tv Hearing on Immigrant Military Members Veterans CSPAN June 29, 2022 2:01pm-3:36pm EDT
principal gets fired bause they were going to express that a certain ethnic group cannot be preferred over another. host: ok. ms. markert, do you want to start? >> i am not familiar with the international exam for -- international exam that the caller brought up, or the example in texas. if he is still on the line -- host: he's not, i apologize. >> i'm sorry, i don't think i understood what the question was. >> i will do my best. i think you are talking about some of the legislative initiatives to ban what is called critical race theory from classrooms in various states. ultimately, i think we always have to keep in mind in these public education context that teachers
capitol hill for a house immigration subcommittee. live coverage on c-span. >> dedicated toirculating moons or written materials that memrs may want to offer as part of the hearing. if members want submit materials, send th to the email address previously distributed to your offices and we will circulat the materials to membe and staff as quickly as we can. i ask all members to mute your microphones when you are not speaking to help prevent feedback and technical issues and ofourse, amuse yourselves anytime you seek recognition. i will now recogni myself for an opening statement. i would like to welcome witnesses and the members of the immigration and citizenship subcommittee to today's hearing that will explore the initiative by the currentdministration to
support noncitizen servicemembers, veterans, and family members. immigrants are important to society. they provide key support to u.s. miliry. currently, immigrants account forpart - appximately 3% of active dy service members. 13% ofeterans are of immigrant origin meaning either they or their parents are immigrants. throughout our history, immigrants has been keyo some of our most critical military victories, for example, the revolutionary war would likely not have been one without the essential ntributions of two immigrants, the marquita lafayette -- marquis de la fayette. both were prosperous -properly made honorable citizens of the u.s.. a more recent example is u.s. marine sergeant rafael geraldo. he was born in mexico. in 2004 sergeant peralta was
wounded in fallujah and in his last moments used his body to shield fellow marines from a grenade blast, saving their lives. sergeant perrotta obtained citinship during military servicesnd was posthumously awardethe navy cross. in 1862, recognizing the important le immigrants play in the military, congress passed a law expiting the pathway to citizenship for those that serve in the armed forces. quick access to citizenship is good for service members and the military branches they serve. as with other aspects of the legal immigration system, the trump administration imposed barriers when it comes to naturalization for noncitizen service members. fortunately, the new administration has been working to reverse these policies. e president passed the to
improve access to military naturalization. as part of this mandate, the department of homeland security and veterans affairs worked to create something called the immigrant military members and veterans initiative to assist immigrant veterans with parole applications and facilitate access to v.a. benefits. the mandate is to provide care and assistance to anyone who served in the military regardless of citizenship status. this gets more difficult when they are removed from the country of origin, often due to a crime stemming fm, that occurred during the veterans seice with our military. approximaty 11% to 30% of veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder or ptsd.
veterans with ptsd are 60% more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system than those not suffering fr this illness. when american citizen veterans are convicted of crimes, their pushments do not include banishment from the country. however, en after they serve their sentences, veterans who e not yet citizens are subject to removal. that means a veteran who risked their life f our country and has suffered long-lasting meal health problems as a result could be deported, preventing them from accessing the resources promised to them when they volunteered to serve. we can do better by our immigrant veterans. that's why i,long with representatives to cotto and representative correa introduced the veterans service representative back to address the issues faced by imgrant veterans in a holistic way. i look forward to our discussion and hearing from all armor -- all are witnesses.
i would like to recognize ranking member mr. mcclintock. rep. mcclintock: in april secretary ellen mayorkas told the committee in sworn testimony that the southern border is secure. this, of course, was untrue. we later discovered that while he was testifying, his cv p was encountering the highest monthly number of illegal migrants in our history, 240 -- 234,000 in a single month. in his best under his orders and policies they were deliberatel trafficked into the u.s., the equivalent of adding a population the size of lansing, michigan in a single month. it is no surprise that the border chaos continued in may, setting a new record for encounters at 239,000. already in just 18 months, this administration allowed into the u. and illegal population the
size of the state of west virginia. now, may arcus could not tell -- secretarmayorkas could not tell us how it would benefit the american people to have classrooms packed with non-students andmergency rooms flooded with illegals and how families will be safer with increased gang activity and fentanyl inundating communities while working families foot the bill for social services. there are 42 million foreign nationals in latin america and the caribbean who did -- who intend to come here and more than 8000 per day are illegally entering our country 18,000 per day will be arriving if the democrats pass title 42. i am not aware of any civilization in history that has survived and illegal mass migration on this scale.
