Skip to main content

tv   Homeland Security Secretary Testifies on Agencys Mission - PART 2  CSPAN  July 29, 2021 10:35pm-11:40pm EDT

10:35 pm
dhs building which i am currently residence i did hear your question. i you can hear what i am saying and then i need to step out for a minute. i'm very sorry for that. i will take to heart your commentst that i need to be more vocal what is going on in cuba. i did speak publicly about that and of course our president and secretary of state the president national security advisor has spoken very powerfully on thell subject as well it is something of tremendous personal importance to me my family lost everything as a result of the communist takeover of cuba the authoritarian regime responsible for the oppression of the cuban people and we stand with the cuban people. i'm afraid i have to step out i will return as quickly as i can.
10:36 pm
i'm sorry. >> we will take a brief recess until we assess is a civil on —- situation at your location. senator scott you have twos minutes when we come back [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
10:37 pm
>> the committee will come back to order. it's good to see you back mr. secretary safe and sound we will continue with a hearing. senator scott you are remainder for the of your time for your questions. >> mr. chairman and senator scott, if i mayng say one thing very briefly without imposing on the senators time, because i'm not sure what i articulated came through during the fire alarm and i apologize for the interruption to the hearing. senator scott, first, i appreciate your defense of the cuban people and your articulation of that so powerfully and consistently. second, i will take stock of what you said urging me to be even more vocal about the situation in cuba.
10:38 pm
as you know this is something profoundly personal to me. i was born in cuba and my parents brought me herere as refugees during the communist takeover and my father lost his business, the place of his birth and where he thought he would raise his family and the even the opportunity to lay his mother to rest. i join you condemning the authoritarian regime in cuba and the repression of the people of cuba and i echo your and the president and secretary of state and presidents national security advisors condemnation of the actions of theme authoritarian regime in cuba and we stand very strongly with the people ofea cuba and the measures this administration has taken are powerful evidence of that.
10:39 pm
>> thank you secretary. do believe the administration is doing enough to focus? is the root cause of all the problems. look at this the madero supported by the castro regime ortega is supported by the castro regime so what we see down there is caused by cuba and i just don't see the administration is doing enough to say this is the root cause so let's figure how to stop this. >> senator i think the sanctions that were recently imposed are a strong measure and of course across the administration are monitoring the situation in cuba and me will take those measures of foreign-policy led by the president are most prudent in the interest of the american people and in defense of them. >> as you know in the past
10:40 pm
what cuba has done to release the pressure they allow people to leave. how will the biden administration with the mass deportation by the castro regime? >> senator, the laws that address mass migration from cuba but haiti as well speak to the fact of that perilous journey should not be taken and individuals will be interdicted and if they make claims for relief they will be taken elsewhere. not to the united states but elsewhere for a referral for resettlement and safe third world countries. >> is that consistent what's going on at the southern border? and that is what is happening there? because if you leave cuba you are clearly going to seek asylum and likely should be
10:41 pm
able to seek asylum so is at the same thing happening on the southern border and the same process? >> it is slightly different for reasons of history and law and in the interest of the security of the people who attempt we cannot say this strongly enough that people should not take to the seas. tragically we have recovered more than 20 individuals who died making that dangerous journey. that is an incredibly important message of humanity. do not take to the seas. >> i think this is a historic time i hope the biden administration will be more aggressive. i hope in your role as secretary of homeland security will be more aggressive this is our opportunity to stop the cuban regime and do so much
10:42 pm
with stability in latin america and i you in the biden administration will do everythingid you can to stop the castro regime right nowow the cuban people have risen up we need to do what we can to help them get internet back on speak about it and talk about the atrocities that i believe we will see democracy and freedom in cuba. thank you. >> thank you senator scott senator you are recognized for your question. >> thank you ranking member important on —- portman. thank you for being here today i hope everything is okay in your buildings i have many questions about the dhs budget and only have time for a few of them so i will submit them for the record but first the daca program providing critical protections for thousands of nevadans unfortunately a texas federal judge just two weeks ago it is unconstitutional with the new
10:43 pm
