tv Hearing on Southwest Border Ports of Entry CSPAN November 18, 2021 12:30am-2:09am EST
having grown up in southern arizona i understand trade and travel from myy stay in the entire nation the ports along the southwest border have a critical role to facilitate trade to ensure the safety and prosperity and economic security of the american people. and any disruption to this relationship has adverse effects onn investment, employment, producty and i competitiveness the covid-19 pandemic has created new challenges to nonessential
travel to her border communities also the key ring to securing our border most seizures of illicit drugs happen at ports of entry that we are making the right security investment both now and in the future the flow of illegal drugs to maintain the in of legitimate trade and travelrt i was pre- to lead those efforts with a bipartisan infrastructure package signed into law by o the president a historic legislation was three.$85 billion including the two ports in arizona and takes an important step that there was the right infrastructure footprint to meet the nation's needs but there were other initiatives we need to
consider at the ports i of entry new technology with nonintrusive inspection plays a critical role of any effort for ports of entry it is critical toan understand what technology is needed with those illegal drugs but also to facilitate the flow of legitimate trade and travel and as always it is a strong border workforce support officers have work the past year in challenging circumstances in the midst of a global pandemic and i honor their efforts i these hearings can help us focus with the portss of entry and to understand the current challenges at the southwest border ports to discuss infrastructure and personal investmentso needed and for years into them future and today and tomorrow we have a strong p.m. of leaders to have important expertise and with
that i like to recognize the subcommittee ranking member for his opening statement. >> at the last hearing we encountered a 20 year high of the migrants attempting to cross the southwest border also seeing with the fentanyl that was interdicted on the southwest border but unfortunately we encountered over one.7 million migrants the highest number of encounters in the history. and it was over 10000 pounds of fentanyl the highest amount in recorded history tenfold when the government first encountered in 2016 these datais points on thehe capture what we interdict and those experts and officials are all g aware we
have more immigrants to cross the border this year illegally andov this has active harming to the a communities endemic to the narcotic trade is all too common and in 2020 oklahoma reported 620 oh nine methamphetamine related deaths unfortunately in the past year we just crossed the highest number of overdose death due to opioids and fentanyl that we have had ever 100,000 people died between april 2020 and april 2021 the first time they have reached six figures in any ten month period. may have seen the vast majority of math and in
oklahoma that have been smuggled through mexico over the southwest border becoming more and more aware of those implications with the surge at theri southwest border to hear stories of unaccompanied minors for labor trafficking when dhs began to fully vaccinated nonessential travelers they announced formally in the policy of metering which allowed cbp to allow to control the flow of migrants by creating a waiting list for the migrants went to the united states to claim asylum the obama administration instituted metering in 2016 to ensure cbp could fully meet the obligation to facilitate a secure traffic at ports while dealing with the surge of migrants. and as they navigated the increasing flows of migrants i feel that would increase risk by the cartels to surge migrants and why they move the
other kardex across the border. we have not seen how dhs will increase demand for lawful trade and travel that is essential to the economy. however the policy will for cbp to make tough decisions to responding to a surge of migrants for lawful trade and travel the port facilities further compound these problems they are not designed to hold individuals in detention which is why cbp has relied on metering these are also becoming increasingly strainedtr and facing difficulties meeting the trade obligations are handling an increase of travelers the gsa told congress thatti study global and regional growth has funneled more into the land port of entry than it is able to handle.
two thirds of the land ports of entry have not had capital improvements in over a decade throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have heard aboutfi disrupted supply chains and phase significant difficulty to the components they need for basic manufacturing as the seaports have crisis levels they will face increased trains to keep up with the demand for goods unfortunately the port along the southwest border i haven't then touched since they went into effect china is shipping fentanyl and synthetic opioids to mexico and working with the cartels to smuggle them across the port cartels transport both polydrug loads with commercial and passenger vehicles by exploiting routes for transportation the da notes the most common method of drug smuggling is illicit drugs to
the us ports of entry and passenger vehicles with concealed departments with legitimate goods on tractor-trailers for the coming weeks and months we will see the strain in our ports as we look to reopen the country even more unless we get the border crisis under control you'll see the surge continue to take away from cbp efforts to stop illicit narcoticsna counterfeit goods to undermine the public safety and national security. i'm grateful for our witnesses that are here today that we can talk through these issues while we are all in the same room i am very aware some are joining us online son will be coming in and out but we are grateful for your testimony in putting this on the record today. >> the practice of this committee to swear in witnesses so please stand and raise your right hand.
