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tv   State Homeland Health Officials Testify on Southern Border  CSPAN  May 6, 2022 3:03am-6:02am EDT

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security. >> with plans to m's title 42. well ongoing litigation and shifting covid-19 circumstances may impact the exact timing of when the public health order is lifted, the administration must have a detailed, well thought out and well resourced plan to secure our borders and address expected changes in migration once this policy change goes into effect. yesterday, this committee had an opportunity to hear directly from secretary mayorkas on this and other critical issues. today, we will have another opportunity to hear from senior administration officials and go into further detail about how the federal government will secure our borders and managed the proposed termination of this policy. title 42 is a temporary public health order. it is not a long-term solution
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to our order security needs. today's hearing is an important opportunity for the administration to detail both their short-term plan for addressing this expected policy change as well as the long-term solutions that congress and the administration must work together to ensure we have secure borders. title 42 was initiated to prevent the spread of covid-19 in march of 2020. it has severely restricted the use of proven enforcement mechanisms that prevent illegal border crossings and in turn has contributed to an increase in repeat illegal crossings. soon after this policy was implemented, the number of single adults trying to illegally cross the southern border doubled. now, repeated attempt by individuals to unlawfully enter the united states has reached a nearly 15 year high which is unsustainable and places a
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significant burden on order security professionals. i look forward to discussing the administration's plans to reinstate proven border security enforcement methods such as escalating consequences for repeat offenders that have been shown significantly to reduce illegal crossings between ports of entry and and for border patrol agents can stay focused on their border security mission. reinstating these kinds of consequences will hold individuals who break the law accountable. while ensuring that children, families and other migrants can present themselves at ports of entry for a timely review of their asylum claims. in addition to addressing the humanitarian situation at the southern border, the administration must ensure they have the personnel and resources needed to ensure safe, secure and efficient facilitation of lawful trade and travel at our ports of entry and combat the
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flow of deadly illicit drugs like fentanyl that continues to wreak havoc on our communities and michigan and across the nation. i have long pressed for a robust resource to make sure we have enough personnel as well as technology like nonintrusive screening equipment that improves customs and border protection ability to examine vehicles and large amounts of cargo efficiently and stop illegal drugs from being smuggled across our borders. i look forward to discussing what more the administration needs to ensure that we can prevent fentanyl and other illegal substances from harming our communities. finally, this hearing is an opportunity to discuss the policies that congress and the administration must work together on to address the long-term challenges at our borders and especially the southern border. over the past decade, we have seen a surge in the number of migrants arriving at the southern border nearly every
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year and under both republican and democratic administrations. it's clear that without bipartisan action to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and reforms to our asylum system, these challenges will persist for years and decades to come. i look forward to hearing from today's panel about what long-term solutions the administration is proposing to address the root causes of migration, increased regional cooperation with our partners in south and central america and ensure migrants receive humane treatment while streamlining the asylum process. challenges at our southern border are not new but they are significant and today's discussion will provide this committee with the opportunity to ensure our nation has sufficient tools, sufficient resources and personnel to take these issues head-on. you are recognized for your opening comments. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i
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appreciate you holding this hearing on the southwest order which is in a crisis situation now. it's hard not to agree with that when you look at the fact. like yesterday, we discuss this issue and today we will discuss it further with their witnesses who i should coming from homeland security, state and health and human services. i appreciate your service and thank you. we look forward to having you. i requested for the committee today to hear from the commissioner of customs and border protection as well as the chief of border patrol. we have not heard from these individuals in the 117 congress and i think that's wrong. i think we have a responsibility so with all due respect, our witnesses, we like having you but we hope your bosses would've come to be able to ensure that we are getting the administration's view on what's happening on the border and how it will be fixed. last year, about one million
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people came to the border unlawfully. they were allowed into the united states. about one million people came to the border unlawfully and were admitted into the united states. as you know, we are talking a lot about whether these numbers are 10 year highs or whatever they are. but so far this year, it's unprecedented. it's not a 15 year high, it's an historic high. we will see what happens this summer because typically, we would expect more people to come. also, because of title 42 possibly ending, we are expecting more people to come. that's one of the big issues we talked about yesterday. i mentioned it that one million people come to the border unlawfully and are allowed into the united states and summer applicants of asylum. many are from central america.
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many are turned down for a silent but only small numbers are ever deported. that's that part with regard to title 42, another roughly one million people were turned away at the border under title 42, meaning they were processed and then they were sent back to their home country other than mexico or sent back to mexico. that's 2 million when you think about it on -- unlawfully coming to the border and being released in one million turned away. if title 42 no longer applies, that number may double in terms of those admitted into the country even though they came to the border without proper documentation. some say it will be more because people are telling others to come in after title 42 because it will be easy because you can say you have a credible fear and can come in under the asylum system. that's our challenge we've got.
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on top of that, we are allowing 750,000 per year under our legal immigration system who wait in line patiently and go through the right channels. i strongly support legal immigration. i think we could increase legal immigration and the need for people who come to the united states legally with skills. that makes us in america for our legal system, the most generous country in the world. on top of that, we had people who evade the border patrol at the border. we don't know how many that is and we will talk today about this number but what rodney scott says is the former chief of the border patrol was well known by many of us is that he thinks it's 450,000 people per year who evade the border patrol and evade being apprehended and
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are added to the one million people who show up without papers and are allowed into the country typically under asylum. on top of that, about 400,000 people per year and we will get better numbers on that but that gives us context of why there is such a deep concern. everyone of us have been to the order on this panel probably many times and our staff has been down there many times including recently. and that's why the border patrol says they think they will lose operational control unless something is done. this is a huge issue. we haven't unprecedented amount of illegal drugs coming into the country including fentanyl. we will talk about that today and why that's coming in and the mexican transnational crime organizations are specializing this. it used to come in from china and now it's coming in from mexico and being reduced in
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mexico often with precursors from china and pressed into pills and our citizens we represent hard dying of overdoses partly because they don't know what these pills are. they may say something else but they are fentanyl and it's leading to a record number of overdose deaths in my home state of ohio and around the country. this is another border crisis we have to address. we will talk more about how we might do that. this again is a situation where policy makes a huge difference. president obama deported or removed over 315,000 unlawful migrants in 2014 alone. in context, the obama administration removed 65% of the migrants that entered unlawfully that year. in contrast, president biden has removed about 56,000 come about 5%.
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and we have many more people who are in the queue right now in the back log is about 1.6 million people for asylum. unfortunately, we have a situation where not only are we allowing more people in that we are not having people leave once they are deemed not to be qualified to be asylees and traffickers know that and that's why they have such success with people coming to the border and charging them outrageous fees, often treating them poorly as we know. the administration's responsibility is to say we will have a planning in case the search gets worse. the plan states that the first pillar order security is we have doubled our ability to transport noncitizens on a daily basis with flexibility to them reese further -- to increase further. much of the plan is making it
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easier to get those into the interior not to put deterrence in place. it's to facilitate the flow to make it easier in processing people on buses heading to the interior of the country rather than doing it at the border because the facilities would be overwhelmed. i appreciate mr. chairman, you allowing me to speak about this and it sets the contest -- context and it's important to the numbers and i look forward to speaking to you today and looking forward to the selections -- to the solutions. what do we do going forward? thank you, mr. chairman. >> it is the practice of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee to swear in witnesses so if each of our witnesses would please stand and raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony will give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so
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help you god? thank you, you may be seated. our first witness is january contreras who serves as the assistant secretary for the health and human services and children and families who's responsible for the care of unaccompanied minors. served in the department of homeland security for citizenship and immigration services, most recently served as the ceo in managing attorney for arizona legal women and youth services. welcome to the committee. you may proceed with your opening remarks. >> chair peters, ranking members and members of the committee, it is my privilege to appear on the behalf of apartment of health and human services.
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i am the assistant secretary at the administration for children and families for acf. at acf we are responsible for the care of unaccompanied children and for uniting them with families. we carry out this duty to our office of refugee resettlement, which administers our accompanied children program. i was sworn in on march 31. i have only been on the job for one month, i am committed to managing the unaccompanied children's program and prioritizing that they see of each child who comes to our care . during my first week on the job, i visited. i wanted to see the children and our work up close. it was important to me to also meet with frontline staff. what i have witnessed in my role was a tireless work that the dedicated and skilled team at o rr and the many partners who have contributed to our mission.
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as i meet with you today, i believe we are prepared to continue safely serving all unaccompanied children referred to us. we currently have 8390 children in our care. we have a overall capacity of 15,500 across our network. orr is able to probably bash properly as referrals and limit the amount of time children send -- spend 2 -- in facilities . unaccompanied children have generally not been titled -- subject to title 42 since november of 2020. however, we are planning and preparing for any but the jewel increase in referrals that might result for their termination of title 42 for adults and family units. we have developed continue to plans that allow us to build capacity as needed and deploy additional case management
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support, should referrals significantly increase. today we have cooperative agreements for 13,613 beds in our standard network for children. this is the highest number of standard beds in the history of the unaccompanied children program. we have and continue to build greater capacity for more standard beds for kids, including adding to existing grants and funding new grants come authorizing hazard and incentive pay to routine and recruit staff and working closely with the cdc with covid measures to keep children and staff safe. in addition to our standards, we have utilized influx care facilities and emergency intake sites. out of the 14 emergency intake sites that were utilized last year, only to remain active.
