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tv   Homeland Security Secretary Testifies on Agencys Mission - PART 2  CSPAN  July 29, 2021 1:21am-2:23am EDT

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takeover by cuba. the authoritarian regime is responsible for the oppression of the cuban people and we stand with the cuban people. i'm afraid i'm going to have to step out and i will return as quickly as i possibly can. i'm so very sorry. >> that's all right. we'll take a brief recess until we assess the situation as of the secretary's location and senator scott you have two minutes for your questions when we come back. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the committee will come back to order. it's good to see you back, mr. secretary and safe and found. we'll continue with the hearing. senator scott, you are' recognized for the remainder of your time for your questions. >> mr. chairman and senator scott, if i may say one thing very briefly without imposing upon the senator's time, because i'm not sure whether what i articulated came through during the fire alarm and i apologize for the interruption to this hearing. senator scott, first, i appreciate your defense of the cuban people and your
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articulation of that. so powerfulfully and consistently. secondly, i will take stock of what you said, urging me to be even more vocal about the situation in cuba, as you know, this is something profoundly personal to me. i was born in cuba and my parents brought me here as refugees fleeing the communist takeover of cuba and my father lost his business, the place of his birth, where he thought he would raise his family and even the opportunity to lay his mother to rest. i join you, condemning the authoritarian regime in cuba and its repression of the people of cuba and i echo your and the president's and our
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secretary of state's and the president's national security advisors condemnation of the actions of the authoritarian regime in cuba. we stand very strongly with the people of cuba and the measures this administration has taken are powerfulfully evident to that. >> that you, secretary. do you believe the administration's doing enough to focus on-- i mean, cuba is the root cause of the problem. look at this, look at the problem. maduro is supported by the castro regime and a lot of problems we're seeing is caused by cuba and i just don't see that we're doing-- the administration is doing enough to say this is the root cause of the problem and let's figure out how to stop this. >> senator, i think the sanctions that were recently imposed were a strong measure and we are, of course, across the administration monitoring the situation in cuba and we'll
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take the measures that our foreign policy and led by our president, i think, most prudent in the have of the american people and in defense of the cubans. thank you, sir. so, as you know, with the -- in the past what cuba has done is to have the pressure that allowed people to leave. how about the biden administration deal with the castro regime? >> senator, the laws that address a mass migration from cuba not only from cuba, from haiti as well, speak to the fact that the perilous journey should not be taken, that individuals will be interdicted and if they make the claims for relief, they will be taken elsewhere, not to the united states, but elsewhere for
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referral, for resettlement in safe third country. >> is that consistent with what's going on at the southern border? is that what's happening there? because my understanding is, if you leave cuba, you're probably going to seek asylum and probably rightfully should be able to seek asylum. is that the same thing happening on the southern border, is that the same process? >> senator, it is slightly different for reasons of history and law and actually 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 taking that dangerous journey. >> that is an incredibly important message of humanity
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to not take to the seas. >> i think this is historic time and i hope the biden administration will be more aggressive. i hope in your role as secretary of homeland security, you'll be more aggressive. this is our opportunity to stop the cuban regime and do so much for stability in latin america. i hope you and the biden administration will do everything they can. the cuban people have risen up, we've got to speak about it and the atrocities and if we do i believe we will see democracy in cuba. >> secretary rosen, you're recognized for your questions. >> thank you, ranking member peters and secretary mayorkas, hope everything is okay in your
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building. i have questions about the budget. i have quite a few and will smith some for the record. daca and cps provided for nevadans, and a judge ruled on the daca, leaving aspiring dreamers vulnerable and uncertain about their futures and this is an example why it's crucial that we immediately pass immigration reform through any means, including the budget reconciliation process. secretary mayorkas, how is it with those recommendations prior to the court's ruling and what can the administration do to help individuals who have already submitted their applications and were not processed before july 16th today? >> senator, thank you very much for your question. as i think you know, i was the
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director of u.s. citizenship and immigration services and it was that incredible agency that i left in the implementation of daca. i cannot overstate the importance of passing legislation to bring stability to individuals, the youth who qualify for daca. that is a permanent solution and one that will resonate across the country, the daca program is so very popular with the american people for all the right reasons. we're not able to process new applications for daca or continue with applications in light of the judge's ruling. we're continuing to litigate that case ap within the bounds of the law, and within the bounds of the judge's ruling,