these where the testimony will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you. you may bees seated. i askom each witness to keep their opening statement at five minutes of full written statement will be submitted for the record our first witness has been serving as a deputy assistant commissioner of us customs border protection office field operation since s july 2020 and this position to oversee operation at 330 ports of entry to supportrc national security customs and commercial trade related missions of cbp we are honored to have you to join us and you are recognized for your opening statement spent chairman and ranking member and members of the subcommittee it's an honor to appear before you today on behalf of the field operations along the southwest border so the nations ports of entry are
and fido gateway those that drive economic growth and opportunities for american those bonuses to manage complex process to facilitate safe and awful travel and goods for hazards and unfair trade practices at the border. in the recent years and months to be a form industry a firm to respond and adapt to fluctuations with travel and trade and migration flows such as the covid-19 pandemic. cbp was ready to accommodate the increased traffic at the land ports of entry fully vaccinated against covid-19 and we anticipate increase private and commercial traffic as we approach the holidays. drug traffickers smugglers and other adversaries but the threats are never static or
predictable these adversaries constantly change the methodology to c avoid detection many were not built to support present-day security and operational missions cbp continues to work with our partners to modernize ports ofin entry while actively implementing innovative technology and business solutions to effectively interject contraband and other threats without impedingg legitimate traffic we pursue advanced technology to identify high-risk shipments and individuals before they reach our borders including digital solutions combined with enhanced infrastructure and other integrated technology to streamline the process at the ports dedicated lanes for travelers using the rfid documents to have time to identifype a threat to determine the admissibility of the occupants. this was to all pedestrian pedestrian crossings on then border and the simplified
arrival means of biometric campers to alleviate with the front-line officers and afford more time to engage and intent with that initial deployment across all four environments to identify over 950 imposters attempting to use identities and over 600 were identified along the southwest border alone. offering more than 350 large-scale nonintrusive inspection to scan conveyances for anomalies these resulted in the introduction of more than 470,000 pounds of my kardex and 11 and a half million dollars of unreported currency 90 percent of the nii attributable seizures was
scanning less than 2 percent of primary passenger vehicles and 15 percent of commercial vehicles crossing the southwest border by fy 23 we expect to increase the scans at 40 percent and at least 72 percent respectively. but we leverage our partnerships with the private sector to local governments and border communities thanks to the great support of congress and also continues to be a key mechanism to address infrastructure and resource challenges we invest in our personnel the most critical asset with those staffing models to identify staffing needs to analyze trend for future requirements to coordinate with federal partners with gsa and i send others on infrastructure modernization projects to information sharing and intelligence analysis the federal partnerships are all essential to the port of entry operations we actively pursue
new capabilities and initiatives with the future concepts to come by bring together stakeholders from all levels to improve the workflow despite the challenges we face we continue to make progress for upgrading facilities with effective technology to implement solutions for the challenges and threats at him beyond our border. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> our second question the witness from isis homeland security transnational organized crime division. the principal investigative component of the department of homeland security responsible for investigating the infrastructure to which international trade, travel and finance thank you for your
work and joining us today and you are recognized for an opening statements period chairwoman and ranking member and distinguish members for border management thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to today to discuss the security of the united states from transnational crimes and threats as a principal component responsible for conducting federal criminal investigations internationally in cooperation the terrorist organizations the physical border and ports of entry to exploit legitimate trade and travel and transportation system where criminal organizations earn substantial profits those that are connected and complementary neither can fully succeed the efforts without the unwavering commitment and support or to maximize the collective contributions without coordinating that response and
action. in collaboration with strategic partners and abroad the special agents gather evidence terrorist networks and those that threaten the homeland each side works of prosecutors and then to take other actions to dismantle criminal organizations operating around the world these efforts protect the public safety of the united states conducting criminal prosecutions that is necessary to ensure the rule of law but the mandate is use multijurisdictional conflicts those at the border ports of entry clearly demonstrate the diligence to protect america's border but also to absorb substantial losses while continuing to function land border is necessary but those capabilities for the leadership with the
investigations and to push out the border to target the homeland as hsi authorities do not start or stop at ports of entry but extended to international domain the largest international presence comprised of 80 offices in 50 countries focusing on expanding borders out to identify and mitigate threats before they reach our borders the multi- a tiered and multipronged strategy to cross all program areas and with those field offices throughout the united states were special agents respond to investigate to identify at the us border at ports of entry smugglers used techniques for contraband special agents work every day to identify those that attempt
to exploit point —- ports of entry as contraband into the united states to focus by working with cbp on collecting and examining that information gathered from introductions and other law enforcement partners with new and ongoing investigations as well as execute enforcement action to disrupt and dismantle the criminal activity of the operations the multifaceted complex from crime surrounding illicit activity requires an equally robust investigative response which is implemented on multiple fronts this continues where special agents anchor analyst of over offices across the united states respond to and pursue investigation for trafficking that comprehensive strategy with complex large-scale investigations represents one of thene best weapons to dismantle in a manner not possible for border interdiction efforts with that