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although emergency intake sites are temporary, they do allow us to quickly add beds for children when we need them. we also continuously work with our contractors to ensure the emergency intake sites are safe and appropriate for children. and they provide key services, including robust case management and mental health support. we are in the process of transitioning both of the remaining emergency intake sites to influx care facility, which are required to require the same services and supports in the standard shelters. finally, we are conducting regular outreach to subfloor -- explore potential use for public and proper properties as needed to accommodate increase referrals. as a child world for our agency, we know that the best place for
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children is with their families. over the past year, we have implemented policies and process changes to expedite the safe placement of children with family and sponsors. examples of this work are in my written testimony. continues to focus on strengthening our work to carry out our duties to unaccompanied children. and to ensure that could adapt its capacity for the care, the unaccompanied children contingency fund included in the president fiscal year 2023 budget would help address this by providing a reliable source of funding, when referrals require orr to add new capacity appeared while i am new to this role, pursuing our moral location to care for unaccompanied children will be my highest priority. i know that many of you have been keep partners in supporting
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orr mission and i look forward to working with all of you. i look forward to answering any questions. >> thank you. our next witness serves as the acting assistant secretary for border and immigration policy at the department of homeland security's office of strategy policy and plans. a former staffer on this committee previously served as a senior advisor to the u.s. customs and border protection commissioner and was the most recently a senior policy statement. at the >> thank you very much, chairman peters, ranking members of the committee come i want to thank you for the opportunity to come back home to discuss these critical issues. migratory surges have unfortunately become a regular
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occurrence --. >> excuse me, sir, make sure your mic is on and bring it closer. >> so, migratory surges along our southwest border have unfortunately become a regular occurrence over the past decade over presidents of both already. over this period we have seen as well as fundamental changes to the nature scope and demographic of a regular migration, even as we encounters on the border have decreased to unprecedented this year. there are more people displaced in their homes in the world then and anytime a world war ii. in our hemisphere alone, there are a growing numbers of people being placed in neighboring countries of a well -- as well. the covid-19 pandemic and dire economic conditions are pushing people to live their country this administration is
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addressing the root cause of this migration. system and silent system are outdated and we are not built to contend with the populations and volumes that we are seeing at our border. for decades, the vast majority of the vigils encountered at the southwest border were single adults from mexico, guatemala, salvador and honduras. over the past two years we have seen a unprecedented increase of migrations from countries we have not encountered along our southwest border, which accounted for more than half of our unique encounters. in fact, roughly 25%, the full order of our encounters are from nicaragua and cuba this year. over the past decade, as of the committee knows chamoli has -- also seen -- we have also seen eight increase in children among
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the border, more populations that require additional care. these changes affect our ability to efficiently and humanely apprehend process and remove migrants from the border. our system was not designed to handle these flows. despite these challenges, dhs has taken steps this last fall to prepare for the eventual lifting of the cdc's title 42 order. these preparations will help us to address challenges at our border more effectively well protecting the safety and communities. the first is asserting resurgent to support our operation, this includes deploying additional law enforcement, personnel to the border, constructing facilities and implementing robust public health protocols, including our new vaccination program for migrants process under title eight. the second pillar is increasing
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the processing efficiency within our border management and immigration systems, this includes innovative work to create digital files and electronic notices to appear, which will save savings at the time of the border, as well as processing in our processing center model. the third pillar, ongoing war to administer consequences from unlawful entry. we will and committed to firmly but fairly enforcing our immigration laws, this includes applying expedited removal to noncitizens who are in fact unmovable, it includes focusing prosecutions on noncitizens whose conduct warns a including those --. the fourth pillar, ongoing war to -- the
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first that crackers are supported with fundings from which we the sixth pillar, involves our efforts to work regionally and collaborate with our partners in mexico as well as throughout the hemisphere to enhance the legal avenues for protection and opportunity throughout the hemisphere, but also to ensure that partner governments are in fact enforcing their borders and not letting people pastor on their way north. as we prepare for the end of title 42 on rates only third, dhs is working night and day to address the irregular migration oh challenges at our border. however, we recognize an executive action will never be a
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adequate stand in for congressional action in this phase, and we urge congress to work with those on a bipartisan basis to impact legislation that can help this country modernize the regression system, streamline asylum processing, better security borders and provide homes to migrants and they will have legal opportunities to come to the united states. thank you. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. >> our next witness is marianne. she is currently serving as a senior coordinating official for the department of homeland security southwest border donation center. efforts to establish plans and secure resources. she served as a regional administrator for fema region three since 2010. welcome to the committee. you may proceed with your opening remarks. >> thank you.
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thank you distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. full written testimony has been submitted into the record. i will like to start recognizing the man and women on the department of homeland security, who worked tirelessly around the clock often at significant sacrifice to secure our borders, enforce our laws and ensure the fair and humane treatment of law. consistent with our values at the department and as a nation, i think these in the many thousands of other dedicated public servants who serve and protect our country and the american people no matter the challenge. having just completed my assignment as a senior correlating official with the south was border coronation center on april 29. on april 1, as we all know, the cdc announced that as of may to later, 2020 two, title 42 public health order will be terminated. title 42 is not immigration authority, but rather a public health authority used by the cdc
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to protect against the spread of communicable disease. i would like to share the steps to prepare for the title of title 42. the f pcc has limited first to ensure additional resources and contracts across three lines of efforts. transportation, facilities and personnel. this includes expanding holding grounds and airport capacity, increasing utilization of a law enforcement officers across the federal government, adding contract secure to guards and processing support staff, and expanding medical services. these efforts allow officers to agents to perform their national security mission, as opposed to processing other administrative work. the fpcc leadership have established recurring and operationally focused engagement with state local tribal and law-enforcement officials to share information, understand
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challenges and coordinate actions on the ground. additionally, in april, fema awarded humanitarian funding to the national board for the emergency food and shelter program. national board will award these funds to eligible state and local governments and nonprofit organizations that have aided or will aid individuals in families encountered by dhs at the southern border. these funds could be used for food, lodging or transportation cost. there'll be an opportunity to request reimbursement. third, dhs launched the southwest border technology immigration program to digitize and automate noncitizen processing. over 70% of title eight cases are reviewed and signed digitally by customs. we project this has saved over
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10,000 hours of agent time already. additional efficiencies are being implemented specifically targeted at expedited removal, so noncitizens encounter the border can be removed. everything possible in being done to enable officers and agencies to spend less time processing. we are rapidly developing and testing models to customs and border protection's, isaac, and ce, and processing centers to process noncitizens. this model will allow to triage noncitizens and ensuring higher risk individuals are held at secure facilities until they are placed in this engine pending expedited removal. since we are working to alleviate overcrowding by deploying multiple in round processing, border patrol has necessary technology support
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processing citizens in transit. and ensuring noncitizens apprehend at the border are placed expeditiously in removal seating spirit ultimately, the goal and efforts focused on longer-term strategies to create lasting repeatable structures to respond to migration out events. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. our next witness is steve curry, the active officer for u.s. customs and border protection ensuring that it is equipped with the personnel and resources as a series to their frontline duties and in between of imports of . he has served in the u.s. border patrol for over three decades. previously served as acting deputy commissioner of enterprise services.
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welcome to our committee. you may proceed with your opening remarks. >> thank you. >> good morning. thank you members of committee. it is an honor to testify on behalf of u.s. customs and border protection and discuss efforts to secure efforts and promote safe and efficient flow of lawful trade and travel. i currently serve as acting chief officers. however, my border, border security has spent 37 years, the entire western hemisphere, while the border has always been a dynamic environment, there is one thing i am reminded of everyday, the men and women have a complex, important and frequently dangerous mission. when we are called to perform within the spirit of vigilance, service, integrity and honor. it is in the spirit while conducting the mission remains the most humanitarian law enforcement agency in the country.
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we provide life-saving rescues, shelter, medical treatment, nourishment and clothing to those who we encounter. we conduct rescue missions, deliver babies, three children, and work with childcare providers to ensure medical care. notably, through extensive dhs and cvp efforts, we are. a unprecedented medical support and health care system inside a law enforcement agency. at a unprecedented fee. we were made vigilant and responsive to other responsibilities. we conducted 13,000 lifesaving rescues and offered conditions in training. we continue to prevent dangerous people from crossing our borders, and ensure the efficient flow of lawful trade and travel that is vital to our economy. these functions will continue
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when and if the cdc order, which we refer to as title 42 comes to an end. it is grounded in three key principles. first, enforce the law and implement administrative policies. second, ensure individuals in our custody are provided care and rights. third, work collaboratively with our agency and private sector partners. first, cdp is a law enforcement organization. we are committed to enforcing our nations law and implement the policies of executive branch. we will continue to utilize our immigration authorities under title eight, as we have done throughout our agency's history. these authorities include a range of enforcement officers to hold individuals accountable for entering the u.s. illegally. including, placing individuals in appropriate removal proceedings. we also allow none citizens to make claims and humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis.
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which brings me to our second principle, the commitment to provide care and rights to individuals in our temporarily custody. from the moment of initial contact with individuals, cdp identifies the correct processing pathway for that person, including options for those in vulnerable populations. thank to the support provided by congress with the funding, cdp is expanding temporary holding and capacity, increasing the transportation of organs away from overcrowded sector and processing. providing additional recourses . third, it is important to recognize the efforts in this area. cdp is one of many organizations involved in addressing border security mission, working together with our partners, cdp is making preparations to ensure we can scale our process as necessary to respond to the areas of greater need. while i am here today
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representing one agency, i can't stress enough the importance of that congress continues to support to not only cdp, but also ice, uscis, fema, the department of state, the department of justice, and others. we are all part of a great number of everest collaborating -- efforts collaborating. collaboration is key and support from congress is vital. the border has always been a dynamic and complex environment for cdp, we will continue to do our part enforcing the law, ensuring individuals are properly cared for and being a trusted partner to everyone working on this effort. thank you to the opportunity to appear today, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. our final witness is emily. she serves as the deputy secretary of department of state's of western hemisphere
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affairs, covering cuba and regional migration. she previously served as director of legislative affairs for the national security council, most recently served as executive director for the center of democracy in america. welcome to the committee you may proceed with your opening remarks. >> thank you. chairman peters, ranking member apartment, distinguished members of the committee appeared i welcome the opportunity to testify on a regional migration. this is a pivotal moment for our hemisphere as a broad the shared responsibility on humane aggression management across the region. the department of state is actively working with governments, private sector, civil society and international organization partners throughout the region to increase cooperation, and address our shared responsibility to humanely manage migration and to provide protection to those fleeing education or torture. regional leaders concluded hemisphere meeting on migration
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and protection, cohosted by secretary blinken in panama april 19 and 20th. secretary blinken urge collaboration on stabilization of a migrant and refugee receiving communities. the ministerial shined a light on the need to work together with international organizations and multilateral development banks to stabilize those communities. president biden will host the night someone of the americas june 8 to 10th in los angeles, as the only meeting of leaders across the americas that some have served as the most important form to address our shared challenges and opportunities. it marks the first time the united states will host the event at the inaugural governor kelly miami in 1984. the theme of the summit building a sustainable, resilient equitable future represents a shared vision with government, civil society and private sector r.
