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tv   Homeland Secretary White House Press Secretary Hold Briefing  CSPAN  September 24, 2021 2:34pm-3:39pm EDT

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i strongly support the approach we had that the two track is fair and will get the votes that it needs. we can do both. host: indiana, democratic color. you are on the air with the congressman. caller: hello. i think one of the biggest problems on why you are not getting your republican help to raise the debt ceiling is because i think they did that during the obama term, and he ended up spending more money from president george washington to president bush combined together, one democrat took the national debt sky high. trump did not do it that bad. obama did it a lot worse. biden, don't even have a clue what he is doing. another thing i have to say to our soldiers and that is you took an oath to defend this
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country against foreign and domestic terrorism. what do you think you >> we'll leave this program to tampa baying you live to the white house for a briefing with press secretary jen psaki and homeland security secretary mayorkas. live coverage on c-span. jen: be mindful of your colleagues so we can get around to as many as possible. with that turn it over to secretary mayorkas. the messenger: thank you very much, jen. good afternoon, everyone. secretary mayorkas: less than one week ago there were approximately 15,000 migrants in del rio, texas, the great majority of whom were haitian nationals. this was the result of an unprecedented movement of a very large number of people traveling to a single point of the border within a matter of a few days. we responded with a surge of resources to address the humanitarian needs of the individuals, many of whom include families with young children. we also applied our months' long
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standard operating procedures at the border which we have been applying to all migrants encountered at the border during this very challenging time of the covid-19 pandemic. as of this morning, there are no longer any migrants in the camp underneath the del rio international bridge. i will walkthrough what we have done, how we have done it, explain the processes, and provide data you have requested. first i want to make one important point. in the midst of meeting these challenges, we, our entire nation saw horrifying images that do not reflect who we are, who we aspire to be, or the integrity and values of our truly heroic personnel in the department of homeland security. the investigation into what occurred has not yet concluded. we know that those images painfully conjured up the worst
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elements of our nation's ongoing battle against systemic racism. we have been swift and thorough in our response. first, we immediately contacted the office of inspector general and launched an investigation into the events that were captured in the disturbing images of horse patrol units. we cease the use of horse patrol units in the area, the agents involved in these incidents have been assigned to administrative duties and are not interacting with migrants while the investigation is ongoing. i directed the personnel from the c.b.p. office of professional responsibility to be on site in del rio full-time to ensure adherence to the policies, training, and values of our department. the highest levels of the c.b.p. office of professional responsibility are leading the investigation which will conclude quickly. the results of the investigation
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i will make public. the actions that are taken as a result of the -- what we have seen in those image, the investigation, will be compelled, the results will be compelled by the facts that are abused and nothing less. let me be clear. the department does not tolerate any mistreatment of any migrant and will not tolerate any violation of its values, principles, and ethics. now i would like to turn to our operational response. d.h.s. led the mobilization of the whole of government response to address the challenging situation in del rio. d.h.s. immediately worked to address the acute humanitarian needs of the migrants themselves by partnering with federal and nongovernmental agencies and entities. we rapidly deployed basic
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services like drinking water, food, clothing, and portable toilets. i am grateful to the red cross for providing more than 17,000 hygiene kits and the world central kitchen for contributing more than 14,000 meals per day to supplement other food programs. we surged medical resources and capacity, including over 150 medical professionals, to provide health services to ensure the safety of the migrants, employees, and the surrounding community. we provided personal protective equipment including facemasks. we erected four climate control tents to support housing for vulnerable populations. let me go through our operational response. simultaneously with the humanitarian response, we in the department of homeland security implemented a series of operational measures to process migrants consist tept with existing laws -- consistent with
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existing laws, policies, and procedures. in particular c.b.p., customs and border protection, surged 600 agents officers, and d.h.s. volunteer force personnel to the del rio sector to provide operational support. we also, d.h.s. officers and agents, conducted 24-hour patrols for general safety, as well as to identify anyone who might be in medical distress. i.c.e., the u.s. coast guard, department of defense, and the department of justice provided transportation support to transfer migrants out of del rio to other border patrol sectors with capacity. working with the departments of state in haiti, d.h.s. increased the number of removal flights to haiti commensurate with the country's capacity to receive. importantly, usaid has established a $5.5 million
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program to provide onthe ground assistance to repatriated haitian migrants. nearly 30,000 migrants have been encountered at del rio since september 9, with the highest number at one time reaching approximately 15,000. today we have no migrants remaining in the camp under the international bridge. migrants continue to be expelled under the c.d.c.'s title 42 authority. title 42 is a public health authority and not an immigration policy. it is important to note that title 42 is applicable and has been applicable to all irregular migration during this pandemic. it is not specific to haitian nationals or the current situation. some more data. to date, d.h.s. has conducted 17