partnership at ports of entry as well a the interior of the united states to use the full breadth of the authorities and expertise to pursue investigations and all aspects of tcl. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and the continuous support of the critical investigative role we remain committed from transnational crime and threats to apple the national security and public safety of the united states i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. >> our final witnesses the assistant commissioner for the office of portfolio management and customer engagement general services administration public building service it acquires space through new construction leasing and to maintain federal properties nationwide with 100 land ports of entry thank you for joining us today you are recognized for your opening statement thank you
are members of the subcommittee i would like to thank you for inviting me to testify at the hearing on improving security trade and travel flows. the mission is to deliver the best value in g real estate acquisition and technology services for the government and american people to meet the real estate and technology along the border tsa maintains a close partnership with the department of homeland security custom border protection the other agencies like the department of agriculture hhs, fda, and federal motor carrier safety administration because you know cbp is the primary partner with those stationed along the american land borders and it is essential to have modern facilities to perform the critical mission to safeguard our borders with prosperity. investment in human existing land ports of entry strengthens trade and tourism and commerce to create jobs
and bolsters our nation security i would like to think the chairwoman cinema and other members for their work to include the land ports in the infrastructure investment and jobs act which you mentioned signed into law on monday now the legislation is enacted working with cbp to construct new and modernize existing land ports of entry at dozens of border stations along the southern border ander gsa will undertake projects to improve road infrastructure these critical investments provide modern and energy efficient facilities to benefit state and local and private partners three.$4 billion provided to gsaro and is provided to cbp would address critical infrastructure priorities for our country and eliminate the substantial backlog of outstanding projects gsa is
well-positioned to move on this program with a consistent track record delivering capital projects on time and on budget with leveraging resources and subject matter experts. this approach results in the application of industry best practices and site acquisition and environmental analysis, design, construction and delivery of these facilities. the collaborative team approach leads to the c success of many projects. there 167 land ports of entry across 7500 miles of the united states borders gsa manages 123. the land ports of entry serves needs with a diverse set of locations with urban communities like san diego california, el paso and detroit as well as remote like arizona, van buren maine and alaska to support jobs and
economic growth and those portfolio is designed and constructed more than 40 years ago and that facility is functionally obsolete for the 2t century this in turn has a negative effect on american trade, tourism jobs and national security. to inform and facilitate in a land ports of entry gsa coordinates to assist cbp in evaluating and prioritizing the facilities for investment over the past five years the process has relisted in significant investments columbus new mexico and alexandria bay new york working closely with cbp to ensure the large e-larger multiyear priority plan and as part of the plan and consults
with cbp and other stakeholder agencies such as the four motor carrier safety administration and to continue that relationship without the lifecycle of what the expansion of california and incorporated each of those agencies program requirements into one modernized facility thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the ongoing partnership and others to deliver on the land ports modernization program at the northern and southern border that the infrastructure and jobs act presents into the t century i welcome for strategic investment and i'm happy to answer any questions. >> and now we will began the question portion of the
hearing each will have seven minutes for hearings i will recognize myself. my first question, with the recent passage of the infrastructure investment and jobs act congress provided a significant investment with the reports of entry to help provide more security and more efficient trade and travel but security is constantly evolving and congress and the administration should be planning for the future with those ports of entry what steps in congress take for the infrastructure needs ten years from now? curious to learn more how this will fit with cbp port of the future concept of operation that seeks to transform port workflow and technology process. >> thank you for the question cbp make significant investment of research and development for new technology to enhance the current infrastructure on the port that complements to prioritize
land ports of entry for infrastructure investments when the opportunity to present itself. thank you for your support we look forward to being part of thoseoj projects with the five year capital investment plan. in addition to that another ten fully modernization efforts but the concept focusing on those workflows to make investments to build out technology to integrate information for the cbp officers into that platform that takes all of the information as it is deployed in the information once we have the simplified arrival program rolled out to give officers the best tools and information to make decisions quickly and automate every
part of the process to give them the time to invest in the interviews with individuals or the time to look for further at themo actual commodities and what they do best with the future of travel initiatives looking comprehensively across all travel environments where we can leverage and then with the hammer administrative burden that is the facial biometric comparison technology but also affording travelers the opportunity to apply for i 94 and previously through the website and now from theeb mobile application in the cbp portal all of these individual investments to refine travel and trade to help us provide the tools and the time to address the significant challenge to identify those threats across
