham and many people have agreed on that issue. i just want to talk a little bit about how this affects american citizens who may not look like any of the witnesses and the panel today but who are american citizens and are paying the consequences of this ineffective ban. i want to talk a little bit about the family and my community. they came to the united states years ago and lived in miami. he probably worked his way through the immigration process and was so proud when he became a u.s. citizen, a privilege that i mysel am myself and several ms and several colleagues share the same privilege we are u.s. citizens and also immigrants. in may of this year, the president's muslim ban
restrictions quickly solved the process. if the parents were stuck in limbo waiting for answers and their hard-working people, they are not criminals, they are not terrorists but they are very confused. after months of waiting they didn't have the same luck. because of this, a good family has been ripped apart. she doesn't know when he's going to be able to see his father again and the possibility of reuniting the family every single day and as we know, the story is not unique. it's infected hundreds of thousands of people based on unfair criteria and i think what is clear is that it isn't simply
about stopping people of the muslim faith. it's a proclamation that is based on fear. it is send right and it goes against our american values. with each iteration of the muslim ban, a bipartisan coalition of dozens of national security officials who've worked in both democratic and republican administrations have rejected the basis that it was used based on national security. the trump administrations homeland security, dhs, analysis disputed the benefits which have remained the primary justification for this band and the report of the office indicated it's an unreliable indicator of a threat to the united states they are rarely implicated so i want to ask you
my first question do you disagree with this report and if so on what grounds? the office of intelligence analysis and can't you remind me the date of that fax i think that it was back in 2017. i don't have the exact date. i have the recollection and i apologize their independent as they provided their assessment. my testimony and my focus has been on 9645. it's focusing on the false premise. not with the identity of credentialing the information
sharing that that individual is associated with is sufficient in order for us to know that they are who they say they are. so without, it's hard for me to comment specifically but from what you read -- >> it is basically it isn't a reliable indicator on the nationality. >> the young lady's time has expired. >> we are just now getting to the muslim ban and when you think back on the last two and a half, almost three years, all of these policies that have been rolled out its hard to keep track just how rapidly it has
happened. these hearings are important because they help shed light on the pole with the policies take into there is a real human toll. i would like to briefly ask for unanimous consent to allow the testimony a story from one of my constituents that has been listening to the impact. they've been waiting for this waiver and during the year and a half but they've been apart, they suffered financial hardship, emotional hardship but they've grown despond and, very depressed, lots of anxiety. the impact has been devastating so i have a couple questions about that but i do want to also say we don't have to sacrifice our values in order to obtain
and retain security. it is absolutely possible to be a secure nation and celebrate and uphold our values all at one. my first question, my constituent has been waiting. why is the process taking so long? >> it took time to set up at the beginning and the security tracks require intense checks required to issue the largest source of delay. we are very cognizant of the impact and we are working as hard as we can to minimize the.
>> each applicant has to wait in line and considering the time some have had to live through, how do you keep track of the order of people in line? >> we do expedite cases of humanitarian concern and we regularly contact embassies and consulates and ask them if you are aware of an urgent case particularly in the first year of the process when the security vetting was much lower, we wanted them to signal to us that this was an emergency case and we would do our best. >> you said a question of resources. it's a question of resources and capabilities and partner agent needthese that have to do the th
died research but as i mentioned beginning in july, the large part of that is now automated and so just in the past two months we doubled the number. there will be more and more going forward from this time ensure some are being issued today. we expect there will be a significant decrease in time for everybody. >> i have a question about those folks who were not offered a waiver in the first iterations and now under the third iteration are they being reconsidered? >> any case at any time even if the initial decision is in denial if an applicant chooses to reapply it again because the circumstances are different, we will consider that case. >> are we able to have copies of the rules that have each
iteration x did the congress gea copy of that? the processes and policies you are using to evaluate. >> we did provide a variety of guidance information and other directives to the committee in response to a written request from the chair. we can breathe on the security clearance process in the closed session if you would like. if there's a particular case the team is happy to look into that and wha let you know what's goig on. >> my time has expired. >> the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. >> thank the chair for this hearing. i think the witnesses as well. many of us have been on the floor on many occasions. as i was, let me thank all of you as public servants for the work you do even though the
policies of which you are here for help i believe had no grounding in reality opposing a difficult posture. then we move on to 2017, iran, libya move onto september 24 and venezuela. but they try to ask state department were you involved in the iterations of these executive orders? not for the first version but subsequently there was an interagency process that reviewed the executive orders.
>> in the rush to the first one, you were not engaged. >> we had no advanced consultation. >> as noted by the inspector general, no one had widespread confusion pandemonium in the administration noting that they are charged to the customs and border protection did you know anything as the first was issued? >> i became aware after the signature. >> officers of the nations airports, international airports confronted with travelers that have already left their place of departure coming into the united states, left their place of departure and had no knowledge of the change in policy. >> we had people in the real-time travel.
>> the documents such as the tourist visa that would be detrimentally impacted. >> potentially, yes. with that in mind i know how orderly it is and don't put your officers in jeopardy and might have been impacted in such a way that inappropriate behavior on both parts might have occurred with the groups not knowing what was going on. >> as i mentioned earlier, since it was effective immediately and we were notified after signature it was a challenging implementation. >> do you think it might have put the visitors in fear that have legitimate --
>> let me beg to differ with you a 16-year-old who lived in the united states and led a green card, was a high school student and i was called to the airport and have great respect for those individuals that were there for your agency. this individual got off the airplane and had gone home to renew his documents. we got them back from jordan, he looked every bit a part of the diverse youth be trained and he was here improving his english but when he was questioned he looked as if he was going to
school here and he was detained. his family couldn't access them, no one could access him for this bubut cannot collar, blue jeans, just like any of our teenagers and he was immediately after they be staying in a detention cell he was fearful for his life because he is coming here unknown to what is going on and was sent to a children's center in chicago. my office along with his lawyers worked to turn that into a short stay versus the ones we see today. six months, four months, do you believe that he was afraid to? >> he could have very well been afraid that we treat everyone with dignity and respect and let them know what is going on in the process antitrust the officers treated individual with dignity and respect on the case.