daca applications and leaving them uncertain about their future the situation is an example why it is crucial they pass immigration reform including the budget reconciliation process. secretary how is the court ruling impacting daca applications prior to the rule and what will the administration do to help individuals who have already submitted their application and not processed before july 16? >> thank you very much for your question. i was the director of us citizenship and immigration services. it was that incredible agency that i lead in the implementation of daca. 's i cannot overstate the
10:44 pm
importance of passing legislation to bring stability to the youth who qualify for daca. that is a permanent solution and that resonates across the country it iss so popular for all the right reasons. >> we are not able to process new applications for daca or to continue and in light of the judges ruling we are continuing to litigate the case within the boundaries of the law and within the judges ruling we are seeking to fortify the daca program. but there is no substitute for the permanent solution from congress. >> thank you. if you could provide these later in writing the updated number of the daca
10:45 pm
applications we can have an idea of how many are there? i know there are a lot of biometrics that have been canceled so we will submit some questions about that off the record as well. i like to move on to talk about the nonprofit security grant program over the past few years we have seen dangerous increase of at t risk communities including the deadliest attack of the jewish community at the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh to protect the house of the worship and others against terrorist attacks it makes. >> grants available to eligible nonprofit organizations for security enhancements the demand for grants outpace the
10:46 pm
availability but with the dhs budget you failed to request specific funding of a nonprofit security grant do you believe funding should be increased and what canbe we do about this because those at the local leveldi makes the difference. >> senator i look forward to speaking with you further and working with you in connection with the 2022 budget. the nonprofit security program is in fact so important especially now what we have seen a tremendous rise in hate crimes affecting the jewish community the api community muslim american community all of whom i have engaged with extensively during my short tenure this far in light of
10:47 pm
their growing threat i like very much to working with you. >> i agreelo that was my follow-up a lot of communities are experiencing hate crime violence whether suburban or urban or rural areas so those grant programs are important i would like tout move on in a few minutes i have left to talk about i.c.e. detention with resource management because the long-term fiscal mismanagement is a concern for all of us the president dhs budget requesting eight.$4 billion for i.c.e. is a slight increase biden increase nonetheless during the last administration they were so budget increases with accountabilityte for years i.c.e. comes back for more funding with a lot of budget
10:48 pm
overruns on top of that dhs has transferred funds into i.c.e. from other agencies including fema which has a critical mission too protect americansam in the wake of disasters we have wildfires throughout the state and of course natural disasters allll over the country. can you tell us to address the financial mismanagement on a more stable funding track to clean up the mismanagement of funds? >> i recognize the issue i am well aware of the issues you have focused on this question i am meeting regularly with i.c.e. with respect to fiscal responsibility as is the deputy secretary and the cfo. when it comes to detention we are reviewing the detention architecture with a nice
10:49 pm
across the board in collaboration with office for civil rights and civil liberties and the newly created office of detention ombudsman from the department of homeland security it is noteworthy that we close to facilities because of the substandard conditions maintained in those facilities and that is the first of its kind and a very important message that only respect fiscal responsibility that to our values and the dignity of each individual. >> i appreciate that. we do have to remember the dignity of each individual is so important. thank you for your time. >> thank you senator rosen. senator carper you are recognized. >> in a take a moment before i ask questions to say this quickly about our a colleague
10:50 pm
mike t14? >> absolutely when i was new in the senate he got recognition and started speaking so i talked to him and ted kennedy work so well together. and that they did a remarkable job working together he talked about the 80 / 20 rule. i wasn't sure what he was talking about. and he asked senator enzi to come talk to me. we agree 80 percent disagree on 20 percent. what we have decided to do was focus on the 80 percent that we agree and focus on the 20 percent another day and it works so with his passing and
10:51 pm
working through this discussion and the debate on infrastructure i think just a nod to him on the 8020 rule maybe that's something that we can put to use in the days to come. thank you very much now to my colleagues and mr. secretary thank you so much for your leadership and joining us today i don't normally ask yes or no questions but i will ask a couple today given the 14.6 billion-dollar budget request for cbp, do you believe the senate needs to go quickly on confirming the president's nominee? yes or no. >> yes. >> in order to curb the influx of migration we see every year on the border do believe we need to address the crisis of