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we are seeking to fortify the daca program, but there's no substitute for the permanent solution that congress can deliver. >> thank you. and i'll take -- if you could provide this sometime later, can you provide in writing the updated number of the daca applications that were pending on or before that day of that ruling, please, so we just have an idea of how many are there and i know there's a lot of biometrics appointments that have been canceled. and so we'll take some of those-- we're going to submit some questions, we have specific questions about that. we'll submit that off the record as well. i'd like to move on to talk about our nonprofit security grant program because over the past few years we've seen dangerous increase in effects and at risk communities, including the deadliest attack on the jewish community at the tree of life in pittsburgh. and to protect houses worship
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and nonprofits against terrorist attacks and the nonprofit security grant program makes fema grants eligible for all organizations for all kinds of security enhancements. reflecting the growing of nonprofit institutions, demand for grants far outstates their availability, but in fiscal year 2022 in your dhs budget you failed to request specific funding for the nonprofit security grant. do you agree that the funding should be increased to meet the growing needs and what can we do about this? because i think we know that empowering communities at the local level really makes a difference in keeping everyone. >> senator, i look forward to speaking with you further and working with you in connection with the 2022 budget because the nonprofit security program is, in fact, so important and especially now tragically when we've seen a tremendous rise in
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hate crimes affecting the jewish community, the asian-american pacific island community, the muslim american community and other minority communities, all of whom i have engaged with extensively during my short tenure thus far in light of the growing threat. so i pretty much look forward to working with you. >> yes, i agree with you, that was my follow-up. we have a lot of other communities also experiencing hate crimes, violence against them whether they're in suburban or rural areas, or grant programs fortifying it is particularly important. i'd like to move on in the just the few minutes i have left to talk about the resource management because ice's long-term fiscal mismanagement causes for all of us. the budget requests 8.4 billion
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for ice, a slight increase, but increase the last during the last administration ice received increases for detention and-- and ice comes back to congress for more funding and received the funding and there's a lot of budget overruns and on top of that, transferred funds from ice to another agencies and including fema, which has a critical mission of protecting americans after disasters, we have wildfires through my state in the west and natural disasters around the country. can you tell us, please, how you'll address this financial mismanagement and bring that ice on a more stable funding track and clean up the mismanagement of funds? ments if i may, senator, i recognized issue and i'm well aware of the issue that you have focused upon in this last question. i am meeting regularly with
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ice, with respect to fiscal responsibility, as is the deputy secretary, as is our chief financial officer. importantly, when it comes to detention, we are reviewing the detention architecture within ice across the board, in collaboration with our office for civil rights and civil liberties, and our relatively newly created office of detention ombudsman in the department of homeland security. i think it's very noteworthy that we close two facilities because of the substandard conditions maintained in those facilities and that's the first of its kind and a very important message, not only with respect to our fiscal responsibility, but our responsibility to our values and the dignity of each individual. >> thank you, i appreciate that because we do have to remember
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the dignity of each individual is so important. thank you for your time. my time is up, chair peterson. >> thank you, senator rosen. senator carper, you're recognized for your questions. >> mr. chairman, could i take a moment before i ask a question to say a quick word about our colleague mike enzi. >> absolutely. >> i was new in the senate and providing in the senate and mike enzi got recognition and started speaking and how he and ted kennedy worked so well together. [inaudible] and health education and remarkable job working together and he said during his comments on the floor that day he talked about the 80/20 rule and i didn't know what he was talking about, discussing other context, but i wasn't sure what he was talking about. before i gave a note to one of the pe's to send a note what's
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the 80/20 rule and ted and i agree with 80% of the stuff before it's committee, and we focus on the 80% that we agree and talk about the other 20% the some other day and it works and as we mourn his loss and his passing and trying to work our way through this discussion, debate on infrastructure and others, a nod to mike on 80/20 rule, maybe something we could pull off the shelf and put to good use. i just wanted to say that. thank you very much. if i could now, mr. secretary, welcome, mr. secretary. thank you so much for your leadership today. i don't normally ask yes or no questions, but given the 14.6