>> the gentle lady from pennsylvania is recognized for five minutes. >> i just want to speak to the immediate impact at that time i wasn't in congress i was on the pro bono counsel and i ended up spending that long weekend organizing lawyers to go to various airports. to introduce into the record an article from the philadelphia inquirer from january 30, 2017 and reacted. >> those that were subject to the ban those that have visas and green cards were sent back
because the customs and border patrol didn't know how to deal with it, they were not allowed access to their attorneys and of course we have a large number of protesters outside. several other members have spoken to the experiences and was also denied and as is customs. >> with 7600 that have been granted. over 60,000 are subject to the ban and have applied. can you give me a more specific
number? >> the number i have here in terms is about 72,000. >> 72,000 people have applied and you have managed to put off 7600 waivers roughly half of them in the last six months. looking at the total numbers we have 72,000. >> that was the grand total of applications yes. >> 72,000 applications minus 7600 waivers then you also said there have been 31,000 refusals. >> approximately 15,000.
they were denied, they didn't qualify for the waiver. the figures i have out of the grand total 12,912 were denied for other aspects. 7,046,000. the remainder would have been denied under the criteria permitted. >> the numbers were not adding uup into the percentages were nt adding up. they were having trouble with it
and i have a staff member that has an 86 showed grandfather from iran that used to regularly visit. she applied over a year ago. we have done congressional casework on this with no response. they should wait for a decision on these outstanding applications, who should they be contacting? >> you should still contact the department of state. >> we have done that. the process has significantly improved so we are seeing a lot more movement in the cases. >> who is operating the process in who has the final say on that? the >> whose desk is it on?
we will be in recess for five minutes for the other panel but before you leave the record will be open for five days. during which members may ask additional questions of the witnesses. we ask you respond promptly one of those will be how we can have those 15000 syrian refugees down to only 11 this year. so we will be in recess for five minutes and then we will have the second panel. [inaudible conversations]
>> the subcommittees will resume from our recess and i want to thank the witnesses for coming today. i want to introduce the second panel and apologize. i am looking for the biography of the panel here we have the assistant professor of computer science and director master of science programs at the university born in iran and is now legal permanent resident living in baltimore has a phd in computer science and because of the ban his wife who he married in australia in 2015 and has filed for the immigrant visa to come to the united states has been unable to live with him, her husband he also has a phd and received a job offer at the university of maryland college park funded by the national institute of health however because of the big and she has yet to obtain a visa to join her husband as well as to do this distinguished work in the united states. next we have a us citizen born in yemen currently living in new york he and his family also have been impacted by the van today he remain separated from his wife, sister and one and a half -year-old son. and his wife attempted to obtain a visa to return home but the band prevented her from doing so she was in processing for almost three years before being approved for a waiver earlier this month thank you for taking the time to share your story with us today. next the cofounder president and executive director for advocacy and organization previously served in the senate judiciary committee working with the
constitution subcommittee, also working as a litigation associate. currently as a muslim advocate she testified before the senate judiciary committee subcommittee on oversight agency actions on the topic of anti- muslim rhetoric with connection to law enforcement. she received her bachelors for and doctorate from cornell law . and finally a resident fellow at the center of immigration
studies the former immigration judge from pennsylvania also serving former immigration and naturalization service counsel's office and as counsel to the house judiciary committee and the house oversight committee. he received his bachelors from the university of virginia and doctorate from george washington university law. we welcome all our distinguished witnesses and thank you for participating in today's hearing . we are particularly honored to hear from the two witnesses personally impacted by the policies and commend them for their courage and strength to share their personal and painful stories with us today. please rise i will begin by swearing each of you in.
raise your right hand, do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury the testimony you are about to give is true and correct to the best of your so help you god? each of the witnesses answered in the affirmative please be seated as with the prior panel each statement is made part of the record we do ask your testimony is five minutes we have a light system on the yellow light goes on the means you have one minute left when it is read your five minutes have expired and then wrap it up at that point. doctor you will begin.
>> thank you for your service and giving me the opportunity to share my story on the muslim ban and the impact what has happened to affect the impacted community. the sad story of separation and to start a new life in this wonderful country and has tried to make a new home of a better place, yet they had been banned other than no reason from where they were born, this is a story i would like to share with you. also from baltimore, maryland, i met my wife in malaysia in 2008 while we were both students. i moved to the united states we decided to have marriage we wish to spend the rest of our life
together. we were happily married i asked her to join me redo the september 2016. process would take up to two years and she could join me after however our dream and hopes were shattered after the announcement of the muslim ban, including iran now is there life in disarray. april 2018, a letter received was an offer to teach at the university of maryland. it was a wonderful opportunity for her. however, she has not able to get a visa out of the united states. finally she was approved after the visa petition was denied
. dismayed knowing this was a possibility. so we contacted the senator from maryland. again, with the help of another person, we followed up after six months, as had been advised, but was told the process would take even longer than that. unfortunately there is no timeline. she lost her as there is no end in sight. caused her from the undue caused her from the undue hardship because she was separated from the person closest to me in my life. i don't know when we will get together again.
all of her request on the delay this process has forced me to quit at the university to reunite with my wife in by stray. it will be a loss to my university from the state of maryland, in the united states in general. i also have to leave behind my mom and two brothers who live in the united states. this is a very hard and heartbreaking decision to make. our hope was to move to the united states, pursue our careers, dreams, build a family, and contribute to society and community. , as program director and supervisor, i have to leave my students behind. but there is no alternative for me. i have to be with my beloved wife. i and being denied my loving future because i am iranian. i want to leave you with the
knowledge that this is destroying our lives. we do not know what will happen and how long we have to wait. for all the reasons above, we would like to raise our voices to the house of representatives, the stronghold of law and order based on the u.s. constitution, to please help us build our lives and stop this injustice. thousands have been affected by the muslim ban. many have similar stories, sorrow, and sadness. they call this the land of the free and home of the brave their has, and serve this country those can be for him. yes, they have been banned because of nationality and religion. this discrimination. thank you very much. >> they q very much. we now turn to the next person.