10:52 pm
guatemala and el salvador? >> yes i do. .>> with the budget request with a one.2 billion dollars to modernizing ports of entry will this amount of money take care of fentanyl and other illicit drugs coming to reports quick. >> yes they will. >> i understand the national capital planning commission recently approved final plans for the new cybersecurity infrastructure security agency and gsa estimates the consolidation the dhs component agencies would save more than $474 million over the next 30 years by releasing
10:53 pm
spaces for these agencies a 474 billion. can you take a moment to provide an expected timeline for completion of the new headquartersrs and how the consolidation project improves the mission and saves taxpayer dollars? >> i will need to get back to on the precise timelines in the development of the residence at saint elizabeth headquarters. i cannot overstate the importance of the geographic proximity to facilitate greater cohesion within our department. as a matter of fact, not only am i so supportive of the saint elizabeth project that began a number of years ago but looking at a commitment across the country to explore how we can actually coal locate agencies in various cities as we aspire not only
10:54 pm
to save money but to provoke greater cooperation between and among the different agencies and offices of our department that's an area of focus. >> thank you for that response. now to raise the question of management functions of homeland security and the most recent 2021 high risk report that gao identified several key management functions the department high risk areas including budget and management including procurement and acquisition and capital management. could you take a moment to discuss with us the budget you submitted reflects progress made as well as challenges
10:55 pm
faced with the integrated strategy for high risk management? which includes goals and correction and with the gao outcome with the key management functions? please? >> senator as i thank you know, tackling the issues on the high risk list was my highest priority as deputy secretary. >> i do remember that clearly. >> i have the privilege of working with a terrific team at gao. in fact i met with him and his team and that was one of the first things i did with the department in her efforts continue to be led by the incredible jim who coordinates all efforts.
10:56 pm
look forward to speaking with you further about how this budget addresses the remaining issues on the high risk list. some of which can be tackled in short order and some of which are frankly enduring challenges that we continue to work on. >> thank you. mr. secretary. thank you forju your testimony today i have great affection for the people and convey our thanks to the people what they do day in and day out to secure the homeland have one minute 45 seconds so are there any issues you might want to take to address issues by my colleagues today you like to elaborate on her provide clarification? >> senator i appreciate that
10:57 pm
question i look forward to the opportunity to explaining the fact we as an administration and specifically department of homeland security as a comprehensive plan to address migration that we encounter at the border it is a comprehensive plan that addresses the root causes which is the bottom line and it is unfortunate over the past four years investments of addressing those root causes is significantly slashed we have safe and legal pathways for individuals to avail themselves of our humanitarian laws congress has passed so they do not need to take a dangerous journey and imperil their lives and reach our border in we're bringing greater efficiency and program
10:58 pm
improvements to border processing and immigration enforcement architecture just we announced the commencement of expedited removal to bring greater speed without compromising due process a for those that take far too long and we continue to work in that effort we have a plan in collaboration with other country south of the border and investing in root causes developing legal pathways and improving our immigration system that we do at the same time we need congress to act there is unanimity that immigration system is broken and we need it fixed through legislation. i appreciate that very much. >> well said. thank you formi your service and your leadership.
10:59 pm
the best to you and your family. >> thank you senator. >> senator romney you are recognized. >> i want to join you in senator carper and others who have expressed condolences and great sadness at the loss of our former colleague, senator t14 a wonderful man and wonderful friend. want to express appreciation to the chairman i was troubled by the lack of information senator johnson described. secretary willing to commit you will s provide the data that senator johnson asked for? is that something youou can and will provide it will that be available to the committee and when? >> yes iwi commit to providing that information and data we will provide it as quickly as possible. >> i would presume that would be withinro the next 30 days quick. >> there should be no problem into doing so.