the border on a daily basis. >> and those land ports to define with those projected flows to those land ports of entry that is why we have a heavy coordination effort in the capital planning and request for the land ports of entry moving forward. >> i want to discuss the role of ports of entry across the border administration recently announced never asylum seekers in the ports of entry in that comment period. i visited ports of entry and i have seen firsthand those that humanely process migrants so also what steps are you taking
that you're prepared to t deal with the potential for increased numbers with other forms of relief i especially like to know how this is taken into consideration while modernizing our ports of entry? >> regarding the steps with respect with the ability to manage the flow, it is absolutely critical strategy we have to employee to ensure that as migrants present themselves up ports of entry to request asylum some are processed through other cases however the's individuals as they present themselves the ports are not designed to detain people for extended periods of time so one of the steps we have been pursuing was working with nongovernmental organizations
south of the border to help provide advanced information through the app so we can make decisions not necessarily but to determine who is coming towards us and with the ports of entry and put them through a streamlined process as m they arrived to make a final determination on inspection. >> i also want to focus on technology i'm worried the border security discussion focuses too much on the region between the ports of entry and not enough on the ports themselves but we know those are constantly targeting the ports so as cbp deploys the right technology at the ports of entry to allow officers to keep pace with criminals who are adapting tactics in
response to the us capabilities. >> certainly it is a challenge that processed as soon as new technology is to play the adversaries are well underway to overcome the strategies and technologies we employ but we look as comprehensively as possible at all of the opportunities and the investments in the nonintrusive technology with those appointments that would occur over the next 18 or 24 months since the execution of the contract is criticalab that officers have the best information available to make the decisions quickly to tie that information we have a vulnerability to work for travelers over the land border that is the next step in closing the gap of the vulnerabilitieso and continue to streamlined travel the vast
majority of people that cross the ports of entry are legitimate travelers with legitimate commerce but that streamlined information will help to eliminate the bad actors to give the frontline personnel the time to invest to make the decision to spend more time to search the commodities. >> i would like to recognize senator lankford. >> i want to continue the conversation about individuals so there are two things one is the ability to identify those documents and at a point when all land ports of entry can do facial recognition to compare that and then you mentioned and all ports of the southwest border in that last year we
had 600ea false documents but it really wasn't the person that was holding the card. correct? >> yes. and thennt of those maritime and land the deployments of simplified arrival really was initiated starting in tucson a year and a half ago but more significantly since january of this year and over 600 that can follow-up but over 600 identified at the southwest border. >> so it is legitimate not just the person? >> with genuine document. >> so what happened tohe those legitimate documents with that passport i assume is there a need for those to go back to individuals if you get another border crossing is that
process so we know what happened and how it ended up in their hands. >> and then to obtain the information from the individualsth we encounter to present themselves as imposters we can make referrals for federal prosecution for false claims that presents itself as an imposter to us citizenship but with the documents themselves they areto not returned to individuals but we dispose of them consistent with the policy with respect to the individual documents. >> so you can prosecute those individuals that show they are imposters with legitimate document but not the right person? >> in the last fiscal year we presented and just under 500 cases with prosecution that is a national number is not specific to the southwest
border. >> if you're not interested in inspection talking about that already but from that briefing in september we have learned some of that money allocated for nonintrusive inspections have been shifted to the southwest border for other purposes are you aware of that and how much of that is dedicated and move to other purposes quick. >> with respect to programming and funding with the shortfalls the specifics of where the funding and to what it was allocated i can follow-up. >> there has been a high priority both with drug introductions and other contraband and then i will be
reprogrammed in other areas. >> getting very close to some deadlines but you know what percentage of cbp employees have been vaccinated are facing issues for the mandate that has been laid out? >> the numbers continue to grow. we do have until november 22nd. >> that is one week. >> we are very optimistic of the numbers coming ath in. >> i would assume you have some idea how many have not turned in theirf status it with one week away. >> i do not have a good number we will follow up. >> you have a good number for that? >> i do not. >> you are aware that and then
that should be known the number of agencies that don't know that answer to deal with the national workforce issues if we have a large number of individuals to go to the process of removal you could be removed from the jobs it is a very extensive process to reach out to bring on additional folks i assume you don't have too many employees right now he had a backlog of staff that you needed to hire is that true quick. >> we have a robust pipeline of individuals with respect to the vaccine mandate there is a population that can and have so the process is expected to be over several months we have been very engage with our stakeholders that they understand the timeline for any impact with any remote
potential for that. >> so the timeline is when? medical or personal religious accommodation quick. >> it is the establish process to have reasonable accommodations it is not new for the vaccination mandate and contingent on the volume that we do have. >> that will take how long? >> that could take several months. >> we continue to deal with a large full of methamphetamines from new mexico this is an issue but whatit are you seeing as far as trendlines and criminal organizations moving and what do we need to accommodate for technology or other staffing quick.