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billion-- do you believe that the senate needs to work on the president's nominee, yes or no? >> yes. >> in order to curb the influx of migration we see every year at the southwestern border do we need to address the root causes from the countries, nicaragua, honduras and el salvador. >> yes, i do. >> the last yes or no question, and the budget request about 1.2 billion dollars for modernizing ports of entry, border security and technology, will this amount money improve our ability to counter fentanyl and other illicit drugs coming to our ports. >> yes, it will, senator. >> all right, talk about st. louis if we could something we talked about before. i understand the national capital plans approved for cisa
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headquarters-- gsa estimates with consolidation of dhs component agencies and save more than 474 million dollars over the next 30 years, compared to leasing spaces for the agencies. 474 billion over the next 30 years. and could you provide a guideline for the new cisa headquarters there and talk about how the larger consolidation project improves mission effectiveness and saves taxpayer dollars, please? >> senator, i will need to get back to you on the precise timeline for the development of the cisa residence at the st. elizabeth headquarters. i cannot overstate the importance of geographic proximity in facilitaing
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greater cohesion. no only am i so supportive of the st. elizabeth's project that began a number of years ago, but we're looking at our footprint across the country and exploring how we can actually co-locate agencies in various cities as leases expire, not only to save money, but really to provoke greater collaboration between and among the different agencies and offices of our department. that's one of our areas of focus. >> all right, thank you for that, that response. return now to raise the question regarding the improvement of management's functions at the department of homeland security and the most recent 2021 high risk report, the government accountable office, the key management functions at the department of homeland security high risk area, including budget and
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financial management and including procurement and acquisition and including human capital management. mr. secretary, could you take a moment to discuss with us today how the budget you submitted reflects the progress made and the integrated strategy or high risk-- integrated strategy for high risk management, which includes corrections and correct activities, and actions planned that address joa's outcome to these, please. >> senator, as i think you know, tackling the issues on the high risk list was one of my greatest priorities when he served as the department secretary. >> i do, i remember that clearly. >> i had the privilege of working with gene dadaro and i
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met with him and his terrific team and that was one of the first things i did when i was the secretary of homeland security. >> great news. >> and our efforts lead by the incredible jim who coordinates our efforts and 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 are frankly enduring challenges that we continue to work on. >> all right. thank you. >> mr. secretary, we thank you for your testimony today and just i'd ask, you know, i have great affection for people and convey our thanks to all of-- all of your people for what they do day in and day out to secure our homeland. in wrapping up, i've got about a minute and 45 second left.
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let me just ask before my time runs out here, are there any issues you might want to take this minute and to address issues raised by some of my colleagues today that you'd like to elaborate on or maybe provide clarification? >> well, senator, i appreciate that question. i look forward to the opportunity to explaining the fact that we as an administration and specifically the department of homeland security, has a comprehensive plan to address migration na we encounter at the border, and it is a comprehensive plan that addresses the root causes, which is the bottom line, and it's unfortunate over the past four years in addressing those root causes were so significantly slashed. we are developing safe and legal pathways for individuals to avail themselves of our
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humanitarian laws that congress has passed so that they do not need to take the dangerous journey. imperil their lives, and reach our border. and, we are bringing greater efficiency and border improvement to border processing and to our enforcement architecture. just yesterday, we announced the commencement of expedited removal to bring greater speed without compromising due process, to processes that take far too long and we continue to work in that effort. we have a plan in collaboration with other countries south of our border. we are investing in root causes. we are developing legal path ways and we are improving our immigration system, but we do need at the same time, senator,
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congress to act. there is unanimity that our immigration system is broken and we need it fixed through legislation and i appreciate that very much. >> well said. thank you so much. thanks for your service. our best to you and your family. thank you, sir. thank you, senator romney, you're recognized for your questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i want to join you and senator carper and others who have expressed condolences and great sadness at the loss of our former colleague senator enzi, a wonderful man and a wonderful friend. let me expression appreciation for the chairman for joining us today. i was a little troubled by the lack of information that senator johnson described. secretary, are you willing to commit that you will provide the data that senator johnson asked for? is that something you can and will provide and can you tell