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including responding to the pandemic, building marker sees, addressing irregular migration and increasing equity and inclusion. the president announced or attempts to adopt the los angeles protection in addressing irregular migration. department of state has worked diligently to implement the administration's complement of approach, which includes my colleagues. the u.s. strategy for addressing root causes in central america and the collaborative migration management strategy. the administration's comprehensive approach to build on those significant u.s. government resources and daschle private sector to support the lm development of central america appeared to advance the root cause a strategy, the vice president brought together private sector leaders to the u.s. government call to action initiative, that has generated $1.2 billion in commemorative
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great new jobs and opportunities for people in the region. as part as the vice president calls to action, microsoft is conducting 4 million people to broadband access across the region, with nearly one million people already connected. an espresso will invest $150 million to double the number of farmers it works with throughout the region. mastercard is bringing finally people into the form of financial economy, while digitizing small businesses. and an existing facility in virginia, supporting 500 jobs in each location demonstrated the effect that these efforts can bring benefits to the u.s. economy as well. through these long-term efforts, the administration continues to make significant process towards creating hope for people in el salvador, honduras, that a better life could be found at home. i like today includes the u.s.
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government central america call initiative, empowering local organizations to address drivers in their own communities can also delivery of more than 50 million covid-19 vaccines to northern central america. we also continue hoping the hope migrant smugglers accountable and conduct programs to support victims of gender-based violence commercial virus of human trafficking and unaccompanied migrant children. improve access to education for nearly 18,000 returning our potential migrants or at risk youth. the administration is doing its due diligence to repair for challenges at the port appeared we have alerted countries to the upcoming changes and processing and requested >> ability and cooperation with partners. including re-appreciating and o. the department actively sticks directed to fight and respond to this information about migration. we work within our agency
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partners to track and combat this information, especially that circulated by smugglers. i will include again by underscoring the road ability across the region to work with partners on migration. of committee, thanks for the opportunity to testify. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. thank you to each of our witnesses for your opening comments. >> i'm going to start questioning with the discussion of title 42, which i'm sure will be discussed quite extensively during this committee. we go to title 42 as a severely limited border security enforcement strategies, like the consequence of delivery system. the consequence a delivery system started back in 2008, and was designed to impose calculating consequences on
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individuals who were crossing the border illegally. quite frankly, it worked. i have this chart to show how consequence delivery systems worked. as you can see here from 2008 when it went into effect, these are folks that are coming across the border on a repeated basis. it is significantly decreased the number of folks coming across the border until you can see in 2019, where we have a huge increase. that is when the trump administration suspended the consequence delivery system to implement title 42. you can see once that happens, the title 42, a major spike, once again going up for folks who are coming repeatedly over the border. under title 42, migrants are pushed back to mexico. they have no reason not to keep
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trying. they keep trying. they come back many times, you can see that increase. then it levels off as flattening with the biden administration. it then flattens at that point. you can see this huge increase going back to the days before the consequence was put in place. now we have incredible strength because of folks coming over custom only feared within 2021, the border patrol has encountered more than 9000 markers that they have seen once , but they probably have seen many times as they keep trying over again. there are no consequences that have been illuminated with title 42. they keep trying until they get through. when title 42 is terminated, the consequences need to be in place , like expedited removal and prosecution to decrease these illegal crossings and repeat
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offenders, which is mesh the numbers. the because the consequences are gone, with title 42 you start seeing a big increase because of the repeat offenders. my question is, does the department plan to reinstate consequences to reduce the rate of repeat >> to decrease the illegal crossings and these repeat offenders. people are coming over so many times, numbers are up. with title 42, you start seeing a big increase because of repeat offenders. my question for mr. meadow, do we reinstate consequences for repeat crossers who have taken advantage of title 42 public
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health? >> you are exactly right that -- under title 42, the lack of consequences leads to roughly half of individuals being re-encountered subsequently. we are committed to imposing consequences as part of the administration's plan. as in my written testimony, part of those consequences is ramping up our use of expedited removal and also focused cut prosecution campaign. that includes individuals who are recidivists who are recidivist to cross multiple times. it also includes individuals who seek to evade capture. i want to know one thing, chairman, we have already begun implementing process --
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consequences. starting about two months ago we began an effort to start imposing expedited removal. we plan to continue that in coming weeks. >> if i can paraphrase, without these consequences, we are putting a real strain on our folks at the border. we have people sent back to the border, they come back later that day, they come back in the next two weeks. a huge strain. once consequences are in place, we can reinstate that title 42 is allowing people to come over and over again, constantly inflating these numbers. we will start to see an increase again prior to title 42? >> that is correct sir.
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title 42 -- asylum-seekers 2 --. asylum-seekers are turned away at the port of entry, they are forced to cross between other ports. instead of coming in -- it also strains our border security because we are pushing folks away from the ports of entry because other folks are trying to get in. could you please describe specific steps the administration is taking to increase our ports or injury so that we can safely process port seekers, ensuring trade and travel. an allowed trade travelers ports of injury? >> part of the process to
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encourage asylum-seekers to go to the border to do that, in order to do that, we have to have that capacity as much as we can. we have done a number of things to do that. over the last month, several things to do this also. we are working to establish better leverage technology using these td p1 out to get people to apply to get as much advanced -- to arrive to the port of entry to increase efficiency. there are two ways. you include that you improve your process to improve our efficiencies. it is not about some concerns,
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there could be some delays that slow things down. to move those processes as quickly as we can. we continue to process them through that way. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, i think we need to be straight with the american people as to what is happening here. let me comment if i could on your suggestion that there be consequences for people who enter multiple times and how that would address the problem. that is not the issue. agent, you just told us you are preparing post title 42, not for people who have consequences but
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for more asylum-seekers, didn't you? that is what you just told us, right? >> you are expanding your asylum, that is what is going to happen. title 42 is not entitling people to stay home, they will do what they cannot do because of title 42, is apply for asylum. do you agree with that issue? >> i don't think i understand your question. >> what is the alternative to title 42? it was suggested a second ago that the alternative to title 42 is that repeat offenders are not going to come over because they are going to have consequences. the alternative you stated is you're going to have more people coming and applying for asylum. that is what you are preparing for, right? >> we are preparing whoever
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comes, they can apply through our asylum system if they have the right to do so. >> you're going to comfort -- increase your capacity for it, that is what is going to happen, right? answer my question and let's just be honest with the american people. right now under title 42, it is the ability for you to say to about a million people a year, we are going to turn you back. turning back to mexico if they are not from mexico, you will process them and turn them back to their country of origin which could be ecuador. what you're saying is without title 42, you're going to have more people coming to say i have an incredible fear and like others they are going to be able to come into the country? is that correct? >> yes, that is correct. >> we can talk about it in place
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politics and say we have this plan. we have an asylum system that is broken and until we fix that, title 42 is not sustainable. it is not meant to be an immigration law. it is all we have right now to keep the system from being totally overwhelmed and to keep not just a million people being released into the country every year, who, unlawfully, claim asylum. 80% of americans and central americans we know of are not given asylum and they are not deported. 2 million migrants have received a final order of approval. we are removing 60,000 a year right now. that was the number in 2021. that was less than 5%. that is the issue, isn't it?
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it is hard because we have to deal with the asylum issue. do you disagree with anything i said? >> it is clear under current law migrants to arrive at the border have the opportunity to claim asylum. as a department and a country, we enforce those laws. >> the expedite removals in the budget this year are reduced even further. it specifically with regard to detention which is mandated by law.
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we don't do that and we cannot do that. you know we cannot do that. we don't have the space. we have 24,000 beds. we are talking about 1.2 million people put into expedited removal. is that correct? >> i don't think we have ever had enough beds to move everybody through the process. >> isn't that the reality? >> yes, we do not have the detention capacity to hold everyone. >> not even close. we have seven or 8000 people a day coming through the border right now unlawfully.
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the six pillars that we just talked about, we can go through this. but a thousand new border patrol agents, my understanding is they asked for 300. i guess you're going to take them from other places and -- the border with canada. make them processed faster, enhance processing on buses, people going working with nongovernmental organizations to work with people faster, all of that is fine. but it doesn't deal with the problem, it just puts more people into the system. center majorca stealth as there is a six to eight year wait right now. the backlog is one point -- 1.2
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million people in the united states for six to eight years before their case is resolved. it is going to be expensive but it is absolutely crucial to me that the last people coming in are the first people told, we
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understand. your country has issues and the economics are a real problem. you look at the migration policy , indicates between 75% and 91% of migrants coming into the border are coming from economic -- for economic reasons. policy is leaning to only 50% of adjudication being accepted. we have to make this decision early, some people back home if they do not qualify, if they do, that sends the message. i would love to work on that but that is not what is being proposed here. thank you mr. chairman. >> just want to clarify to simplify it a little bit as we discussed with that process
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together to fix this. i'm willing to work together with you and others. we are doing legislation together right now related to that so that we can deal with it. i look forward to working with you to deal with that aspect of the problem. we have to deal with both of these problems together. i totally agree with you in that respect. i need to go to an armed services committee to assess the -- to ask some questions. i will turn the gavel over.
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>> a topic i bring up frequently of immigration when talking about our border, lack of economic opportunity, we continue to see folks arrive at our border for the next 10 years, 20 years, 30 years to come. countries in the western hemisphere is -- secretary of --
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is in town. who -- to ensure we are doing all we can for so many of them to flee. can you take a moment to update us to tackle the root causes and
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engage with countries in the region. go ahead. >> thank you senator and thank you for your leadership in this issue. president biden through an executive order to work across the agency to draft a strategy for root causes recognizing we have engaged in efforts to address root causes in america before he directed us to learn lessons, apply those lessons and put in place a strategy to do better. he directed that alongside several aspects of a comprehensive approach to regional migration. including -- to the border. and another that we call the management strategy. strengthen border enforcement in the region, promote a sense of shared responsibility, strengthen protections
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throughout the country as well. on the root cause of strategy, we drafted a strategy proposal last summer for root causes of migration such as insecurity, lack of -- lack of economic opportunity and government issues. we have been working in partnership with governments in the region, civil society, to implement that. i will share with you a few highlights of our work. i mentioned in my testimony, the vice president announced and is working with private sector leaders on a call to action, promoting investors from private sector entities in central america that can create jobs and improve standards of government as well. those commitments will generate 70,000 jobs in guatemala, el salvador and under orders.
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two other highlights i share is we have allowed for access to education for 200,000 young people in central america and -- access to credit. we are conducting through our bureau of narcotics and law enforcement to train police, better and more humane security tactics, more efficient security taxes as well. -- security tactics as well. it is a commitment as we are working to address root causes of immigration to make sure our will -- our efforts for -- recognizing without gain and governments that can provide for their people. gains in the security realm and the economic realm will be sustained. >> that is a pretty good list.
