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tv   Hearing on Security at the Southwest Border  CSPAN  June 18, 2021 8:00pm-9:05pm EDT

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post questions along with your answers will be made part of the formal hearing record. thank you all, always a pleasure to partner with you. thank you all and with that, the subcommittee stands are turned. >> be safe, who was you in person next week. ♪♪ >> c-span, your unfiltered view of government funded by these television companies and more concluding comcast. >> you think it's just a community center? no. it's way more than that comcast is partnering with 1000 receptors to create wi-fi enabled list so students from low income families can get they need to be ready for anything. comcast support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving a front row seat to democracy.
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>> a senate hearing on security travel and trade along the us-mexico border. among the witnesses cappy kevin who served as acting, security secretary trump administration. >> i welcome members of the subcommittee and witnesses for today's discussion focus on southwest border and ports of entry. i hope today's hearing can help us refocus southwest border security discussions back toward supports of entry. both on the senate floor are going to on the floor today from some.you submit for the record in the interest of saving time for panelists. i like to turn the gavel over, turn the time over opening statements and recognize ranking member for opening remarks. >> you don't have to turn the gavel over. o [laughter] but i appreciate that very much. i'm going to submit my opening statement for the record.d. appreciate all the
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appropriations and questions they precipitate. >> thank you. now i'll introduce our witnesses so they can present their opening statements. keep your opening statement five minutes from a full t written statements will be submitted for the record. our first witness is kevin who purposely serve as acting secretary of home and security in 2019 commissioner of customs and border protection spent 201. even before this time, he had a long career managing the workforce and leading organizations operations to secure the rest border while expediting trade and travel at 329 ports of entry in the u.s. 70 internationalle locations in more than 40 countries. we are honored to have you join us today and you are now recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you, madam chairwoman established members of the committee, i feel honored to appear before you today back in
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front of this, especially for newly structured committee. the topic of this hearing improving security trade, and ports of entry on the southwest border is a critical one, a privilege to be with a knowledgeablee group, panel on southwest border operations. our ports of entry and then force in particular has tersely received focus more than they deserve in life you. an essential gateway for trade and commerce, integrated manufacturing and supply chains, agricultural produce and livestock daily connections between shared communities from work, school and life. their critical points in the security of the united states, u.s. customs and border patrol officers must identify dangerous people". majority of partner products,
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like so manyy parts of our country, traditionallyly settled through these ports of entry. u.s. producers are encountering these daily. weapons currency outbound daily asthma and human trafficking int counterfeit products and brought are constantly challenging. over the past decade, congress provided significant resources foran ports of entry and enhancd legal authority to enter into innovative public-private partnerships continue in two apply them, continually improve facilitation trade and travel on enhanced security. as a result, cbp has made substantial progressnh in portsf entry for that role of increasingly well managed water one that officially can effectivelyov identify while expediting the vastel majority n trade. infrastructure, technology and personnel needed to sustain and build on this progress and that
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can have substantial benefits to the u.s. economy impacting all 50 states reports of entry are an important economic engine to the u.s. economy on a typical day, $2 billion worth of goods across the border with mexico. before carpet, travelers and restrictions entailed from a 700,000 across our border a day. they require accommodation of infrastructure, accommodate physical flow but also technology and personnel to manage effectively. i'm going to submit my lumber statement for the record to leave time for questions but i wanted to highlightht acute view key points in regard to technology. instruction available offering one 100% inspection of personally owned vehicles and railcars pricing our water combined with the ability to integrate the data, platforms to assess risk and provide results to o officers and specialists,
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potential for dramatic security improvements achievable in the coming months and years. enhanced forensics, intelligence analysis and investigator partnerships these technologies provide impressive capabilities and offer significant aspects as well but the importance of technology are equally important in the investments of the people. ultimately each decision of a present for a credit depends on on officers insight technology. this is essential.ci the center for economic risk analysis at the university of southern california has been the economic impact. processing and trade andni trav, each officer contributes over $350,000 in the u.s. economy and supports the growth of 3.5 american jobs. hiring additionalri officers pas for itself. the other is infrastructure working repressed multiple
