tv ICE Acting Director Testifies on Presidents 2023 Budget Request - Part 1 CSPAN June 9, 2022 4:41pm-5:03pm EDT
the subcommittee on homeland security would come to order. as this hearing is being conducted virtually, we must address a few housekeeping manners. during today's virtual hearing members of swanson both for muting and unmuting themselves. when you are recognized to speak, and you we've noticed you have not unmuted yourself, we will ask you if the staff would unmute you? if you indicated provoked by
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advance to your staff. let us begin. today i welcome everyone to this morning's history for ice's 2023 budget request, we welcome tae johnson, acting director of u.s. immigration and customs enforcement. as a career civil servant, you have been asked to step into this role as ice director and we appreciate your service in this capacity. there are significant disagreements about immigration policy in this country, and among members of the subcommittee. my own view is that we support together to focus our focus-limited resources on those who threaten our public safety and national security. and to find appropriate solutions that balance immigration enforcement with due process and that balance removal with humanitarian considerations. i believe the administration's
actions are moving in that direction. for example, we have seen many important retractions in the last 16 months of the prior administration's policies that abrogated the right of asylum seekers and other migrants. those policies drove a retch between ice and many communities, particularly those with large migrant populations. i have also been heartened to see that i.c.e. has taken additional steps to better focus resources. for example, when you were before us last, year we discovered the draft environment deride -- issued in february of 2021. this draft guidance focuses ice's resources on the -- another serious criminals. compared to isis less targeted vote in the past. in late september, the secretary updated the guidance to focus isis resources on the
apprehension and removal of non citizens who are threats to our national security and public safety. -- i was also heartened -- directing its attorney -- to exercise discretion in accordance with these priority. but more remains to be done. i continue to be concerned about the state of isis attention, detention facilities, and how individuals are treated while in i.c.e. custody. one issue i'm alarmed by as those in i.c.e. custody continue to have difficulty in obtaining access to legal counsel and communicating with their counsel when they do have. them for example, a ten or 15 minute monitored phone call is not nearly sufficient given the sunset sensitivity and complexity of the legal issues and necessary -- when it needs to present their
case. i look forward to discussing these continuing issues. lastly, i would like to recognize the important work and accomplishments of the homeland security investigations workforce. including their work in disrupting transnational criminal organizations. i look forward to hearing more about that work this afternoon. i will now turn to the distinguished gentleman from tennessee -- for his opening remarks. >> thank you madam chair. for holding this hearing. welcome acting director johnson. i thank you sir for your testimony today as we discuss the immigration and customs enforcement fiscal 2023 budget request. before i begin, i would like to offer my sincere task for years three decades of service, which goes all the way back to the legacy immigration and naturalization service.
u.s. immigration and customs enforcement is responsible of the enforcement of there are nascent immigration, customs and trade loss. despite its rather straightforward mission, the men and women at i.c.e. is often vilified just for enforcing the immigration laws that some of our colleagues are not able to get a majority to change the law. we -- administration's budget request has decreased ice's budget. -- this year's request increases e r o by almost 9%, largely by reducing funding for detention beds for both adults and families. time and time again, those cuts are restored, in conference, because bipartisan and by coalition of members understands that the enforcement of immigration law
is not an optional exercise. criminals, public safety threats, and even some of the terrorist watchlist are removed by ice every year. we -- we need a strong effective transparent and accountable ice and we need to have the necessary tools for i.c.e. agents to do their job. unfortunately, -- we have decided to tie the hands of ice -- releasing prosecutorial -- to a narrow an arbitrary subset of individuals eligible for deportation. on one hand, the administration tells us with a straight face that they need to exercise prosecutorial discretion
because they have limited resources, as well on the other hand, they submitted requests that decreases enforcement resources. you can't have it both ways. those actions are contradictory in amount to little more than a smokescreen for the real purpose of memos. purposely reducing being a voice meant of our nation's immigration loss. i've consistently advocated for funding level that enables isis to fulfill its law enforcement mission. -- while we have sharp differences on this committee about immigration, enforcement, there is broad bipartisan agreements to adequately fund homeland security investigations, -- tackling some of the most heartbreaking cases, including child's exportation, both here and abroad. they also investigate other bad
actors entrance acts non criminal networks, target those who are public safety or national security concerns, and disrupt predatory and illegal trade practices. acting director johnson, please convey our thanks -- we look forward to the discussion today. thank you madam chairwoman. i yield back. >> acting director johnson, we will submit the full text of your official statement for the record. please proceed with your own testimony. >> good afternoon chairwoman -- ranking member fleischmann, and distinguished members of the subcommittee for homeland security. thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. my name is tae johnson, i am the acting director for the
u.s. immigration and customs enforcement. we ices mission is to promote homeland security and public safety through the broad enforcement of over 400 federal laws covering our border, customs, trade, an immigration. before i go any further, i would like to thank you for funding recently enacting the fy 22 on the bus to support our people and our mission. the fy 22 funding supported our officers and special agents by increasing isis victim is distance program, bolstering the center for country human trafficking, combatting child exploitation, and furthering isis technology data mamas monitoring -- among others. -- support a fair, orderly and humane immigration system. and has operated its detention system in a tremendously challenging environment due to