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are there any additional pathways available to expand to migrant groups. ? any additional pathways available to expanding pathways available to other migrant groups? on our border as well? >> we have in working to expand our ability to issue h2 and visas in the region. also enhancing refugee processing in the region. we do have, under current law, limited legal pathways. the ability to better match workers in the region in the u.s.?
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>> senator, anything else you would add push mark --? to other market groups. >> we recognize other legal pathways in an -- is an effective way pathways to the united states elsewhere i will mention a program run by my colleagues. it is the central america minors program. in september 2021 this is a legal pathway for individuals to apply from their home country to access the united states.
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>> the state department has robust messaging throughout the region. it depends on where you are talking about.
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>> there is a section in a six-point plan. i asked the question of what leverage are you using to the countries to actually enforce their borders.
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>> we are in the process of training is now on more affect and main tech experience most of the countries in the region are conducting enforcement out of their own --. >> there is no increase engagement to be able to put leverage on them? we have 2 million people encountered who came across our border last year from literally all over the world, mainly coming through central america. is there an additional effort coming?
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this six-point plan implies something new. >> absolutely. we are engaging with them on a regular bases out of washington, trips down to the embassy, and -- increasing border -- and also to identify emerging trends and identify needs associated with those emerging trends. >> that is not additional border enforcement. i am asking specifically what is in the plan. to put leverage on countries at their borders. things that they did during covid, years ago, we still had 2 million people last year, many of those crossing through those borders. what are we doing now to encourage those countries to enforce their borders? >> we notice a trend working within our inner agency projects.
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we will carry that information, including a wealth of those that are transmitting to those countries. if they are arriving by air, countries may decide to oppose visas on those nationalities arriving by air and have been proven to be conduits of a regular migration to impose visas on the nationalities to ensure those arriving by air are not attending to the united states. if one country proposes a visa requirement, it is easy to be elsewhere. >> could you give us that plan again?
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if they don't enforce their borders, it is much harder to enforce ours. actually enforce your borders, it is different than training. if we could get that in writing, it would be very helpful to me and we will follow up with that. secondary unions, it is good to see you again. when you and i visited in february, we talked about the guidance you provided the border patrol agents, asylum officers for claim vulnerabilities. whether a minor should be placed in m.v.p. -- mpv. if i could get that in my office, we will follow up with that again. it will be very helpful. we are trying to figure out the way that screening is actually done.
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when i was there in february, ending a chance to visit on the ground, they were fuzzy about it. they said, yes there is guidance. >> we will certainly follow it with your office, sir and provide a briefing of the documents. >> documents would be great to get on that. >> 500 fewer beds?
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we still have restrictions on our detention cities -- detention centers because we do not have enough beds. it is a double hit. you're limiting the number of people that can be held in detention and you are asking for fewer beds while you are saying we need more bed space. i am trying to figure this out. >> senator portman asked whether we have the ability to detain everybody, my response is that it's -- the department has never had enough beds. we are focused right now on reviewing every step of the renewal process of the timeline. it takes six to eight weeks. people who are not found to have a fear or appeal no fear finding held by an immigration judge.
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that is just too long. it has been the historical average so we are working to maximize the beds we have by getting people through the process much faster. one of the challenges we have is a quarter of our encounters right now, we cannot remove people too. we have good options for individuals from cuba, nicaragua , even if an immigration judge does find they do not --. >> there will be a second round i understand and you may want to take advantage of that. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for being here today. i have not heard the detail i
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need to be confident in the government plan. in order to meet this moment, dhs needs to share operational details regarding how they plan to move migrants to the processing system in a manner that will keep arizona citizens safe and treat migrants fairly. local federal law enforcement officers -- for years. yesterday, secretary mayor indicated work to get resources on the ground in arizona are well underway. i have not yet received specific details that allow me to be confident the government will be prepared. on which date will arizona borders have all the necessary resources, including infrastructure, transportation and staffing to implement the administration's plan and avoid further burdening arizona's local communities?
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>> thank you for that question, senator. the first i want to address is personnel. we are in the process of moving federal law enforcement officers including arizona and the sectors --. there is an effort to provide -- that will allow word referral -- border patrol agents data in arizona as well. that is a myth of contracting support. that is online and coming online with the goal of having things in place prior to may 23. the second piece is transportation. border protection has undertaken several efforts to adjust transportation in particular and ground transport.
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one of the biggest pieces of air transport and aging center import with ice is to move their transport with migrants, either laterally or to decompress those statements. that is with a consistent control capacity. he has capacity to move -- per day. a blanket purchase agreement already issued against that. the purchase agreement includes contract security. what a lot of the agents do while in holding do not have to be done by border patrol agents.
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the last thing is facilities. previously it was about 13,000. you have to think about this as a system. egging sure things are in place now with the goal of having more resources on may 23. based on actual flows? >> i appreciate what you have just said but we have got all this in your report. what i am asking is regarding
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specific details in arizona. tell me what is happening in texas and saying you can move people from arizona to texas doesn't solve the problem. do you have details? >> i have topline the health -- topline details here. yuma, tucson are part of a network on the southwest border. i encourage you to look at the whole system, not just specifically what is in arizona. >> we have had significant problems with transport already. airport personnel have been taken away from their duties of helping passengers get safely from one destination to another to provide assistance.
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as you mentioned before the hearing, so that has been alleviated. actual items to address this on may 23. >> senator, thank you for that comment and question. where the sky harbor is as well as -- that is not specific to the airport at the off services there. there has been work with tsa to
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discuss clearance policies to ensure people who do arrive have the right documentation and tsa has access to the right system so they can properly scream people out of the way. avoiding people to have to be stuck at the airport for several hours or a day or two. another is ticketing. southwest airlines and united airlines, to coordinate ticketing and move people through the airport to their gait. there are things that have been done tactically to address these issues. address before the hearing -- and process completed.
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the government has few levers to provide support. there is a lot of coordination that will have to happen between cbv to ensure we can move people through the system highlighted previously. >> i know my time is expired, may i ask one additional question? for years i have been working with arizona's local mayors to help relieve the burden caused by these street releasers. what is neat -- utilizing about street releases and what steps are placed on communities in the case of street releases?
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>> i welcome chief hartman's views on this. we are working hard to minimize the potential for street releases. we acknowledge they have happened really consistently over the years. we have put guidelines in place. we will be happy to share with you more detailed information on that. the norstar of the space and
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>> cbv is the first step. >> we would not like they have any streak if we can avoid it at all. >> there have been repeated stories in arizona in which there are no shelters and no bus stops. that mirror was transporting migrants himself to the phoenix area because of street releases that were unplanned and unannounced. leaving migrants without any place to go or safe harbor,
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particularly as summer temperatures rise over 110 in southern arizona. >> senator scott, you are recognized for your question. >> in the state of florida, we have quite a few people in our state from -- countries. there is a plan to secure our border. they read stories about the number of terrorists that have been caught and so many they
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have not been caught. in fiscal 2012, the northern triangle were 2% of encounters. in fiscal 2021, it had increased 2%. mr. muni is, how many countries are there and how many countries are represented coming across our border illegally now? >> it is common each year to see individuals from dozens of nationalities at our border. what has changed this year is
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the volume from country needs -- countries we don't seem volume from. cuba, nicaragua -- account for about a quarter. >> how many countries are represented that border patrol has illegally picked up? >> i do not have the numbers. >> there are people coming over across the border from 150 countries. this is a regional problem. from syria, lebanon, proved the
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biden administration borders prove i message for those around world. >> there is no doubt we are facing severe challenges on our border. it is in line with trends -- >> is the border close? >> no. the border has and continues to present a challenge for us. >> do you think our country has a right to have a secure border?
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i don't see anything happening. i am a business guy. if i went into business and use 533% interest -- increase of something bad happening, some people would do something. what the border patrol told me, it is to first administration where they can't see anything happening. it is fascinating to me. 103,000 people drive died -- died of drug overdose last year. i am from florida. we have a lot of people that are cuban descent. they know the atrocities of the castro regime for decades.
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they were furious when the obama administration had the --. it didn't work. after obama's impeachment, the cash regime cut off her hand, stuck in the mud so she would die of infection, you wonder what her atrocity was, she complained someone close a school in her area. we are back talking again. we have 1300 people in cuban prisons right now. some of these are kids. they are being tortured, they are going to dive. i am not seeing one thing the biden administration has done. i have called the white house. the biden administration has not done one thing to call this out. you're having conversations with cuba.
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are you going to take them off the -- list? are you going to take them off sanctions clearance -- sanctions? >> thank you senator for the question. we absolutely share your concerns about the human rights on the island. president biden -- have publicly condemned -- >> no, no, no, no, joe biden has not said one word. i called the white house and they hung up with me. -- they hung up on me. i asked him and he would not do it. there has been nothing done. is there anything being done to get the internet back on. these peaceful protesters are going to talk to each other?
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nothing. they said, oh yeah, we are going to work on it. that was last july. nothing. >> those protesting peacefully july 11 network arrested, remained in prison. many with harsh symptoms, some of the miners. we have made that public and we have shared -- >> i would like to see it because the president hasn't said a word. are they going to take them off the sanctions or take them off the terror watch list? >> with respect to migration talks that occurred a couple weeks ago, the u.s. incurred over several years ago, several decades ago, 84, 94 -- 8485 --
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promote measures that will support legal migration. administrations for decades now i have met on a biannual basis. at a technical level. a meeting that occurred a couple weeks ago on both sides to support legal migration. suggested to stroke -- smugglers . it is imperative we work together with partners throughout the region. >> that is a yes it is on the
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table that you're going to take away the sanctions question mark >> no, sir i am responding specifically to your question -- >> my question is, state-sponsored -- and are you going to eliminate the sanctions question mark >> --? >> i have no comment on those. >> if you have no comment, that is a yes. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you for all the witnesses being here. >> it is also important the plan lacks -- improving between
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government solutions that dhs offered in the past. what i want to know from all of you here today is what the department has learned since the two plus years since title 42 took effect and how this plan differs from dhs past policies and practice. i will start with you. >> senator, things were that question. i work with fema so my involvement in government day-to-day is limited. i have had some involvement. the key thing i will note is the coordination center has brought together departmental components as well as the agency. through that we have better aligned our priorities.