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administrations to prioritize key ports of entry. those investments are needed now but also innovative partnerships, public-private, state and local government partnerships like prosper express in socal to develop ports of entries in the northern for our great examples how public-private partnership in speed, growth and provide theor infrastructure that critical for that movement. just knowing by definition, for management national and this is critical, with great programs like the carnal promises and programs but we needcr more, you need to be a priority of our relationships with the government in mexico. thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to engaging in questions. >> our second witness tony, national president of the national treasury and the
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nation's largest independent union of federal employees and he has more than 25 years with the union. thank you for your work and joining us today and you are recognized for your opening statement.ng >> okay. members of the subcommittee, i want to thank you for the opportunity to testify on behalf of over 29000 on customs and border protection officers, specialist and trade enforcement specialists, support staff at the nation's 320 and ports of entry and operations overseas. as you know the parts are an economic driver of the u.s. economy contributing $74 billion in 2020 revenue collection. the dedicated men and women are presented in trust efficient processing of legitimate trade, travel and people, drugs, weapons and money at ports of
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entry. improving security trade and travel and entering the safest possible working environment for personal ports of entry include the southwest border is incredibly important for our lives especially during. to state has had over 8000 confirmed covered all cases. sadly, 32 line of duty deaths due to the virus. who want immigrants who collects these workers greatly appreciate service in our country. since the vaccine became available, he encouraged and assist our membersci getting the vaccine in fact continues. i testified in the past, personal greater block border security and lack of sufficient staff support. despite decrease in trade and
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travel volume due to the pandemic, according to cbp's own models, present second shortage of 1700 officers, 400 specialists in 200 nonuniformed trade specialists. understaffed, situation that continues to plague southwest border ports. this has led to temporary assignments to ensure proper standing including procedures and ports of entries currently expensing for our delays. these situations will only be exacerbated if a non- essential travel ban is lifted as the public diminishes. in addition the resumption of user fees collected due to the drop in international travel, and to a lesser extent since march 2020 from also turning
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disrupt staffing at the port. these funds 40% of personnel including 8000 a officers, thats roughly one third of the entire cbp workforce parts of entries. without additional funding to support these officers between now to fy 2022 this is your fee funding could result in furloughs at a time when this workforce is most needed to facilitate the flow of legitimate travel andou trade as the economy recovers. even though they are severely understaffed, the result the officers are indisputable. for example, a cbp official recently testified before the house appropriations committee that functional at the ports of entry are up over three 100%. it's vital that congress continues to authorize and find
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staff to ensure officers can continue to succeed in this important work. i want to be clear, empty you tistrongly supports border security and that's why we applied for many years additional funding to increase staffing at the port. wwe fought for better pay and benefits for all employees all of these things contribute to a strong secure for an improved trade and travel at the southwest border after years of effort and much appreciated funding, mte urges you to ensure cbp does not lose staffing expenditures that they started to gain and personnel ports on the job during economic recovery. thank you for having me. >> thank you so much. our next witness, president of
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the bridge company operating the bridge between rio grande texas with the mexican state. -- joining us today representing border trade alliance, nonprofit organization seeking to address key issues affecting trade, travel and security of thehe u.. northern southwest borders. thank you so much, you are recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you and welcome ranking member langford. iha appreciate the work all of u are doing. for 35 years, we have been promoting good policies for cross-border trade and commerce to benefit the countries of north america. i think one of the things i want to bring up is the definitions
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are using, essential, nonessential, people act like an essential traveling goes back to a community in mexico was only essential people so they are mixing with nonessential people and in the meantime the florida communities are being devastated economically, the local government is suffering from cbp is suffering from a we having a lot of reasons why we are looking forward to benchmarks senator sinema established or mentioned in the letter march 28, 2021. we are looking bl forward to working with her on that and the rest of the bipartisan members that signed on to the correspondence. we think it is a shame that we don't really understand how things work on the business and