the global pandemic. ice axe in accordance with the h wine priorities to focus department resources on national security, public safety and border security. the fy 23 budget represents a fundamental shift by the administration towards an approach that emphasizes increased -- alternatives to detention where appropriate, as a more humane, less costly and effective means of monitoring individuals while they navigate the immigration removal process. we are requesting 75 million in increased funding to expand a t d participation, and to ensure sufficient resources to monitor -- the fy 23 budget also includes a request for an additional 15 million to provide technology
investments for credible feel screenings and enhance visitation opportunities for detainees, as well as supplementing access to counsel. additionally we seek 6.4 million 4:50 additional ice core service positions to assure ice can continue delivering appropriate medical care. ice -- cybercrime -- cybercrimes capabilities. ice continues now continuously demonstrated results in this area. from fy 17 to fy 21, the number of cyber investigations have creek increased over 90%. in fy 21, h s i arrested more than 30 individuals involving crimes for involving the
exploitation of children oh. -- represents a 16% over a flight 20. the fy 23 budget request to establish a dedicated budget to further strengthen the center for countering human trafficking. currently, 16 dhs components officers are currently providing personnel to support the centrist effort to counter human trafficking, and the importation of goods, produced with forced labor. additionally, the budget requests support for hms eyes victim assistance program, building on enhancements received in fy 22. i.c.e. requests funding for poor decisions for training, equipment, travel and equipment to adequately expand the --
program. these resources are paragraph paramount to continue providing assistance to victims of child exploitation and human trafficking. despite significant accomplishments than fy 21, the office of principal legal adviser, litigation teams, have a growing number of non detained docket of over 3.0 million cases requiring additional resources to address. the fy 23 budget seeks 58.4 million and 341 -- positions, including 300 -- 268 attorneys. oh -- serves as a critical role in nice's ability to meet our -- despite the challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic and the significant
workload demands in supporting a 24/7 law enforcement agency, isis mission to 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 the area of human resources, cybersecurity, policy refresh and development, training for technical operations, leadership and career development, financial management, as well as other support programs. thank you for inviting me to testify before you today. thank you for your continued support. for our dedicated personnel and our agencies mission. i am honored and humbled to represent more than 20,000 hardworking isis employees and i'm proud to serve beside them and grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today. other forward to your questions. >> thank you. acting director johnson, i
believe we may have enough time for myself and ranking member fleischmann to ask our questions, and then we will go into recess, because there are two votes we have on the floor. win director johnson, we continue to hear about unacceptable conditions at detention facilities and the lack of basic services, including the lack of meaningful access to counsel, language access and medical neglect. let me get addicted to lack of access to legal counsel. advocates and legal representative groups have revealed how difficult it is for individuals in custody to access legal counsel and once they do have that council, to have enough time and regular in private phone communications with that council. we've also learned that access to private -- and private phone calls is often limited are unavailable.
why 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 the cases? >> thanks congresswoman. a very good question. it's an area that we've been working towards for many years, to were access to counsel is one of our primary sort of responsibilities and something we take absolutely seriously. we have been working with the various facilities to increase access to counsel as you may be aware, we have we are providing our detain population with a number of monthly free minutes, so the they can 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 when there is issues with access to phones, they can use other technology such as skype or other sort of technologies to stay in contact with their counsel. additionally, we are working with the department of justice to expand our legal orientation program, so that individuals could have access to free legal services. and we are working with our very vendors to look for other opportunities so that individuals may be able to speak with their counselors without some of the issues that you've identified. >> what is the timeline for this? why is it so difficult that someone is talking, let's just say to phone conversation, why are they still-limited in the amount of time that they can speak with their counsel?
>> typically, there is different phones for talking to your legal representative thunder is for talking to your family or friends. the phones that have the ten or 15 minute limit are typically the phones that are in the housing units. and are really designed for keeping in contact with family and friends as opposed to speaking with lawyers. it's necessary, just given the small number of phones, to put a limit on how long an individual can talk, just so that everyone in the housing unit has an opportunity to use the phones. so, it's certainly something that we are we're aware, 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 are hoping that the legal orientation programs and our work with doj
as well as some of these virtual visitation programs will help. anticipate >> okay, and what is the timeline we? do anticipate that some of these problems will be addressed? >> we are working with the doj now on a vehicle orientation program. i believe we've got, we'll see some funding in fy 22 for this effort. and we obviously requested additional funding in fy 23 to expand it to more facilities. but the tablets and some of the other virtual platforms are well underway now at most of our facilities. and we are going to continue to roll it out throughout the rest of this fiscal year. so, the works underway. >> okay. mr. fleischmann? >> thank you, madam chair. i'll be deferential to you. but would you prefer to recess before i ask questions with the
vote? or would you want me to go ahead and ask? >> it's about 148 left. >> i will leave that up to you. -- >> --. ,. ,? >>,, okay, absolutely, especially if you have proxies. we are in subcommittees now is in recess -- on security will not come to order. mr. director, thank you for patients. i will now turn to the acting director, mr.