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expulsion flights to haiti with approximately 2,000 individuals. those who are not expelled under title 42 are placed in immigration removal proceedings. let me take a step back and explain the process. there are two exceptions to the applicability of title 42, the public health authority. number one is if an individual has an acute vulnerability such as an urgent medical care, and two, if, in fact, our operational capacity is such that we are not able to execute the title 42 authority that rests with the centers for disease control. i should also say that there is a convention against torture exception if someone claims torture, which is a distint legal standard. individuals as i mentioned with acute vulnerability can be
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accepted from the title 42 application. approximately 12,400 individuals will have their cases heard by an immigration judge to make a determination on whether they will be removed or permitted to remain in the united states. that is a piece of data that has been requested of us. if someone is not subject to title 42 expulsion for the three reasons that i explained, acute vulnerability, operational capacity limitations, or a convention against torture exception, then the individual is placed in immigration proceedings. that means they go before an immigration judge, in an immigration court. if they make a claim that they have a basis under law to remain in the united states, then the judge will hear and adjudicate that claim. if the judge determines that the
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claim is not valid, the individual will be removed. an estimated 8,000 migrants have decided to return to mexico voluntarily. just over 5,000 are being processed by d.h.s. to determine whether they will be expelled or placed in immigration removal proceedings under title 8. we previously articulated publicly, we previously expressed in light of the fact that we had such a significant number of individuals in one particular section in del rio, texas, that we were moving people to other customs and border protection processing centers to ensure the safe and secure processing of those individuals, and we will assess the ability to exercise the title 42 public health authority in those processing centers, and if any of the exceptions apply,
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then we will place those individuals in immigration enforcement proceedings, but if we are able to expel them under title 42, because that is, indeed, a public health imperative, as determined by the centers for disease control, we will do so. with that i'll take your questions. reporter: thank you. mr. secretary, thank you very much for coming in to take our questions. the first question i was hoping you could explain more of your view that these haitians on the border acted in a way that violated policies. could you tell us what they did wrong. the second question, how this episode informs your understanding or thinking about the ongoing asylum review and whether perhaps if the administration were to take a more permissive stance toward asylum, that this episode could be seen as one of many in the future? secretary mayorkas: if i may,
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you are conflating two very different phenomenon, two very different processes. first of all the images as i expressed earlier, the the images horrified us in terms of what they suggest and what they conjure up. in terms of not only our nation's history, but unfortunately the fact that that page of history has not been turned entirely. that means that there is much work to do and we are very focused on doing it. but i will not prejudge the facts. i do not in any way want to impair the integrity of the investigative process. we have vght investigators who are looking at it independent-lily. they will draw their conclusions according to their standard operating procedures, and then the results of that investigation will be determined by the facts that are adduced. with respect to the asylum process that is an independent
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process. i'm not sure i understood your question. if you are asking about the definition of a particular social group, just for everyone's benefit, the asylum laws provide that -- the first step in an asylum process is a claim of credible fear. economic need, flight from generalized violence does not qualify as credible fear, but rather credible fear is credible fear of persecution by reason of one's membership in a particular social group. what is the definition of a particular social group? was significantly constrained. that's an understatement, in the trump administration, and there is a body of law that speaks to that definition. and that definition is currently under review. reporter: mr. secretary, if i may. to follow up on this point. the question was, if this administration were to take a more permissive stance toward that definition, could this be
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what we just experienced in the last several weeks, the first of many similar instances to occur in this country on the border? secretary mayorkas: what instance? reporter: 15,000 migrants that the united states government has had to process. secretary mayorkas: we determine the standards to apply in a claim of persecution according to the principles that a government should have both domestically and in the international architecture with the treatment of individuals who are fleeing persecution by reason of their membership in a particular social group. it is not a tool of deterrence to define what a particular social group means. reporter: the people who -- the people who are under the bridge, you talked some of them have gone to mexico. some of them have been flown to
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haiti. the others, are they spread out at c.b.p. holding facilities? have some been released into the community or released to family members awaiting hearings? secretary mayorkas: let me be clear. some have been returned to haiti, indeed. others have been moved to different processing facilities along the border in light of operational capacity. and then many of them will be returned to haiti from there. if any of the exceptions apply, they will not be returned to haiti but placed in immigration enforcement proceedings. i should say release is a very general term and i may need to drill down on that if i may. individuals, some of them are detained, some of them are placed on alternatives to detention. we remain in touch with them. we monster -- monitor them to
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assure their appearance in court at the designated time of appearance. does that answer your question? reporter: it does. secretary mayorkas: i can provide the data if i need to. reporter: i got that. the broader question is it seems like there are border crises that keep popping up like whack-a-mole every month or so. there is another clump of people or major issue or unaccompanied minors. is there a plan to maybe have fema-type teams that go to these places? is the goal to somehow stop having these crazies that keep breaking out? secretary mayorkas: you mentioned fema. two points if i may. let me first address the -- let me go in reverse. from an operational response perspective, we address the challenge of unaccompanied