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on the border. we think with the help of the senate and the house and administration counterparts in canada that can come up with a respectable plan that allows for us to return for normal activity. certainly none of us want to have problems but we go a long way along this heat border to protectbu cbp down to a pressing mexican officers on the west side for the unified processing so even though cbp goes through fact, we did it with our bridge over the last how try to contribute. we also talking quite a bit how
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we are going to go about being able to come back to normality. the fact that university has imitated $4.9 billion of gdp has been lost solely on the mexican border and if know mexico and arizona and california and probably the northern border as well. we need to get business going again that's something we have an obligation to. i'm looking forward to being able to discuss resources we need, we are big supporters of public-private partnerships. we are currently providing internships and when i say we, where talk about the owners of the ports of entry, internships, we are providing donated
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properties to the government. we are providing reimbursable services,rn overtime hours, we'e doing all we can to promote the livelihoods of all the countries in north america because we are tryingom to put back into the system even though we are paying taxes like everybody else we are looking forward to technology and we need the technology to be successful and we can examine one 100% using modern technology. i think that is one key that we need to utilize. we appreciate the opportunity to
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represent positions in the written testimony and look forward to any discussions and answer anyn questions the senators may have. thank you. >> our final witness today, the president and co-owner of the arizona baseded company valencia international. he's joining us today on behalf of the santa cruz county authority. thank you for joining us today. i'm looking forward to hearing your arizona perspective you are recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you from chairwoman ndcinema. thank you for this opportunity. i am chairman of the county party. my day job from a president of the international customs resistant services companies. we been in business 40 years. the first produce association,
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economic developing corporations and santa cruz mining cluster. our possible focus ports of entries systems and quality of life program. i'd like to mention the needs of our committee, the first issue, ports of entry and conductivity. while we have ports of entry, we also have one of the most outdated overburden and literally parts of the nation. in terms of transportation infrastructure, we workor extensively with a dock from $122 million connecting promotional part of entries to the interstate 19. but that's only one aspect of the transportation message we need. modernization is desperatelyy. needed interchanges on the
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interstate. mining, manufacturing could greatly benefit but there's simply no funding. alternatives are essential and we are to remain competitive as a nation. we also need additional staffing at our ports. while it's improved in recent years, we still see situations in which cbp is unable to open everyday during peak hours and peak operations and came up opening and o closing a differet aspect on the ports in order to help. they are doing theirir best what they have staffing needs to be delivered across the state. the only immediate but also future needs. i'd also propose to eliminate funding for efforts at the ports of entry, department of human security modified to create
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highly specialists. not every member of the senate of the house of representatives understands thisct is the office of operations and border patrol both commonly and essentially referred totw as customs and border patrol. it's important the customs function take a separate than those of the border patrol. our ports are the lifelines of our nation. border patrol are training up officers and law enforcement very different and is not usually interchangeable. finally, i work with white house border crossing restriction for nonessential drugs. while these measures have may have served during the pandemic promote the continuation has
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negative impacts. donned by over 46% in fact decimated small businesses, restaurants, hotels. an exceptional job and as of the latest reports, 82% of eligible populations-fully vaccinated. hospitalization rates have decreased radically country from its decreased significantly. we must also protect the health of our community. a few days ago thehe cdc for travel advisories for level four to a level three. reflecting improving commissions on the ground combating pendants. conditions have dramatically improved and we must open. our to thank you for taking the time to convene this hearing. it's my personal to make a
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difference for the border. we are the front line of our nation security but also principal gateways for trade and tourism. thank you and i'm happy to address any questions you may have. >> thank you so much. now the question portion of our hearing at each senator has seven minutes for questions. i recognized myself for seven minutes. our to start with both of you. from my perspective, one of the policy changes needed to ensure ports effectively serve businesses and for commuters courts are too better understand what's been done during the pandemic promote what needs to happen now that we are coming out of the pandemic and what we need to talk about moving forward. >> -- [inaudible>> question] >> thank you.