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us when that will be available to the committee? >> yes. i commit to providing that information, that data, senator and we will provide it as quickly as possible. >> i would presume that would be within the next 30 days then? >> there should be no problem in doing so, senator. >> thank you, thank you. obviously, one of the key responsibilities of homeland security is to secure our border, securing our homeland, if you will, and the numbers and the human stories that are coming from our border are both alarming and obviously threatening to our domestic tranquility and safety and economic vitality. i don't know exactly why the administration doesn't want to acknowledge the crisis that we're seeing at the border and i guess the real question in my mind is why do we politicize everything? i mean, you know, i'm one of those that's critical of people who politicize vaccination. but i'm also incredulous there
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seems to be politicalization why we should complete the border that started and contracts as senator lankford are standing by guarding the steel. why in the world don't we complete the barrier that's been contracted for? surely it would help our security of the border. i simply don't understand and is there a reason that we're not completing it? the idea is we are getting a study then. it's been six months. businesses are able to make major decisions on acquisitionings and so forth in a lot faster time frame than that. we came up with a vaccine, hearns. heavens, why can we not make this and proceed? >> and the decision with the political border wall was not a political decision, but
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substantive one. $15 billion dedicate today construction of the border wall ill-advised and we can use the government's funds and taxpayers funds more wisely through investments in innovations, through investment in technology, that is the greatest force multiplier. >> mr. secretary, the great majority of that money has already been spent. the overwhelming majority and now there's some gaps in what's already been spent. the prior administration, excuse me the one before, president obama's administration expanded the border barrier. i mean, i'm in favor of technology, but as long as we have paid for have contracts to complete the wall, i simply can't understand any logical reason not to complete it. look, i'm not a, you know, severe partisan that's going to attack democrats at every corner, but this strikes me as being nonsense. i simply can't understand it. with regards to the comment na we're going to invest in root causes. i don't understand what you're referring to there.
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are you suggesting that somehow we should be able to invest to make sure that all of latin america gets rid of their dictators, gets rid of their corruption, ends violence and if we do that maybe there'll be less people trying to get to the border? that's just inrealistic, that's of course absurd. we can't do all of those things, even domestically, let alone around the world. people want to come to this country, they always will, you're responsible for securing our border, i just don't get why you don't address this in a way, frankly, like president obama did, complete the barrier, use technology, have ice carry out the responsibility of removing people that are here illegally. i notice the house democrats recently approved plans to slash the budget for enforcement and removal operations and they cut it by hundreds of millions of dollars. is that a mistake? do you believe that those funds should be restored? >> senator, you've mentioned
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three different subjects, i will move very quickly through the three of them. >> i didn't ask for a response so some of them. those are my comments. do you believe in restoring and not cutting the funding for enforcement and removal operations contrary to what the house has passed? >> i believe in smart effective immigration enforcement and that's what we're executing and i do not believe in spending taxpayer money unwisely and not consistent with enforcement priorities that are designed to achieve the greatest public-- >> of course. of course. >> objective. >> i agree with motherhood and apple pie as well. the house voted to reduce spending on enforcement. is that something with which you concur or do you believe that would be a mistake and therefore you want to make sure we don't reduce spending on enforcement? >> what i am focused on is the wise expenditure of funds and i
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have a responsibility-- >> given that focus and the wise expenditure of funds do you believe that we should cut funding for enforcement or maintain it or increase it? >> in certain respects, i think we should increase it, in other respects, i think we should reduce it and because some of it is not spent wisely to achieve the most important outcomes and i've seen that, senator, if i may, because i know you disagree with me by your physical reaction, but if i may, i know that from being in the trenches. >> of course, i have a simple question. do you think the budget should be reduced or not and you respond like a politician, what can i say? i'm a politician, too. let me take a different topic altogether in the remaining moments. the federal government is spending as much on interest right now as we have spend on the combined budgets of commerce, education, energy, department of homeland
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security, housing and urban development, interior, the justice department and the state department. let that sink in. that overspending is contributing to the highest level of inflation we've seen in some 12 years. would you say that trillion dollar deficits like these before the pandemic, as well as after the pandemic, that that pose, that poses a threat to our national security? >> senator, that's a question i'm ill-equipped to answer. that's not my area of experience. >> you have an opinion i'm sure. you're head of the department of homeland security. are we at a level the debt and doctor we're paying represent a threat to our homeland security. >> know the to my knowledge, senator. >> so at no level, no level. trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, that doesn't pose a threat to our national security?