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children in march, and i said then that we had a plan we were executing our plan and it would take time. and, in fact, within 60 days or so, we went from an average time of unaccompanied child in a border patrol station of 124 hours to less than 25 hours. and we did that through our operational capacity throughout the department of homeland security. as directed by the president in an all of government effort. here last weekend we had approximately 15,000 individuals in the del rio section. i committed to addressing that within 10 days. today we have none. and that was because of the department of homeland security's assets with the assistance of others across the government. that is something very different than the fact of the dynamism of a regular migration writ large,
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and the fact that this is a situation that has occurred from time to time ever since i can remember in my more than 20 years of government service. and the president has spoken very powerfully about this from day one and before he assumed office. first and foremost and most fundamentally and foundationally, we are dealing with a broken immigration system. we need legislative reform. everyone agrees. in a world where eun unanimity is so difficult to achieve, there is one thing there is unanimity, that's the need for comprehensive immigration reform. unfortunately it seems to remain elusive, but our real dedication to achieving it is unrelenting. we continue to do so. number one. number two, we have a three-part plan. we invest in the root causes to address the need -- address the reason why people leave the
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homes in which they live and take a perilous journey that they should not take. second, the building of safe, orderly, and humane pathways. third rebuilding an asylum system and refugee program that were dismantled in the prior administration. this takes time and we are executing our plans. reporter: thank you, mr. secretary. thank you for being here. great to have you. starting with the situation in del rio. the mounted units are temporarily suspended. are you considering eliminating them all together? secretary mayorkas: we'll take a look. what we were focused on right now is addressing the urgency of the situation in del rio under that bridge. we are still getting through it. remember as i mentioned in response to the prior question, we still have operational needs across the border with respect to this particular population of
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individuals. we are going to be taking a look at this. what the horse patrol is customarily used to do for everyone as -- everyone's benefit. horses are able to cross terrain that might not otherwise be traversed. what they often do, in fact most often do, is assess the situation and actually assist in helping people in distress. that horse patrol, the horse patrol that the customs and border protection employ, the border patrol specifically has actually saved lives many times before. we'll take a look. reporter: because there are multiple issues at once, the situation regarding afghan refugees that are being processed by your department. we have had a few questions on that that haven't entirely been answered. i'm curious do you know how many cases of forced marriage or so-called child brides d.h.s. found in the system so far?
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secretary mayorkas: to my knowledge we have not found one. i will tell you that we have experts at the aimpt -- airport and beyond who understand that phenomenon very, very well who know how to detect the signs of any such activity and are able to place people in secondary screening. discern the facts and make the decisions that the facts so warrant. we are very skilled in that. reporter: thank you, mr. secretary. i know you said you would look into this. the president was clear today. he said the ages on horseback seeing those images will pay. he said it's dangerous and wrong. he said there will be consequences. do you disagree? secretary mayorkas: i know the president was ecoing the sentiments of the american public in response to the images and what they suggest. i want to speak to the fact that this investigation will be based on the facts that the
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investigators learn and the results of the investigation will be driven by those facts and nothing less and nothing more. reporter: they would pay. you guys are not on the same page. secretary mayorkas: i think the president was speaking in terms of the horror of seeing the images. that investigation will have integrity i can assure you of that. reporter: mr. secretary, i understand since january 20, you inherited a broken system. you have thousands of people living in squalid conditions, limited opportunities to go through asylum processes here. i think it's a warning about situations like this for months now. how much responsibility do you, the administration take for these situations continuing to pop up in various places? secretary mayorkas: if you are addressing the situation in del rio, i will tell you that it is unprecedented for us to see that number of people arrive in one discreet point along the border in such a compacted period of time.
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that is unprecedented. we have the chief of the border patrol, a 30-year veteran, he's not seen that before. and what we do when we see something that is unprecedented is we respond and respond we did. reporter: some democrats had wanted you to be more lenient on the ally sum claims because of the earthquake that haiti went through. have you considered that at all? secretary mayorkas: let me speak to that. we studied the conditions in haiti a number of months ago as is our legal obligation to do so. and based on the country conditions that we observed and studied, what we did is we designated haiti for temporary protective status for those haitian nationals, resident in the united states, who are here prior to july 29. and we were mindful of the assassination that occurred, and
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we were unsure of the results of that assassination in terms of the stability of the political order. once a new leader took office and things seemed to settle down, we determined that the july 29 date was equitable to address the humanitarian relief of haitian nationals already resident in the united states. we have continued to study the conditions in haiti, and we have, in fact, determined despite the tragic and devastating earthquake, that haiti is capable of receiving individuals. we are working with haiti and with humanitarian relief agencies to ensure that their return is as safe and humanely accomplished as possible. i was around, i was at u.s. citizenship and immigration services on january 10, 2010, the date of the last earthquake in haiti. that was distinct from the earthquake that devastated people more recently.