>> starting with the technology piece because they are ever changing and evolving we need to do the same so a couple of items i would bring to your attention is to implement mobile drug labs that we are not necessarily dealing with marijuana and cocaine that narcotics sometimes that is determined with those substances are so to have a mobile drug lab platform that gives you the ability to provide with some certainty the geographical origin of what is made and it can tell you it is being produced also talk about using drones for surveillance as well as the ability to counter
the use who are using them to bring narcotics and that we saw for other means as far as inflow from the perspective that of the cartel and don't want to wasteou my time with marijuana and i get out it of the candy on —- cocaine business because then you are purchasing those chemicals at the end of the day this will not go away we have been on the frontlines and stay number one we have taken border enforcement as a traditional border perspective and move that and increased the seaports nontraditional locations like ohio and michigan we have had operations which is partnership with usps to focus
what is imported into the united states to make illegal substances when it comes to a precursor they are leading the way with over 500 kilograms a precursor to be used for math and fentanyl the other thing is partnerships we are into us postal and fbi there is not a place were not working together as a whole government approach i understand your frustration but not from a lack of effort to be on the front line. >> next i would recognize the senator for seven minutes. >> thank you madame chair
pandemic has led to supply chain issues and consumer products given the mission could you talk with us any lessons learned of the pandemic. >> thank you for the question from the perspective not unique to cbp across the field operations enterprise to leverage the expertise of personnel from ports of entry on a daily and recovering basis to engage with them as frequently microsoft teams and other endeavors moving to a virtual engagement allowing us
to reach more individuals with a timely message simultaneously instead of multiple gaps between stakeholders to ensure we have a consistent message the leveraging the virtual environment like global entry the programs freeing up 2300 interviews per week with that volume that builds up for those that were closed during the pandemic and with a large stakeholder forum and then with those understood overseas with that validation with
costly travels or to take advantage of the technology and then not losing sight to leverage and then to move out of there significant travel restriction and challenges as paperless of a process as possible in the vaults to leverage biometric technology not and the travelers space in the own workspace with all of the offices with the space that we need and then reallocating resources. with costly investments of
what we could use toward other programs to tackle other threats. >> . >> so on the finance committee with this legislation with that trade and partnership and then with by voice vote and then that allows to submit themselves to a screening and information sharing and with that process with the national
security while creating jobs and to expedite. and that does with cbp hoping that you work on this issue at the agency and then to modernize that port of entry. >> we certainly look forward to working withgr you on the legislation it's a very important program because we rely very heavily on the companies that are invested in the program to also eliminate those bad actors we can identify in the supply chain. we rely on them enough to do our mission and receive the benefits of the program with
respect to the future of the program and the work we are doing engage with other similar programs, international programs to having recently signed an agreement to help collaborate on some of these investments to identify the good actors in the trade space that help us eliminate the vulnerabilities and bad actors as well as the networks tied to those bad actors. >> thank youou for joining us today. >> . >> i will continue to ask questions so for mr. geronimo i know focused on
transnational criminal organizations what does congress need to be aware of about those security gaps in the ports of entry are those technology investments needed that could assist in the investigations to more effectively disrupt and counter these criminal c groups? >> thank you for your question i applied the committee for their efforts in passing the recent bill which gives cbp the ability to upgrade the ports of entry every time it makes an introduction that gives hsi the opportunity to turn that into a criminal investigation and then hopefully to identify build out the networks and for disruption dismantling and prosecution and so with that with that introduction increased because of this process that would result in
hsi being resourced 20 percent of the work hours total are specific through the port of entry seizure that is significant and every time there is the introduction hsi spends a minimum of 95 hours to handle that interdiction from cradle to grave that is 12 business days that is significant and a huge commitment i tried to dumb things down for myself but if you have a port of entry with 1000 cars going through cbp in specs 10 percent your inspecting 100 cars at that hit rate is 10 percent then hsi is mandated so as it continues to improve that now inspects 500 cars in the hit rate is 10 percent is 50 cars with narcotics so that is us
responding to those to build up those seizures in introductions into long-term investigations. i will say resource wise dealing with encrypted communication that has been a sore subject trying to keep up with cartels and to deal with that and improving the shovel enhancement act as far as those taking advantage of that i look at things in four buckets from the interdiction perspective or intelligence and investigation and prosecution the goals to move from one bucket to another as seamlessly as possible something there is more important that when we work collectively to gather at all mean something because intelligence is good you
cannot operationalize it doesn't mean anything you can interdict all day long it will not change anything you can work the best case airfare but without a prosecution they put them in jail it doesn't mean much so working collectively is vital so i appreciate everybody's support with the efforts. >> thank you for mentioning that that has been offered and that's been passed through the entire congress. senator you are recognized. >> thank you madame chair. california's lands the ports of entry the busiest border crossing in the hemisphere that creates opportunities for bilateral trade or cooperation and a recent study found those ports 73 and 2016 cars nearly
one.$6 billion of lost economic and those average impacts of delays for personal trips at these ports of entry will continue to grow and intensify the association of government california department ofn transportation those that carry out the state route 11 eastport of entry project to create a new multimodal land port of entry. and with commercial primary inspection means to better manage traffic and demand with all ports of entry in the region.