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>> i believe that the-- this administration's efforts to rebuild this country contribute to the security of this country, its national security, and its homeland security, its economic security, and its possibilities and promise. >> that's an answer to a question that i didn't ask. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair recognizes senator lankford for your question. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. mr. secretary, thanks for phone calls in the professor weeks and letters you know, sent a letter request to you request facts ap figures. ...
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we need to deliver that to you. i i would follow up later today. >> thank you. i appreciate that. you know i've been outspoken trying to get some of these facts and figures that are not unrealistic for the oversight committee to get access to these numbers regardless of party. we have a responsibility to go to these facts and figures. we had a conversation briefly about tsa and some of the pipeline decisions they've made on regulatory decisions. my request was to get communication back and forth and to get notice and comment. they have interim guidance out there. i've had some assurances from you it will be notice and comment and time for the companies to contribute insights based on the simple fact some of the statements required of them will take a very long time to be
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able to accomplish. just a simple instance, some of the things they're asked to do to prove them already done, looks like they're being asked to do it again because of new guidance. is there notice and comment time coming for tea is a? >> yes, that is indeed the plan and that remains the plan. i appreciated your feedback and are higher conversation with respect to the private sector companies that are subject to tsa's action and i began to follow already on that. >> terrific, thank you for that. let's talk about the border while dispensing which is assistant place, the fence was noticeable portion of that includes the fence, a road for patrol and includes fiber to do ground detection for movement. it includes cameras and lighting. when that stopped in construction for all of those phases on january 20, it was ordered a 60 day study. can you tell us this status of
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the study? is that a study we can get access to complete? >> that study is ongoing but we're going project by project, senator. and, in fact, in san diego sector, for example, of the border i just approved the application of technology to make 33 gates operational and approved of the thing in the sandy coast sector. i'm going project by project and i would be very pleased to provide you with an update on that. >> that would be helpful. the rio grande valley sector which last week alone had 20,000 encounters with people illegal crossing the border just last week. in that sector, , another sector where the gates are installed but the power has been cut off to them. as of january 20 they can open a close gates. farmers that the fence in some areas crossed across the field
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can't access both parts of it. they have to go the long way around. so the challenge is while you're identifying that in one sector in california and in texas and the exact same issue yet they're not able to access their feels because the power has not been turned on. we've got other errors were all of the fence is an except for the gates have not been hung and those are areas where apparently contractors been hired to watch this deal and a grandmother then install it. there are some common sense to this as well that doesn't require 200 days of study. to say we're going to put the gates up, going to put power to the gates so we can open and close them, we're going to do roads around so the border patrol can do patrol. i would encourage the completion of that not to mention the fact $2 billion has already been spent on of the 10 billion allocated to it not to build the fencing itself. we are now down 20% of the funding for whatever decision is going to be made on that. that's obviously a a serious fiscal issue in the days ahead.
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>> senator, if i make him a not familiar with that figure, and you say that the study involves a number different aspects, for example, adverse environmental impacts that people in those communities have complained of deeply, as well as landowners complaints about the taking of their property by eminent domain to construct the border wall. so the review we are undertaking is comprehensive, taking into consideration land owners concerns as well, and we are very mindful of course of the challenge in the rgv and very focus on it. >> visit your assumption at some point your study may come back and say you want to take parts of the wall down based on land on the comments? >> i haven't crossed that issue just yet. if, in fact, there is that consideration, i certainly would be willing and eager to engage with you on it.