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that had a far greater geographic repercussions than this one now. this one as devastating and tragic as it is, was more geographically limited and we made a determination based on the legal standards and the facts that, in fact, individuals could be returned to the country as a whole. reporter: thank you very much. to go back to the images of these mounted border patrol officers. you said on saturday -- rather on the 20th to ensure control of the horse, long reins are used. the person who took these photos of the border patrol agents said, i have avenue never seen them whip anyone. why is the president out there today talking about people being strapped? secretary mayorkas: let me correct the statements in your question if i may. it was on -- if i may. it was on friday when i was you will -- actually it was on
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monday, i believe, when i was in del rio on the ground and i made the statements without having seen the images. i saw the the images on the flight back and i made the statement that i did with respect to what those images suggested. the horses have long reins, and the image in the photograph that we all saw and horrified the nation raised serious questions about -- let me finish -- about what occurred. as i stated quite clearly, it coninjured up images of what -- conjured up images of what has occurred in the past. it is how one interacts with the horse and how one interacts with the horse and so i will let the investigation run its course. i will not interfere with that investigation. the facts will be determined by the investigators, and then the results will be driven by the
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facts that are determined. reporter: and to follow up, please. before the facts are in, is it helpful to your investigation for the president of the united states to accuse using inflammatory language of people being strapped? secretary mayorkas: not concerned with respect to the integrity of the investigation. we know how to conduct an investigation with integrity. i served as 12 years as a federal prosecutor. there were a great deal of comments in many of the cases i handled in the public sphere and i know how to maintain the integrity of an investigation and this investigation will have integrity. reporter: mr. secretary, thank you. title 42 expulsions sending haitians back to haiti immoral, yes or no? secretary mayorkas: no, they are not. they are driven by a public health imperative. reporter: are they immoral? secretary mayorkas: let me
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explain so let me be quite clear. we don't conduct ourselves in an immoral way. we do not conduct ourselves in an unethical way. in fact -- in fact, we are restoring people by reason via morality of the past administration. we are reuniting families that are separated. let me explain something, the reality of the situation, because we're dealing with a great number of individuals who are encountered at the border in a congregant setting and placed in customs and border protection, you know, border patrol stations. and that can cause the significant spread of a pandemic. and it is in light of the operational realities that the centers for control made a determination in its public health expertise that title 42 authority must be exercised. it is a statutory authority.
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and they made the determination that the public health of the migrants themselves, our personnel, local communities, and the american public require it. and that is why we are exercising that authority, to serve the public health. over 600,000 americans have died. more than 40 u.s. customs and border protection personnel have died. many migrants have gotten sick. we are doing this out of a public health need. it is not an immigration policy. it is not an immigration policy that we would embrace. >> last one. reporter: secretary, thank you. congregating. you just mentioned covid. what is the situation there? i know the crowd has been dispersed. do we know if people have gotten
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sick anytime since this group of people of 15,000, you said? secretary mayorkas: we did not test that population of individuals. we do not know -- i do not know -- if i may be perfectly accurate -- i don't know whether anyone was sick with covid. we certainly had some individuals get sick. not specifically with covid, to my knowledge. and we addressed their illnesses. in fact, we set up medical tents that had a certain standard of ability to address medical needs. it's hot in del rio, texas. we had cases of dehydration. we had other situations. and that is precisely why we searched approximately 150 medical professionals to address the medical needs of that population. that is why we set up a medical facility with the appropriate
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equipment to address their medical needs. and i must say, what i saw of the border patrol and other personnel was quite frankly heroic. they took -- this is not the customary obligation, and yet, they took great pride in addressing the needs of the people. reporter: your statement of this is not who we are belies the actual treatment of haitians, not just this administration, but administration of both parties going back decades. and you seem to be sdish e distinguishing -- distinguishing between violence and -- what about haitians fleeing haiti and the type of devastation and -- devastation they're fleeing compared to other immigrants and asylum seekers?
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people have been talking about the violence people have been fleeing central -- central america and south america. and the president, even during his campaign, talked about the fact this created a need to create a pathway and an asylum system. this doesn't seem to be the case when it comes to haitians. true representation of the way haitian immigrants -- immigrants of african descent have been treated? secretary mayorkas: i will respectfully disagree with you. let me -- reporter: on the wrong side of u.s. immigration for the last 20 years so i have some experience with it. secretary mayorkas: no. i wasn't commenting on your personal experience, sir. i am an immigrant as well. i wasn't commenting on your personal experience. i was respectfully disagreeing with an assertion that you made.
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if i may -- if i may. an asylum claim is determined based on the facts that are presented in the individual case. in fact, the title 42 authority has been applied to irregular migration since the very beginning of this administration and before. and it has applied to individuals from guatemala, honduras, el salvador, and other countries. it has been applied equally. and the exceptions that i cited have been the exceptions that have applied to all. there are three exceptions -- the convention against torture, acute vulnerability such as extreme medical needs, and operational capacity. those are the three exceptions. title 42 authority has been
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applied irrespective of the country of origin, irrespective of the race of the individual, irrespective of other criteria that don't belong in our process and we don't permit in our adjucative process. reporter: the horse whip -- secretary mayorkas: that is something that horrified us all. you know, this morning, i was on radio and the interviewer said it was -- it troubled very profoundly the black and the african-american community. and i said one thing. this should be clear. those are not the only communities that it horrified. those are not the only communities that it concerned. of course, that concern might be most acute given the history in this country and in other parts of the world.