how do my democratic colleagues react to this? do they call on the biden administration to stop the releases? do they call on the esident to enforce u.s. immigration laws, or, at least stop incentivizing illegal migration? nope. they called as hearing to discuss immigrant military service members. 31,000 are currently serving in our armed forces, less than four days of the barter dashboard or incursn we are up seeing. the immvi nationalized the number of illegal arians in six months the number of illegal aliens streaming across our border every six hours. foreign nationals who come to america legally, obey our laws and seek to serve our country becausef the love for it and principles upon which it is found in our our greatest
throwing. -- strength. 11 years ago i spoke at the funeral of a man his family immigrated from india legally 11 years before. his father told reporter he was always a very patriotic man for the u.s.. from the time he was a little boy, he knew he wanted to serve and in the u.s. military. he was ver proud of his service. the corporal was wounded in combat. he chose to return. he overstayed his assignment to relieve a friend and was killed in action june 27, 2011. i pray that the majority is not attempting to equate such heroism, devotion, and fidelity wi the lawless illegal mass migration that they are not only ignoring, but acvely aiding and abetting with their policies. with a staggering death toll. we just saw 51 illegal migrants baked to death by illegal traffic is on a truck on monday. the legal permanent residents
who enlist in our militaryre offered special avenues for nationalization, as they should be. 3% of u.s. veterans today are foreign-born. any have chosen to become u.s. citizens. unfortunately, for a while, we allowed non-legal residents including those here on student visas, refugee claimants, and daca recipients, to enlist to claim a fast track to citizenship called the matney program. the obama administration had to suspended in 20 put -- 2015. one enlistment was found to be a chinese spy. a number of foreign nationals who enlisted in the military were deported for committing crimes. yet, the democrats don't differentiate between heroes and those who abuse the system with ill intent. i look forward to a discuion about these and other important issues wh witnesses today and
i yield back the lance of my time. chair lofgren: i am pleased to recognize the airman of the judiciary committee, chairman nadler for any opening statements he may wish to offer. rep. nadler: emigrants have served in the u.s. armed forces in every major consulate since the revolutionary war. today there are 45,000 immigrants actively serving in the u.s. to armed services. every day, great immigrant servicemembers risked their lives in support of our country. we rely on them to keep our nation safe and protect u.s. global interests. in return, we must honor their sacrifices by supporting them and their families. and, by giving them every opportunity to become u.s. citizens if they so desire. unfortunately, the previous administration instituted many policy changes that made it harder for foreign-born servicemembers to actualize. it inhibited our ability to recruit and main -- retain
highly qualified immigrants for important positions in the armed services. such policy changes also undermined congress' clear intent to provide an expedited naturalization process for military servants and veterans. the trump administration ended naturalization at basic training at made it more difficult to receive a certification of honorable service, a document that is essential to naturalization based on military service. the changes made by the trump administration were unnecessary and cruel. they serve no purpose but to make it harder for individuals serving our country to become citizens. as a result of the changes, military naturalization inclined 44%. the number of denials of military naturalization applications decreased by nearly 50%. fortunately, the biden administration has been working to reverse the harmful effects of these policies. in one of his first acts in office, president biden directed
the department of defense, home unsecured, state, and justice to collaborate to facilitate naturalization for noncitizen servicemembers. since receiving the directive, dhs and the v.a. have corralled -- collaborated to create and initiative known as the immvi, that helps immigrant ephedrine access v.a. benefits and -- immigrant veterans access v.a. benefits and apply to be paroled to the u.s.. the dhs is working to remove barriers to naturalization for servicemembers and veterans. these efforts paid off. in 20 21, military naturalization numbers returned to the levels seen in 2016 prior to the trump administration intentional targeting of the population. members of the military place of their lives at risk in service of this country each day. we should not prevent them from becoming permanent members of our society.
i am pleased that the biden administration is working to write these wrongs. during the hearing we will discuss the efforts of the administration is undertaking to help immigrant servicemembers and veterans including those that have been removed from the u.s. as a result of convictions or transgressions tied to posttraumatic stress disorder, brain injury, and other physical trauma suffered in active duty. such circumstances can make the transition to civilian life extremely difficult for veterans. we can all agree that individuals who are rightfully convicted of a crime should serve any reasonable sentence imposed. once that sentence has been served, we cannot completely turn our back on those who sacrificed so much in service to our country. i want to thank chair lofgren for holding the important hearing and all of the witnesses were testifying. i look forward to hearing about the efforts their agencies are undertaking to insure we are fulfilling promises to our nation's veterans regardless of their citizenship status.
chair lofgren: the gentleman yields back. i don't believe the ranking member has arrived. heoes, we will certainly invite him to make a statent at that time or except his written statement of the record. at this point, i would likto introduce today's witnesses. emma rogers is theirector of the immigrant military members and veterans itiative at the department of homeland security. previously ms. rogers served in a variety of leadership roleat u.s. citizenship and immigration services including as the direor of the potomac service center, associate director for the u.s. field operations directorate, and achieve for the inrmation and customer service division. e served as deputy director for the dhs office of citizenship and immigratio services throughout her career. ms. rogers has focused on helping the military comnity in the immigration space. most recently, she helped create
a uscis military helpline and established a uscis as basic training -- at basic training sites to assist service members with naturalization. ms. rogers received a bachelor's degree from northeastern university. dr. jennifer mcdonald is they see -- the senior advisofor health to the secretary of veterans affairs. dr. mcdonald held several high-lel roles at the department including senior advisor to the deputsecretary, chief consultant to the deputy under secretary for health, lead executive for the implementation of physician act and dirtor of clinical education -- innovation in education. dr. mcdonald is a family medic in -- practicing family medicine physician and a veteran. she served as a white house fellow and advisor to the secretary of the u.s. department of homeland security. she seed 11 years in the
minnesota army national guard and it deployed in operation iraqi freedom earning aronze star. she received her bachelor's degree from the college of saint benedict and her md from the university of minnesota and completed her residency ucla. stephanieiller is the direcr of officers and enlist personnel management and an advisor for senior officer matters in the offices of the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. previously she serveas the director of recession policy from 2015 until 2022. prior to that she was a specl assistant to secretary of defense chuck hagel and ashton carter where she was responsible for a broad spectrum of programs including military a civilian personnel policies, military force readiness, defense health affairs, and, defense sexual assault prevention and response.