>> thanks. noon.after i am from new york city. i work out of a small neighborhood market in brooklyn . this work does not make me rich , but i love it because i get to meet so many people. know all my regular customers by name. when they come to my store, i want to take care of them. today i am here to tell you the story of my family and my wonderful wife and our two child , my son who is a year and a half old, and my newborn daughter who is five months old. in fact i haven't even met my daughter yet or held her in my arms. i've only seen her through photos and videos.
i do not have words to describe the love i carry in my heart for my wife and my kid. it hurts me so much that it has been more than the year since i have seen my family. we are separated by thousands of miles because of the muslim ban. we fell in love and got married in 2013 in front of families and friends. she wants to become a nurse so she can pursue her dream in america. we had just been married but i had to leave them behind to come back to america. my job was back in brooklyn and
i needed to be in the united states to apply for my family. in my heart i felt we will be together in america soon. i am a us citizen and she is my wife. we were married. after the first interview, i returned to yemen. date years of waiting, the for the immigration interview had finally arrived. coworkers loan me the money i needed for the trip. together we traveled to djibouti for the interview. when we arrived, my wife was eight months pregnant with our son. her pregnancy had been difficult. doctors had discovered she had a heart condition. ban stoppedmuslim the yemenis from coming into the us but they allow family members of u.s. citizens. she should of been eligible for
a waiver. i am a u.s. citizen and she is my wife. and she needed medical care for a serious heart condition, but the interview did not go as we expected. it did not last five minutes. said her visaand is being denied because of the muslim ban. even though she was my wife were we were not eligible for a waiver. i wasn't sure what to do next. she went into labor late one night. for most couples, this is a happy occasion. the most scariest experience of my life. it took me 30 minutes to find a cab while my wife was in pain we . her contractions were coming faster and faster and we were five minutes away from the hospital.
there was no time left. my wife gave birth to our son in the back of the cab. i will never forget this night and how hopeless i felt. i stayed as long as i could. i had 10 months to be of my family, but i had to go back to newark, and she was expecting her second child. behind was more painful than i could imagine. in april of this year, my wife gave birth to our daughter in yemen, and it broke my heart i was not there for her. now i have been asked to come back and interview for the waiver. i still have hope we will be together again as a family and she will become a nurse and my son and daughter will go to school to pursue their own dreams. i pray you will find it in your
heart to allow families like mine to be together. ban.se into this than >> thank you. we will hear from the next person. >> good afternoon. i'm executive director of the national civil rights organization. since early 2017, we have been fighting the muslim ban and the courts and working with congress to right this wrong. members of the committee, thank you for holding this hearing, the first congressional hearing on the muslim ban. your presence here signals your commitment to protecting civil rights for all. thank you so much for your courage. you speak for thousands of
americans are hurting today. so how did we get here and what can congress do? in january 2017, just seven days after his inauguration, president trump issued an executive order banning people from predominantly muslim countries from entering the u.s. thousands of americans flock to airports across the country in protest. court after court ruled the muslim ban was unlawful and then the president issued two revised ban,ions of the versions that claims to include exceptions and a waiver process . immediately after the third ban went into effect, thousands of blanket denials for visas before
they even had a chance to apply for a waiver demonstrate they were eligible. according to recent data from the state department, that roughly 60,000 applications onlyved during 16 months, 5.1 percent of waiver requirements were granted, there is no waiver process available to the public. the so-called waiver process has been a sham. we believe that the vast majority of the waiver sought in seeking to be reunited with their families or individuals seeking urgent medical treatment. , like one green card holder married to a u.s. citizen, who recently gave birth and desperately wants her parents to visit from iran so they can hold her grandchild. refugee inomali green card holder who arrived in
2015 with the promise that his wife and newborn son would soon join him. even though they were approved for resettlement nearly three years ago, they have not yet been allowed to join him here in america. people desperately waiting for a visitors visa to undergo specialized treatment for stage iii cancer that he cannot otherwise receive in iran. demonizes and dehumanizes muslims come evoking a dark chapter of our nation's history, the story of immigrant italian, the stain of japanese american internment camps. each of them shunned and isolated for their otherness, but america prevailed when these
groups stopped being seen as outsiders and started being seen as neighbors, and that is who they are your neighbors. we are your dentists and patients, teachers and students, -- but,es and barbers baristas and barbers. most important, husbands and wives and parents and children and brothers and sisters. this is why the muslin ban hurts us on a deeply personal level because we know it is contrary to the welcoming country we aspire to be, but here is the good news. the president and the supreme court do not have the final say. congress does. earlier this year, a congressman and senator introduced the no ban act, that would terminate
the current ban and amend the law to make sure no president could enact his salutatorian discriminatory ban in the future, but it would bring those separated from their loved ones today. we urge congress to pass this act and remove religious bigotry from our nation's immigration system for good. meantime, we urge the administration to make good on its promise to issue family-based and humanitarian waivers immediately and without further delay. thank you for this opportunity to testify. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. , you are witness recognized for five minutes. >> thank you madam chairman. for inviting me here
today to discuss this important but often misunderstood issue. protecting safety institutions and well-being of the american people citizens national is the primary duty of the united states government. for decades individuals foreign and domestic have posed a risk to our people and institutions that the u.s. government must consummate combat. domestically, it is the role of federal law enforcement agencies, state and local partners to prevent such harm. with respect to threats from abroad, the state department, dhs, and intelligence agencies must be vigilant to make sure that individuals who pose a risk or unable to reach our shores. state department officials and cbp officers play critical roles . it is their job to scream each of the foreign nationals entering a country each year. they must ensure those individuals are coming for the
reasons they assert and remain only as long as permitted. presidential proclamation 9645 assists them in that effort. assistance of state and dni, developed a baseline of information to identify the visa applicants and assess whether they pose security or public safety risks. the travel document presented are not reliable can be verified for identification purposes. next, officers rely on information provided by foreign governments to assess the risk posed by visa applicants. vetting is only as good as our officials have at their disposal . finally, a country conditions and weather terrorist groups operate in those countries, and whether they are hostile to the united states, critical facts and assessing any individual visa applicant.
