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tv   House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Overcrowding Immigration Detention...  CSPAN  July 16, 2019 2:44am-4:13am EDT

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the assistant inspector general for special reviews and evaluations at the homeland security department testifies at the hearing.
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>> the subcommittee on immigration and citizenship will come to order and without objection the chair is authorized to declare a recess at the subcommittee at any time and we welcome everyone to this afternoon hearing on overcrowding and prolonged detention at facilities and i would not recognize myself for an opening statements. in five weeks time the dhs inspector general has released two management alerts detailing dangerous conditions at u.s. customs and border protection facilities in texas. according to the ig some of these facilities conditions are so bad that they require immediate attention and action. the first alert focused on the detention of single adults and detailed quote, the dangerous holding conditions at the el paso processing center but
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unfortunately this report was not a surprise to me and my colleagues and along with vice chair and chairman after i visited the same facility just a few months ago. even then the conditions we observed were on acceptable and women, children and families were either outside waiting to and the facility jump into overcrowded shells and hallways. prior to our visit we understood hundreds of families have been housed aside for days behind the border patrol facility and we expected to meet with them but to our surprise the tent was empty and not until after the visit that we learned that families have been transported to another facility the night before. it's unfortunate but also not surprising that the ids opposition is even more disturbing and although the facility is maximum capacity is 125 detainees approximately 750 individuals were detained on mae detained on may 8.
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overcrowding to this extent is a clear violation of the own standards which provide under no circumstances should the maximum occupancy rate as set by the fire marshal be exceeded. the id also found a significant number of individuals being held longer than the maximum 72 hours set forth in cbp standards and although they are required to make a reasonable effort to provide showers for adults after 72 hours most adults have not received showers at all and some have not showered in as long as the month. in june the ig completed another round of inspection and this time in the texas rio grande valley sector and here's the ig found serious overcrowding and other dangerous conditions that facilities will leave families and unaccompanied children. according to the ig 31% children including old and seven years old and younger have been held in custody for more than 72
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hours and some for more than two weeks. this violates not only cbp standards but the agreement and sadly, we know the conditions that committed by the ag or not .-dot limited to the facilities they visited. in june lawyers reported that the conditions at the clint texas border patrol facility where some children have been held for weeks sleeping on floors and taking care of one another because of the lack of attention from guards. just last week it was reported that a 15 euro girl from honduras was sexually assaulted by a border patrol agent in yuma while other agents watched. there is a crisis on our border and yes, health and human services needed and now have additional resources so children can be moved out of cbp facilities more quickly and into facilities with their needs in mind. however a lack of money is not the primary reason for this
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crisis. the trump administration has admitted no secret of its intent to do all he can to deter children and families from seeking protection in the united states as the law allows without addressing the root causes that are driving migration to our border. this is sad and it's a moral stain on our nation. i appreciated the willingness of the inspector general to testify before today but the spot inspections conducted by the ig have a shuttle light on some of the trump administration's worst practices and we cannot look away. it's well past time for the quality of these policies to be exposed and for those who led the united states into this disaster to be held accountable. today's hearing is just beginning of the oversight will conduct on this issue. it is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee with the gentleman from colorado for his opening statement. >> thank you, chairwoman and as
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i've been saying for months there's a crisis on the southern border and comes as no surprise giving the record number of individuals crossing border illegally border patrol facilities are overwhelmed and overcapacity. i employed or applied the assistant inspector general for offices work on exposing the conditions the crisis is crossing and i hope her office will continue their investigation especially as the crisis affects the most vulnerable among us children. after months of the president and dhs officials sounding the alarm about the security and military crisis on the southern border well before the inspector general's report were first published i'm now encouraged that her colleagues finally agree there is a crisis and i'm hopeful that we can now engage in the difficult work of solving this crisis head-on. inspector general's office issued two reports in the el paso and rio grande valley