ms. miller received her bachelor's degree from villanova university and holds a masters degree from george wasngton university. i would like to welcome all of our distinguished guests. and thank them for participating in today's hearg. i will begin by swearing in our witnesses. i ask each ofou turn on your audio and make sure i can see your face. rae your right hand while i administer the oath. do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimy you are about to give is true and correct to the best of yr knowledge, information, and believe so help you god? >> i do. chair lofgren: but the record rep -- let the record reflect the witnesses answered in the affirmative. ur entire written state will be entered into the record -- statements will be entered into the record. we ask you summarize your testimony in about five minute to help ep track and sy within the time limit, there is
a timer on your screen. let's begin withs. rogers. thene will go to dr. mcdonald and ms. miller. thank you for your testimony. . rogers: tnk you. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. on july 2, 2021, sec. mayorkas and secretary mcdonough announcedhe immvi. the interagey effort was established to provide coordinated support to our countries service members, vetens, and their families. it was also a call to action to consider the deeper meing of thank you for your service and we support our troops. immv has fused on reviewing and updating policies to support veterans, expanding early access to naturalization, and assisng veterans who wish to come home. as part of the initiative, dhs
has extensively reviewed and dated policies to ensure that military service reives proper consideration. we launched an online rource centerhat centralizes federal resources available for seice members, veterans, and i their milies, and created a decated online portal for previously removed veterans who ed help returning to the u.s.. through these efforts, we have built trust by responding to hundreds of requests for assistance. the law rightly provides an opportunity for current service members to apply for and again citizenship when they first become eligible. often, servicemembers and veterans believe they are already citins by nature of their horable service and because they swore an oath to support and defend our country. dhs and d.o.b. are working together to improve outreach and educate serviceembers on the stepshey need to take to achieve sarah's -- citizenship
and completing the process before they transition back to civilian life. the rcumstances of veterans that have been deployed are complicated and often reflect complex societal challenges. these veterans of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, and most came to the u.s. legally as children. they also served their country in vietnam, desert srm, and some more recently in the global war on terror. what most have in common is they committed crimes that lead to removal from the u.s.. these veterans omitted they made mistakes. foremost, the mistakes occurred in the district -- distant past. those convicted of serious imes served sentences in the u.s. before they were deported. many accepted responsibility for their actions d demonstrate rehabilitation. we have succeeded at rebuilding their lives and they often
dedicate their lives to supporting others. some are suffering serious medical conditions and needed treatment they are entitled to but cannot access at v.a. medical facilities in the u.s.. these vetera are united in their desire to come home to the country they serve and where they grew up and where their families are. through this initiative i have met many veterans that have been removed from the u.s.. i am moved by their loyalty to our country and each other and their resilience and optimism. i would like to share a story of one vietnam veteran i had the honor to meet. this veteran immigrated to the u.s. with hifamily when he was seven. he honorably served in the army for two years after being drafted in the early 70's. he was deported over 20 years ago after a conviction for possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.
he hoped to return to the u.s. to help his son, also a veran, who served in many combat missions in iraq and suffered from ptsd. the teran needed the support of his father and the father needed medical treatment to addrs his heart condition. this was fully covered by his v.a. benefits. not every veteran is approved to return under the initiative. every request is handled on a case-by-case basis. after carefully reviewing this case, dhs granted his request for parole so he could support his son and received life-saving medical care. i am proud to work alongside the dedicated professionals from dhs , the v.a., and d.o.b. in support of our veterans. their commitment is the definition of publ service. i am grateful for the partnership with advocates and veterans to support groups who have been on the forefront of the issue for decades. they call ons to do our best,
to follow through, and to leave no one behind. i am pleased to report that this effort is bringing us closer to real solutions. we look forward to continuing to work with congress on this important issue. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to your questions. chailofgren: thank you very much. i want to hear now from dr. mcdonald. dr. mcdonald: thank you, chair lofgren,anking member mcclintockand distinguished members of the subcommittee. thank you for inviting me here to dcuss these efforts in support of the immigrant milita veterans initiative. alongside my colleagues from that apartment of home unsecured he and departmt of defense. when the initiative was launched in 2021 secretary mcdonough reiterated the mission. it is our responsibility, he said, to sve veterans no matter who they are, whe they are from, or the status of thr citizenship. we at v.a. are proud to work
ongside federal partners to make that happen. v.a. operates according to atute when determining benefits and health care eligibility and we have a responsibilityo serve veterans regardless of current immigration or citizenship status. we areorking closely alongside dhs and dod to identify eligible deported veterans. we are collaborating with veterans servi organizations and nonprofit groups to engage the veterans notably, our veterans benefits administration operates and off it -- oice dediced to support veterans abroad and is working to contact veterans located abroad who may benefit from the program's efforts. i have personally had the opportunity to witss the positive impact on cash of these outreach efforts in 2021. dhs and dod and v.a. partnered to provide covid-19 vaines for
veterans. we worked side-by-side wh dhs to set up a blue tent to shade the medical observation area and rows of bottled water. when everything was in place, the dhs team began to escort veterans into the port of entry for vaccination. one of the first veterans to sit down at my ccination station had all at a quorum of a trained soldier. he sat down quietly with his back straight, hands set neatly in his lap, as if we were both back at basic training. i would recognize the army etuette anywhere. veteran to veteran, i said, thank you for your service. i am gladou are here today. his eyes widened and he shied for a mome out of his perfect posture. what branch? army, i said. he responded and visibly relaxed. as i asked him about allergies and covid history, he joked he
said so many tattoos the vaccine cannot possibly hu. er my shoulder he saw a group of v. personnel just past the servation 10. are they medics, he asked. that is our veterans benefit team. aftewe are done, they want to talk to you about benefits you may be eligible for. he did not respond. the silence was so long i looked up. he wasooking straight up at the brighblue sky trying with all his might to hold bk tears in his eyes. after taking a moment to cpose himself, he turned to look me in the ey and said in a quiet voice, thank you for not forgetting us. that story played outepeatedly over the course of the morning. not ju at my station, buwith
the exceptional nurses and pharmacists coordinating the event that day. i heard the dhs team thanking medical persnel for vaccinating u.s. customs enforcement colleagues. 54,916 of them through the mission. that is oumission to support the nation in times of national emergency. it has long been an essential elent of that response to hurricanes, earthquakes, and natural disasters. it is thanks to our world-class workforce devering on that mission that we have been able to support the natiothroughout the pandemic, from vaccinating federal partners toupporting communities across arica. communits where veterans and families live and thrive. we have completed nearly 200 missions spanning all 50 stas, the district of columbia, puerto rico, and tribal communities. clinical care, testing, equipment, training, consultation on protocols, and saving lives.