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everyday a team of dozens is working vigorously to execute those tasks. that is why in the past i would say 45 to 50 days there has been a substantial tossup in the acquisition of resources as well as the deployment of resources. there is significant movement -- cannot go into. that is one is different and has outcomes of 2023. >> for those who don't have a
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legal basis to stay in the country is a key lesson learned. the senior coordinating official. there are a number of ways to look at the system from beginning to end and find efficiencies at every step from encounter to referral. somehow ice manages expedited removal. one thing that has been a historical issue not just for dhs but also doj is the fact that all of our immigration processes are paper-based. the printing out and scanning of documents takes an extraordinary amount of time and pools our front-line law enforcement personnel away from their law enforcement duties. we are working to digitize the notices to appear and create an electronic file that i think
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have really revolutionized the way we process at the border. we hope to have a lot of this done by the end of the year and i hope we will see huge gains across the entire continuation of that. >> cvp, the overall -- we are in the process of having to deal with them first. having the right facilities to
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do the processing. historically we were billed as single adults. that is how citizens will work. we are able to configure those south cited facilities to be able to obtain and process and move. as i mentioned, process in between the organizations, removal to get away from paper, those are important. one of the key things that is important, the fire along, there is a better approach. that is really helpful. it helped us last spring and summer. to finally get fully
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coordinated. that same process we are using now as we get ready for title 42. we are dealing with unprecedented numbers. there is no question about that. in 1986, we set the first record and it was very difficult to do. over time, we have learned how to take better care of those in our custody and make sure we have all the team players involved within homeland security, doj, all of the situations. >> we have to take these lessons learned into a coordinated government approach, turn it into action plan like digitizing so you can share better across agencies. we have to have a plan that is robust. i look forward to working with
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you on that. i'm going to submit my next question for the record because all of this begs the question the need for comprehensive reform that takes these lessons learned and turns them into a humane, dignified -- for our country as a whole. >> mr. chairman, you have dueling charts here. i don't expect you to be able to . what we have is 10 years worth of monthly apprehension. i told the story yesterday but it tells a slightly different story. over the last eight and half years, on average, we have at 30,000 single adults.
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very steady. what we had in 2014, the humanitarian crisis exploiting our asylum walls. something different is happening now. the first thing you see is an explosion. we are hearing this yesterday and today that you explain this as repeat offenders. 25% are repeat offenders. do repeat offenders account from going from an average of over 30 to 150,000 single adults being apprehended on a monthly basis? >> thank you for the question, senator. you are correct, the matter doesn't add up.
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going all the way back to when we were counting, all those numbers. there is no question about that. where you start seeing single adult increase, with every democratic presidential candidate, said they were not going to deport anybody and they were going to offer free health care. if you look at the chart, there are some pretty remarkable points. people thought our laws were going to change. they found out nothing really changed and we started searching. then president trump did real consequences.
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stop the flow of our family laws and all we were left with were single adults until the biden administration. getting asylum is actually quite difficult. isn't it? you have to be persecuted or fear being persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group or political opinion. that is the asylum standard, correct? economic migration does not count, correct? mr. nunez-neto: you are right that there is a wide difference between the statutorily mandated credible fear -- >> and that is the root cause of the problem. the vast majority of the people who come here are coached to say that you are afraid to go home. and they get waived in, never to have their claim adjudicated and now some -- somewhere between 20
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million to 30 million undocumented because of that. the credible fear's bar is so low in comparison to what the asylum standard is and until we fix that, we are going to continue to have this flow. particularly with an administration that is not willing to do with the previous administration did and offer real consequence. what are the consequences we stopped talking about? removal, we are still doing that, correct? mr. nunez-neto: yes sir. we are. sen. johnson: we are not writing down their name? we used to actually remove them, like 100 miles from the entry point. do we even do that anymore? mr. huffman: yes, we are still having some repatriation of flights. when flights are available. sen. johnson: we are still doing some consequences.
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my question first of all for -- what is that this information? >> thank you for the question. we have seen smugglers and other bad actors twist information and craft disinformation about u.s. border policy. sen. johnson: what do they tell them? >> we have seen information that would suggest that certain nationalities would be granted entry without consequence. sen. johnson: let me stop you. isn't that exactly what is happening here? people are granted entry without consequence. last year, close to a one million process and dispersed we
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are so overwhelming customs and border patrol, we are not going to fix this unless we are honest. the reality is what the people are being told in central america is largely true. you come to america, you cross the border, you say, i am afraid to go home and you are home free. isn't that the reality? isn't that exactly what the agents on the border are having to grapple with? there is nothing to do because that is the policy of this administration. mr. huffman: i will speak to what -- without regards to the policy, i would defer that to dhs policy. there is a level of frustration because they believe that many people are "gaming the system" because it is possible to do that. ideally we like to focus on those, those are single adults that we do have a path for
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removal. those claims assess are one of the biggest challenges. we are dealing with family units that seem to exploit that. as we go to applying consequences, and we intend to, and hopefully we will be able to increase our consequences as courts start opening and we prosecute more cases, the next concern would be that single adults start becoming a units again. sen. johnson: they will sell children to make a family unit. $84, a child was sold to form a family unit. there are no consequences being applied here. they were returned to mexico, but that was dismantled on the first day of this administration. we have to understand what the root cause is, but the main root cause is the pull factor, the reality that you can come to
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america, say you are afraid to go home and you are home free, you get to stay. that is why you have this problem. until this administration is willing to recognize that, we are going to continue to have a problem, even though the secretary won't admit it is a problem. >> senator hassan. sen. hassan: i want to thank you and ranking member portman for this hearing. i want to thank all of the members of this distinguished panel before the committee today. chief huffman, i want to start with a question for you. i recently visited the southern border for a third time. and was there in early april. i am concerned come after that visit, that dhs is not more widely deploying the technology you are using to help secure the border in some locations.
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greater deployment of integrated and autonomous cameras, radar, sensors and additional technology to detect and deter the unauthorized aerial view this smugglers use would expand cdp capabilities, address security gaps and be a force multiplier. congress has appropriated millions of dollars for these technologies, some of which cbp has not spent. what is holding up the deployment of smart border technologies, particularly to strategic locations? does the department need additional funding? in order to complete required reviews or plans before the technology can be deployed? mr. huffman: thank you for that question and thank you for the funding. that is extremely important. it provides cbp a level of situational awareness that is critical to their success.
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the recognition of that is important. the main reason between the lag of the -- is generally, real estate and environmental issues. it is not a lack of resources, it is the process where you have to acquire property or acquire -- its regulatory issues. we are working through those as quickly as we can and intend to deploy all of the technology quickly. sen. hassan: would be helpful to you -- it takes personnel to do that, would it be helpful for you to surge personnel who do these regulatory processes? mr. huffman: it could very well be. it all depends on where it is and what you are trying to accomplish. our office that does that works close with different programs to do that. if they need personnel, they ask for personnel. certainly if we have an
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opportunity to speed it along with that, we would be happy to do that. sen. hassan: i would look forward to working on that with you because we have got to get that done. strategic deployment is critical. mr. huffman: i couldn't agree more. sen. hassan: in your testimony, you noted that cbp is shifting border patrol agent's and cbp officers from other locations to assist at the southern border. when i visited the border last month, personnel there said that while these temporary duty assignments certainly help address increased migrant flows, they are -- for agents -- they are taxing for agents and their families and are not long-term. i am concerned the increased shifting of personnel to the southern border will have a detrimental impact on travel, trade and security along the northern border. how will cbp work to increase personnel at the southern border and continually and reliably meet these needs? mr. huffman: anyone that takes
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care and concern about our force , it is important to us. i appreciate your concern. it is a very challenging time, no question about that. people have been detailed to problem areas. we try to minimize that. we are for the first time ever, establishing these contract processors to get agents back to the field. which may relieve the need to bring more staff. we are increasing our use of remote processing, using technology to stay on the northern border. as we increase the hiring of our border patrol processing coordinators, those things are efforts plans to affect to deal with those issues, increase more people on the front line organically or with contractors or resources to do that. it takes a while to evolve as we get to those places to where they function like we would like
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them to. we rely on our leadership on northern border sectors to balance their resources as well as they can to minimize that. leaning heavily on stone garden partners to help us address all of those things across the enterprise. it is a big case of risk management. that is what we are trying to do the best we can. sen. hassan: i understand you are trying to do the best you can. i am also concerned that as we stand up more resources at the southern border, we attend to security of trade and travel on the northern border as well. i look forward to working with you to make sure that happens. ms. tierney, the first pillar of the dhs plan for southern border security focuses on surging additional resources including medical support resources. the plan indicates that dhs is expanding medical support and covid-19 mitigation protocols
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and is preparing to be able to provide medical care for 18,000 people per day by the end of april. did dhs make its deadline? how could dhs make sure frontline operations have the necessary medical resources and support its 18,000 people -- if 18,000 were apprehended tomorrow? mrs. tierney: i appreciate the opportunity to talk about the medical support plan. currently, cbp has over 800 contract medical personnel capable of providing 20 medical support. they are authorizing travel and pay for current personnel to move around the southwest border based on requirements. there has also been work with the inter-federal agency to identify and secure medical teams from across a variety of departments. that is underway. those requests for assistance are in process. there is work on the contract, that is underway with task
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orders against that. as well as interagency agreements. there is medical personnel on site now. there will be a federal interagency support between now and may 23 employed. and the expansion of the existing contract. sen. hassan: does that mean with your assessment, with those resources in place, if there were 18,000 people at the border tomorrow, you would be prepared to meet the medical needs? that is what the plan said you would be ready by april? mrs. tierney: what i would say is being a practical person, we will have resources in place and we will have an ability to expand requirements. as the secretary and others have mentioned, if cbp were to encounter up to 18,000 people per day, that would put enormous strain on the system. it is unclear whether the medical services currently in place, in the process of being in place, could flex to that
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level. that is almost three times the number of people that are currently encountered on the border on average. mrs. tierney: mr. chair, one follow-up on this. i know i am running overtime. one of my concerns about this discussion we have been having about getting ready for the eventual lifting of title 42 is that people keep telling me we have a plan. it is not clear that having the plan and actually having resources on the ground to meet the goals of that plan are the same thing. i appreciate this dialogue, but what i'm going to follow up with all of you on is, what does that mean in operational terms for the frontline personnel who will in all likelihood be seeing a significant increase in attempted migrant crossings when title 42 is lifted? i want to follow up with one other issue. the dhs plan also indicated that
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the department is planning to expand its covid-19 vaccine program to 24 cbp sites by may 23 so that all age available noncitizens who have not already been vaccinated would receive their first dose before they travel beyond a processing center. is the department's 100% vaccination plan based on current apprehension levels? or does it account for 18,000 possible daily apprehensions? with -- will the 24 sites be sufficient to an -- to accommodate all unvaccinated individuals, or will additional resources be necessary? mrs. tierney: you kind of had a two part question. the first part is an important point. we would all agree that safety, officer safety and to the safety of noncitizens crossing the border, is priority. the plan lays out the resources we will need that have been
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dashed by may 23 and have the ability to flex up to, based on increases in encounters. the plan lays out what we need to do. with the southwest border coordination center, the people with it, is doing, is exiting those planning items to actually resource the things we need. whether it is additional federal law-enforcement personnel, contract civilian processors to free up border patrol agent's, security guards, buses, airlift, medical personnel, additional facilities, that is what we have been doing and what we will continue to do in order to be ready for may 23 and be position for additional encounters. sen. hassan: the chairman is indicating it is time to move on. that is not a question i asked, i understand what you are saying. i look forward to under stash to following up with you.