i appreciate that cbp is constructively engaging with the project sponsors to identify the staffing requirements what assurances can you provide the state and local government with staffing when it's prepared to open? >> thank you for the question were always excited for the prospect of infrastructure from the ports of entry to incorporate the technology we work to identify and implement today at the onset of development. and with this particular project that is with the program offices and they are engage with the san diego
field office and local leadership which we really appreciate we do have additional steps to model to identify what the staffing needs could be. and then as a decision tool as the resources that we have authorized on board. >> a two-part question and those for sufficient staffing part of the budget in 2023 so what steps are we taking now there will be adequate staffing where potentially is as open as 2024? >> i'm pleased to say we do have a robust pipeline going back over ten years but a cadre of people for the staffing numbers have reflected that.
and with those training seats available and then we will certainly continue to work with you and your staff and then to leveragee a briefing with the workload staffing model. that is the best resource and to work with the staffing model impacted by the downturn still reflected the need for officers as well as agriculture model. and with those resources to demonstrate withde the workload of express consignment facilities and then you expect to see changes of what the staffing models reflect as well.
>> so one option is for gsa to take possession of the east facility and then to have that agreement to staff it. that is accurate and that it does play out with other responsibilities and then to take possession of a facility like that. >> i am familiar with the project because depending on —- funding comes from the projects. and then we are prepared to take that to maintain the facilityhe. >> we will continue a conversation about this in the year or two ahead.
and then the delays and that resulting vehicle and with the air quality in the surrounding regions but also decreased and the mission so it has been 450 side metric tons alone or day in 2016. a recent study has and reducing delays would reduce the emissions of pollutants and particular matters. and then with that health impact. >> and then with respect to the timeline to the facial biometric comparison
technology and then in select lanes to work with the industry as well as the office of information technology we rolled out simplified arrival and the maritime environment and did it very quickly because of the environmental challenges it really is a larger hurdle than the other deployments we look forward to keepingse you apprised as we see it falling out and then in particular it is one location we are targeting once we have the right technology identified. we have been engaged with the local leadership on the ground to talk about the amenable population to even pilot that in the next phase.
>> i look forward to the ongoing collaboration. >> we have time to start a second round of questions. and with that bipartisan language with the pilot program and with those mexican travelers through i 94 to travel to arizona then to make border crossing more efficient. and what hurdles to overcome those challenges. >> i unfortunately do not have a good answer on the pilot program because of the challenges with the travel restrictions it did not
develop as it could have if we had not encountered the covid pandemic that we are looking at the opportunities to implement the pilot program as a short-term solution and a a gap filler and then with more comprehensively looking at the traffic coming across the border. issue those the number of efforts underway that and then to follow up with that development for that project. >> and in border states to have a problem of understaffing office of field operations to show that the hiring has improved somewhat. and then to understand the challenges the us-mexico
border but are those concerns that they report officers to get in the way of successfully doing their job? what steps are you takinget to improve the workforce morale and retention challenges? >> and with those operations for the front line personnel and the rest of the country by the pandemic we do have a number of investments and first and foremost and that is a support team and then for employees to engage and then to identify any challenges.