terrorists have and will continue to exploit our generous immigration laws to attack this country and use this country as a base for operational planning and fundraising. the same is true of criminals . those efforts undermine domestic security and foreign policy goals. restricting the entry of individuals from a limited birth countries makes it easier for officers to subvert those efforts and avoid those risks. question thisi ofring's characterization the proclamation. it is not a ban restricting foreign nationals those are subject to limitations. our government agencies are constantly improving their practices to make sure those waivers in particular adjudicated in a timely fashion . nor is it a muslin ban because the supreme court says it makes
, and isence to religion limited to countries designated by congress as posing national security risk. any muslim ban would be contrary to the religious freedoms on which this country was founded and from which the strength of this nation rises. noievers of all face and faith at all contribute to our strength. from a national security standpoint, such a ban would be counterproductive. substitute a rational bias in our visa screening system. it is supreme court held expressly premised on the judgment purposes permitting entry that ashes who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices. as an individual who has advised attorneys generals of both
parties on national security issues relating to immigration, i concur. thank you and i welcome your questions. >> thank you. the general yields back. now is the time when members of the committee will have an opportunity to question witnesses for five minutes each. chairmanrn now to the at the oversight committee and foreign affairs for his five minute. >> thank you madam chairwoman. thank you to the witnesses for being here. particularly those two individuals for sharing your stories. the purpose of this hearing is to put a human face on this. before i launch into my questions, i think it is not a binary choice. we can hold on to our values as a nation of immigrants has a welcoming country, but also
guarantee to the best of our ability to protect our national security. those are not givens. when i listen to the two stories here and think about the cases of my own constituents, you have provided quite a bit of documentation that could be looked at that would suggest neither one of your spouses or kids are security risks, so there are plenty of documents to say we don't have this information to do the vetting process. it smacks of insincerity right now. in my current district, we have open cases that have not moved anywhere in the last six months, and it is only when we have intervened through the media that he had been able to get the my hope ising, and based in this new automated system that backlog will get cleared up and we will move folks thatgh here of
are being kept from their families. getbest estimates i can from the brennan center is the 3000m ban has kept over 800 partners from their american spouses, over 1005 hundred children from their american parents and over 3400 and their american sons and daughters. we can do better than that, and we must do better than that. act will help us to that. questions, if i might. we understand from the state department that they don't consider being in a conflict sound is an undue hardship. your wife is in yemen, subject to years of war and conflict. would you consider the conditions in yemen to be undue hardship?
yemen is in hardship right now. you're talking about a country where people live in darkness, that affected my family when they returned to yemen. milk was no navy food or -- baby food or milk in the that sounds like the definition of undue hardship. your advocacy work, there doesn't seem to be a valid toinition for undue hardship receive the waiver. from your experience, what is that definition and how is that definition being applied? >> thank you for that question. insight intoome what the state department has
been doing and how it has been treating applicants who are potentially eligible for waivers , in part through litigation with our colleagues. it is a class action lawsuit brought on applicants seeking waivers in federal court, and as a result of that litigation, the court has supported the government to produce information to get an understanding of what guidance has been given internally to officers. also, we have been speaking with officers, including some of the folks referenced earlier, and they paint a very different picture from what we heard earlier today, and specifically there isn't some clarity, especially to the public, about what the standards mean. you referred to undo hardship and there was a reference to a isional security check, that in the interest of the applicant and the national interest of the
united states and internally within the department. there have been numerous times conflicting guidance and not a whole lot has been shared publicly, so we have a basically operating in the blind, trying to do their best to make the case from why their , grandparentsren should be allowed to enter the u.s., and so, we have a really broken system. things are starting to move. since july, things are starting to move. from our perspective, what we see and hear from families in immigration practitioners, that is a drop in the bucket in terms of the number of applicants that are waiting, and they have been waiting for years now, to see progress and to get these applications approved. these are u.s. citizens, green card holders, who in the normal course can have their family members come and attend births,
weddings, and join their family members. time hasntlemen's expired. >> i appreciate all the witnesses coming, telling your stories, and what is going on in your life. i will tell you this, i think it is important that referring to the muslim ban, i think we put that to bed and the last hearing . i'm interested now, at least one of you testified that the ban, which is not really a ban, it is toeview, said this applies seven predominantly muslim nations. data, data we heard earlier, specifically that refuted all data, which is interesting, and the same dismiss the entire
hearing we had. i think that is unfortunate. the same witness that there is no waiver process available to the public, and yet, that seems to be a misunderstanding of the process to obtain a waiver. we had an expert come in and talk about everyone who is applying for a visa in this category has a review to determine whether they qualify for a waiver. there isn't a second affirmative requirement because as the state department official said, look, we set if we are going to apply for the visa, you must want the waiver, so we will not put them through the second process. does it take some time? absolutely. because the testimony is pretty clear in my experience in others . you try to develop communication with certain nations say you
have veracity in the documents come in the hearings to know who the individual is and what they are saying to be true or accurate. n example, give you a we have the three northern triangle states. we could not send people back who receive due process because that renaud travel papers. they require travel papers. so you couldn't send someone back, so we detained a much longer than we should have wanted to. now all three of those nations open andlied in a more transparent process and now don't require this travel papers, so they can be removed after their due process. the same thing goes on here. , ans not necessarily individual may be a wonderful person, but the requirement that we place on our customs
officials and our home and security officials is to determine they are who they say that are and if they are a threat to the country, and that may require some kind of communication with the other country. if you can't get that communication, for whatever remain then they cautious. so i'm going to go to you stated in your testimony in different reasons in different ways i was wondering if you expand could expand on some of those for us and also on the relationship necessary in the communication necessary between officials in this country. >> if you don't mind i'm going to answer the second question first. the first one is pretty well covered in the proclamation.