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-- i would like in writing, a response to vaccine capacity. sen. padilla: i would like to first of all, title 42. what it means if and when it is lifted on may 23 or another date. to remind us on the committee and to remind the public, what title 42 is and what it is not. title 42 is not immigration law, it is public health relations. we are engaging in important conversations on immigration policy. the asylum process is absolutely legal, for people who come from around the world to the u.s. to request asylum. it does not mean it is
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automatically guaranteed, but it is lawful to request asylum based on conditions that one, or a family is fleeing. i was happy to see the administration announced an end to title 42 and the resumption of asylum processing at the border. some of my colleagues would like the american public to think that taking down title 42 would be a major shift in policy. lifting a public health order, which is what title 42 is, would only return us to our existing immigration laws. people seeking asylum in the country are allowed to exercise that legal rights. this legal right has been on the books for decades. my first question is for ms. bender allah -- ms. mendrala, what exists under u.s. and international law that allows people to express their legal right to request asylum and what
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impact this title 42 have on that right? ms. mendrala: with respect to u.s. immigration law, i will defer to my colleagues on the panel. with respect to international law, there are laws in countries throughout the region. each country plus legal framework for protection and asylum is unique. one of the priorities of the state department is to work with partner countries, select countries, to strengthen their protection mechanism and there asylum system so that individuals seeking refuge in those countries can find meaningful access in an efficient way. protection in the countries where they seek it, and not be forced to take the journey to the united states to do so. sen. padilla: how to title 42
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help or hurt? ms. mendrala: it is unique on every country context. just as united states put into place a public health order, many countries throughout the region enacted similar public health measures as well to secure additional public health documentation upon entering a country or to enact movement restrictions that we saw globally. the number of people on the move, migrating, be it regularly or irregularly during the pandemic dropped the matter -- dropped dramatically. due to quarantines either imposed by the state or self-imposed. sen. padilla: so, it didn't make things better. we are living in unique times, given the pandemic, but it would
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be hard-pressed to suggest that access for somebody to seek asylum, a lawful opportunity -- to limit or constrain lawful opportunities to migrate not only serves to add pressures and demands for unlawful methods of migration. i do not think it has been a success by that measure. let me change topics. i want to focus on dhs' plans for the wind down of title 42. i was glad to see that one of the six pillars of the plan for the end of title 42 is focused on coordination and communication with ngos at the border as well as with state and local governments. this coordination is going to be key in ensuring groups have time to prepare, and local communities do not become overburdened as they receive and support individuals who have
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been screened. only those properly released to continue with their immigration cases. the state of california has done with groups in my state including the california welcoming task force. who have been working to support people coming to our country to seek safety. but they cannot effectively continue to do that without adequate communication and coordination from dhs, let alone financial assistance. that is another conversation. i would urge that the people working tirelessly at the department to prepare a return to a safer, more orderly and more humane process at the border, particularly as pcc, closely communicate with ngos and state and local governments. not just in california, but across the border. question for mr. nunez neto.
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can you walk us through the steps you are taking the bolster capacities and preparedness of ngos to receive noncitizens after they have been processed by cbp? mr. nunez-neto: thank you for that question. i am happy to start the answer, but i will handed off to the senior coordinating official maryann tierney. we have been working through fema's emergency food and shelter program to provide resources to ngos to help with all of the back end things they do to move migrants and noncitizens along to their final destinations. we are deeply thankful of congress enacting additional funds for that program this year. as marianne often notes, there continues to be a gap between what the u.s. government can do and with the need is. i will hand the baton to her to
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describe how the spcc is trying to fill that gap. mrs. tierney: i will agree that california has a very robust system for addressing the migrant surge, in particular, the office of emergency services. as well as the 2 -- servicing that area. a lot of work has been done by cbp lead field coordinator. the official on the ground responsible for coordinating this, to establish robust interaction with the state and with locals. for example, at the operations center for region nine which colors -- covers california, cal health has representatives in that location. i believe that is the gold standard and the ideal i would like to see across the southwest border in terms of complete physical integration of those operations. a lot of work has been done with the ngos.
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one of the first things i did was go visit the border. in each of my locations, i did meet with ngos and discussed with them their challenges. that ongoing interaction and operational coordination was a key thing i heard as well as something that was not as robust as it needed to be. that is something spcc, with coordinators, we have worked relentlessly to improve. to regularize recurring meetings both with ngos and state and local officials that have an operational role. that has occurred in california, the gold standard. sen. padilla: i hate to interrupt, but i want to ask one more question. i want to underscore that california is the model of coordination and collaboration. all of my colleagues on this committee and across the senate to support replicating that model throughout the southwest border.
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not just on the california side. my final item, dhs has indicated also that in preparation for a potential increase in migration, the agency will focus on targeting people who attempt to cross the border more than once for criminal prosecution. as part of the agency's initiative to escalate consequences and conserve processing resources. the agency has also indicated it will refer for prosecution, "those whose conduct warrants it." while that may sound good at the surface, i am concerned about the plan to use prosecution as a deterrent without being clear eyed and focused on how it is applied. in the past, such policies have
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not always worked. the past,'s -- instead they were used to punish asylum-seekers, which we established was lawful. it is a potentially huge violation of u.s. obligations under the refugee convention. mr. huffman, does cbp have plans to refer asylum-seekers for prosecution? how are you going to safeguard that? mr. huffman: thank you for the question. the united states government secures its border by proper abdication of criminal law. that is the method we use. that is what we do. the plan to increase prosecution for those that warrant it would primarily be one removed and who have returned. they have gone through the process already to do that. i can tell you that no one would be referred for prosecution simply because they are an asylum-seekers. that would be well outside our guidelines. in addition, re-refer cases for criminal -- we refer cases for criminal --
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as circumstances warrant, there may be people who try to harm a border patrol agent or put someone in danger. this kinds of circumstances that increase the likelihood that a dangerous person -- they may have some sort of criminal record. we may believe they are likely a candidate for criminal prosecution. sen. padilla: thank you for response. we will be following up to ensure proper communication of that understanding. change in policy and training for those on the ground. chair higgins: senator ossoff -- senator ossoff is recognized. sen. ossoff: thank you. ms. tierney, the united states must know and control who exits
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and enters our territory. that is a basic condition of sovereignty. the department expects, does it not, a significant increase in attempted unauthorized entry along the southern border the summer? mrs. tierney: the dhs office of immigration statistics have published projections of an increase post title 42. senator ossoff: is the administration prepared for this anticipated search and attempted crossing? mrs. tierney: we have identified the needed requirements to meet the different levels of our assumption and we are actively working to both resource physical assets as well as policies and improvements to processing tomatoes increase surge. sen. ossoff: my question is, is the administration prepared? mrs. tierney: since some of
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these projections are higher than what cbp had seen previously, i think we are doing prudent planning. we are using the planning to identify the resource requirements that would be needed based on what experts like chief huffman and others have -- we are readying ourselves and we are going to be as ready as we can come may 23. sen. ossoff: if you are not able to confidently state the administration is prepared, what are the requirements that are unmet? have you sent a request for supplemental to congress? if you are not prepared, what is it going to take to get prepared? my constituents lacked confidence that sufficient preparation is ongoing and that the administration is prepared. if you are not prepared, what do you need? mrs. tierney: i would not say that we are not prepared. i would say we are preparing based on projections,
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requirements identified by experts. we are resourcing against those requirements and we will have the necessary items in place for may 23. i have been an emergency manager for quite some time. i never feel like we are prepared enough. i always want to be more prepared than we need to be. we are doing everything we can to be ready. we will -- we have been working furiously since the fall of 2021 to get ready. we are more ready now then we were yesterday and we will certainly be more ready on may 23 than we are now. sen. ossoff: how will you measure success? mrs. tierney: we have identified for each of our major agencies, items that would indicate stability. for example, with customs and border protection, the southwest coordination center has established a stability goal for border patrol that is having
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twice as much holding as we have encounters over a 48 hour period. if corporate -- if border patrol is seeing 6000 to 7000 encounters a day, which is generally what they are seeing now,, you would need 13,000 of 14,000 holding spaces available. that is an indicator of what the -- can process in a 42 -- 48 hour period. sen. ossoff: i would like you to walk me through several other metrics, or qualitative assessments you will used to measure success. you say you are preparing, and i acknowledge that work is ongoing. how will you measure whether that preparation has been effective? you mentioned holding capacity, what are the other measures to success? mrs. tierney: time in custody would be another measure. also, the ability to decompress border patrol stations through lateral movement and some other
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options we have identified like mobile in route processing. monitoring the capacity of the individual sectors, identifying sectors that are overcapacity, and being able to flex to address that. sen. ossoff: thank you. this can share us, i want to discuss with you the welfare of unaccompanied minors in federal custody. first of all, has or are mistreated or previously subjected minors in u.s. immigration detention to abusive conditions? risk of abuse? sexual misconduct? has that occurred in u.s. custody? >> senator, thank you for that question. as background, i want you to know that during my first week on the job, i visited fort bliss. i wanted to see what the care
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was like for the children, as you are speaking to. what we saw is or are -- we have the responsibility at hhs, a legal and moral obligation. that is always first about the safety of kids. we have had situations when we have had to move very quickly to meet a greater capacity where we needed to improve conditions. that has been the focus over the last year. so that now would you see are a lot of emergency intake sites are of course now demobilized. you see the care that is needed. mental health supports for kids, case management so they have access to someone. recreation, health and safety needs, those have all been priority. sen. ossoff: i do want to get into the steps being taken and i