if they don't want to pick up the phone to the employee assistance program they have someone they can talk to that they are comfortable with. we message that aggressively. with a variety of services available to the workforce and then to manage those finances or who what they like to speak to? the agency is made a significant investment to bring on clinicians to guide the programs and enhance then we also have the workforce resiliency division that looks at opportunities to engage employees and morale building and teambuilding programs that we deploy out to the field. thank you. >> and the same basic question for you can you speak to the challenges with the agency
efforts to improve around and retention quick. >> thank you for your question. and we have a robust applicant pool and do female only announcements. we can attack criminal organizations but that is going back with us customs and who doesn't want to be a part of that is what i would put out there but one thing that does bring morale down is the inability because we are
already underde the umbrella it is well documented they will not work and it is a bit frustrating with hsi and employees to work with these jurisdictions to enforce narcotic investigation child exploitation and cybergang enforcement and money laundering. human trafficking. really focusing on the safety and well-being. and the t nation as a whole. that is a frustrating point for us in that regard. >> senator portman received doing the committee for seven minutes of questions. >> . >> thank you for having this hearing you should be commended for that there is so much need for oversight obviously we had some start on
—- terrible statistics of the month of october we are told the highest number of encounters with illegal immigrants with any october in the history of our country's we are r breaking records every month. there is a crisis at the border. i would pass quickly and so how many people got away? this getaway number if you have 164,000 so how many people do you think you are not finding coming across the border illegally? >> i do not have that number that something i would have to follow up and get from my colleagues in border patrol and that is available as needed. >> that is somewhere between 15 and 20 percent and we had
terrible numbers this week with regard to the issue of overdose of people in the united states that are taking opioids and we look more closely and almost all of these opioids are connected to fentanyl maybe it's said another drug but fentanyl next in with a pill and fentanyl is killing more and more americans citizens more americans die between april 2020 and 2021 we were just told the last couple days that number has never been reached before it is a terrible record and indicates so many that the fentanyl that is so deadly coming across the mexican border.
it turns out in october we had 42 percent increase fentanyl seizures coming in over the border. i know that perhaps you are more focused on that in some respects because much of this comes to the ports of entry but a 42 percent increase of the deadliest drug seems we have a national emergency. if you think those amount of drugs that are coming in that are not seized if it is a 42 percent increase of seizures what is it overall? >> i have to do math on the fly. i am not equipped to do that. we can certainly follow up with estimates. we did sees over the last night over 9000 pounds in particular at the southwest border so with the investments
in technology and the departments between the next 18 through 24 months than it is within that endeavor to tackle the challenge. but we also work very closely with our partners with hsi another partners. because the best, what we can do is identify these networks that are bringing these to the ports of entry with other commodities or private vehicles coming across the border with that investment of canine assets but also the intelligence units we are building out and then national capital and so we provide the best information about these networks and how to identify these threats and the recent
concealment method. but with those investigative efforts related. >> i appreciate what you are doing with resources fors technology and we should it sounds like in the net couple of years and then technology is good but the one thing i would emphasize is that by allowing these to come in across the southern border the more they are at a lower price so decreased supply is decreasing the price making it easier for people to afford the deadly drugs i do believe strongly in dealing with the demand side with more treatmentro without longer-term recoveryun but in the last year and a half we've seen a huge
increase in that is attributable to the volume is so high now and the price was so depressed if we find 9000 pounds of this. >> at all but you know what we are missing? >> so as those are coming in across the border. >> should i go ahead with an answer to that particular question but i can say we had 40000 pounds of fentanyl opiates to address the issue. i do have a vast presence that we have more partnerships with the foreign counterparts who are transnational units that
are vetted. that allows us to operationalize information and i mentioned earlier that in the last 18 months in partnership of the precursor chemicals to be used. >> can you tell of they are coming from china? >> in most cases. >> we do have an attaché. >> . >> and we are trying our bests with the international mail facilities as well as the airports and also considering the state of ohio with the task force it has been
traditionally along the southwest border but we have expanded that with the opiate crisis as well as focusing on the mechanisms for these pill press and then u.s. postal service where we focus on the importation of those illicit substances in production. >> my time is expiring. i thank you for what your officers are doing on the ground and in foreign countries i would make the obvious point they are all sorts of precursors commit cursors coming from china even though less comes directly from china in large measure they could do the stop act and then in record numbers that
the process to do that there was a project over $100,000 and then gsa has to do that. and how that works as the entity that is leasing or owning and why is that jurisdictional split happening? and is there a better way to handle that? and with that gsa perspective. >> and those for the building facilities and the legacy and initially part of the group that cbp is and when gsa was