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but all of america is horrified to see what those images suggest. jen: thank you so much, secretary mayorkas. he'll come back. i promise. i know there are a lot of questions. let him go back to his job. secretary mayorkas: thank you. jen: thank you so much, secretary mayorkas. you're always invited. open invitation. ok. two items for all of you at the top. in addition today, the treasury department released data on the emergency rental assistance program which shows that through the month of august, state and local e.r.a. programs, emergency rental assistance programs, have distributed more than 1.4 million payments to households totaling more than $7.7 billion to support the housing stability of vulnerability venters and landlord -- renters and landlord. an increase of about 24% in august since july. over $2.3 billion distributed in august which represents three times the amount in may.
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we expect distribution process to continue. but if this pace maintains it would mean three million payments to renters in need and $16.7 billion in emergency rental assistance spending which is a positive impact on 2021. just quickly on the week ahead -- throughout -- we'll obviously have more to convey to all of you over the weekend. just to set expectations. but throughout next week, the president will continue to engage with members of congress and congressional leadership on his build back better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal. they'll also discuss passing the continuing resolution, providing disaster relief, and avoiding default. on wednesday -- and we're obviously leaving some space to do exactly that -- on wednesday the president will travel to chicago, illinois, to highlight covid vaccine requirements for businesses. we'll have the -- we'll have more the week proceeds. reporter: first, the president said he doesn't want a new cold
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war with china. and yet, we've also seen cyberattacks. businesses are seeing supply chain issues with their suppliers in china. what confidence do the administration has and the allies that they don't want another cold war? jen: well, what we can speak to is what our intentions are. our relationship with china, our approach to china is one of competition and not one of conflict. i will say that it relates to the quad, which i think is ongoing, unless it wraps and we will have a robust readout for you with all of the deliverables, but the focus of that is not a security meeting or security apparatus. this is a -- the focus of this group is on covid, climate, emerging technology, and infrastructure. all areas where it's incredibly important to coordinate with key partners who are in the global community, including in that
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region. reporter: i guess i have to -- australian prime minister -- [indiscernible] afghanistan where we had this drone strike and we now know this was [indiscernible] how did this happen? what does this tell us about our intelligence in afghanistan? and what other procedures for accountable going forward? jen: well, i know last friday, the secretary -- the defense department did an extensive briefing on this and put out an extensive statement where they conveyed clearly that this was a horrible mistake. that this was a tragedy. as is the loss of civilian life on any occasion, and certainly in this case. there's also been -- they also announced they would look back at the centcom review they announced last week. so that is a process that will be ongoing and undergone at the department of defense. i would note -- i am not sure if
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this is exactly your question, but some have asked what it means for our over-the-horizon capabilities and capacities. i don't know if that's what you are getting at as we look to afghanistan, as we look to preventing terrorists from threatening our partners or even threatening our homeland. one, of course, we watched that closely from our intelligence community. they do regular briefings, as you see, on the hill. over-the-horizon capacity is not the same as steps that were taken, as it was in the case of this drone strike or the strike before it where our troops are threatened on the ground and where immediate action needs to be taken in order to prevent or attempt to prevent their lives from being threatened. obviously, this was a horrific mistake. over-the-horizon capacity, you have more time to look at targets, to consider intelligence and that's the difference in how we approach it moving forward. there will be a review of the centcom review. let's go to al jazeera first.