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>> i think we were all rattled by the pandemic and we did not really measure correctly how it was affecting the border on both sides including the personal the government. i think we could have done much better in vaccinations. all of our employees were vaccinated. everybody we dealt with, who wouldn't anybody who came to our business not vaccinated so we promoted, we think the government could have done a better job. we are also very concerned about lack of support that really goes intorn this. kevin, i think i last saw you in mexico city and we were trying to promote good common business practices between both as well
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as the private sector. senator, i think the biggest problem we got is that we are looking on the rear view here you and we are not reaching out in advance and being able to provide for what we need. the private sector is willing to do part demonstrated that by able to take a customs officer, we've now got programs and interns from politics who go into positions and when they graduate, they are automatically given a job if they want it. we need more of these. there's countries that donate huge tracts of property, filled the studies into all sorts of things to assist ports of entry. we think that has not been
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accepted by the country and was just another tax dollar. >> thank you and mr. valencia. >> thank you. i'm not an expert on health i think most of us didn't know what to expect when the pandemic so it's hard from most of us side of caution so i think we understand reactions but also essential travel destinations where i think a little bit unbalanced, if people travel by air they could get into the u.s. they were asking many questions lastly travel by car, your asked a lot of questions and fix essential
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medical necessities so i think we could have all other job. we, the business sector adopted quickly for the government sector did not and i think that's something we can learn from this pandemic, how do we help adapt quicker in a situation like this so it doesn't devastate our economies the way that it did to answer the first part worked. >> back was great, thank you so much. i'll move now, aren't you focus on technology. at times border security technology focuses too much on the regions between works of entry and not enough on the ports. no criminal networks are constantly targeting our ports. what steps should progress and dhs take right now to ensure our
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strategies and technology assessments pace with criminals to work criminally adopting tactics and response capabilities? >> i guess i'll focus on the highest threat through the ports of entry in terms of impact on american lives. mr. riordan mentioned three 100% increase in frontal upgrades and methamphetamine, really important investment in 2019 from congress. 600 million on large scale multi- energy systems which allow truck drivers to stay in the truck while the rear has an additional low energy system that helps personally owned vehicles as they crossed the border. that's a lot initiate deployment takes them from 15% to over 70% in only 1.6% of vehicles 40%,
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that's going to be destructive, it's going to increase security and potential to make them there is more to be done. we are not one 100%, but the obvious conclusion but also the systems behind the nonintrusive inspection that connects the officers to the t information to allow them to make decisions on which vehicles they need to further inspect, i think it's a real opportunity to invest there. there's a major issue of the outbound side, we don't have the infrastructure on the outbound lanes to do both scale and inspections that new reports do have infrastructure but this is another area whereal technologis come up a page of technology and affordability allows for scanning to be done outbound as well. the charges, very aggressive networks so much equal out to the outbound lanes, they can
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adjust practices stop shipments at that time. they can be kept there for days at at time from about what will help disrupt the flow as well. >> thank you. my time is expiring so i will save my questions for next round. ranking member langford indicated questions so not recognize senator hawley for seven minutes. >> thank you to all the witnesses for being here today. i'd like to start with you if i could, i want to talk about cbp's role in forcing section 307 we could. that course labor or child labor and has for almost a century, 1930. these are very critical to protect american workers and strengthen accountability for
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products from places of slave labor. can i get your assessment about the process for issuing release orders, how is that working right now and given your experience? >> thank you. everything important aspect, one that i had the privilege to work on, a renewed focus given the fact that it's a humanitarian issue in many countries around the world but tupelo i actually have negative trade impacts as producers use forced labor to uncut the rest. in terms of the process, i'll be honest and admit we have learning expense, we issuee orders without proper coordination with the state department and other parts of government in the initial months and years but
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i think cbp has streamlined those efforts and trade team for service of american forced labor work not only how comprehensive but release orders and coordination in advance across government and industries so i thinknk it's improved significantly over the time what is important you highlight that. >> let me ask you about the challenges faced historically when there's an investigation to be done, interment whether or not the supply chain, talk us through that element. when you get medication, get a petition for review, potential force labor cbt does the investigation, or sometimes difficulties cbp faces in doing that? >> first, you're trying to work to understand a foreign country where unite not have
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collaboration and i think that's a fundamentalal issue that why u have to work closely with stateu department and the department of labor but also supply chain participant. often it the good brokers who understand what prices are supposed to look like, natural movement of a particular commodity is supposed to look like through the supply chain when it diverted from what they can offer tips for further review. you need an intel present. i usually tell my colleagues about borrowing one quarter of 1% of intelligence and look t io this manufacturing, therapy a huge advantage but often comes down to having liaison and country working out of the embassy has the authority and can look at those. one thing we have to is the partnership against terrorism, the fact that soo many
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manufacturers want to be part of that because of the benefits that we do f get access to legitimate supply chains which helps focus on that. it is hard, more resources are needed for the. >> so if you say we were to look at trying to get the resources needed to better conduct these investigations, the piece about the form investigation, is that the critical piece? >> that is a key part but i think it's also the program in partnership with legitimate supply chains to identify what's outside of that range. i think the international trade has a strategy for expanding section 307 so i did for them on the latest i think your highly important part, the investigative piece is critical. >> let me ask you about the standard under the cares act