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sectors. these reports provide an objective perspective on the factors outside cbp's control that a feeling this crisis prolonging migrants stay in cbp custody and causing the overcrowded conditions identified in the inspector general's reports. as of july 2, 2019 report says cbp detains individuals on a short-term basis to allow initial processing and then transfers the individuals to other government agencies but that short-term system has been completely broken due to a failure and update our laws there is an unprecedented an influx of migrants across the armed border illegally in many of these individuals are more vulnerable than individuals who came during prior inboxes. what we need to do to fix the problem? we need a multilayered approach to a multilayer problem and must continue to work with our partners internationally to support their own law-enforcement and anti- corruption efforts and work closely with officials in guatemala and seen the good work that can be done when )-right-parenthesis collaborate in their common interest and we
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must expand these initiatives to other countries especially in honduras and el salvador and must support economic development efforts in the countries to further elevate our hemisphere and the people have a chance to prosper in our own countries. we must also reform our immigration laws, including the floor a settlement agreement to ensure that our laws do not provide incentives in our country illegally and to use children to do it. the expectation of children is advised by our laws. you must ensure that the medic efforts legal reform efforts and law-enforcement efforts combined to ensure that we are protecting vulnerable children. i look for to hearing from the witness today about the ig's report and root cause of the crisis on our border and hope to work together with my colleagues republican and democrat to quickly provide common sense, bipartisan solutions to meet this crisis head-on. the chairwoman i clobbered it on a bipartisan invocation bill to fix a problem in our legal
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immigration system and i'm optimistic we can repeat that success on issues as a portent as these. i look forward to the witness' testimony in your back. >> i think the ranking member. it's my pleasure to introduce today's witness. diana shot was appointed the assistant inspector general for special reviews and evaluations at the department of homeland security office of inspector general in march of this year. she is also served in several other leadership positions with the inspector general's office including the legal affairs and acting counsel to the inspector general, director of special review groups and acting assistant inspector general for external affairs. prior to joining the office of inspector general she practiced law with the white-collar crimes group specializing in internal investigations and compliance counseling. ms. shaw, we thank you for taking the time to purchase paid
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in today's hearing on this critical issue and we welcome you to this committee and look forward to your testimony and i would ask you to now please rise so i can swear you in. raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information and belief, so hope you got it thank you very much. let the record show the witness answered in the affirmative and we are now happy to receive your written testimony and please note your entire testimony will be entered into the record and we would like to hear some read in five minutes or so. we have the lights or usually have a light that tells you when your time is up and when it goes yellow there's a minute left and when it's five or when it's read the five minutes are up. we would love to hear from you at this moment. >> chairwoman, ranking member and members of the subcommittee,
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thank you for inviting me to discuss the recent work on conditions at customs and border protection holding facilities at the southern border. my testimony today will focus on the dangerous overcrowding and detention recently observed by inspectors in both the el paso processing center and its facility in the rio grande valley. these issues pose a serious and imminent front to the health and safety, both of dhs personnel and detainees and require the department's immediate attention and action. dhs oig conducts unannounced inspections of cbp facilities to evaluate compliance at cbp's transport, escort detention and search standards. otherwise known as ted standards. ted standards govern the interactions with detainees providing guidance on things like detention, access to food and water, access to medical care and hygiene.
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our unannounced inspection enable us to identify instances of noncompliance with ted and propose appropriate corrective action. in doing so we seek to drive transparency and accountability at the department of homeland security. although cbp has struggled at times to achieve full compliance with detention standards our recent unannounced inspection revealed the situation far more previous than any of our inspectors had previously encountered. for instance, when a team arrived at the el paso processing center they found the facility which has a maximum capacity of 125 detainees had more than 750 detainees on site and the following day the number had increased to 900. at all the border patrol facilities revisited in the rio grande valley we also observed serious overcrowding among unaccompanied alien children or uac.