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reporter: ok. thank you. i have been trying to ask this questions for months. freedom of the press question. members of the administration, you talked about the importance of journalism to democracy. the president lots made a -- also made a point of saying his presidency is different than his predecessor. why is the president allowing the prosecution for publishing the human rights abuses in guantanamo and does he believe the detention of asaj -- assage reasonable? jen: well, i don't have anything new to say on julian assange and i would point you to the department of justice. we are approaching this from an entirely different approach of the last few years as it relates to freedom of the press. and i think the department of justice's actions as it relates to the prosecution of journalists or how we're going to look at or go after records, something the attorney general
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made an announcement of, the president spoke, is very -- reporter: does the president see this as a freedom of the press issue with respect to assange? jen: again, i don't have nothing to speak to. reporter: this is something i emailed you months ago. jen: i understand this. i don't have a new comment from here. go ahead. reporter: i have one more. jen: sure, go ahead. reporter: thank you. you know, we talked about the images that these -- that the al jazeera footage with respect to the horses along the border -- jen: yeah. reporter: the pain that conjures up for african-americans in this country. the president has condemned this. but, you know, the president has also promised african-americans in this country he has their back. al sharpton said this week we are being stabbed in the back, mr. president. you need to stop the stabbing from haiti to harlem. talking about the police reform bill. what does the president need to do to address this? there is an engagement with
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leaders. does the president need to do more than that? what should he be doing? jen: well, first i say since you referenced police reform, the president is frustrated we have not moved forward with police reform. negotiators on the democratic side, the republican side, tried to find common ground. he also was frustrated they couldn't move -- they weren't able to move forward despite there was agreement even from police organizations and others about what -- about what the path forward looked like. so he's incredibly frustrated. it requires congress moving forward in order to have that kind of lasting impact. but the president is clear he will engage with advocates, engage with members and also consider options like executive actions which is something we did not act on because we wanted to leave space for these negotiations to continue. reporter: african-american voters feel recognized they are being seen, they are being heard? i mean, bring it down to the layman level. jen: you asked me specifically
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about police reform so that's why i asked that a -- addressed that specific question. i say the president has been for equity across our system for many, many decades. that's a is central tenant of his presidency. that's evidence in a range of executive orders he signed early on in his presidency. his advocacy for voting rights, for police reform, and certainly the comments and remarks you heard him give this morning. go ahead. reporter: the former president last night in response to the [indiscernible] said he was going to assert the executive privilege. he's not in the executive branch anymore so i don't think he can do that. has he reached out or has his people reach out to the biden administration to say, hey, you don't want communication between former president trump and mark meadows, for example, and how would this white house deal with that? jen: well, i am not aware of any
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outreach. we don't get regular outreach from the former president or his team. i think it's safe to assume. i would say we take this matter incredibly seriously. the president has already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege. and so we will respond promptly to these questions as they arise. and certainly as they come up from congress. and certainly we have been working closely with congressional committees and others as they work to get to the bottom of what happened on january 6, an incredibly dark day in our democracy. ok. let's go to yahoo. reporter: throughout much of the spring and early summer, vaccination was over 70% for adults. what is it now? jen: it's much higher than that. i'm happy to get you the up-to-date data from the covid team. i know it's over 75%. it's something we see continue to climb. it's something we've seen climb over the past several weeks. as mandates have been put in
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place by companies. as there has been unfortunately a rising fear of delta as people have seen horrific images on television. we are seeing encouraging climbs in vaccination and vaccination rates in communities across the country. reporter: what goal are we trying to hit? when do we know we have succeeded in our vaccination? jen: we will try to get as many people in the country vaccinated as humanly possible. we won't put an end limit on that. it's a continuing work, a continuing top priority of this administration. shelby, go ahead. reporter: so we know that the vice president has been tasked with addressing the root causes of migration. a democratic congressman from texas told cnn yesterday that the vice president [indiscernible] so, first, i'm wondering if the administration can give tangible examples of the actions in addressing the root causes of migration that has had a tangible, you know, an actual impact? and then secondly, what specific
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causes, root causes is the vice president currently addressing to help migration from places like chile and brazil? jen: the president and vice president both conveyed this will be a long-term effort. what the focus is on addressing root causes like corruption, like economic circumstances that are impacting people and prompting them to want to come to the united states. so that requires working with governments, both to put in place new migration proceedings and processes or limitations sometimes at borders. we've seen some impacts of those over the course of the last several months. it also includes providing assistance and engaging closely with these leaders on what steps can be taken. and the vice president has been deeply engaged in this. but, again, as it relates to haiti, as it relates to our broken immigration system, the clear step that needs to be taken is an immigration bill needs to pass congress. it's a broken system. one that is ineffective.
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one that is not moral in many cases at this point in time. it's long overdue. there are a lot of republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. not many putting forward solutions or steps we can take. we're a little tired of the speeches. we'd like to partner on solutions and working together to address this problem that has not been partisan in the past. go ahead. reporter: thank you, jen. two quick questions. the president met two days ago with a group of lawmakers, five hours in meetings. does he have a better sense after all of those meetings, five hours of meetings as to whether or not a vote will take place this monday on the bipartisan senate bill in the house of representatives? jen: well, our work did not stop after those five hours of meetings. and the president has always known that this would be a key inflection point. we are certainly at one, right, at this moment. because while there is broad agreement on the need to lower costs for childcare, for elder care, for college, for
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preschool, the need to rebuild bridges and roads, the need to address the climate crisis, to have a more fair tax system, there are discussions about the size. now, as the president said multiple times this morning, the package will cost zero dollars. there are a range of revenue options that can cover whatever the cost of the package looks like. but these are important discussions that need to be had. we know there are differences of opinion among members of our own party and we're still at work at it and our team was still at work yesterday. i will say as it relates to the next steps here, we want to win the vote when it happens. that's our objective. reporter: the second question has to deal with covid protocols that exist in the west wing, in particular. jen: sure. reporter: the president meets regularly with his counterparts around the world. he meets with lawmakers. he meets with activists, with private citizens from time to time. when new ambassadors present their credentials, they do so right now by zoom.