i know this from personal experience. having been at the ins, i was chief of the national security division for a time. when i say foreign partners, that is countries we don't consider partners at all, including russia and china, with respect to information of individuals traveling to the united states. they want their nationals to get visas so they can come to him and states so they can comply with our requests for criminal information about them. if i'm telling you someone who is a member of the chinese security service is going to be revealed as such? no. for that, we rely upon our foreign partners, other intelligence agencies, our own intelligence agencies to identify those individuals to exclude them from the united states. again, going back to what director comey testified, the vetting is only as good as the information available.
witness from iran. weree iranian government to report more information and we could trust the information, we would not have to go through this process. we would know right away who those individuals are. and that is the reason why we have this problem. and again, with respect to the specific limitations, i refer and am happy to do it during a second round of questioning where i can put in a written statement. >> thank. >> your time is expired. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. i wanted to start by saying that it is entirely appropriate a witness with quote statistics on the website of the state department. the state department is required by law under the consolidated appropriations act of 2019 to provide quarterly reporting on implementation of the muslim ban
. the last report that was publicly provided was march of 2019. it's impossible for the public to know what is happening if the state department is two quarters behind on the reporting, so i think the witness for using the publicly available documentation that is they are. i want to start by thanking you for your testimony and being here. we so deeply appreciate it. the the humanre reflect my telik said, those who are suffering, whose families are suffering, from donald trump's muslim ban. two people in my district, one is an iranian man who has been working as a product manager, and he and his wife waited now for four years for the u.s. government to allow her to join him here.
seattle,s also from and she works two minimum-wage jobs to care for her father who has a disability, and she has been separated from her iranian husband for two years. i think the real travesty of this is that u.s. citizens shouldn't have to worry about being reunited with people they love, their family members. green card holders shouldn't have to worry about this. refugees who are here legally and have applied legally for their spouses and children to come to this country shouldn't have to worry about not being as the spousere delivers a child, as we have heard. so let me start with you. could you tell me why you came to the united states, and what made you decide to stay here in this country? in 2015 to
work at the university of iowa i in psychiatric diseases. i decided to join my family, my brothers, iwo obtained my green card in december 2016, and since then i continued my work at the university of iowa. to join a family and build my career in the united states at the frontiers of , toarch and technology conduct high-impact research and contribute to the well-being of community. in this way, i joined my mother -- he is a senior citizen -- and also my brother. it is the aim of our families. i have two brothers, one at northwestern university and living in chicago, and the other
is at west virginia university. our aim is to always be able to conduct high-impact research and explore our own potential and be together with the family. the reason dang we decided to stay here is because all the possibilities that it had to contribute to high-impact research. >> thank you. thank you so much. so, really you have a very educated family. you came here to join your family, but you contributed your skills this field, your doctorate degree come into this high-impact research helping to advance our research and technology. inr wife holds a phd receiving job offer at the university of maryland, where her work would have been funded by the nih is that correct? >> yes. >> it sounds like a very prestigious position, and i think the united states would be lucky to have someone like your
wife contribute into health research that would benefit so many people here. what options are you considering , and i would ask you to keep this brief, what are you considering to be with your family again? >> as i mentioned, it is a heartbreaking decision. i am taking the leave of absence based on theersity option my wife would not be up to come to united states. >> we would lose you and your wife. in my class to 10 seconds, tell me what is the harm to the united states? we talked about harm to the people, but what is the harm to the united states? >> there has been a harm to our economy. tourism is down. people can enter the united states. different data have shown we have already lost billions of dollars, and that hurts big and small businesses. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from new york
is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you to all the witnesses for being here, especially the stories of people impacted. today's hearing is always helpful. the man from new york, for the new yorker. i've been giving you the assumption you are a great guy, have a great wife, have two beautiful, amazing kids, and the goal is to pursue the american dream and escape conditions in yemen, which we know here in america, we may not know to the extent your family does back in yemen, but it is a really bad situation back there. we do know that here in the u.s. that you might not
take comfort in, because the ultimate goal is for you to be with your family. that is what you want. you is what you would make happy, nothing short of that. what is interesting as i hear your story, and as a ranking member of the investigation subcommittee, we have a great working relationship on a bipartisan basis, something we should talk further about all across the entire world. i have stories in my office ,here someone is an american they were born in the united states, multiple generations in the united states, had a clean record. one case comes to mind, someone who is retired law enforcement with the crystal clean record and is a woman abroad not from any other countries we are discussing today.