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additionally we found individuals including children were being detained while beyond the 72 hours generally permitted under ted standards in the floor as agreements. for instance, a centralized processing center in texas many children had been in custody longer than one week in some uac's under the age of seven have been in custody for more than two weeks. under these circumstances cbp struggled to comply with ted standards and for instance although all facilities revisited in the rio grande valley had an infant formula, diapers, baby wipes and juice and snacks were children to facilities not provided children access to hot meals as required to the week we arrived for our inspection. additionally, children at three of the five facilities and access to showers, limited of access to change of clothes and no access to laundry facilities. based on limitations affects single adults space of restricted cbp's ability to
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separate the detainees with infectious diseases including chickenpox and influenza. from each other and from the general preparation. according to cbp management these conditions also affect the health of arbitral agents who are experiencing high incidences of illness. further there is a concern for the overcrowding and prolonged detention may be committing to rising tensions among detainees and a senior manager one facility in the rio grande valley called the situation, a ticking time bomb. despite these immense challenges we observed cbp staff interacting with detainees in a professional and respect all manner and in general attending to comply with standards to the extent possible and not withstanding these efforts border patrol required immediate assistance to manage the overcrowding in its facility in cbp is not responsible for providing long-term extension
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and cbp facilities like those we visited are not designed to hold individuals for lengthy periods. however, the limited space available at ice and hhs long-term facilities nationwide detainees are left in custody until placement can be found. in its response to our recent management alert dhs described the situation on the southern border is quote, and acute and worsening crisis. our observation comports with that characterization. it is widely called on the department to take immediate action to begin to remedy the situation. although dhs asserted its reduce the number of uac's in custody in the last few weeks remain concerned that it is not taking sufficient steps to address the overcrowding and prolonged detention we have observed particularly with response to detainees. will continue to monitor the situation at the border and the party begun to work specific identifying the root causes of these issues. we hope this work will assist the department in addressing the
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challenges and in the meantime, however, dhs leadership must develop a strategic coordinated approach that will allow to make a on his commitment for the safety, security and care of those in its custody. the chairwoman this concludes my testimony and happy to answer any questions you or other of the stomach and he may have. thank you for your work and reported asking emma's consent that the report itself be made a part of this record. before moving to questions i would like to recognize the chairman of the full committee mr. nadler for his opening statement. >> thank you, madam chair. the title today's hearing over cutting a prolonged detention at cbp facilities barely begins to convey inhumane conditions those are experiencing and facilities along the southern border. today we focus on six facilities
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recently examined by the inspector general's office which documented a culture of utter neglect and disregard for migrants that is profoundly disturbing. i do support is bad enough and must not be read in a vacuum and we also cannot ignore the reports of sexual assault retaliation against children at the processing center in arizona nor can we overlook the racist and misogynist facebook i former cbp officers that dehumanize migrants and disparage female members of congress. not only did cbp leadership know about this group and now appears the chief of the border patrol itself was a member and this is the context in which we must consider the horrible conditions cbp facilities. on may 302019 id management alert focused on dangerous overcrowding of single adults and including the packing of 900 individuals into space with a maximum capacity of 125 in the
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south designed to hold eight. this overcrowding made it possible for many women to lie down in some to stay in standing room only conditions four days and even weeks. the photos accompanying this power they'll straight the misery and suffering of these facilities. though the dhs concurred with the ig's recommendations the agency claims it will not be able to correct these problems until november 30, 2020 nearly 18 months from now. it is outrageous that dhs leadership could read the support and decide men, women and children could be detained in the deplorable, horrible conditions with 18 more months. five weeks later on july 2 the ig shot another alert that focused on the dangers of recounting a prolonged detaining at cbp facilities in the texas rio grande valley. id documented that some 1500 children and adults were held in
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short-term holding rooms longer than the 72 hours generally permitted including more than 50 children seven years old or younger who have been detained for over two weeks. most of these individuals had not showered for the entire duration of their detention and even though several of them have been held for as long as one month. most were still wearing the clothing they arrived in days, weeks and even up to a month before. that we would treat any human being this way is unconscionable and the situation cannot be blamed solely on the increased number of asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border. cbp made a choice here. ice in the barman of health and human services have the mandate and infrastructure to detain individuals for longer than 72 hours. if those facilities are full cbp has the authority to release individuals and families after completion of intake process and there is no doubt the overcrowding conditions documented in the six texas facilities warranted release of