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is there a particular reason why the president doesn't meet with those new ambassadors face-to-face like has been done in the past by other presidents? jen: i know he's eager to do that in the future. i don't have any more information or prediction of when that may happen. certainly something he looks forward to doing. he respects and values the role of ambassadors that are serving around the world. reporter: is there a particular reason why he's not doing that right now, why he's doing it by zoom? jen: it's not a covid reason. i am happy to check to welcoming in ambassadors anytime soon. i don't want to put you on the spot. go ahead. it's friday. reporter: i want to clarify something you said a moment ago. and then i have a question. when you say the president has determined that it's not appropriate to exert executive privilege in the january 6 documents, is that a blanket statement or will you evaluate
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the request from the investigating group as they come in one by one with an eye to not asserting executive privilege? jen: it's an eye to not exert executive privilege. this is something predicting what we don't know yet. but this is his overarching view. reporter: is it something you would turnover? jen: i won't get ahead of a hypothetical. that's the approach. reporter: on the potential government shutdown. has there been any determination or thought put yet on what happens to covid-related work during a potential shutdown? i am thinking about the department of labor working on their mandate. jen: we obviously want to do everything we can to avoid a government shutdown. i can tell you that as it relates to exemptions, our expectation is because it's public health work is that the vast majority of work on covid would be exempted. but i think it's safe to say that even if that -- even with
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that being the case, that having the government shut down and having the impact on systems, on processes, on personnel is not ideal. and more than not ideal is -- would be challenging as we're facing a pandemic, as we're working to get a lot of programs funding out to people across the country which is why we're focused on avoiding it. go ahead, patsy. reporter: thank you, jen. apology to ann for cutting in line. jen: it's ok. we tried to call in chris. it's ok. go ahead. reporter: president biden said -- [indiscernible] by the end of 2020, produced, not delivered. also, on the dose authority pledge, the 500 million doses june, the rest by mid-2022. the latest 500 million delivered by the end of the next year. first, can you confirm if the
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timeline right? second, can the world wait that long, especially if the goal to end the pandemic is by end of 2022, that delivery timeline does not seem to support that? jen: let me confirm the specifics here. the timeline for delivery of the -- of these 500 million doses, first, 200 million doses will be delivered by june, 2022. second, 300 million doses will be delivered by quarter three, 2022. and donate one million of pfizer. that's part of the total. we already donated 160 million doses already to date. what i will say, patsy, right now we are still the world's largest contributor of vaccine doses by more than every other country in the world combined. we have committed to give more -- for every one dose here, we committed to give three doses overseas. that is more than anyone else. no one else in the world can say that. and we're also helping
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produce -- add to manufacturing capacity, the quad partnership, who was here, of course, meeting as we speak, is on track to produce at least one billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022. we're also working to boost vaccine manufacturing in south africa. but we need help from the rest of the developed world. and the rest of the developed world needs to also step up. we are going to continue to increase our role in contributing vaccines, contributing know-how, making sure that we are playing a constructive role in bringing an end to the pandemic. but we need the rest of the world to step up. that's what our focus is on. karen, go ahead. reporter: did the president discuss over-the-horizon capacity with prime minister modi, in particular, whether it involved pakistan or india? jen: i know we were going to put out a joint statement. i am not sure if it's out at this point in time. the quad meeting was also ongoing when he i came out here -- when i came out here.
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reporter: the d.h.s. secretary several times said he did not want to impair the integrity of the investigation of the border patrol agents. he said i would not prejudge the fact. did the president prejudge the facts when he said i promise you those people will pay. jen: it's a response to those images which is what the people in the country felt when they saw them. there is an investigation the department of homeland security is overseeing. this will determine what personnel decisions will be made and it will see itself through. i think the president wanted to make clear to people that watched those photos, who had it understandably emotional responses that that's not acceptable to him. even while the investigation is being -- is being -- is happening and moving forward, that will determine what the consequences will look like. reporter: on the reconciliation package, senator manchin told reporters wednesday night that the president, quote, basically just said, find a number you're
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comfortable with based on the numbers you have. the president said today, forget the number. lawmakers should not be focused on the top line number. what changed from wednesday's meeting when he said, give me a number, to today, forget the number? jen: they are not actually not contradictory. what the president was trying to convey today repeatedly, there's a lot of focus on the top line number. but ultimately, there are a range of proposals on how to pay for it by making the tax system more fair. so actually the cost is zero. that was the point he was making. so -- and that's why he's been so focused on telling the story of the substance. and as it relates to senator manchin or anyone else who may have different points of view, and we welcome that in the democratic party, of course, in democracy, yes, part of this is disagreement or discussion, i should say, about what the size of the package -- what the top line, even though it's going to be paid for and will cost zero will look like. so both things are true.
