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tv   ICE Acting Director Testifies on Presidents 2023 Budget Request - Part 1  CSPAN  May 20, 2022 4:40am-5:02am EDT

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>> we will be following the five minute rule. when your time has expired the time will turn red and it will be time to recognize an x-men are. we will follow the speaking order set forward in the house rules beginning with the chair and ranking member followed by
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members present at the time. in order of seniority. next, it will go to members who are not present when hearing was called to order until every member has had a first round. members can submit information in writing at any of our hearings using the email address provided in advance to your staff. let us begin. today i welcome everyone to this hearing on the 2023 budget request. we welcome johnson as the director of immigration and customs enforcement. you have been asked to step into this interim role and we appreciate your service in this capacity. significant disagreements.
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my view is that we should work together to try and focus our limited resources on those who threaten our public safety and national security. we can find a solution to balance. i believe the administration is moving in the best direction. we have seen many retractions in the last 16 months of a prior administration's policy that advocated the rights of asylum-seekers and other migrants. i've also been heartened to see that they are taking additional steps to better focus these resources. for example, last year, we discussed the environment parity
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guidance issued in february of 2021. we discussed biden focus on the pursuit and removal of serious criminals. this was compared to the approach in the past. in late september, that was updated to make sure they focus their resources on the application and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to our national security and public safety and honor border security. i was pleased to see that they announced they were directing their attorneys to exercise discretion in accordance with these priorities. laura remains to be done. i continue to be concerned about the state of these facilities.
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for example, -- given the sensitivity and complexity of the legal issues and necessary evidence when they need to present their case. i look forward to discussing these continuing issues. i would like to recognize the importance accomplishments of the workforce, including their work in disrupting criminal organizations. i look forward to hearing more about that work this afternoon. oh now turn to this distinguished gentleman from tennessee for his opening remarks. >> thank you, madam chair. welcome. welcome acting director johnson.
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i think -- i think you for your testimony as we discuss immigration and customs enforcement fiscal 2023 budget request. i would like to offer my sincere thanks for your three decades of service which baldly back to the legacy immigration service. immigration and customs enforcement is responsible for the enforcement of our nation immigration, customs and trade laws. despite this straightforward mission, the men and woman of ice are often vilified for enforcing the immigration laws because some of our colleagues are unable to get the mccourt -- majority of congress to change the laws. for the past fears this administration's budget request has decreased isis budget for enforcement and removal operations for what we refer to as ero.
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this year's request decreases it by almost 9% by reducing funding for the detention centers for adults and families. they understand that the enforcement of immigration laws is not an optional exercise. criminals are public safety threats and some on the watchlist or removed by ice every year. it is your responsibility to advocate for funding that protect our community and our nation. we need a strong effective transparent and accountable ice and we need to provide the tools for agents to do their jobs. unfortunately, these leaders have decided to release
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discretion memos and limit removals to our narrow and arbitrary set of individuals eligible for deportation. on one hand, the ministration tells us with a straight face that they need to exercise prosecutorial discretion because they have limited resources -- you cannot have it both ways. those actions are contradictory. purposely reducing the end -- the laws. i advocate -- including funding for detention facilities. while we have sharp differences on this committee about immigration enforcement there is
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broad bipartisan agreement to fund homeland security investigations. they also investigate other bad actors and target migrants who are public safety or national security concerns that disrupt illegal trade practices. i look forward to the discussion today, thank you madam chairwoman. >> acting director johnson, we will submit the context of your statement.
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>> good afternoon. ranking member and distinguished members of the sub death of the subcommittee. thank you for inviting me. i am the acting director for immigration and customs enforcement. my position is to promote homeland security and public safety to the broad enforcement of over 400 for vote federal laws governing our border, customs, trade. the four echo further, i would like to thank you for funding -- to support our people and our mission. the finding supported our officers and special agents by increasing the assistance program bolstering the center for human trafficking, combating
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exploitation and furthering isis information technology, among others. its operated in a tremendously challenging environment due to a global pandemic. the act in accordance with enforcement priorities to focus department resources our national security, public safety and more. the fy 23 budget represents a fundamental shift in the administration with an approach that emphasizes increased wellness where appropriate.