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importers of goods are supposed to exercise reasonable care take necessary steps to make sure merchandise is getting to the country and has not run golf course if it does not have forced labor. i'm curious about your expense. do american companies importing goods into the rest exercise appropriately reasonable care of the statute requires or sometimes get a blind eye turned toward forced labor? >> i think broadly speaking, i think it's over 55% of trade volume are members. we have a very active customs brokers partnership in multiple organizations that try to ensure highest levely of professionalim and those types of issues so i think the majority of goods coming to the u.s. and players
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involved are definitely meeting that standard. there are scrupulous players and there are companies that intentionally disappear overnight as soon as they are investigated. publicans l again a resource challenge. hsi has a variety of missions to printer partner and it's an area where we could use additional attention over time. >> very good. i want to come back to what you said a minute ago, he talked about increased effort to enforce portion of the law, which is true, 815 year stretch five cap my fax right between 2000 -- 2015, i think there were material issued zilch. those are going to go up under the trump administration for the department of labor identified 155 goods from 77 countries that
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have reason to believe forced labor we only have about 50 active wro's right delta. what needs to happen to boost investigation off force labor imports and increase the issue of wr o'sab parks give us an overview of what you think congress can do tof help us. >> what i see is an acceleration of the effort to address issue. it was pressure and the u.s. senate on the lack of these orders ... cbp to generate focus in the trade on this issue. they've developed mechanisms, muscle memory, if you were between office of trade and other components counsel has to issue these orders zero to 50, not 02100 yet but definitely accelerating dramatically and i think the department of labor is a good anchor to show the scale
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of the problem and how much more needs to be done. >> very good, my time has expired. thank you, monitor. >> thank you. i know seven minutes over, questions ranking member lankford. >> i'd like to thank you for your testimonies today and what you are bringing to the conversation as well as your testimony. what are major barriers we have highly personal? >> thank you. i have to unmute myself. i think probably one of the main barriers, i've said for years and here's, this even goes beyond, cbp employees should be the best recruiters for the
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agency and unfortunately the morale for many years has been very low. some of it relates to what you've heard me talk about in my opening payment, written statement about staffing. there are so few staff, so much fewer than needed and as a result, many employees cap to work with a great deal of overtime and it impacts their personal well-being, it impacts their families and create hardships on the and as a result, morale low and they are not the best tools. i think have started to see cbp has done a better job of going out and recruiting folks bring them in and certainly there's some funding in that process from congress so obviously we thank them for that but from my
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perspective i think this question probably is well suited for cbp but i think from my perspective it can start finding wea way to improve morale, get more staffing, we're going to see real improvement. >> were you surprised present biden's budget flatlined all dhs and hiring? >> what i will say, and i think i said in my longer statement is that we believe more staffing is needed and i certainly hope congress will provide more money. i think the last thing that needed is a situation where we have to look at furloughs for employees especially at a time where we are looking at the economy rebounding travel is going to start increasing, that would be a problem.
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cbp employees have to endure and they have had to for several years and it happening again right now andev it will only increase, i believe in the summer, those have a very significantly negative impact on the folks not only having to travel down but also they are leaving port of entry and has a negative impact as well. >> i need to ask about narcotics into the u.s. in oklahoma like arizona, what happens of the poorr certainly affects us, we have the flow coming in our state as well, you've mentioned already functional increased about three times over the last year. we seen a decrease in movement exception has been functional
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and being interdicted. we seen a dramatic increase in that. we can do one 100% not intrusive evaluations of the board of vehicles and restaurants. the technology exists and additional new technology and additional deployment of a. >> really quickly, i agree with supporting the workforce and increasing morale. recruiting the time to hire 70%. eneeded next replacement of the basis for hiring, one third of officersrs. if you could reimburse hiring but we needit a consistent appropriation from congress that need a staffing model so you can akeep the in the recruiting process going without disruption
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so that would befi my recommendation and we will need support from congress out of covert. the technology now to make substantial gains on ports of entry, it does. the deployment of the underneath portals of the low energy portals for vehicle lanes already making an impact and as youne heard three 100%, they are contracting,se keep deploying those systems now. we need to look at what investments are needed and what possible one 100% and then hook up the outbound. i will note the border this
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week, it will have security spillover retreat as we are seeing smugglers between ports right now is not happening as much so that will be something congress has to look at. >> being able to make changes in technology from additional instruction points and such, it is harder to do, some of the older ports ofng entry that are more landd walked during open rural areas so twofold. one is we have a real difference in how the ports of entries or oversee physical areas. some of it overseas like most, some runs their own in rural areas. how do we resolve this? when i talked to folks at cbp, i often hear the issue, i'd like to make changes but seven years to make a change in all sorts of
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edits and it takes forever to get there. how do we thehers process so obs problems in the ground and get fixed and not only just make the request production get executed? >> great question. an extraordinary complex bureaucratic process at the federal level, working with state and local the critical formation of mexico. two things i have seen work between, ports of entry require a financial bubble annually. the same with mexico is equally important but i do think we need to shorten the number of steps needed to make significant infrastructure change, the nprocess of presidential government and state is another cumbersome where, all of these things i think should face tighter timelines and teamwork coordinated effort to get comes.