it is actually a country in south america. in vetting the case, i am not aware of anything at all in her background that would prevent her from coming. he has applied repeatedly to try -- he has applied repeatedly to try to get a visa to have his wife be able to meet his family just to come for a couple weeks. that request continues to get denied. something that's part the story, too, you said you went to the meeting. the meeting only lasted five minutes and then it ended. that was exactly the story from a couple of weeks ago because he and his wife were excited for this meeting, and it lasted about five minutes and they never got the opportunity to make their case. that piece of it is very interesting to me. and chairman barra, hopefully this is something we can discuss. the issue that i have with
certain countries that are greatly to stabilize by the government -- greatly destabilized by the government is the lack of documentation that is provided by many people applying. and then, as a tactic, the u.s. government tries to make up for that through interrogation. and i think that it is greatly unfortunate as far as best approvals.nd visa if you are applying for a waiver. to prevent yourself -- present yourself to the united states government, to take all that time to travel and present yourself to the government, and the government takes five minutes and does not ask a lot of questions. i think it is malpractice on the part of whoever is asking you the questions, because you are presenting yourself. you can ask a lot of questions that you were there prepared to answer. that is something from a policy standpoint and oversight standpoint, it is something productive for this committee to hear. i am someone, too, who believe
that this particular ban was discriminating against countries, not discriminating based off of someone's religion. and it's caused a lot of debate and controversy and friction in congress and out of congress, debate in the media, amongst the american public public. and i knowfrom iran, a lot of people who are iranians , amazing people who are contributing massively to our country. some of my best friends are iranians. it's a great nation. if you're from iraq, turkey, or egypt, or lebanon, then the ban wouldn't have been applying to you. the issue with your wife in australia, specifically, the country of where your wife is from and not their religion. i don't know both of the witnesses.
this is the first time we are meeting. first time i'm hearing the story. i want to say thank you. especially as we hear your personal stories, there is stuff that chairman barra and our committees can work together on moving forward from a step -- a policy standpoint. >> the gentleman yields back. >> might i have just 30 seconds to comment on the congressman's remarks? >> that's not in order. >> the gentlelady from minnesota. >> thank you, chairwoman. judge arthur stephen miller has theatedly said -- cited center for immigration studies to defend his policies. is it fair to say that you and your organization influence the administration's immigration policies? >> we are a think tank. i like to think that we have influence over all policies, including policy of the united states government.
whether anything i write influences stephen miller, i can't tell you. >> you said all three regions of the muslim ban are legally justifiable. various courts have disagreed, usually based on the white house intent. when donald trump was running for president, he called for a complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. re surely we have to take the ban in that context, adding north korea and venezuela was a cynical attempt to get around the plain truth that this was intended to be a muslim ban. campaignw, trump's promise to ban muslims wasn't just empty words. there is a connection between that promise and the subsequent fan -- ban. would you like to see a complete ban of muslims entering this country? >> absolutely not. i concur with thomas jefferson when he said -- >> i appreciate that.
i have comments. steven miller is quoted as saying he would be happy if not one more refugee steps foot on american soil. he has been the architect of the gutting theration, asylum laws, and the increased reasedesignation of -- inc militarization of ice and border patrol. he has called countries like somalia shithole countries. he has wondered aloud why we don't get more people from places like africa and haiti, and why we shouldn't get more people from places like norway. we can conclude that anything thnonationalist project from what the white house is doing -- they told us what they want to
see, which is for people from white countries to immigrate to the united states. your organization, the center for immigration studies, has recently published an article asking whether we as a country had forgotten 9/11. there are two members of congress mentioned as part of evidence in that article, rashida tlaib and myself. the southern poverty law center has designated your organization as a hate group citing your repeated circulation of white supremacist and anti-semitic writers. the "washington post" has rebuked the research from your organization on terrorism and immigration and its defense of the muslim ban. i don't know how we should take your views and the views of your organization seriously, sir, instead of understanding them as a point of view as a fundamental
anti-immigrant ideology. when you were asked by my colleague, hank johnson, in march, you denied that john was the founder of c.i.s., and said, quote, "if there was a founder graham.", it was otis james banner credited him for making the environment a case for restricting immigration in two of his later books. there was the manifesto from the man who killed 22 people in el paso last month. in the manifesto, he said that, because of the looming environmental catastrophes, i next logical step is to decrease the number of people in america who are using resources." this was his justification for the act of mass murder,
apparently inspired by the ideas such as those espoused by otis. i'm appalled by that. everyone here should be appalled by that. and i hope you and the founder of your organization are appalled by the fact that you inspire people who engage in such acts. i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. >> may i respond in any way to that? >> that's not in order, as with miss khera. >> point of order. what's the rules of the committee? if the member chooses to use their five minutes to destroy a witness, are you saying that an attempt to slander someone who is in front of us -- >> going on the record of the words that he uses -- >> one of order. >> the gentlelady will withhold. the point of order has been raised.
this is a time when members may ask five minutes of the witnesses. it's not a time for the witnesses to give speeches. and we will now recognize -- >> what's the rules of the committee if a member chooses to spend their five minutes slandering a witness and their organization? what's the rules of the committee as to whether or not the person who gets slandered is allowed to respond? >> they are ipso facto on the record. >> the gentlelady will suspend, and mr. selden will suspend as well. the rules of the committee provide that under the five minute rule members may question or make statements. it is not a time for witnesses to make state -- speeches. >> point of order. parliamentary inquiry. >> you are recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. in the past in this committee, it's been my observation that on notsion, when someone has
engaged in debate with the witness, per se, but has maligned their character and accused them and accosted them or their organization, we have had the courtesy to let them briefly respond to that. i know because i've seen it actually happened. and i'm wondering i guess my , parliamentary inquiry is since that has become, if you will, the established practice, if someone has been maligned or their organization, is it not the practice and president of this committee, which is consistent with rules of the house, to allow the person to briefly respond? >> well, actually not. but to avoid a prolonged discussion on this point, i will hur, in under 30 seconds, if you may, to please make concise statement, and then we will hear from the next member who wishes to speak.
>> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, madam chair. i don't attach myself to any of the statements. i don't decry any individual who misguided and a individual who takes action for any reason. i write about the rules that have been passed by the congress of the united states and ask that those be enforced. i note the fact that congress is free to change the laws of the united states, sworn to uphold those laws, and i will continue to do so. i am a father, member of the community, and i appreciate the opportunity to respond. >> the time has expired and we will now turn to the gentlelady from texas. >> thank you, madam chair. i do want to thank dr. dehzangi and mr. alghazali. still called garza instead of garcia.
i know the feeling. ban,oing to call this a because i think we should call it what it is. ill-conceived, poorly implemented, and ill explained. i don't think i've heard anything differently today that convinces me otherwise. and i want to thank you both for coming and having the courage to share your stories. i think your story is the same as money that we saw all over the country, all over the world during that time. mac. -- that time. mac -- that time period. i want to give about a minute of my time to my colleague for a brief response. >> i object to any notion that my stating of fact is i'm alignment of the character -- a malignment of the character of the witness.
thank you for distancing yourselves from the action of the person who committed the atrocities which is what i also said. i want to make sure people understand i did not make a single statement that was not factual in my remarks. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. i wanted to ask both of our testimonial witnesses. think an american looks like? if somebody just said, what does an american look like, what would you say? doctor? well, at this moment -- prior to just, like, being subjected to the muslim ban, my dream was always, this is a place where you can explore your potential, the with your family -- be with your family.
a country that appreciates any contribution to it. and itsr the muslim ban conditions for my wife, the situation became darker for me. i'm not quite sure if i am welcome or not welcome, if my skills are needed or not needed, if it is important that i be with my wife or not, if i am distressed or not. if my wife got the opportunity to explore her potential or not. that are the things actually distress me, make me sad. >> ok. mr. alghazali. >> yes. america is the country that gives human beings rights. --is a country that if you have a vision, a dream,
this is where you can pursue your dreams. the doors are open, like a possession -- the position i mentioned with my wife. she can't do that in yemen. this is my country. wife, beforeth my the supreme court upholds the trump administration, she used to always ask me about this country. i told her i grew up in the united states. i know how americans are. we won't be separated. when i went home that night, i won't forget it. she was listening to the news and saw the supreme court upholds it. she just started crying, looking at me, and i thought you told me that america is this and that. i still believe the value of this country. ms. khera, i know you wanted to respond to a question from one of my colleagues. do you want to take some time not to respond? >> thank you for that opportunity, congresswoman. i was taken by congressman
about's comments, talking his own expense with constituents who have gone through the system. it underscores there is a commonality here. i think we can all agree that we don't want a ban -- to ban babies and grandmothers. that doesn't make us safer. we need a policy that is smarter and that is actually not doing harm to our own friends and neighbors. fortunately, there is a solution for that. it is the no ban act. i encourage the congressman to work with congresswoman judy chu, take a look at that bill. it basically ensures that -- amends section 212, the authority the president invoked here, to more closely track the way that republican and democratic administrations have used this authority over the last 40 plus years, where there hasn't been a blanket ban. there have been very tailored, circumscribed bans that deal with a specific diplomatic dispute or deal with human
rights atrocities in trying to address that. i'm hoping that there could be some commonality coming out of his hearing that underscores that. >> gentlelady's time has expired. we turn now to the gentlelady from florida. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you again for coming in front of us this afternoon. earlier, i shared the story of one of my constituents who has not been able to bring his father here from syria. and the consequences of that. once again, i just want to remind everyone that we are americans whether we were born in a different country or not. you are americans. i am an american. i had the privilege of becoming a u.s. citizen. i was welcomed under the reagan administration, who understood the importance of opening our doors to immigrants, because that's who we are in this country. unless you are a native
american, we are all immigrants in this country. so, i wanted to just ask from the two of you to elaborate a little bit on, what does it mean to each of you to be separated from your families and what is your day today -- what does your day-to-day look like? >> it is just like living in two different countries. and all thef life complexities, without having the assurance and companionship and support. being able to communicate just on the phone. being able to just talk on skype. not being able to have a hug. coming home, have a cup of tea. just sitting or watching a movie, just relaxing. missing all of the important moments in the lives separate. like when she graduated, completion of her phd, i was not
there. i got my job as a professor. she wasn't here. all these things -- our marriage anniversary was september 10. her birthday was september 7. i couldn't be at any of them. these are all dramas -- traumas. you need extra energy to just to be able to cope with all the situation and at the same time be productive. because i am responsible for 60 students, responsible for a program. i have to work. this is my duty. i am trying to do it in the best possible way. but at the same time, i need to put extra time and energy to just cope with all those traumas. and it is harder for my wife, at least i'm here. she is struggling with all the things. i feel that the sacrifice that she is doing is just 10 times more than me. >> i can imagine.
i'm so sorry to hear that. mr. alghazali. >> yeah. -- question i don't know how to explain it, but it's like i live in darkness. they are the only light. i feel like i am a bird without wings. without my family. i think about that feeling. i go home. i want to see my son run up to me when i walk into the house and hug me every day. that would leave all the stress and the stuff i've been through. like i said, i still have hope. we will be together again. thank you. >> thank you. ms. khera, i'm supporting the no ban act. i agree with you. what other things would you recommend we can do to help the
individuals like mr. alghazali and dr. dehzangi to be reunited with their family members? because we don't get answers from the state department, from the uscis offices. we continue to ask questions. we are not getting enough answers. what do you suggest we can do to help? >> first of all, thank you so much for supporting the no ban act. we now have one hunted 77 cosponsors in the house. your support -- 177 cosponsors in the house. your support is greatly appreciated. the second thing is that what we have found is that sometimes when there is congressional attention and media attention, sometimes that helps get action on a waiver faster. to the extent that you do have constituents who are raising these issues, please continue to make your voice heard at the state department. finally, continue to have
oversight like this, that took place earlier today. it's absolutely crucial. i firmly believe that the reason we are starting to get movement, starting to get more information from the state department is a result of not only litigation by groups like ours, but the pressure from congress as well. continue to do your job and then this is fundamentally the province of congress, regulating our immigration and ensuring that families can be together. thank you. >> gentlelady's time has expired. the gentlelady from texas, miss jackson lee, is recognized for five minutes. >> i would like to ask unanimous consent to place on the record a chicagon teen center for detainment after being held in texas. >> without objection. the testimony of the two witnesses adds to the overwhelming danger and the overwhelming disaster that has
been created by a blanket muslim ban. the latest iteration of this van -- ban, i know it seems that it is indefinite. my understanding is that people from those particular countries remain in limbo. it seems if i am reading it correctly that yemen is off the list at this point. .nd you can correct that i am looking at some documents that say it is still on. it may that they argue -- it may be that they are building on each moment. let me pose my questions accordingly. so, let me ask in particular, i mr. alghazali -- i have been to yemen. i know there are wonderful people there. i am enormously saddened by what -- by the tragic war that has been fostered upon the many people inthe yemeni terms of their trials and tribulations.