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some of these asylum seekers. it appears to be the trump and ministrations policy to continue holding children and families in such conditions as a form of torture in order to deter others from coming. this is neither necessary nor conscionable nor sustainable. it is a community in crisis in central america and the trump demonstrations policy are now creating a humanitarian crisis in our country too. the ig has done a great service to our nation by regularly and impartially reviewing cbp conditions and their findings require prompt action consistent with american laws and american values and later this week judiciary committee plans to take up legislation to address this issue in cbp custody facilities. i think the chair of the subcommittee for holding this important hearing and i appreciate mr. shaw. to discuss her offices findings. i'm glad for her testimony into your back the balance of my ti
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time. >> the chairman yields back. mr. collins will be recognized if he is able to come otherwise we will invite him to include his statement into the record but i'll go to mr. armstrong for his questions because he mr. buck has asked that we go to him next. >> thank you, madam chair. may 30, the oig report found conditions of overcrowding at the el paso processing center with a report on page two noted total apprehensions during the first seven months of fiscal year 2019 have already surpassed that of the total apprehensions of each of the same time. this fiscally or for the past four years. it also has a chart comparing just for the el paso sector of that same time during the fiscal year between october and april compared to last year. it states the el paso sector has seen an increase of 174% of unaccompanied alien children with 1816% family units and 82%
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of single adults. are those numbers correct? >> yes or that the data we receive from cbp. >> and the el paso sector has experience a sharp increase in apprehensions as any other sector according to the report? >> that is correct. >> if there were no illegal crossings at the border there would not be overcrowding at these facilities? >> well, border patrol facilities are specifically for individuals apprehended between ports of entry for those present at ports of entry remain there so if you cross the border between those are the police for that. >> so, yes? >> yes, if we had no one crossing between ports of entry there was no one be in the facility. >> your may report further said available space with the need to separate detainees with infectious diseases such as chickenpox, scabies and the flu from each other in the general population and that the facility
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only had seven general cells and three small isolation cells, right? >> that's correct. >> the report noted the ability of ice to accept single adult into its detention infrastructure is stained day that ice does not currently have sufficient fed space to take all border patrol adult detainees. even though the report states in its footnote that ice except single adult into ice detention facilities as soon as space becomes available so even though cbp completes processing of these individuals in a few days the single adults are backing up cbp custody because ice does not have the room for them. >> that is correct and according to cbp management. >> the report indicates overcrowded conditions are result of one high numbers of people crossing, too, the need to separate detainees with infectious diseases and three, inability of ice to accept single adults from cbp due to lack of the beds.
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>> those do seem to be the factors driving the issue. >> so, if congress does not act to do things to provide more ice fed space or addressing the root causes of larger number of migrants driving arriving on the southern border cbp's only option to address the overcrowding conditions would be what -- to release him? >> that could be one option or create more space to address house them but that would not address -- >> we say immediately and want something to happen but creating more space cannot happen overnight, right? you have to -- whether tent facility but it still has to be something that can work so i mean, what is the timeframe to put one of these facilities up? if everyone moved as quickly as possible. >> i don't have precise the tactics. i know the soft sided structures are able to be deployed very quickly and in the management response we received from dhs they indicated that some of
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those facilities were up and ready to accept individuals but the more cap gated structures would take more time. >> the reason i talk about it immediately is the oig response to dhs that immediate action is needed and i think everybody agrees with that but other than those steps that dhs is taking within the confines of the resources congress has given what is specifically does the oig office expect dhs to do? >> what we put in art management alert was we were looking for action to address the issue and the response we got was that the broader larger structure would not be ready until 2020 and so we cannot consider that a result recommendation and were looking for something immediate. >> that is even before we talk about judicial injunctions and lawsuits. those are going on and none of this is occurring in a legislative vacuum either. can't prevent people from
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arriving sick and in need of medical care with segregation and then we partied maxed out ice fed space. i go back to is the only other alternative to release everybody? >> i can't give you an answer on that at this point but i can tell you part of the work we have ongoing is to look at the root causes and allow us to do the deeper dive that would help us present recommendations that we think could help solve the problem. our management alerts are supposed to shine light on an issue that is so important or emergent that we don't want to wait to do compete reporting and do the work that goes into creating solutions and recommendations. this is a pulmonary snapshot of the issue and we are doing that more in-depth dive and hope to have very helpful recommendations, out-of-network. >> i appreciate that. we need triage and long-term solutions. thank you.