11:00 pm
>> thank you. >> obviously one of the key responsibilities of homeland security is to secure our border or homeland. the numbers in the human stories coming from the border are alarming and threatening to our domestic tranquility and economic vitality. i don't know exactly why the administration does not want to acknowledge the crisis we see at the border. i guess the real question in my mind is why we politicize everything? i am one of those that is critical of people that politicize vaccination but im incredulous of those if we should complete the border. it's only been contracted to be completed the steel is there the contracts are there contractors are standing by guarding the steel. why in the world don't they
11:01 pm
complete the barrier that authority been contracted for? surely it wouldri help our security of the border. i simply don't understand and is there a reason we are not completing a it the idea is we will study that. it has been six months businesses canrt make major decisions of acquisitions in less time than that they came up with a vaccine. why can't we make the decision to proceed? . . . . the great mt
11:02 pm
has already been spent. the overwhelming majority and now there's gaps in what has been spent. the prior administration expanded the border barrier. i'm all in favor of technology but as long as we've already paid for it and have contracts to complete the wall, i simply can't c understand any reason nt to complete it. this strikes me as being nonsense. i simply can't c understand with regards to that comment in root causes, i don't understand what you are referring to. are you suggesting somehow we should be able to invest to makd sure all of latin america gets rid of their dictators and corruption, and his violins andt if we do that maybe there will be less people trying to get to the border but that's unrealistic. that is absurd. we can't do all those things
11:03 pm
even domestically let alone around the world if people want to come to the country they always will. you are responsible for securing the border. i just don't get why you don't address this and frankly in a way president obama did to complete the barrier, use technology, have ice carry out the responsibility. is that a mistake and do you believe those funds should be restored? >> i will move very quickly to three of them. >> i didn't ask for a response to some of them. my response was do you believe in restoring and not cutting the funding for and enforcement contrary to what the house has
11:04 pm
past? >> i believe in the enforcement and that is what we are executing and i do not believe in spending taxpayer money unwisely and not consistent with enforcement of the priorities designed to achieve. do you believe that would be a mistake and do you want to make sure we don't reduce spending? >> what i am focused on is the wise expenditure of funds and i have a responsibility in certain respects i think we should increase it and in other respects we should reduce it.
11:05 pm
some of it isn't spent wisely to achieve the most important outcomes. i've seen that because i know you disagree with me by your physical reaction, but if i may i know that from being in the trenches. as much on interest right now as we spend on the combined budgets of commerce, education, energy, department of homeland security, housing development and interior, the justice department and the state department. overspending contributes to the highest level of inflation received in some 12 years. would you say the trillion
11:06 pm
dollar deficits like these before the pandemic as well as after the pandemic that posed a threat to the national security? >> senator, that is a question that i am ill-equipped to answer that is not my area of expertise. >> you have an opinion. the head of the department of homeland security, the question i'm asking is are we reaching a point where the level of debt and deficits represents a threat to the homeland security? >> not to my knowledge, senator. >> so, at no level trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye could see that doesn't pose an' threat to the national security? >> i believe this administration's contribute to the security of the country its national security and its homeland security, its economic security and possibilities inti
11:07 pm
promise. >> that is an answer to a question i didn't ask. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair recognizes senator langford for your questions. >> a request to you with some specific details with facts and figures can you give an update when we might get the answers to some of the facts and figures? >> senator, i know that that is and i appreciated our discussion a great deal. i need to follow up since our conversation to provide you with a definite timetable. i know it's pressing and we need to deliver that so i will follow up later today. >> i appreciate that to get some of the facts and figures that are not unrealistic for the
11:08 pm
oversight committee to be able to get access to these regardless of party. you and i also had a conversation briefly about tsa and about some of the pipelines. i've had some assurances that there will be some comments for the company to be able to contribute some insight based on the simple fact that some of the statements s that were required and some of the things they've already done but it looks like they are being asked to do it again because of a new guidance. so is there time coming for that? >> that is indeed the plan that
11:09 pm