v.a. remains committed alongside federal partne to ensuring that veterans receive the benefits andervices thehave earned in manner that honors their service. we will continue tconduct outreach to veterans who wish to access the care and services they have earned and deliver excellence when federal partners call upon us. this concludes my testimony. thank you for the opportunity to appear today. i look forward to your questions. chair lofgren: thank you. let me turn to our final witness. ms. miller, you are recognized. ms. miller: members of the subcommittee, it's an honor to be here today. in the offices of the undersecretary of defense, in this capacity, i am responsible for matters pertaining to officer and enlisted personnel policy and by extension the recruitment of the military personnel. my responsibilities include
overght. chair lofgren: i am having difficulty hearing the witness. it's a little bubbly. i wonder if she could get closer to the mrophone? ms. miller, can you do that please? ms. miller: i can try. cc it could be on your side. >> it could, but the other two were very clear. chair lofgren: let's start again, ms. miller. my responsibilities include oversight of the department military naturalization partnership managed in part with the department of homeland security department of immigrants and services. since the founding of the american military the u.s. has supported the recruitment and naturalization of persons who are not u.s. nationals.
the department has a long tradition of welcoming noncitizens as principal members of our fighting team and supporting their efforts to obtain u.s. citizenship on the basis of hard-won military service. during my career in the u.s. navy and as a department of defense civil servant i have served under several administration and always understood the importance of taking care of the many men and women that serve in the u.s. military. with respect to non-service members, stationed on bunker hill in california included service officers and preparation of requirements for naturalization. participating in a naturalization ceremony for qualifying family members where some of the most meaningful experiences i had in service. today, the military recruits a proximally 10,000 individuals annually who bring unique knowledge, skills, and abilities and support national security priorities.
most recently, the interagency working group formed executive order 14 100 in february 2021. in collaboration with the department of homeland security and veterans affairs, that aptment has continued to expand and improve essential services which support naturalization of qualying service members who choose to apply for u.s. citizenship. prior to the establishment, the department worked hand in hand to improve the naturalization process. for example, to address the challenges associated with the current 2019 pandemic, our agencies collaborated to establish a private process for virtual video interviews with service members seeking naturalization rather than relying on traditional in person interview environments. we were able to resume a naturalization process and
address a backlog of approximately 400 qualified military advocates stalled in the naturalization process by the pandemic. a standing option available for qualifying applicants to ensure streamlined means to provide citizen -- opportunities around the world. until recently recently, this denstrates the value of the innovative process. a path to citizenship for members of the armed forces. within the department, we continue efforts to refine and improve notifications for service member eligibility. section 523 of fiscal year 22 natural defense authorization act ensures a military recruiter that is not a citizen of the
u.s. has options for naturalization. and, is informed of existing programs and services that may aid in the process. we expect policy soon to ensure a consistent approach. during recruitment, initial entry, training, and severing or retirement from service. naturalization will always be a personal choice. always be a personal choice. the department is committed to proactive engagement with noncitizens within e department in order to do so. the process of naturalization application is ultimately the proceeds -- purview of uscis and its mission is critical. i would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank uscis for their partnership for improving paramilitary naturalization program.
their dedicated employees worked tiressly to facilitate naturalization of military servicemembers and help support naturalizing military family members making a difference in the lives of service members every day. thank you for this opportunity to address the subcommittee today and your continued support of the service members that volunteered to support our great nation. i look forward to answeri your questions. chair lofgren: thank you to all the witnessesor their testimony. this is the time now in our hearing where members can address the witnesses with questions for up to five minutes. first, i would like to recognize ranking member mr. merton talk for his questions -- mr. mcclintock for his questions. rep. mcclintock:: thank you madam chairman. director rogers, in your written testimony, you said that may 11, 2021 the mavni --immvi tema
reviewed an -- team reviewed 24 cases for parole in how many cases was parole granted and in how any cases what idenied? ms. rogers: i apologize for not muting. thank you for your question ranking member mcclintock. the numbers as of june 24, we have made decisions receiving over 60 requests and rated decisions on 32. rep. mcclintock: how many were granted? msrogers: we grante16 cases of humanitarian parole and denied eight. there are two pending. p. mlintock:ere any of the departed alien -- deported alien veterans convicted of imes in the u.s.? ms. rogers: yes.