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recognize that this report refers to misconduct and incidents principally or entirely prior to your tenure, but this is an hhs oig report that talks about inadequate supervision, sexual misconduct, the abuse of children in the federal custody. it is completely unacceptable that this has taken place. i want to ask two questions with my time remaining and these will be my final questions. i think you in advance. the first is, can you give this committee, the congress and the american people assurances that preparations have been made, safeguards are in place to ensure that children in the u.s. immigration detention are never subjected to this abuse again? that's the first question the
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second question is, what specific steps are you taking to ensure that and will you grant the red cross unrestricted access to facilities that house migrant children? i will give you time with the chairman's indulgence. ms. contreras: on the question of access to the red cross, that is something i would have to ask our team about. i would be happy to do that and get back to you. we welcome the oversight that comes from members of this committee from our nonprofit partners, the monitor. that is an important part of accountability and transparency as we carry out this important is. sen. ossoff: i'm sorry for the chairman is going to tap me out with the gavel soon. i have a red cross press release saying hhs and or -- and orr and fema have requested that the red cross provide support to ensure unaccompanied children have safe, clean, comfortable
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conditions in detention. you are seeking this from the red cross, correct? will you grant them access to facilities even when you do not ask for it so you can inspect these facilities and make sure children are not being mistreated? ms. contreras: that is something i will follow up with. i have not seen the letter, but we welcome oversight and we value our partners. i do not want to end without addressing your first question about what is the commitment. you absolutely have the commitment of the orr staff, hhs and myself. one month into my tenure as a six secretary -- assistant secretary, i have represented many kids who have been abused in many ways. while we always have that possibility of predators in existence, what we are doing at hhs, we are a child welfare agency, to make sure we are taking every precaution, that we are staff adequately so that there are eyes on our children,
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that we are using safeguards to make sure we are keeping kids safe. you have my absolute assurance that is the number one priority for us. sen. ossoff: thank you. i look forward to the follow-up on the red cross. chair higgins: senator hawley. sen. hawley: thank you to all the witnesses for being here. mr. nunez if i could start with you. you are the acting assistant secretary for border and immigration policy, is that right? mr. nunez-neto: that is right. sen. hawley: it is your role to help formulate and drive policy and implement those policies at the department? mr. nunez-neto: correct. sen. hawley: help me understand, are you trying to stop illegal immigration anymore, or have you given up? mr. nunez-neto: we are committed to enforcing the laws congress has enacted on the border. as i noted in my testimony, we are expanding our use of
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expedited removal as we prepare for the end of title 42, particularly for recidivists border crossers. sen. hawley: that sounds like a yes, you are still trying to stop illegal immigration? it is hard to tell. you're telling me yes? mr. nunez-neto: correct. sen. hawley: tell me which of these has been effective in stopping illegal immigration. ending construction of the border wall, has that been effective? mr. nunez-neto: i would defer to my colleague from customs and border protection, but my understanding is that barriers on the border serve to slow irregular migration, not stop irregular migration. sen. hawley: you are saying the border wall is not effective? we should just tear the whole thing down? mr. nunez-neto: the border wall is effective in rerouting migration. it is effective in slowing the
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pace at which migrants can cross the border, which is particularly important in urban and suburban settings. in rural areas, what we have found is that it is still fairly easy for migrants to make holes in the wall. sen. hawley: stopping construction has not slowed illegal immigration. how about terminating the remain in mexico policy? has that stopped migration? or slowed it? mr. nunez-neto: we are in the process of re-up lamenting the npp program. sen. hawley: yes, because you are under court order. mr. nunez-neto: as ever secretary noted in his prior testimony, his view is that the program imposes unjustifiable costs on migrants and it illegally restricts their access to the asylum system. sen. hawley: how about ending our -- agreements with northern triangle countries?
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has that been successful in stopping or slowing illegal immigration? mr. nunez-neto: i would defer to my colleague from the state department in terms of these international agreements. only one of those agreements was even starting to be implemented prior to title 42. sen. hawley: have we seen a decrease since you eliminated them? mr. nunez-neto: what you have seen is the impact of title 42 on our border crossings. sen. hawley: since you mentioned title 42, has the attempt to rescind title 42 been successful at slowing illegal immigration? mr. nunez-neto: title 42 has had a really interesting effect on migration. because of the number of repeat border crossers we see, it has actually inflated our numbers at the border. sen. hawley: you are saying title 42 restrictions have increased illegal immigration? mr. nunez-neto: i think the data is clear, that senator johnson
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showed earlier, once title 42 restrictions were put in place we have seen an increase from mexico in particular. sen. hawley: eliminating it you think will then decrease the amount of immigration? mr. nunez-neto: over time, once we start imposing significant immigration consequences on people at the border through our use of expedited removal. particularly for single adults and those from mexico, you will see a decrease. sen. hawley: that is news. that is news, ladies and gentlemen. this administration's position, you want to rescind title 42 and you think rescinding it will decrease illegal immigration at the border. last year alone, dh has experienced a record 1.7 million border crossings. more than 2 million unauthorized migrants crossed the southern border during the last calendar year. in fy 22 to date, there have been 245,000 illegal crossings
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in just the rio grande valley. 100 95,289 in del rio. the number of single adults crossing is up 75%. why is it up? because of all of the policies we just talked about. your policies are single-handedly leading to an explosion of illegal immigration at the border yet you are sitting here telling me that border walls have nothing to do with it, that title 42 will lead to a decrease in illegal immigration, that eliminating the -- agreements have nothing to do with the surge. good heavens. this is remarkable. let me ask you something else. last week, dhs released a memorandum that lays out your six part plan to address the current -- by the way, what would you call what is happening? is it a crisis? mr. nunez-neto: i believe we are facing significant challenges. sen. hawley: challenges. is it a problem?
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mr. nunez-neto: there are parts of the border we have seen particularly problematic flows. sen. hawley: pop -- problematic flows. but it is not a crisis? mr. nunez-neto: it is a challenge. sen. hawley:[laughs] let the record show the witness does not think this is a crisis. i would hate to see what a crisis is. i assume you played a role in drafting this plan. let's look at some of the prongs. you want to bolster the capacity of non-governmental organization -- organizations to receive noncitizens after they have been processed by cbp and are awaiting results. you want to increase cbp processing efficiency in order to address overcrowding at border patrol stations. i have to be honest, as i look at this it looks like an attempt to memorialize your efforts to help as many illegal immigrants get into the country as possible. mr. nunez-neto: the third pillar
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of the plan is our efforts to impose consequences on those who try to -- sen. hawley: of which you have a demonstrated track record of doing nothing of consequence. you have recited over the most unprecedented explosion of illegality at the border in american history. now you are proposing to turn this mass immigration into mass amnesty. mr. nunez-neto: with all due respect, i think title 42 is not a mick -- is not an immigration measure, it is a public health authority. sen. hawley: you just told us it would decrease -- with all due respect, nothing you have said is remotely credible. if you think withdrawing title 42 will decrease illegal immigration, i invite you to have that discussion with the members of this committee, particularly on the democrat side, they would be fascinated to hear that. believe me, i am happy to talk about your testimony today. but, you have single-handedly
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forced on this country a mass crisis that is endangering children, leading to an avalanche of drugs in my state, increasing criminality, and for you to sit here and tell me eliminating title 42 is a solution and that nothing you have done is of any consequence in that border walls are not effective and remain in mexico is not effective. frankly, you have no credibility whatsoever. neither does the administration you work for. chair higgins: witnesses, you have been here a long time and we appreciate your testimony. we are going to start a second round for individuals that have a few more questions. the second round, we are going to attempt to limit of five minutes. that will try to be more
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effective than limiting the initial round at seven minutes. first, ms. contrary us. cbp facilities are clearly not an acceptable location to house unaccompanied minors. how is hhs cooperating across departments to ensure sufficient resources are in place to prevent vulnerable children from spending extended amounts of time in these cbp facilities? ms. contreras: thank you for that question. i think we would all agree that all of my colleagues on this panel know that hhs is a child welfare agency. it is our job to come when children are referred to us, take them as quickly as we can into our care. we see now that the average length of stay in cbp is less than 24 hours. that is an accomplishment everyone has worked very hard
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on. we have had a lot of coordination between our teams of orr, cbp and throughout dhs, in order to make sure that we are coordinating and that we are taking care of children as soon as we can. what you see as there has been some co-location of staff that is a big part of being able to make that happen. this remains a priority. we are glad that number is down to less than a day in the custody of cbp. that is something that will remain a priority in our work. sen. peters: thank you. sentinel is harming communities and we need to -- we need to do everything we can to stop them entering the country. in february of this year, i let my colleagues and requesting additional funding for nonintrusive inspection systems that will improve cbp officer possibility to interdict these illegal drugs.
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chief huffman, could you please discuss the impact of nonintrusive inspection systems on cbp's rate of narcotics interdiction? mr. huffman: i would happy to be discuss that. sentinel is a huge -- fentanyl is a huge threat to our nation. the amount seems to increase every year. most of it now is coming across our southern border at ports of entry, primarily san diego and costa mesa. one of the main tools we use is the equipment we are grateful to have. fentanyl is a unique narcotic. we have seen recently an increasing number of packages caught, but in smaller quantities. indicating they are adjusting their tactics as well. may be trying to beat our
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capabilities. smaller packages, but more crossings. cbp is utilizing over 350 large-scale and 4500 large-scale nonintrusive inspection systems across the border that inspects cargo containers, commercial trucks. we use them not just at ports of entry, but i interior checkpoints as well. cbp expects to increase -- these vehicles by up to 40% more with the equipment we have coming. as we increase the scans, we expect increased encounters of narcotics. the more we increase, the better we are able to deter future actions. it is a very important tool and we are appreciative we had it and we will continue to use it greatly across all borders. sen. peters: given it is an effective tool, how many additional nonintrusive inspection systems do you think
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are needed to fully -- our ports of entry? mr. huffman: i am not sure i have that number with me. i would be glad to get that back to you after i consult with my colleagues. sen. peters: i would appreciate that. another question for you sir is what efforts are cbp undertaking to ensure the information gathered related to drug smuggling is shared among our partner agencies in order to better combat the transnational criminal organizations that are operating? mr. huffman: i appreciate that question. our ability to share information with our partners is key. we participate extensively in different tasks -- task forces we partner with, agencies at the federal, state and local level. we work closely with ice on cases for information we gather. we share with them all the time.