remains. i appreciatedd your feedback in the prior conversation with respect to the private sector companies that are subject to the actions and i've begun to follow up already on that? let's talk about the border wall that is a system in place with the most noticeable a road for patrol and includes ground detection movement and cameras and lighting. when that stopped january 20th, there was ordered a 60 day study. can you tell us the status there's been about 200 days since that was done. >> of the study is ongoing but we are going project by project and in fact in the san diego sector and the border, i just
11:10 pm
approved the application of technology to make 33 gates operational and approve other things in the san diego sector going project by project and i would be pleased to provide you an update on that. >> last week alone had 20,000 encounters with people crossing the border just last week. in thator sector it is another where the gates are installed but the power has been cut off to them and as of january 20th, they can't open and close gates. the defense in some areas across the fields can't access both parts of it. they've got to go the long way around. so the challenge while you identify that in one sector in california and in texas they have the same issue but are not able to access their field because the power hasn't been turned on. are there other areas where all they've done except the gates haven't been hung and those are the areas where the contractors
11:11 pm
have been hired to watch the steel on the ground rather than install it. there's commonsense to this that doesn't require 200 days of study to put the gates up we are going to open and close them and we are going to do roads so the border patrol i would encourage the completion of that not to mention the fact $2 billion has already been spent of the 10 billion that was allocated to it not to build the fencing itself so we are down 20% of the funding for whatever decision is going to be made on that. it is a serious fiscal issue in the days ahead. a. >> the study involves a number of different aspects for example adverse environmental impacts and people in the communities have complained as well as
11:12 pm
private land owners taking eminent domain to construct the border wall so the review that we are undertaking is comprehensive taking into consideration the land owners concerns as well and we are very mindful of course of the challenge and very focused on it. >> is it your assumption the study may come back and say you want to take parts of the wall down based on the land owner comment? >> i haven't crossed that issue just yet. if in fact there is that consideration, certainly would bebe willing to engage with youn it. >> i think that would be a mistake and we could have a conversation about that but let me start with the interim -- >> i have not encountered that yet, senator. >> hopefully it is not encountered. we have agents that have interim guidance that's been given to
11:13 pm
them and my understanding is asr far as the attention or deportation of an individual now you said priorities for them if they have crossed illegally acrossos the border during the last now it is eight months if theyn are a person that said thy had a notice to appear somewhere but yet they didn't report and they exceeded their time that they were allotted it seemed toa be the guidance that you gave out for individuals so when is the final guidance and when is that coming? >> these are national safety and border security that includes recent border crossings that are not honoring the legal obligations to appear in court in immigration proceedings.ti we file the enforcement
11:14 pm
proceedings with respect to individuals who claim relief at the border. those who are not x billed under title 42. i've been traveling around the country and engaging with the workforce as i develop of the enforcement guidelines. my hope is to issue those guidelines in mid-october, i'm'm sorry, mid august. >> could i have one minute for a follow-up question? >> without objection. >> thank you. we try to interact and be able to determine the portion. i know there's been a significant change. one of the cases that came out it's a recent one there's an individual at a conviction for sexual assault of a minor under 14 years of age and officers requested permission to target that suspect and the request was
11:15 pm
denied under the new guidelines. second previously deported convictions for indecency with a child under five years of age. that was a registered sex offender for life and subject to the case is evaluated and officers were directed not to pursue arrest under the guideline. conviction for smuggling in the past for illegal reentry and ask for permission to interdict was turned down by officers. it's going to be helpful to look at new guidance because it currently is allowing individuals that are six offenders that are criminal aliens and i can tell you stories of multiple convictions that are being instructed by regional leaders not to detain. that is a problem for us right now. >> senator, i can't speak to the particular cases you cite but let me say this yesterday we announced t the results of the w
11:16 pm
enforcement operation conducted by immigration customs enforcement and they reported the arrest of 300 individuals whoo committed six offenses so that is in fact a public safety threat that we do address aggressively. i can't speak to the three cases that you cite, but i can champion the results of the operation and focus on the public safety threat and that includes individuals who committed six offenses. >> the last number i had was on the field there were 3,000 deportations, and that's one of the numbers we are trying to request from the office to get exact numbers to be able to track what's happening and that would be very helpful to us. >> thank you, senator langford. senator holly. >> thank you mr. secretary for being here. i want to just review the record