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we are requesting $75 million in increased funding to expand participation and to ensure sufficient resources to moderate -- to monitor compliance. the 23 budget also included a request for an additional $15 million to provide technology investments screenings and enhanced visitation options for detainees as well as complement access accounts. additionally we seek $6.4 million and 50 additional -- cybercrime continues to be a growing threat. the fy 23 budget seeks to further enhance homeland security investigations cybercrimes capabilities. eyes has continuously
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demonstrated results in this area. from fy 17 throughout 21, the number of cyber investigations have increased over 97%. in fy 21, hsi arrested over 3700 visuals for crimes involving sexual exploitation of children, a 20% increase over fy 20, and in fy 21, over 1100 victims of exploitation were identified and rescued, a 16% increase. the fy 23 budget request to establish a dedicated budget and further strengthen the hsi-led center for countering human trafficking. currently 16 component offices are providing personnel to support the center's efforts to counter human trafficking and the importation of goods using
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forced labor. the budget request support for the hsi victim assistance program, building on enhancements received in fy 22. ice requests funding for positions for training, equipment, travel and equipment to adequately expand programs. these resources are paramount to continue providing the needed assistance to victims of child exploitation and trafficking. despite significant accomplishments in fy 21, the office of the principal legal advisor has a growing number of non-detained dockets of over 3.0 million cases requiring additional resources to address. the budget seeks $6.8 million,
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including 268 attorneys. ice's mission support workforce serves a critical role in our ability to meet national and border security missions. despite the challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic, and the significant workload demands in supporting a 24/7 law enforcement agency, ice's mission support workforce continues to operate sufficiently to meet the needs of the agency. the fy 23 budget seeks new positions and funding to address capability gaps in in the areas of human resources, cyber security, policy development, training for tactical operations, leadership and career development, financial management as well as other support programs. thank you for inviting me to testify before you today.
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and thank you for your continued support for our dedicated personnel and our agency's mission. i am honored to represent the hard-working nice employees -- ice employees, and i am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today. i look forward to your students. -- questions. >> i believe we may have enough time for myself and ranking member fleischman to ask questions, then we will go into recess because of the two votes we have on the floor. director johnson, we continue to hear about unacceptable conditions at detention facilities and a lack of basic services, including the lack of meaningful access to counsel, language access and medical neglect. let me begin with the lack of access to legal counsel.
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advocates have revealed how difficult it is for individuals in custody to access legal counsel, and once they do have that counsel, to have enough time and regular and private phone conversations with that counsel. we have learned that access to private phone calls is often limited or unavailable. wind is providing this necessary and important access to counsel so difficult for detention facilities, specifically, the ability to talk in private and with enough time to discuss their cases? mr. johnson: thanks, congresswoman. question. it's an area we have been working towards for many years. we are aware access to counsel is one of our primary
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responsibilities. it's something we take absolutely seriously. we have been working with various facilities to increase access to counsel as you may be aware we are providing our detained population with a number of monthly free minutes, so they cannot only speak to their counsel, but to speak to their family members. we are also working on adding a virtual visitation option at all of our facilities, so that when there is issues with access to bones, they can use other technologies such as skype or other technologies to stay in contact with their counsel. additionally, we're working with the department of justice to expand our legal orientation program, so that individuals can have access to free legal services. and we are working with our various vendors to look for
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other opportunities so individuals may be able to speak with their counselors without some of the issues you have identified. >> what is the timeline for this? let's say it is a phone conversation, why are they so limited in the amount of time they can speak with their counsel? mr. johnson: typically, there is different bones for talking to your legal representative than there is for talking to your family or friends. the phones that have the 10 or 15 minute limit are typically in the housing unit, and are designed for keeping in contact with family and ends -- friends, as opposed to speaking with lawyers. it's necessary, can the small number of phones to put a limit on how long an individual can talk.
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so everyone in the housing unit has an opportunity to use the phones. it's something we are aware of. this issue is not all that prevalent in most of our facilities, but there are a handful of facilities, largely local jails where we still have some work to be done. and we're hoping the legal orientation programs and our work with doj as well as some of these virtual visitation programs will help. >> what is the timeline? when you anticipate some of these problems will be addressed? mr. johnson: we're working with the doj now on a legal orientation program. we have received some funding in fy 22 for this effort. and we obviously requested additional funding in fy 23 two expand it to more facilities.
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but the tablets and some of the other virtual platforms are well underway now at most of our facilities and we're going to continue to roll it out through the rest of the fiscal year. >> mr. fleischman? >> thank you, madam chair. i will be deferential to you, but would you prefer to recess before we go to vote, or should i go ahead and ask? >> i will leave that up to you. >> i have got some proxies did you, i'd feel a little more comfortable if we could recess now and then reconvene after the two votes. mr. director, we have two votes on the floor. one is about ready to conclude and and want to


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