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same with dea. across the whole range. whether it is on our southern border or northern border, we have -- a number of joint operations with state and locals. our stone garden partners. we share that information across different meetings and things we have two ensure we do that. our ability to work together with all of our partners and agents makes us a better organization and much more effective. we continue to do that on a regular basis. i have been doing this many years and we participate at all levels at all times and it has been valuable to share that information with those partners. sen. peters: i appreciate this. -- that. sen. portman: i thank the witnesses for their patience with us today. there's just so much to go over. i learned today about a deep concern expressed by just about
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every member on this panel about the lack of a plan in place to properly address the surge of migrants who will certainly be coming over the border when title 42 ends. that is a consensus point. second, an acknowledgment the asylum process is broken and acts as a magnet to draw people to the border. here are the numbers. may artist tells us average processing time is six to eight years. we heard today it was five to six. let's say it is five to six years, that's a long time when people are living in the community, working, going to school, having children, becoming part of the community. there is a 1.6 million person backlog now. being considered by the courts. 1.2 million people have gone through the process and received a final order of removal. meaning they should be deported because they were not successful in their asylum claim. yet, the administration has reduced the number of people
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being deported. it is now 56,000 a year. that is about 4%. in the obama-biden years, it was 350,000 a year. incidentally, law, section 235 of the immigration and nationality act, there is a requirement for on -- detention of migrants crossing the border without authorization. of course we do not have the capacity to do that. this meant -- this administration has reduced the number of beds. we are at 24,000, much of which are actually full. that is where we are and that it is -- that is why it is true i think there is a consensus on this panel that this is broken and we have to fix it. on the narcotics, i appreciate the work you folks do. i was at mariposa this year and saw the desperate need for more of these scanning devices you talked about to try to stop the fentanyl. fentanyl is streaming into our communities, coming in at such high it is reducing the price.
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because of supply and demand. it is causing more death as a result. i am a big fan of looking at the demand-side. legislation is working now in treatment, recovery and prevention but it is impossible to deal with this flood and not have many more people dying of overdoses at record levels. here's the numbers we have. only 2% of passenger vehicles are being scanned. only 17% of commercial vehicles are being scanned. that's it. and yet, that is where 90% of the seizures attributed to nonintrusive inspections are resulting from. this is where we are finding most of these narcotics. in march, a huge increase from the last -- previous 300% increase from the previous march levels we had never seen before.
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yes, think of all those trucks and cars that we are not scanning. the question is, how can we do better? there is a plan to increase that by the end of next year, get a look at the president's budget this year, there is zero for new scanning machines. the question is, are we on track at least to reach this number of 40% of passenger vehicles instead of 2%? and 70% of commercial vehicles? mr. huffman: we are on track by the end of fy 2020 32 scanned 40% of vehicles and -- of commercial vehicles respectively. as you know, we would certainly like to do more. as we increase our ability to do so, it is key we have -- obviously we would like to look at everything that comes into the country, if we have the ability. it is important to do that and it is no question fentanyl is a significant threat.
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>> senator ossoff talked about kids being mistreated in the past. there's lots of stories about it unfortunately. i got involved because of kids from guatemala. six of them were brought up by their trafficker. hhs gave us sponsors and the sponsors were the very traffickers that had treated them so poorly coming up from the border, lie to their parents and took them to a farm in ohio where kids as young as 14 lived in deplorable situations, underpaid, not in school. luckily a local authority founded and this is something that caught the interest of the subcommittee on investigations. i did an intensive investigation and we did three reports about it, basically about the failure of federal agencies to be responsible for the care of unaccompanied kids. i do not have time to get into
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this in detail. i would like to, but we have done a lot of work in this area. we think it is unacceptable for the government to release unaccompanied kids who are, by definition, much more vulnerable to trafficking to unrelated sponsors and not to do more follow-up. right now we are told there is no follow-up after three phone calls and we do not know who we are. we cannot determine their safety and well-being, is that correct? mrs. tierney: thank you for that question. thank you for your leadership on making sure we keep our duty to children. that includes post-release. -- ms. contreras: what i would like to share is the work that has been done to strengthen the post-release work on some of which you refer to, which are will being follow-up calls, there are home visits in place now if there are concerns raised. the background checks and vetting that happens for sponsors is designed specifically for -- to avoid the
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kinds of problems that have happened. we take the safety of kids very seriously. it is the number one priority and we keep building on what our duties are. how do we carry out those duties to build up that post-release support as well? to make sure that they are in safe hands. sen. portman: there is a continuing issue of responsibility at hhs. i hope -- takes more responsibility for these kids for somebody has got to be more responsible for their care. let me ask you a specific question. hhs has cooperated with some of our requests for information. we continue to do oversight on this issue but we have yet to receive documents we have requested in january. in a letter to secretary -- can you commit to ensuring hhs sends the remaining documents by the end of next week?
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ms. contreras: you do have my commitment that we will go back and get the attention of who i need to to figure out what it is that we owe you. and how we can make sure we follow-up. sen. portman: it is simple, the number of sponsors out there. the number of sponsors who have been denied information you have. it is not information that is difficult, i wouldn't think, to find. very necessary for us to do proper oversight. i would appreciate you getting those to us next week. to each of you, thank you for your service. to those of you representing people on the border itself, you have an impossible task. thank you for what you do every day. the american people are asking a lot of you. i know it is very stressful and i know there has been difficulty in retention and recruitment. we need to do everything we can to hold your people up right now because it is hard already and it is about to get harder.
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we owe them not just better policy, but better legislating and we will continue to work on that. thank you. chair higgins: thank you senator portman. senator sinema. >> just want to echo about the respect for the men and women who served in blue and green on the front lines of our border. i think we can safely say it's a bipartisan agreement. that we admire and strongly support their efforts. i want to pass along my thanks as well to those serving throughout southern arizona. robust migrant processing is a key part of the dhs plan for the southern border. arizona's ports of entry were not designed to manage large-scale asylum processing. this has the potential to create a volatile situation that's unsafe for officers and migrants, one bottlenecks occur
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in frustration raises. it will be very helpful in the long term. these projects are still years from completion. what capacity requirements for infrastructure, transportation, and related staffing will be in place for arizona ports to prevent overcrowding and disruptions to trade and travel? how many individuals will be able to be processed on a daily basis? one will be deployments be complete? >> thank you for your question. thank you for your support for the men and women on the frontline of cbp. they are facing enormous challenges. is going to get tougher. i don't have specific numbers with me. but i can get those numbers to you.
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unless you have them. i do know there are concerns about the volumes. safety and security of our folks are top of mind at all times. they will take appropriate steps they need to. including temporary halt processing if they have to. have a mobile steam strained up and ready to go in case it does become a volatile situation to control crowds and breaking order. we have had challenges at ports of entry in the past. they are well-versed at executing those. we are detailing people to those areas. arizona has got a unique
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challenge. they don't have the same ngo support that you do in other areas. we are addressing those as well. you mentioned earlier about the other states. when those people are processed, they would be released in some areas besides the arizona area. although things have been taken into consideration as we work specifically on these. the infrastructure is small when we start getting traffic closing. that's the number one focus we are trying to find ways to decompress that, move people out of their, minimize the impact is -- as much as possible.
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>> these enhanced centralized processing centers will co-locate dhs components to help reduce systemic inefficiencies. one location became operational april 29th in laredo, texas. what factors are being used to determine future locations for these processing centers? how long do you anticipate it will take to operationalize additional centers? >> thank you for that question. this is something i think we are all very excited about, bringing innovation to the process at the border. i think these centers have a lot of potential to, a, allow us to better triage the flow and focus consequences on higher risk individuals, then for lower risk
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individuals were going to be referred into immigration proceedings and released, have facilities that allow us to co-locate with ice, potentially hhs, with ngos to have a much more seamless handoff at every stage of the process, within the same facility. i think what we are looking to see is whether we realize the gains in terms of the handoffs between the time they are spending. actually being held in cbp custody. we are also hoping this process will allow us to minimize the footprint in the facility, have former law enforcement officers on the line doing their primary law enforcement function, rather than processing. a big part of that effort is going to be looking at ways to contract out the processing support. i believe there is an expansion plan in place.
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>> i don't have the location plans now. you see how traffic flows. we can make some estimates of where we need them the most. as we see traffic flows, it will not be as nimble as we can to be there for the right spot. >> thank you. we intend to follow up on that. whether arizona can expect to get enhanced centralized processing centers. we want to hear more on that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator sinema. thank you to our witnesses for joining us today. we want to thank you for your commitment to addressing both the humanitarian and security challenges that we face on our southern border. i certainly appreciate the very
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thorough discussion we had today about the administration's efforts to secure our southern border. reparations in advance of the termination of title 42 public health order. certainly the expected challenges we are likely to face in managing migration changes that will occur when this order is repealed. these challenges are certainly not unique to this administration. we have seen surges in migrants for the past decade under both republican and democratic administrations. hearing testimony today, it is clear until congress and the administration enact some common sense bipartisan solutions to fix our immigration systems, these circumstances are going to continue to prevail. there are certainly many issues where we disagree. we heard some of those here today. i think there are some areas of agreement as well that we should rally around. increasing consequences for
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illegal entry. addressing the root causes of migration. increasing regional cooperation on these issues. and the need for a bipartisan reform. passed by congress. i look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration on some of these comments and efforts. we will be working diligently and hopefully can accomplish what we need to accomplish. the hearing record will remain open for 15 days until may 20 at 5 p.m. for the submissions of statements and questions for the record. this hearing is now adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> sunday on q and a.
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a discussion of the life and career of jill biden with darlene superville. she talks about dr. bidens role in bidens career and gives insight into her personality. >> last year, she took a trip. on the flight back to washington dc -- washington, d.c., she left her seat, disappeared, and out came a woman dressed like a flight attendant with a wig. she walked through the cabin handing out ice cream. when she was finished, she revealed herself to be jill biden. apparently, no one on the plane recognized it was her. i'm not sure how the staff didn't realize she had been missing form -- from her seat, but that is one example of the
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kind of practical jokes she likes to play. >> darlene superville, saturday night, 8:00 p.m. on c-span's q and a. you can listen to our podcasts on our free c-span now app. ♪ >> next, hillary clinton takes part in a conversation about women in leadership, hosting by vital voices, a nonprofit organization founded by mrs. clinton and secretary madeleine albright. opinion overturning roe v wade. mrs. clinton: what a day. this is such an amazing celebration. i look out at all of you, who are part of the


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