rep. mcclintock: what crimes were each of these aliens initially departed for? ms. rors: congressman, i don't adjudicate the applications. we put together a very specialized team. rep. mcclintock: can you tell me wh crimes they were deported for? ms. rogers: i can get back to you on the individual cases. rep. mcclintock: please do. i would like to get that information. when a deported veteran is deported for committing a crime is paroled or allowed back to the u.s. does dhs contacted the victim of the crime to notify them that the alien perpetrator is bng allowed back to the u.s.? ms. rogers every single case is reviewed on an individual case-by-case basis. rep. mcclintock: is the victim of the crime notified they are letting this person back into the country?
ms. rogers: it's, we rep. mcclintock: yes or no? do you contacted the victims of the crime to notify them that e person will be back in the u.s.? msrogers: it dends on the crime the individual committed. rep. mcclintock: if it is a crime there is a victim. do you notify the victim, yes or no? msrogers: not all the crimes have victims involved. not all circumstances there are victims involved. rep. mcclintock: where there is a victim involved, do you notify them? or do you not know? just, give me a straight answer. if you don't know, just say so. ms. rogers: i cnotive you a specific answer on aindividual case because each case will be reviewed on -- in its entirety. it is possible that the law enforcement offics. rep. mcclintock: were any of these deported veterans allowed
back into the country, hathey been dishonorably discharged from the military? ms. rogers: not to my awareness. rep. mcclintock: none were dishonorably discharged? ms. rogers: not to my knowledge congressman. again, i am not presently reviewing the cases. rep. mcclintock: get back to me with an accurate answer to that question. how many deported family members of military servicemembers have me back to the u.s. under immvi. ms. rogers: can you repeat the question? rep. mcclintock: how many deported family members have been allowed back in? ms. rors: three. rep. mcclintock: does the immigration and nationality act include exemption for removal based on military service for foreign nationals that commit removable offenses? ms. rogers: there isot an exceion. rep. mccliock: does the immigration nationality act include exemptions for illegals
based on a familmembers military service for foreign nationals that commit removable offenses? ms. rogers: it is not in the immigration and nationality act, no. rep. mcclintock:, ms. miller, why did the obama administration suspend the mavni in cities -- 2016? why did the obama administration suspend that program? ms. miller: in 2016 the most recent review indicated significant issues with security concerns within the program that led to its suspension. rep. mcclintock: how many mavni recruits were identified as having a foreign influence? ms. miller: i don't have a definitive number or percentage. there was a small pursuit -- portion of the orall population that was determined to have a foreign nexus.
rep. mcclintock: can you get to me the exact number in this case? ms. miller: sure. chair lofgren: the gentleman yields back. i would like to recognize chairman nadler for his questions. rep. nadler: ms. rogers, as you mentioned in your testimony, the immigrant military members and veterans initiative or immvi allows dhs to consider on a case-by-case basis parole requests under section 212 d5 of the immigration nationality act from certain noncitizen current and former military servicemembers and qualifying family members outside the u.s.. this allows these individuals to seek to enter the country to better avail themselves of u.s. legal counsel and assistance and gain access to certain veterans benefits. knowing that the use of dhs has become more controversial recently, can you describe in
detail what factors dhs uses in making these parole determinations and why this is an example of how dhs should be used against parole authority? ms. rogers: thank you, chairman nadler for that question. when i was assigned this responsibility back in july, we understood how complex the situation is a the way we approached this initiative was to make sure that we put together a really sound process that included specialized training, dedicated officers who had a high level of experience in law enforcement as well as immigration with u.s. citizenship and the uscis staff that understands the eligibility for certain immigratio benefits. we developed a policy before we started making decisio on the requests for parole. in every single case, what we committed to do for the veterans
is a case-by-case individualized review to consider a number of different factors in the request based primarily on urgent humanitarian considerations or a significant public health benefi to considering an exercise of discretion. the criteria was both positive and negative factors relating to the decision. and, a three-pronged process of review where the officers reviewed eligibility for national realization. -- naturalization. enforcement and removal officers reewed for public safety concerns and their criminal history. then it goes to a supervisor for another review before the case is made a final decision is made in the case. i think that would sum it up to say, we are very very careful.
rep. nadler: have there been veterans dhs has denied for parole? ms. rogers: we look at every case individually. the primary consideration when we deny a case is the --hether there is a risk to public safety , a current public safety risk. that would be an indication of recidivism, or, a nashville -- national security concern. we obviously always way military service heavily in a positive category. unfortunately, sometimes, the negative factors outweigh the positive. rep. nadler: captain mcdonald, some of these veterans were see -- receiving humanitarian parole so the deptment of veterans affairs could provide health care services, correct? dr. mcdonald: it is our understanding that there are veterans who wish to receive
care and services from v.a. and therefore seek that option. rep. nadler: stephanie miller, on february 2 of last year president biden issued an executive order directing dhs and the state and at justice department's to partner with the department of defense to facilitate nationalization for members of the military. what actions have the department of defense taken as a result to facilitate naturalization for members of the military? mavni we --ms. miller: we work closely with partners in the recruitment session and service. one recent activity is work with uscis to ensure we have appropriate documentation that the new servicemember may need. for the project for naturalization considerations. they bring these documents with them basic training.