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>> i think that would be a dreadful mistake in a process to have $1 billion spent and we can have a conversation about that. what we talk about the interim -- >> i haven't encountered that. i have not encountered that yet. >> terrific. hopefully it is not encountered. with i.c.e. agents that if interim guidance that's been given to them. my understanding is as far as their detention or deportation or arrest of an individual that is cool inside the united states. you said that set priorities for them if they have crossed illegally across the border during the last now it is eight months, if they are a person who is said they had a notice to appear somewhere, i noticed report i should say, of this 35,000 35,000 who did reporting, they exceeded their time period there were a lot of to be able to turn it or if they are a criminal element come seems to be the kind to give out for individuals. when is the final guidance for eyes and actual how they will
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operate, when his upcoming? >> so the three priority areas are natural security component safety and border security. border security includes recent border crossers that are not honoring their legal obligations to appear in court in immigration proceedings. we file immigration enforcement proceedings with respect to individuals who claim relief at the border. those who are not expelled under title 42. i've been traveling around the country and engaging with the i.c.e. workforce. as i develop the enforcement guidelines my hope is to issue those guidelines in mid october. i'm sorry, mid august, i apologize. >> try to could i have one minute, a follow-up question? >> without objection. >> thank you. we try to interact and be able to determine all the criminal alien portion. there's been a significant change in that. one of the cases, with
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multiples, it's a recent one was theirs an individual privacy deported alien had a conviction for sexual soul of a minor under 14 of age, and it was at large, i.c.e. officers requested permission to target the subject and it was denied under the new guidelines. second case privacy deported alien conviction for indecency with a child, under five years of age. that was a registered sex offender for life subject to case, evaluate i.c.e. offers it directed not to pursue arrest under the new guidelines. third case, deported alien twice conviction for alien smuggling in the past that, illegal reentry, ask for permission to enter deck and was turned down by regional officers. it's going to be helpful to get new guidance because the guidance that is coexisting is a lone individuals that are sex offenders, criminal aliens, moldable deportations, i can tell you stories of folks with
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multiple dui convictions they're been instructed by regional leaders not to detain, deport or arrest. that is a problem right now. >> senator, i can't speak to the particular cases that you cite and the facts involved but let me say this. yesterday we announced the results the date of operation soar which is a law enforcement operation conducted by immigration enforcement, i.c.e. and they reported the arrest of 300 individuals who have committed sex offenses. so that is a public safety threat that we do address aggressively. so i can't speak to the three cases that you cite, but i can shape in the results of operation soar and a focus on public safety threat, that includes individuals have committed sex offenses. >> the last number i have six on i.c.e. agents in the field and 3000 detainment or deportations in a month, and this one of the
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numbers we're trying to request from office to get exact numbers and track that what's happening and that would be helpful to us. thank you. senator hawley. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. i want to review your record in office and record of this administration today. since february the first full month of the biden administration there been 822,629 illegal crossing attempts encountered by cbp at the southwest border. everything about of your tenure we've seen over 100,000 illegal crossing attempts. every single month in your illegal crossing attempts have increased your wii fit a 20 year record for illegal entries. we hit that last month that we've had a surge of young children across the border placing his children in incredible danger and in the light of harm on a single day in march we had 6000 children
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sitting in cbp custody and including hhs's delete we now have 15,000 migrant children currently in federal custody. in april a number of deportations carried out fell to the lowest monthly level on record. enter your arrest i set the client about .500 arrest per month down from 10,000 arrests per month under the previous administration. "washington post" and other news outlets have reported with border patrol told the overwhelmed now by the search of migrants crossing the border the cartels are having an easier and easier time smuggling drugs across a border which are going to states like mine which are awash in drugs, awash in drugs from across us of the border. mr. secretary, with all due respect, this record is an unmitigated disaster. it's a disaster. i don't want ask you to tell us until the american people know what you're going to do to change course. >> thank you, senator, for your question.
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let me respond in a number of different ways. first of all, the number of migrants apprehended at the border has begin to increase in april of last year. number two, it's very important to remember the number of apprehensions, the number of encounters does not equal the number of different individuals encountered. because we are exercising the centers for disease control title 42 authority to expel individuals, that means they are quickly processed for identity and expelled. we are not placed in immigration removal proceedings before the expulsion. they often are return and expelled again. >> mr. secretary, my time is very, very limited. i don't mean to interrupt you but i just want to be clear about something you just said. are you saying that the rest not been a dramatic surge in border crossings in unaccompanied children during your tenure at historic surge? is at your position? >> that is not my position.