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>> the chairman of the committee, mr. nadler is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you for testifying here today. we appreciate you being here but i want to discuss the two management alerts you put out recently focusing on inspection of the el paso processing center. as the representative mentioned we visited that facility back in late march and even then the facility was extremely overcrowded and the people being held for long periods of time. inspection found things have deteriorated even further and therefore had photos of overcrowding and [inaudible] 35 holding 155 people so each of these cells which we understand were on the examples of the overcrowding could you estimate the size of the cell in terms of length and width? >> i was not personally there so i'm going up the same photographs you have and i could get that information for you as a kickback.
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>> okay. can you describe the conditions of the people on the inside of these cells and understanding that you're not able to pick with them but -- [inaudible] >> yes, based on the photographs and reports back from my team many of the people in the cells that were overcapacity with standing shoulder to shoulder and there was not room to sit down and not room to lie down. >> how did they sleep, standing up? >> it was a challenge. i think we reported that in some instances individuals were standing on top of the toilet in order to get extra breathing room so it was very crowded intercourse that contributes to issues including possibility for transmitting infectious disease potentially -- >> and lack of accessibility for the toilet for use. >> correct. >> what steps, if any, with cbp taking to remedy the situation? >> my understanding is the
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conditions were were what they were and they were trying to triage as best as possible. as he saw from some photographs many of the individuals at that facility were outside for processing and would never have even seen the inside of the facility so they're making use of that outside the parking lot space as an effort to triage and release some of the pressure on the inside of the facility. some of the detainees are moved to other facilities as quickly as possible. ...
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current. have you been independent as nobody before or where there were individuals who were not able to stand for 24 hours or to sit for $2 24 hours let alone multiple days or week? >> i haven't personally. i know my team has seen overcrowding but they certainly rose to a new level which is part of what prompted us to raise the managemen management . >> -to draw your attention to page six of the report with personal items including backpacks, suitcases. did you witness the staff opening up in reviewing and assessing the condition or inventorying of the item before throwing them into a dumpster?
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we don't know what they were throwing out. >> the items in that dumpster. the people did present were things like phones and wallets but the larger items got discarded. >> you were able to watch the personal items could you estimate how long they took to assess the condition? >> i don't know i think that it was a fast assessment that i could get more details on that for you. >> all these personal items presented a biohazard. based on observations regarding the personal items, with the staff in the position to make this assessment with the individual for the facility is a relatively new explanation of
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the perceived to the issue of biohazard and it was clear some of the items were mighty but others did not appear -- >> a lot of the belongings were being thrown out with no regard just safeguarding the belongings of the people. >> they were being collected and discarded. >> the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> thank you madam chair. isn't it true that these locations in the rio grande valley were specifically selected for an actions because of the sectors have seen unprecedented increase? >> we also look up the complaints wat thecomplaints weh the hotline information and we also rely on our investigators in the field familiar with the facilities to help us identify where we ought to be looking.
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what the health and human services typically the long-term detention are handed off from cbp. it then occurs in the 72 hours but if hs doesn't have a shelter space for a child in cbp custody, i don't understand what they are supposed to do they are having to hold people much longer than what is anticipated under the law. >> under the cbp problem it is a problem but it's not really they their responsibility if they physically don't have anywhere to legally put this child of iraq going to just as you said they don't want them to release a child out and let the child go because that's going to create a
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number of issues. there's not a place to transfer to. >> that is the problem we are seeing. it's not the customs and border patrol is preventing children from being transferred is because they don't have a place to take them. >> we didn't observe any indication that it was actually holding the reminders back from transfer. we haven't finished our work yet whether they have a role in thee delay is then transferred that's something we would be looking at for instant if it is a manual process and there is missing information by the cbp certainly suggestive lack of space is part of the problem of the prolonged detention both express concern
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for the welfare of the officers as well as the individuals in custody would you agree congressional inaction to address the crisis is putting the law enforcement personnel at unnecessary risk of anxiety and violence? >> i don't have an opinion on that. it's creating a pressure situation for the agents we did observe them stressed, anxious to high incidents of illness not only of the agents that their families. >> the individuals coming into custody so if the officers or being subjected to that, that is putting them at risk to get those illnesses. >> that's true. >> your office remained