outside of that, we are focused to ensure that new service members have opportunities to meet with case officers to make sure that we are, you know, completing their applications and answering all questions as well as facilitating interviews and making sure we are helping them along the process during the application. rep. nadler: iield back. chair lofgren: mr. bock is next but i don't see him. so, speak up. after not -- if not, mr. biggs will be recognized. rep. banks-- reppo biggs -- rep. banks: the mavni program has been raised here and some members have not gotten a full classified briefing on the program.
i would ask for that. i lookedut -- it looks now to ms. rogers. all th veteranwho were deported were deported basedn an order of removal from an immigration judge, is that so? i ink you are muted. ms. rogers: congressman, that's correct. >> i want to make that clear. dhs is using parole to allow individuals in the u.s. to circumvent the law. the recent omnibus appropriations bill required dhs to be clear on the number of parole requests reived and granted and the rationale for each granted and its duration. the first report was due may 14, but we have noreceived that. do you know what the status of at report is? ms. rogers: i don't, but i can get back to you, congressman. >> it was due may 14. we are over one month late. i will ask if you will commit to get that to the committee by the end of this week. will you do that, please?
ms. rogers: i am not some of your with that report. that's not within my responsibilities. i cannot commit to providing that to you by the end of the week. i will check and find out the status of it >> that would be appropriate if y'all would get on that. is now six weeks past due. i want to point t that we are ving this hearing today. we should be having secrary mayorkas here. he testified that the border was operionally secure even after review. the problem is, exactly one week later, iresponse to questions from senator langfor he then hedged his bet and said, i quote , actually, there is a statutory definition that provides, if i am not mistaken, and i will double check to make sure, and i find tt interesting, but he went on to say, this country has
never had operational control. there is a big difference between when he saide had operational control a then a week later, that wdid not. i want to subt, madam chair the transcripts of thostwo hearing for the record. chair lofgn: without objection. >> thank you. think the committee should be investigating why that biden miniries and its value lighting -- violating the rights of americans, rticularly members of the military by forcing them to get covid shots. it is troubling that the biden administration is ilementing radical woke policies in the partment of defense. clearing illegal aliens seeking asyl. under the biden administration, more than one million illegal aliens has been released into
the u.s. since january 2021. 100,000 were released last month. ms. rogers, it sounds tme like the biden administration is again misusing the tool of parole. sec. mayorkas continues to abuse the authority congress has given m to grant parole. the fact that dhs has paroled nearly 400,000 aliens in the u.s. since january 2020 suld be talking to every membe of the committee. that's not what parole i designed to do. how many previously ported individuals have been paroled in the u.s. under this mavni --immvi program? ms. rogers: 16 veterans. rep. biggs: last congress the subcommittee held a hearing. one of the witnesses was a veteran who was deported after he fired a weapon at an occupied
vehicl that in of itself is interesting. ms. miller, are individuals who fire weapons at occupied vehicles the types of individuals in your office is advocating for to be able to reenter the u.s.? ms. miller: is that question for me? rep. biggs: yes. i will ask ms. rogers the same thing. i mean, ms. miller the same thg. ms. miller first, then ms. rogers. ms. miller: with respect to any prior criminal activity, that is certainly something that is reviewed very seriously with respect to qualifications for military service. if it is an egregious criminal act, they would be prohibited fr military services. chair lofgren: your time has expired. ms. rogers can answer the question. ms. rogers thank you.
i am not sure which veteran who testified. he actually was eligible for citizenship. he is a u.s. citizen today because he qualified under section 329 of the immigration nationality act for citizenship. chair lofgren: mr. jayapal is recognized. rep. chabot: immigrants have defended the u.s. in every major conflict since the revolutionary war. anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand immigrant veterans are estimated to have been deported. that's unacceptable. i'm very proud president biden has taken steps to not only stop deportation of veterans, but also, allow deported veterans to return and ensure immigrant servicemembers and families can
become citizens and have access to military benefits. i have a number of questions, if you wouldn't mind keeping your answers short so i can get through them. ms. rogers, would you agree it is in the best interest of national surity to naturalize immigrants serving in the military? ms. rogers: i would say that my opinion is really not relevant because under section 329 of immigration law they are eligible to apply and become citizens. reppo jayapal -- rep. jayapal: if someone with a green card from south korea, this person could be subject to arrest because there is mandatory military conscription for men in south korea. we put military folks in danger by not entering citizenship. in your opening statement you mentioned uscis cannot complete a naturalization application for an active duty service member without certification of service
from dod. can you discuss interagency obstacles that exist to making naturalization and basic training a reality for all noncitizen servicemembers? ms. rogers: uscis and it dod as my colleague, ms. miller stated, were closely in partnership to support members of the miliry accessing citizenship. we were talking about the certification of service required before uscis can proceed with an application. i will defer to my colleague ms. miller to discuss that as -- that project further. mavni --ms. miller: that department is cuently certifying, in as little as the first day of qualification of basic training, the individual s the opportunity to request certification.