11:17 pm
since february the first full month of the biden administration there's been 822,629 illegal crossing attempts at the southwest b border. every single month of your tenure we've seen over 100,000 illegal crossing attempts and every single month attempts have increased. we've hit a 20 year record for entries who get that last month and we've had a surge of young children across the border placing these children in danger and in the line of harm on a single day in march we had 6,000 children in custody including hhs affiliates and we have 15,000 migrant children in federal custody in april the number of deportations carried out was the lowest monthly level on record. in interior was 2500 down from
11:18 pm
10,000 arrests per month under the previous administration and the "washington post" and other news outlets reported the border patrol totally overwhelmed nowat by the surge of migrantsro crossing the border the cartels are having an easier time smuggling drugs across the border which are going to states alike mine which are a wash in drugs from across the southern border. with all due respect, this record is an unmitigated disaster. i don't want to ask you to tell us and tell the american people what you are going to do to change course. >> thank you for your question. let me respond inn a number of different ways. first of all, the number of migrants apprehended at the border begins to increase in april of last year. number two, it's important to remember that the number of apprehensions, the number of encounters does not equal the
11:19 pm
number of different individuals encountered because we are exercising the centers of disease control titles authority to dispel individuals that means that they are quickly processed for identity and expelled. they are not placed in immigration removal proceedings but before expulsion, they often returned and are expelled again. >> mr. sec., my time is very limited. i don't mean to interrupt but i want to be clear about something you said. are you saying there hasn't been a dramatic surge in the border crossings and unaccompanied children is that your position? >> that is not my please allow me to finish my answer. we are seeing the recidivism under title 42 and individuals are being expelled more than
11:20 pm
once. number two cited the fact that 6,000 unaccompanied children were in custody back in march. we are seeing only a fraction of that n now because we had a plan then. it takes time to execute and we have executed and the number is far different. further, the smuggling drugs, the greatest means of the transportation across the border are three points of entry. in vehicles that can try to move large amounts and we are apprehending more than before. this began in october of last year because of theen investment in technology and the focus on the ports of entry. we continue the work of the prior administration in that regard. >> so, do i take it from your
11:21 pm
answer then that your position is that we don't have a crisis at the southern border, the surge is illusory and we have no reason to be concerned, is that what you are saying is there's no reason to do anything differently? is that your answer that the policies are working at the border? >> that is a complete mischaracterization. >> what i have said before and i repeat now -- >> are the policies working at the border, mr. sec., yes or no are they working? >> we have a plan. we are executing the plan. it takes time and we are doing so. and let me say this. what makes the plan more challenging is number one, covid. we are working through that and our plan addresses that challenge. >> covid was in a time a year ago mr. sec., with all due respect we saw none of these
11:22 pm
numbers aas year ago. this has occurredgo under your tenure. covid isn't unique to your tenure. you have engineered with your policies. let me ask you something with regards to -- you said to senator portman it is absolutely not true that officers have been told not to arrest people, that's what you said earlier today. that astounds me because officers have asked me to ask you about the instructions that your guidance has given them not to arrestnd individuals. for instance, the i.c.e. council has asked me to ask you because they can't get answers from you, they are asking why officers that have been i.c.e. officers that requested permission to go after a sexual assault, illegal alien convicted of sexual assault of a minor under 14 years of age were denied the ability to go and arrest this
11:23 pm
person. senator langford raised another case where the they were directed not to pursue someone convicted for indecency by sexual contact and confined for five years. this is a registered sex offender and officers were told not to remove this criminal alien. why is this happening? are you not concerned about these kinds of criminals being released onto the streets and hurting children again? >> senator, those types of criminals are a priority for arrest and removal. that is what the guidelines say. if i i may finish, senator, i cannot speak to the particular -- >> i heard you give that p answr to senator langford, but why can't you? you are the secretary. why can't you speak to the specifics? are you not in charge of your department? why can they not get answers from you? why do they have to come to me