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we have oversight. cbp owns a significant number of smaller ports of entry, especially those in the american recovery and reinvestment act while gsa goes back to cbp managers larger ports ofan entry and a majority of traffic on the southwest border. it's a cumbersome process for prioritizing improvements and it can be done better federal and national level but also regional and local level. >> i do see layers of bureaucracy and challenges at cbp has got to set their priorities. they go through years of study, a second set of priorities and state department and the white house years in process just to evaluate what obviously needs to
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be done and typically say it needs to be done when it needs to be done, not seven years in advance so we gotal to find a wy to get that resolved and that's one thing we are working on so any insight you can get i be glad to get an icy run overtime. i yield back. >> thank you so much. mr. reardon, i'd like to go to your. arizona border states, without a recurring problem of understaffing. cbp reports numbers recently, i always worry about retention. given that we remain in the midst of the pandemic and securing our ports remains a challenging difficult job, what steps does congress need to take to improve morale and attention? >> thank you for that question. i think one of the things that could be done to support the introduction and passage of dhs
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morale act. i think that would probably play a pretty significant role. one things, it authorizes the establishment of employee engagement committee comprise of representatives from across the department as well as individuals from employee labor organizations, i think would provide opportunity for feedback and learning some issues that might help in terms of morale. i think also it would help in terms of directing -- the bill with direct to analyze government satisfaction surveys so i think what ultimately important start having a dialogue with and understanding what's going on with front-line
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employees. one of the touch.needed in order to improve the morale parts want to underscore, i think it is pretty important to keep going tback from i talked to folks ws abundantly clear to me is at the center of allll morale issues ad a lotan of major issues as far s my employees are concerned. it is staffing. >> thank you, appreciate that. i'd like to ask another question. as you mentioned previously, not intrusive infection is a critical technology solution at ports of entry that helps officers identify vehicles to further instruction and makes it more secure. cbp is working right now to improve technology and expand. it works best in conjunction with other efforts such as k-9 unitit traditional law enforcemt
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intuition. what other technologies and initiatives should congress and dhs pursue to help ensure technology as much as possible. >> i think it's worth going deeper, take a multi- energy form that's used to scan a large commercial truck across the border, the old technology which was outstanding at the time, the driver would have to get out of the truck before the scan started because it would be a potential threat to health so each truck had to be pulled in, the driver gets out, the scan happens, it takes a minute or two to do the scan and then reviewed by an officer so the new systems can go from 87 to ten trucks and our to 70. think about all the images going in to the officer driver no longer has to get out of the truck and no longer have to even
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stop, a division in the truck will not have to h fully come ta stop at the u.s. border advance information we have and with x-ray scans and other tools like canines and officer intuition and review. with those images coming in from much higher capability scanners, youu need an automated image analysis capability to assist the officers and help them identify threats so they can make that decision on whether to do a further examination so if you're going to get many more trucks and ultimately your and secondary instructions and last pressure on officers to review them all soo it's like a next layer technology that needs to be plummeted over a long time. >> thank you i cap one more question then i will yield time back to senator langford before we had to vote.