and ensuring that the proper requirements are met. and then, working closely with the uscis to ensure that the next steps of the process are facilitated. rep. jayapal: are there additional authorities ms. rogers and that you are the dod required to make this happen or make it happen more quickly? ms. rogers: there are other requiremen to naturalization, is that what you are referring to, or other obstacles. rep. jayapal: more broadly, the question is how do we ensure we are being the most efficient and quick with our applications? ms. rogers: the most portant
thing is the partnership between uscis and it dod and the communication with the servicemembers. it is really important for servicemembers to understand there is a process to becoming a u.s. citizen. there is an application that needs to be filed. they have to get the certification from their commanding officer. it is important to foster a partnership with dod. we have started to enter into discussions about puttin together formal touch points for the servicemembers. rep. jayapal: thank you. i have a question for ms. miller. only the navy has facilitated naturalization for servicemembers, correct? ms. miller: all services facilitate naturalization on behalf of qualifying servicemembers and officers are
trained to expedite that process. rep. jayapal: what i mean is has facilitated naturalization at basic training. is that onlyhe navy? ms. miller: the navy is working to determine if this would be appropate to establish a permanent office within their basitraining location. work with uscis officers rather than having a permanent establishment. rep. jayapal: my time is expired. our understanding is it is only the navy that has been doing this. so i want to make sure that we are working with dod to expand naturalization among servicemembers. madam chair, i yield back. chair lofgren: the lady yields back. mr. tiffany is recognized for five minutes. reppo tiffany -- rep. tiffany: director rogers, we heard in previous testimony that there were significant counterintelligence concerns
with the program set in place during the obama administration. can you guarantee we will not allow somebody to enter who has those significant counterintelligence concerns, in particular with regards to china, which is extremely aggressive in attempting get into our armed service ms. rogers: are you referring to the mavni program? i would defer to my colleague at dod to respond about the security checks. rep. tiffany: ms. miller, would you comment? ms. miller: we have a tremendous amount of lessons learned with respect to the outcome of the mavni program that we worked
hard to build and revise, background investigations and screening program calls -- protocols with colleagues in until and security. a few years ago we established a new expedited training >> a program that optimizes sources. >> miss miller, i appreciate the answer. i have a limited amount of time. can you guarantee us no one is going to get in as a result of this new program? that is going to jeopardize our intelligence here in america? ms. miller: i know that our current protocol procedure has had positive results. >> that is very clear.
you can't guarantee it, it is no different from afghanistan when the department of suspense, the department of states said just get them on the plane, we will worry about the immigration stuff later and we already lost people -- americans national security is being jeopardized every day. we are certainly seeing it on the southern border. we have got the right issue here today but it is the wrong topic. securing our southern order and we heard about root causes by the vice president in charge of the border about a year ago, our immigration laws --. what we get is in -- what we get
is a result of that. we have the largest human trafficking in the world. the united states government is complicit of that as a result of the biden administration. i have been down to the southern border. i see how it has been operating. the united states government is complicit in this point. we see 51 people that were boiled to death this week down in texas. these are the type of things that are happening. one in 10 people they estimate trying to get to america from panama are dying in route. this has turned so deadly and it all started on january 20 of 2021 with the biden administration. the biden administration has done this. what i would say, madam chair, why don't we do something about it? how about in this committee
right here, how about if we take action? this is an important issue certainly to the people, as we see with the numbers. this is important to all of americans. we have no controls on the border. we have no idea what is in our country. fentanyl is follow -- is flowing freely in our communities. lastly, a district attorney allowed people off on bail that had enough into noll to kill tens of thousands of people. taxpayer funds are being used to move illegal immigrants across our country. that is what americans can continue to expect under this administration. we can do better. madam chair, we are prepared to roll up our sleeves and get solutions so we don't have another 51 migrants broiled to
death down in texas. you can be assured though they make time, there is going to be many more because that is what we have been seeing since january 2021. i yield back. >> general carrero, you are being recognized for five minutes. >> it is about keeping our commitment to our veterans. freedom does around the world. i have a quick answer. we are talking about non-us citizens. have they been promised
honorable discharge? >> our recruiters do not promise because it is not their position to promised the outcome. but they certainly do talk to -- rep. correa: a noncitizen comes into a military camp to protect a flag in our country, many of them don't make it back to the u.s.. i have one of them here. the first orange county casualty of war. no, he didn't come back. his mother couldn't get a drivers license for another 10,
15 years. why haven't we come up with a system where every noncitizen who is servicing our country is honorably discharged? what is holding us back? earned citizenship, why can't they get that? miss rogers? ms. rogers: this is the hardest point of this initiative. rep. correa: how many noncitizens serve in our armed forces right now? whats the percentagof noncitizens in our military? ms. rogers: it is about 10,000 a year. rep. correa: and how many of
grasp heth care. ms. rogers: the care and medical programs abroad with a few exceptions. it is only within the u.s. we will provide direct health care. rep. correa: the immigration judges, one of my colleagues asked earlier, these individuals, once they are convicted of a certain crime, they are dorted. those immigration judges do not have any discretion. if they are not a citizen, resident which is a noncitizen veteran convicted in the state of crime, and a veteran served honorably -- is that correct?
dr. mcdonald: some of the attorneys have gone back and requested original conviction. rep. correa: i am running out of time is rogers. i believe there is no discretion for judges. a war hero, gotten metals -- gotten medals, that is not considered. >> the gentleman yields back. ms. garcia? >> this has been something many
of us have been talking about. we had a previous hearing and for many years, it has consistently advocated for the rights of our human right and that without our military family. we have a moral ligation to those who serve our nation in our armed service. that obligation is not limited to our military. all of us know the pain and sacrifice to fight for our liberties without knowing if anyone will ever see them again, those who paid for their actions
and did not quote -- they should be allowed into the process within the united states. where they took their old and where they defended their country. i want to commend the efforts of the biden administration and service members for our country. i want to ensure. with 45,000 be accurate for the number currently serving?