11:24 pm
to get answers from you because they don't know what to do? they are desperate. >> senator -- >> why can't you speak to these issues. >> senator, if i may answer your question, if you would give me a moment to answer your question, i cannot speak to facts that are not in front of me. i cannot speak to cases without looking at the files and speaking to them with knowledge of the evidence and the facts, and i would be very happy to look at the case files that you refer to, number one. number two, i have traveled around the country and met with officers and i've answered their questions. the first thing that is my responsibility to do when i am engaging with the i.c.e. workforce is to give the union representative the opportunity to speak. i visited philadelphia and new york and atlanta and new orleans
11:25 pm
and san antonio and los angeles, and never once has the head of the union asked me a question, never once have i received an inquiry in writing or orally from the head of the union and if he should ask me a question, i shall answer it because i have been answering the questions of individuals whom he is responsible to represent. >> i would be happy to give you these case issues for the record, and i look forward to your response for the record and i would just say however much an inconvenience it may be for you to answer questions from me or other senators on the committee ormm from the union, the people that you are in charge of and supposed to be supervising, it is your job and frankly i don't care if it's an inconvenience and if you don't like it, it is your job to do so and the fact you are not able or willing to respond to these specific
11:26 pm
inquiries is troublesome but i will give them to you for the record and look forward to the response. >> if i may say also that is false. your questions are not an inconvenience for me. all i ask is the opportunity to answer them. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman and thank you for joining us mr. sec. on the importation of goods produced with forced labor is a core priority for the congress and u.s. government and the department of homeland security has significantan responsibilits for that effort. in october, 2020 gao report reported, however, forced laborr division expenditures account for less than 1% of the total budget of the office of trade and in october, 2020, homeland
11:27 pm
security investigations report from dhs ig found that they didn't have a cohesive approach to carry out the responsibilities in combating human trafficking and that they may have missed opportunities to assist and save the victims and support u.s. attorneys in the prosecution efforts. how, mr. sec., does the budget request this year fulfill the dhs responsibilities to investigate and combat forced labor supply chains in the united states and to prevent human trafficking? >> senator, so we are very focused on this scourge for forced labor and human trafficking. i read every week on the tremendous work that homeland security investigations perform. almost every week they deliver a case that brings accountability to the perpetrators in this crime. i also participated in a press conference of a major forced
11:28 pm
labor action by customs and border protection and its office of trade. the budget reflects the work. i know of no financial shortfall wither respect to our ability to perform this mission set. i look forward to that, mr. sec. i'd like to ask about the focus in the budget request as well as your testimony today on domestic terrorism and domestic violent extremism. let me first of allt state that there's much more to the threat assessment than recent historical casualty numbers and of course i recognize your department's responsibility is not to enforce local law but nonetheless i want to offer some numbers and regain some perspective on how you come to this threat assessment and the
11:29 pm
request. according to the dhs, fbi data from 2015 to 2019, 65 americans were tragically killed in domestic terrorist attacks and i want to put that in context by referring to the cdc homicide data over the same period. 94,636 americans were killed by homicide over the same period. again, there was more of a threat assessment. i recognize, then the historical casualty data about what led you to the conclusion that the level of threat from domestic violent extremists and the level of threat posed by potential domestic terrorists has risen to the extent that it justifies this bureaucratic focus and budgetary focus you've requested edfor example resources to establish a new dedicated to domestic terrorism branch within dhs office of intelligence and
11:30 pm
analysis. >> senator our research and analysis which is not only drawn from the work that we ourselves perform, but we harness the work in academia and private organizations. what we see is a an increasing amount of social media traffic that is based on ideologies of eight and extremism, false narratives and an increasing connectivity to violence, intention to commit violent acts. and so that is what causes us to conclude that this is the greatest terrorist related threat that we face in ourre homeland today and what we are doing is through the center of
11:31 pm