let me ask how long you are working to get a visa for your wife. she was not pregnant at the time you started or was she? >> no, she wasn't pregnant. >> you tried to follow the rules. >> the first time i applied for her was in 2016. >> you follow the rules to apply and you were a u.s. citizen. what was their initial denial? >> denied letter. they said her visa has been denied because under section 212 , because of the proclamation. that's it. >> you applied in 2016, but you got caught up in the muslim ban. >> yes. >> how frightened were you as you and your wife rushed to the hospital, knowing that she could have been in the united states to have your baby? i will never forget that time until i die. >> you thought your wife might die? >> the way i saw her, the way
she was screaming in the back of the cab -- i was worried. >> you are in -- were in djibouti. did you think you might lose your baby? >> i was expecting we would lose the baby. >> a muslim man, his separated family, putting a woman married to a u.s. citizen in the eye of potential death and your gum baby at that time in that potential death that -- your young baby at that time in potential death. what kind of fear ran over you? >> i felt like i was just thrown away. no hope. to aat is your response policy that has no mercy? and is ineffective in its structure? do you think that is the role of immigration laws, to rule out
the opportunity for innocent persons to create the potential of a baby dying, a mother dying, when the u.s. citizen appropriately applies for the visa in question? is that what you're advocating here today? >> the purpose of the prop -- the presidential profanation is to encourage information sharing by countries. and to promote the foreign policy of the united states. >> i appreciate that. that is a blanket response you are giving. if we were to, in the next 10 days, indicate we were getting the adequate information from countries, you then could see the wrongness of the muslim band. >> if we were to get the proper information from those countries , if we could ensure that individuals applying to enter the united states do not pose danger -- >> we don't have proof that we are not in the right information. -- whenee the wrongness you see the destructive impact on human beings from this muslim ban? >> all immigration laws of the
united states -- which congress writes -- >> congress didn't write the muslim ban. let me move to the representative muslim advocates, in particular on the hawaii versus trump. part of this rested on the decision that the waiver process would function. does it fall short of the supreme court's expectations, and why? also, do you see any merit in mr. arthur's point about getting information from other countries, when we have the most powerful nation in the world and we can get information on an individual, like a pregnant wife of? >> thank you for that question. on the first part of the question, absolutely. justice breyer was very correct. the waiver process has been a sham. it's been almost two years since this supposes waiver process went into effect, and there is still no publicly accessible
information to people who are trying to apply and prove their eligibility for a waiver. there are other deficiencies as well. >> gentlewoman's time has expired. you may finish. >> on the second point around information, i will refer to the 50 plus former national security officials from prior republican and democratic administrations who have spoken out and have said that, in their expert appeasing -- opinion, there was no evidence of a growing or particularized threat from nationals of these countries that would justify a blanket ban that is in the policy. >> i will now recognize myself for five minutes. i want to thank all the witnesses for coming here today. -- toogize to you for you --. dehzangi and to
for the hardships that you have undergone. unfortunately, members of congress have run into similar hardships from our own constituencies. for example, in my district, a man, a u.s. citizen, has a wife originally from iran. he has a serious medical condition. he had a kidney transplant in 2016. it requires chronic immunosuppressive drugs to prevent the rejection of that transplant. according to his nephrologist at stanford university, his kidney function is approximately 40%, 50% of normal. he's got all kinds of risk factors, but his wife has been waiting for more than two years for the waiver. she is stuck in turkey. he is going to see her periodically, even though his
doctors are telling him not to do it. it is putting him at risk, but his wife has been kept away from him. i'm invited this and citizen son were inhusband california. her son was dying. forasked for a waiver and two years got nowhere. finally the uproar was such she was admitted to the u.s. so she could hold her son's hand while she died. she got there two weeks before he passed away. what a hardship inflicted on american citizens and their families that have nothing to do with the security of the united states. we are hopeful that with the help of this hearing we will be part of changing that and also we will be part of moving forward with this legislation
which i have cosponsored. there's been a lot of discussion today about immigration law and the like. if we don't that trust iran, why are student visas exempt? there is some inconsistency when it comes to the american government and their treatment of people from iran. how do you establish a hardship? hashe u.s. state department in their travel advisories it is too dangerous to go to a place, it is too dangerous to live there. that should be the standard for hardship. and yet we are asking the family members of americans to stay in places we have told people americans should not visit. that's wrong. i would like to make a personal plea to you.
take a look at your resume. it's an amazing record of scholarship you have compiled. i hope you won't give up. you can apply to become an american citizen. i hope you do that. don't give up on being an american. let's see if we can't make sure your distinguished life also comes to join you so she can to the advance of science that has made our country great. would you consider that? >> of course. if there is an opportunity. of course. years of building,
having my wife have the best opportunity, we would love to serve the academic community as well. >> i have been reading some of your papers. the amalgamation of evolutionary-based information, i don't even know that means. [laughter] i would like to say the five pages of scientific papers you have helped co-author is going to be important for our country. you are joined by thousands of others who are here in america, born someplace else. our country is about this -- not where you are from. where you are going to. that makes you an american. i am grateful to all of you for being here today, for being witnesses. we will have an opportunity to
provide additional questions to you over the next five days. if we do, please answer them. at this point we will adjourned this hearing. thanks to all. we are adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]