created and generally singular andd focus. and doesn't have multiple inspection and agencies where gsare creates value and to balance the needs of the federal motor carrier safety administration with fda and then with that creative facility.ir >> and that assumption is that multiple agencies and then gsa is a t third-party owner is a better model for that. >> and with that expansion add additional facilities. >> and working very closely with the office of management and gsa we can shorten the
timeline. and then to find efficiencies and set better deadlines. and all of the other stakeholders and with the local state and federal entities that are evil and in some shape or form and the investments in 2009 to do significant modernization efforts with the point of congress with that particular location and with a case-by-case basis as challenges, to have the resources to make the investment with that five-year
plan to prioritize therere had been limited amounts that cbp can address the challenges ourselves. i believe that's a number could be lower i have to get backam but those have added value but also the acceptance program and those services program the public-private partnership and the donation acceptance program with gsa has really then a phenomenal resource for us to travel and commerce with those potentially gsa resource availability to make the investment and grow with the pace of the private sector. we appreciate your support the donationon acceptance program there is a sunset real
property december 16 that hopefully we will have addressed before that date it's important to maintain the ability to do that as well it is an ongoing dialogue at the regional and local level of all projects you have a full assessment ongoing to continue through fy 23 with that portfolio of those ports of entry as well as our individually on ports of entry. >> when will we get that? >> it will be the assessment through fy 23 at five year plan captures the highest priority.
>> leten me tell you what i hear. >> over the last seven years a lot of different ports of entry visiting with a lot of different folks from cbp that what i hear consistently is a want to do a project whatever it may be and and those that would tell me what the facilities some things are not available for those that are taking longer and then to manage the funds are not that that may be fair our unfair but i want to hear your response that you hear that over and over again and those
to manage and then very remote facilities so how do we start to solve that in the maybe even in less than that we could have that number wrong with the hundred thousand dollars and that gsa to have more flexibility and then the property that is a around it that would be long-term and it's a much bigger project from the gsa perspective to have that flexibility issue that's very unique. >> ith appreciate that but i do
agree that $100,000 that was established in in statute with $100,000 that when you get to projects larger than that generally they don't have a large impact on the portfolio of the building in that facility so unhappy to take it back and discuss with my team we could expedite the smaller projects with those thresholds sometimes it affects the system cbp may not even be aware of with the overall facility with those other issues that need to be taken care of and then to coordinate
with preservation requirements we have the skill and the expertise and then to talk with those directors i am aware of that pain point and happy to look into that. >> and then to keep this going because this needs to be resolved we can have a situation my take seven years and those that are decades-old and very out of date so for that detention space and with those cbp facilities what is the largest area you have in those locations the maximum numberha of what. >> off the top of my head i don't have that breakdown but where we are challenged with capacity to hold individuals
but with one or two family members to fill the capacity so certainly we can have more in a port of entry it is a never that fluctuates. >> it is well below capacity from the real-life situation versus 50 years ago when it was constructed. >> the current ports of entrynt are not designed and then you have the traffic lanes that are waiting in line then they went to the traffic lanes and
those in the primary vehicle to prevent things like that from happening. >> there are serious issues and then to help determine with that recommendation and then to accelerate things that will not be significant that they need to be addressed so what does that happen long-term and then not just legacy facilities and then to
work in a very remote area and then that allocation will always be great and then we can fix all of that so let me ask a question so do we know that mexico is fulfilling its responsibility at this point at the northern part of the border with those access points coming in at the port of entry quick. >> . >> working very closely with that mexican counterparts that we leverage to ensure the paces kept on the northern side of the border and with respect to the project to
provide follow-up with the status of development on this side of the border. >> and that's what i saw or that it is way behind schedule we have everything on our side of the border mexico does not have theirs itg will not matter. and then to help us and then have everything ready to go and nothing is ready to go south. that is a very good working relationship. >> at the local level we do enjoy solid workingon relationships the cargo processingre with the cbp
officers. p and to expand because it has a positive impact on both sides of the border. so with respect to the region and from other government agencies with the mix and on —- mexican counterparts with the border crossing committee, the joint working committee all different engagements to prioritize and the border management strategy we are working on the updated plan on both sides of the border those are all things we consider in our decision-making that is the
stakeholders meeting on a regular and recurring basis. >> read deal with the transnational criminal organizations we've talked about that quite a bit and so how the coyotes as they move individuals through central america are these the same groups that are also smuggling drugs or the same ones? >> think it is a very good question they are different groups. we have some things in place to address this and the first effort is aur legal entry and that is 41 issuing post that deals that we have