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please allow me to finish my answer. what i am saying is that the number of encounters, a number of apprehensions is not equal the number of different individuals apprehended because we are seeing recidivism under title 42 and individuals are being expelled more than once, number one. number two, you cite the fact that 6000 unaccompanied children were in cbp custody back in march. we are seeing only a fraction of that now because we had a plan then, as i said then, it takes time to execute our plan. we have executed our plan and the number is far different. third, the smuggling of drugs of the greatest means of attempted transportation of drugs across the border are through the ports of entry in trucks, in vehicles that can try to move large amounts, and we are apprehending
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more than before. this begin in october of last year because of the investment in technology and the focus on the ports of entry here we continue the work of the prior administration in that regard. >> so mr. secretary, do i take it from your answer then that your position is we don't have a crisis at the southern border, that the surge is largely illusory and where no reason to be concerned? there's no need to do anything differently? your policies are working? is at your answer, your policies are working at the border? >> that is a complete mischaracterization of -- >> are policies working at the border? >> what i said, what i said before and i repeat -- >> no, answer my question. are your policies working of the border, mr. secretary, yes or no? are the working? >> we have a plan b we are executing the plan. the plan takes time to execute and we are doing so. let me say this.
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what makes the plan more challenging is, number one, covid. we have worked through that and our plan addresses that challenge. number two -- >> covid come covid was at its height i your go mr. secretary. with all due respect was on them with these a year ago. this crisis at the occurred on your tenure. covid is not unique to your tenure. this is a crisis that you've engineered with your policies. let me ask you about something said to senator portman -- >> if i may say the one last -- >> it's absolutely not true that i.c.e. offices have been told not to arrest people. that's what you said earlier today. that astounds me because i.c.e. officers have asked me to ask you about the instructions your guidance has given them not to arrest individuals. for instance, the national i.c.e. accounts, that's the i.c.e. union, has asked me to
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ask you because they can't get answers and use with asking me to do it, to ask you why officers who of an i.c.e. officers have requested permission to go after a sexual, an illegal alien who is convicted of sexual assault of a minor under 14 years of age were denied the ability to go and arrest this person. senator lankford raise and of the case were i.c.e. offices were directed not to pursue a previously deported alien who was convicted for indecency with a child i sexual contact and confined for five years. this is a registered sex offender and i.c.e. officers were told not to remove this criminal alien. why is this happening? are you not concern about these kind 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.
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i cannot speak to the specific -- if i may finish, senator. i cannot speak to the particular speed i heard you give an answer to senator lankford but why can't you quit your the secretary. why are you not in charge of your department? why can't i.c.e. offices not get answers from you? why is it they had to come to me to get answers from you? because they don't know what to do. they are desperate for guidance. why can't you speak to these issues, mr. secretary? >> 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. 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
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i.c.e. officers, and i've answered their questions. and the first thing that is my responsibility to do when i am engaging with i.c.e. workforce is to give the union representative the opportunity to speak. and i visited philadelphia and new york and atlanta and new orleans 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 on the head of the union. if you should ask a question, i i shall answer it. because i have been answering the questions of the individuals he is responsible to represent. >> i i be happy to give you thee case issues for the record and i look forward to your response for the record and i would just say, mr. mayorkas, however much
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an inconvenience and maybe for you to answer questions from the or for other senators from this committee or from the union, the people who you are in charge of and you're supposed to be supervising, it is your job. frankly i don't care if it's an inconvenience and i don't care if you don't like it. it is your job to do so. the fact you're not able and not willing to respond to the specific queries is troubling but i will give into you for e record and a look for to your response thank you, mr. chairman. >> that is, if i may say, also false. your questions are not an inconvenience for me. all it as is the opportunity to answer them. >> i look forward to your answers. >> thank you, senator hawley. senator hassan your record if a question. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for joining us, mr. secretary. the goods produced with forced labor is a core primary for u.s. congress and the u.s. government, and the department of homeland security has
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significant responsibilities for that effort. and october 2020 gl report reported, , however, forced labr division expenditures account for less than 1% of the total budget of the office of trade at cbp. and in october 20, 2020, homeland security investigations report from dhs ig found that hsi then that have a cohesive approach to carrying out its responsibility and combating human trafficking and that quote hsi may have missed opportunity to assist and say victims and support u.s. attorneys in the prosecution efforts. how, mr. secretary, does your budget request this year fulfilled dhs responsibilities to investigate and combat forced labor and supply chains for goods entering the united states and to prevent human trafficking? >> senator, so we are very focused on this scourge of forced labor in human