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go ahead. reporter: what's the president's approach at this point in time with his domestic agenda? the reason i ask that, there are moments when he said i need this and i need this now to lawmakers. lawmakers met with him on wednesday. he was soliciting information. what's important to you? when does he hit the moment of, i need this now? we need to get this done. this is my red line. we're moving. jen: well, i talked to the president about this this morning. his view is that this is a process. and he understands and has lived through many of these processes in the past. and his approach is, you have to listen. you have to hear people out. you have to answer their questions. and, yes, at a certain point, you need to forge a path forward and look to unify a range of viewpoints on wherever there may be some marginal disagreements. we are in the middle of that inflection point now. and the next several days, weeks are going to be pivotal, no
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question about that. but he also understands and has been through enough of these processes before that he needs to listen, he needs to be a partner with members. he is ready to pick up the phone and bring people down, covid friendly chats to play a constructive role. he knows sometimes those conversations need to happen at a staff level, senior staff level, or senior staff to member level or staff to committee level. he knows of all people how this process works. he's just evaluating hour by hour he how he can be -- hour how he can be the most constructive going forward. reporter: another question. what if any comments has the white house had in the results in the g.o.p. backed review about [indiscernible] the report shows the president earned 99 more votes, the president 261 fewer? jen: it confirmed what we have known for some time and what
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millions know. reporter: are republicans pushing for similar reviews and texas, wisconsin, pennsylvania? anything the federal government or the white house can do to address that given the members of your party are concerned about this ongoing review about? jen: that's a good question. i'll have to check and see if there's anything substantively. reporter: thank you, jen. two topics. allegations of wrongdoing based on files pulled from hunter biden laptop is russian -- is the white house still going with russian disinformation? jen: i think it's broadly known and wildly known, peter, there is a broad range of russian disinformation in 2020. reporter: ok. on the border. following up on a question. why hasn't president biden
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visited the southern border? jen: why would he visit there and what impact would he have? reporter: why wouldn't he want to go? jen: it's what's constructive to address at the border and a broken immigration system and his view is helping to push immigration reform forward, helping reform the broken policies of the last several years. and listening to his team of advisors who have been to the border multiple times about what the path forward should look like. reporter: why is this the one crisis then he thinks he can manage better than here than going to the southern border? jen: i can assure you the president knows what the challenges are in our broken immigration system, something he watched closely over the last four years. ok. go ahead. reporter: just a fine point on your answer to karen's question. sure the union officials and lawyers who will be representing these agents -- jen: yeah. reporter: is it your view or the
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white house's position what the president said this morning is not legally -- with respect to the consequences -- it's his personal view and not representative of actions the -- jen: the president was not prejudging the investigation either. the president was responding from his heart and responding to seeing horrific photos that we have seen over the last several days. reporter: he's head of the executive branch. article 2. you're saying what he said will not necessarily be the outcome? jen: again, there's an investigation ongoing. i don't know if anyone saw those photos and didn't have a similar reaction to the president and that's what it was a reflection of. go ahead. reporter: thank you, jen. [indiscernible] jen: we actually do. so i would say the department of treasury actually today announced two general licenses
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to allow humanitarian aid to continue to flow in afghanistan despite u.s. sanctions. and our priority is, of course, ensuring that 100% of humanitarian assistance goes directly to independent organizations like u.n. agencies and n.g.o.'s who can provide vulnerable afghans with critically needed forward, emergency health needs, including covid-19 and other urgently needed humanitarian relief. so all funds are directly closely vetted through local and international partners. this is one of the reasons we've been so focused getting the airport up and running. and these n.g.o.'s and u.n. agencies are working in challenging environments to get the food and assistance to exactly the right people. go ahead. last one. sorry. last two. reporter: there will be a vote on the infrastructure bill, multitrillion-dollar bill which needs to be ironed out. what is the political risk for democrats if that does not pass
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on monday? jen: when the vote happens, we want to win the vote. that's what our focus is on. we'll let leadership determine the next steps beyond that. reporter: understanding that but recognizing as we heard from some progressives they may have 90-plus votes that would oppose this right now if -- on the senate on the social safety net bill. what's at risk? this is ultimately what the president ran on that he could get these things done. what's the risk for democrats? jen: our objective is for when the vote is called for us to win the vote. that's not a point we're planning for at this point in time. rachel, one last question. reporter: sent out the subpoenas to the trump inner circle. chairman schiff said he would force those subpoenas if necessary. does the administration and white house support that? jen: i know they have been called to appear in october, i believe, if i saw in the reporting. so we would be premature to
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discuss either point, discuss this or speak to this because the subpoenas have just been issued and we haven't seen the response quite yet. thanks so much, everyone. have a great weekend. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we're funded by these television companies and more, including buckeye broadband. >> ♪ >> buckeye broadband supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front-row seat to democracy.
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>> you can be part of a national conversation by participating in c-span's student cam competition. if you are a middle or high school student, we're asking you to create a five to six-minute documentary that answers the question -- how does the federal government impact your life? your documentary must show supporting and opposing points of view on a federal policy or program that affects you or your community using c-span video clips which are easy to find and access at c-span's student cam competition awards $100,000 in total cash prizes and you have a shot at winning the grand prize of $5,000. entries must be received before january 20, 2022. for competition rules, just how to get started, visit our website at backg is congressman earl blumenauer, democrat of


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