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sometimes we are going to reopen ports of entry to nonessential travel. i hope sooner rather thann later i drink ag bipartisan group of colleagues asking for a plan on how to do it safely. from a workforce perspective, what we need to keepo in mind as we return ports to regular operations? >> thank you, appreciate that question as well. i think one of the things we've got to pay attention to is mark we got to push to get as many people vaccinated as possible. i think we need to continue to look at social distancing to make sure people can remain as safe as i possibly can but also looking testing so we can ensure that if somebody does get ill, we know about and then start
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inking at who they've been contact with, early on in the pandemic from it didn't happen pretty fact compact pacing was walked away from very quickly and i think that is a problem but i do believe dhs responsibility and since we talk about cbp, responsibly to get employees vaccinated and part of my concern as these variants make their way around the world, we make sure this plan you are referring to addresses those needs, protecting people from the variant and the last thing we need, for example at a port in arizona or anywhere else for that matter, if a bunch of employees start getting sick, back in philly deplete ourur omability to manage and protect our country in that particular
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port of entry. >> thank you. senator langford. >> let me run through a series of questions and this will be more specifically for mr. reardon to go back and forth. this is a challenge, not normal but it is a challenge to process so january is here, the department of justice announced they were sentencing a cbp individual and leave his name out, 30 month prison for bribery after receiving a $6000 cash bribe to allow a felon through the port of entry. not typical but it does happen at times. my question is, what are we doing to continue to accelerateo this honestly cartel has a tremendous amount of cash, pavement moving back cash around and constantly trying to find ways to remove illicit materials
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and individuals across ports, what is the best way to manage among employees? >> the most important element is the investment in this responsibility. this starts at the hiring and training a good background review someone is coming in the workforce, a quick periodic investigation but also authority and resources to follow-up for concerns presented. gaining the authority in 2013, it is a developing work in process and i think this team has done a great job of filling out a professional workforce, they've got to combined with the dhs inspector generalan and with the fbi taskforces because are
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few and far between but they can be very serious serious cases. that investment and oversight has got to be critical. the accountability but also the morale of the workforce, they want individuals violating their own to be taken out of the workforce so having accountability is important for the overall health of the organization. >> do you want to add to that? >> i would simply take kevin is right, his past life with dhs and cdp, we have opportunities to talk about these kinds of things. one thing i will say about front-line employees, this is employee representative, we want employees held accountable as well. it does not dota cbp, it does nt
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do employees doing the right thing and serving their nation probably as the vast majority do and it doesn't help our country people are doingpr what you described as being done with the individual sensed 30 months or whatever it was. we think they should be held accountable and i want to impress upon everybody, probably well understood that it is very rare these things happen but when they do, it is important they are dealtth with in accordance with the law. >> i appreciate that and i agree continue the process to maintain morale and have professional responsibly important. flip to the other side, my staff has heard from several sources
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the border crossing cards are a patient collected and used by cartel and they can from two drivers they have a physical appearance similar to what they see on the t card and try to countermand through based on false border crossing part that doesn't line up with the individual using. what can we b do to continue to increase speed of truck traffic and other traffic coming across but maintain security. is there something we can implement our process in place? >> i was going to ask if that's for kevin or me. >> it for both of you if you have a quick but. >> very quickly, progress on the border has been impressive the last 15 or so years, going from declaration to only seven on the western mr. travel by going
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through secure documents, going to project travelers from being able to segment g travelers have higher confidence in the background but more can be done and i know cbp is working on incorporating more metrics and acting out the documents with facial preparation can be done for pedestrians and personally owned vehicles. i think it's an important augmentation for security of identity. >> and senator, i would simply add, whatever the mechanisms are put in place, as long as our officers are appropriately trained how to use whatever the technology is that they will make use of whatever they are instructed to use. >> one more question here for
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all four of you if you don't want to answer, you don't have reto. if it's redundant, somebody has already said it but everybody is committed to movingdo through legitimate supply materials, trade across our border both north and south. these programs have been essential but again if there, who got to make sure that doesn't become an area where you have this as well. ...
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we have objected to that but today we go to airports and pay icmoney so they can get their eyeballs on the record so i think we need to understand that we need to use the most modern technology and the worst thing that can happen to an officer is they don't have enough broadband to be able to move around to take reports of what they are saying and they don't know who's crossing the border. that is crazy. >> it's a very helpful. anyone else? >> i will give you a personal experience. i crossed the border and they came back across and there were
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people in front of me and they had paper documents and it took forever to get those process but i came across with my card that had all the biometrics in it and i just went up and was then in 10 seconds.. >> any other insight? thank you. i appreciate it very much. madam chairwoman if i could make one quick personal comment on this. i mr. valencia's a fan of ansel adams photography as i am too. thanks very engaged and then thanks for all of your written notes and oral testimony today. >> thank you so much senator lankford and you should see -- in arizona's phenomenal. with that win today's hair and appreciate the witnesses for their time and testimony want to
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thank my colleagues for your your participation produces import subject now look forward to working with my colleagues on security travel and trade. today's hearing record will remain open for two weeks until july 1 of 2021. thanks again and we are adjourned.
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