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trafficking. i read every week of the tremendous work that homeland security investigations perform. almost every week they deliver a case that brings accountability to the perpetrators of this crime. i also participated in a press conference of a major forced labor action by customs and border protection and its office of trade. the budget reflects the work. i know of no financial shortfalls with respect to our ability to perform this mission set. and if it is of concern to you i would be very pleased to meet with you and discuss that. >> i look forward to that, mr. secretary. i'd like to ask you about the focus in your budget request as well as your testimony today on domestic terrorism and domestic violent extremism. let me first of all state there is much more to threat
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assessment then recent historical casualty numbers. in a forced to recognize your departments responsibility is not to enforce local law. i want to offer these numbers and gain some perspective on how you've come to the threat assessment that has informed your budget request. according to dhs fbi data from 2015-2019, 65 americans were tragically killed in domestic terrorist attacks i want to put that in context by referring cdc homicide data over the same time, 2015-2019. 4636 americans killed by homicide over that same time. again there is more to threat assessment i recognized that historical casualty data, but what leads you to the conclusion that the level of threat from domestic violent extremists and
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the level of threat posed by potential domestic terrorists has risen to the extent that it justifies this bureaucratic focus and this budgetary focus you have requested, for example, resources to establish a new dedicated domestic terrorism branch within dhs office of intelligence and analysis? >> senator, is a very important question. our research, our 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 an increasing amount of social media traffic that is based on ideologies of eight -- hate and extremism, false ,
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false narrative 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 our homeland today. and what we are doing is to the center for prevention programs in partnership, what we seek to do is more effectively disseminate what we learn about those, mindful of rightful privacy and civil rights and civil liberties, disseminate that information to our states, 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
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themselves. the trusted individuals, families, friends, teachers, faith leaders and the like. we have learned a great deal from prior efforts to counter violent extremism in the 2014 -2016 timeframe, and what and what we learned is that it is best to empower and equip communities, first responders in those communities to act. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i would like to shift her a discussion of cybersecurity with a particular focus on georgia's needs. as you well know georgia posts the port of savannah which is one of the fastest growing force in the united united stan the hemisphere, while not just to george's economy but the u.s. economy. we continue to see the impact of ransomware attacks and other cyber attacks on u.s. critical infrastructure, the colonial pipeline attack. colonial pipeline also headquartered in georgia. i want to thank your personal
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who assisted in response to that incident. my request for you, mr. secretary, is that you commit that the next time your vacation to visit george and i hope to welcome you soon, that you will sit down with me and georgia ports authority personnel to discuss had dhs can better support cybersecurity to protect the port of savannah and perhaps you could comment now as well on your overall assessment of efforts to protect ports from cyber attack. >> so this is a very important area for us, cybersecurity structure agency is focus on port security and the cyber domain, and yes, senator, i would be pleased to visit georgia and visit the ports authority with you and address their concerns with respect to cybersecurity. and, of course, i would bring colleagues from cisa your most expert in that work. >> thank you, mr. secretary. finally on the same note we face
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a significant shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals. this is a field growing importance to national security. it's a field that is rapidly expanding, and we need to ensure the pipeline of well-trained highly qualified cybersecurity professionals is wide open and there's diversity in the pipeline generating that cybersecurity workforce. do you agree that a priority for the u.s. government and the u.s. congress should be expanding our nation's capacity to train highly qualified cybersecurity workforce that can, for example, support the effort to protect the port of savannah and other critical infrastructure? >> senator, i most certainly do. on that point, our department, the department of homeland security, is underway in the largest, most intense cybersecurity recruiting effort in the department's history.
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>> thank you, mr. secretary for your testimony and your service, and i yelled back, mr. chairman,. >> thank you, senator ossoff. mr. secretary mayorkas, want o thank you once again for your service to our country and your willingness to tackle these incredibly challenging challenges that you have before you and also have an opportunity to thank the men and women answer each and every day the department of homeland security to keep us safe. certainly i think every member of this committee is thankful for the work you do and everybody at the department of homeland security. we look forward to working closely with you as we work to overcome these challenges. the record for this thing will remain open 415 days until august 11 at 5 p.m. for the submission of statements and questions for the record. with that this hearing is now adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] tools.
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this runs about four hours. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]


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