prevention programs and partnership. what we seek to do is more effectively disseminate what we learn about those trends mindful of the rights of privacy, civil rights and civil liberties, disseminate that information to our state, local, tribal territorial partners on the one hand, and importantly, to equip local communities to empower them to address the threat in their own neighborhoods. we cannot do it as effectively as the people in the communities themselves. the trusted individuals, families, friends, teachers, faith leaders and the like. we learned a great deal from prior efforts to counter violent extremism in the 2014, 2016 timeframe andat what we learneds that it's best to power and
11:32 pm
equip communities and first responders in those communities to act. >> thank you mr. sec. i'd like to shift to a discussion t on cybersecurity wh a particular focus on georgia's needs that as you well know posts the port of savannah which is one of the fastest-growing ports in the united states and indeed in the hemisphere and to the u.s. economy. we continue to see the impact of ransom where attacks and other cyber attacks on u.s. critical infrastructure, the, colonial pipeline attack also headquartered in georgia and i want to thank the personnel that assisted in the response to that incident. my request for you, mr. sec., is mr. secretary, is that you commit the next time you will sit downow with me and the authority personnel to discuss how they can best support cybersecurity to protect the port of savannah and perhaps you
11:33 pm
can comment on your efforts to protect the ports from cyber attack. >> this is a very important area for us. our cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency is very focused on the porch security init the cyber domain d yes, senator, i would be pleased to visit the port authority with you and address their concerns with respect to cybersecurity and of course i would bring colleaguesos who are most expert in that work. >> thank you mr. sec., and finally on the same note, we face a significant shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals. this is a field of growing importance to national security. it's a field that is rapidly expanding and we needed to ensure that the pipeline of well-trained and highly qualified cybersecurity professionals is wide open and
11:34 pm
that there is diversity in the pipeline generating that security workforce. do you agree that a priority for the u.s. government and f u.s. congress should be expanding the nation's capacity to train highly qualified cybersecurity workforce that can for example support the efforts to protect the ports and other critical infrastructure? senator, i most certainly do, and on that point, our department, the department of is underway inty the largest and most intense cybersecurity recruiting effort in the departments history. >> thank you mr. sec. for your testimony and service and i will yield back. >> thank you, senator. we want to thank you once again for your service to the country and your willingness to tackle these incredibly challenging challenges that you have before you and also have an opportunity
11:35 pm
to thank the men and women who serve each and every day in the department of homeland security to keep us safe. certainly having every member of ethe committee is thankful for the work that you do and everybody at the department of homeland security. and we look forward to working closely with you as we work to overcome these challenges. the record for the hearing will remain open for 15 days until august 11th at 5 p.m. for the submission of statements and questions for the record and with that, the hearing is now adjourned. >> [inaudible conversations]
11:36 pm
the capital officer came and said that it was necessary to evacuate and that we should take the hoods that are under the
11:37 pm
seat of each seat in the chamber, take them out and be prepared to put them on. so everybody did and i think when you pull the little red tag it activates it and so people were wearing them. there had been teargas released in the rotunda which is why we were advised that we might need to wear them but there was a tremendous hissing noise from all these foods that was in the background of the moment and of course the pounding and the noise had become much louder. at some point, someone up in the chambers, a gallery member was
11:38 pm
yelling at the republicans to call trump and have him call off his mob and there was a little yelling back and forth among members in the gallery. [inaudible] i've been fascinated by the presidency since i was a kid and as i grew older i started to work on campaigns and i worked
11:39 pm
in the clinton administration and i started to notice this dynamic between the leaders best friend and the leader himself and how that could to speak in a way that no aid or staffer could and i saw it with warren beatty to speak to the candidate in a way that no one else would at the time and he would say all the time stop acting like a politician and he would get he would listen and change the way he spoke and i also saw the late-night conversations and dinners and then i saw the same dynamic in the clinton campaign and how they were of equal stature and what that allowed in the way he couldn't from anybody else on the campaign and then
11:40 pm
the new administration itself. aid and author of first friends talks about the political influence yielded by confidants and close friends of the presidents. sunday night at eight eastern on c-span q-and-a and you can also listen as a podcast wherever you get your podcast. thank you all for being here. i'm an adjunct fellow from the hudson institute center for dispense concepts


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on