ms. rogers: it is sometimes difficult to account for the total. rep. garcia: these are soldiers. they are soldiers and they are people we need to honor with dignity and respect because they have taken the process to defend our country and our flag. i see we have made some progress. what other efforts does your agency make to ensure veterans have been supported that have
issues with their family, like can receive the attention they ms. rors: need? thank you congresswoman. it igood to see you again too. we have a special portal we ha a really robust website that ovides lots of resources for the families. the best thing to do through this agency is our ability to look at the problems or examples when we are working on a case. verifying the v.a. bil smith- v.a. benefs, eligibility, health care that a veteran may
in texas, because of the number of policies and responding to the crisis of smuggling, we are seeing the largest number of deaths of migrants coming into this country. under certain -- under circumstances of declaration -- of desperation. in the last 48 hours, 50 one dead migrants were found in an 18 wheeler near san antonio. i want this committee to have my voice as a record to know we acknowledge their desk, we are sad and we are taking a little
moment to heart. fixing is broken integrate -- immigration system -- and many members of this committee have filed over and over again with a vast agreement. would procedures to help out farmers. to the dismay of us trying to use the legal system blindly thinking without doing, understanding. two men charged in the death of 51 migrants and now three. and that to the record. >> without objection.
>> go back to this issue and look at what happened and how it happened. not just in terms of the individual -- and their military service, the administration keeps narrowing that possibility. let me quickly ask a question to the witnesses and look to the record that there are 45,000 active deaths -- can you
estimate the value of having the opportunity to recruit? dealing with the health benefits when they are not treated fairly? when they are screened or deported? what negative impact happens? >> we know that veterans able to access health care benefits be better not just when challenges arise. buto society as they exit the military.
to contact verans. it is essential to us and it is a tight priority -- it is a top priority. rep. lee: we have heard the word criminal and we are all concerned to notify -- these are randomly imported. they are making it harder to receive a certificate. other things that you feel you can put a protocol in place. ensuring they can get into -- to make them contributing citizens. >> theitness can answer the question. >> i will reve to ms. rogers
on that question. rep. lee: ms. rogers? ms. rogers: under the initiative,he.s. is doing everything in its power. i do thi at the end of the day , temporary status in the united states, that is not a permanent solution for the chaenges we see. >> young ladies time is expired. >> we are working toddress this variety. it is important we are keeping our promises to every member of
veterans seeking legal status might be helpful. >> we know there are both those seeking the legal system in other ways. we have made available on our website a unification for legal services that they may access. this is also available throug the resource center in coordination with the portal in february. we recognize that access to build is important. director rogers? ms. rogers: one of the biggest challenges we are seeing in this program, we have and 144
when they have legal claims under our system. one more question for ms. miller , under the obama administration, there was basic training initiative where immigrants who join anywhere from the military have the opportunity to naturalize u.s. citizens at basic training. as a way to get that in and have it happen when people were onboarding. the rest of the services have not coornated with usda to bring that to the other branches.
>> the community has brought back the elements of the training program. they bring in caseworkers. they appeared to be working. whether it makes sense to reestablish the offices. we want to ensure they are providing e same levels. >> i see my time has expired so i yield back >> i want to thank all the
witnesses for their participation today. i do think it is very important we live of our commitment to the veterans of this count. all of us are so lucky that we were americans just through the circumstance of our birds. how lucky we are. these are individuals who have decided to volunteer to defend the country. the recoition must be taken. we need to make this very simple. the naturalization would avoid -- did naturalization at the front would avoid other problems at the end. i am not a veteran. i never went to basic training. my husband had talked to m about what basic training is about. he said they rarely asked people in basic traing what they want
to do. they tell the want to do. so obviously no one will be naturalized against their will, i think this should be an automatic. an application should be put in front of a noncitizen of the military and they can decide if they don't want to follow through, that would be up to them. it is incumbent on the defense depament to make that a part of the entire system. i am interested in additional data. we did get a rundown of the one hundred 44 requests for assiance through the portal. it is interesting. only seven were under 40 years old. most were over 40.
most of the offensewere drug offenses. some were not any critical offenses. 8 or more than 10 years old. if we find out the nature of this population, just so we undersnd, but having said that, the real question before us is whether someone who volunteered to serve their country in the u.s. military who gets out and messes up should in addition to paying the penalty of critical -- of criminal law, also be expelled from the united states. they argue a veteran should not be deported. for those who have already been deported, means have been made
available for them to come back. there shouldn't be a special penalty -- a special penalty for those who messed up. those who served in combat ffer with emotional distress, ptsd can lead to problems later in life. a statement from the chairman of the veterans affairs committee. in favor as well as a leer. about objection -- take the action -- take the action to smooth the return of those who served their country outside the united states. i give credit to the united
states with the proactive action that has been taken using the authority wiin the immigration nationality. that is not the easiest ways. am hopeful we can move forward. to move on with our verans to make sure they get the past that they earned through their service to our country. looking at the demographic, the majority of those who have taken , who have inquired about the full program have been removed from more than 20 years. many of them are elderly, over 60. the sumetween 7and 80 years
of age. even individuals who served their country in combat, need the veterans benefits they earned. we need to do what we can to honor their service -- to honor our service to them. at thipoint, and without objection, you will note that the record will remain open for five days. five legislative days for additional qstions that can be sent to witnesses. if nothing fther, ask those questions. other questions that may be sent to you, we will pursue. this concludesoday's hearing. >> tonight congresswoman liz
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