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unsatisfied with the responses to the management alerts and you stated that your main concern the dhs needs to take immediate steps unfortunately i don't have an answer for you one of the solution to the problem is. we are digging a deeper dive to try to understand all of the factors and be able to put forward a more comprehensive set of recommendations, but based on our initial observation which we departed in the management alert, we don't have a position yet on what would solve the problem. >> we are talking about single adults. adults. with some of those are criminals will be the position you don't want them released into the american society. >> we are looking at compliance with standards, and the standard layout how long people are supposed to stay with the cbp. so we got the issues of
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noncompliance. i'm not going to state an opinion on the broad question about immigration policy. >> so you don't have an opinion if we release criminals from other countries into our country. >> i have an opinion but i hear in my official capacity as a member of the community and i'm not here to express my personal opinion. >> okay. i yield back. >> the gentle lady from watching tennis recognized. >> thank you madam chair for being here. is it true that there could be many reasons for why there is overcrowding in the cbp related choices that the administration is making? >> we haven't done the work yet to determine what the causes are but we expect there will be a range of issues that come together and create a set of circumstances. >> that is why you are doing the root cause examination to see why folks are backing about the border. earlier, you said that you were
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discussing the ports of entry question and you sai and you'vee engines are up and that is something we would need to put into to the phon those across te of the reason they are not is because in part you're going to look at this and you don't need
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to answer the question because the trump administration has instituted the metering which has essentially closed the legal ports of entry we've been to the border many times now and we've actually watched this happening where they return back from the ports of entry because of metering. waite we did this speak with them and we had didn't independently corroborated that information. >> so, if the beds are filled, it could be because we are over using the detention itself. i just want to quote this was in an article in republic, i think it was wall street journal that said by talking about this as a
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resource issue, dhs is trying to convince people the problem is a lack of adequate facilities to detain people rather than the overuse of detention itself. before i go to my next question, i want to call your attention to a dusty article on october the 2019, where carla provost, the border chief said hhs didn't have bed space as you mentioned. thahad mentioned. that hhs is quoted in that article as saying that it has taken every unaccompanied child that was referred, so in other words there was nobody at the border patrol preferred that hhs did take away hope when you look at the root causes that you will examine what space was actually available and i want to follow that up for you or other as you go into the root cause discussion on july 122019 they said that this is another piece
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that i think needs to go to the question that the chairman raised at the actions and the attitude of the border patrol, but border patrol agents are passing around a commemorative coin mocking the care for my grandchildren and just indicated we should keep them coming so that the money could continue to flow. let me go to healthcare. given the overcrowding and condition people arrived in, does the team believe there are enough staff including doctors and nurses on site on-site to tt illnesses on arrival or as a result of the overcrowding? gimmick access to medical care is something we looked out. wwould do. we haven't reported on it yet. to cover all of the announcement inspections for this year which will be a more comprehensive look at the findings that will include access to medical care i will tell you that beyond sort of a fairly straightforward look at what sort of medical care they are providing in terms of access to individuals and emergency services, we had the
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dhs don' don't have to subject r expertisexpertise appointed to e the quality of care or to reach a final conclusion about whether it is sufficient area something we are considering funding and permitting us to try to contract and bring in some of that expertise so that's something we could consider looking at in future work. >> according to the notes contained in the court discussions between dhs and the cbp and the leadership, there were situations in which a mother gave birth and was returned to custody until the mother could be transferred. with the justification of any does the cbp provide for continuing to detain a newborn baby and a postpartum mother. >> i'm sorry i don't have any information about that particular case. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair man. to continue that point whether they are coming for legal points of entry or crossing the border
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between points of entry if we've seen an increase in illegal immigration over the past year? >> i can tell you based on the apprehension data that we got that there's a significant increase particularly in the el paso sector and rio grande valley. >> dot jus >> dot just an increase but a significant increase where they are coming from the legal points of entry or illegally across the border zone. >> that's correct. >> i don't have the details on it and cbp does initial processing at that point if the adult has arrived with a minor child they do what they can operationally feasible to evaluate the parental
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relationship debut screening for medical which can very from asking someone how they are feeling or if they have any on the system actually look for indications of illness. spent most of them are coming through a legal point of entry is a san francisco or new york. >> the legal plaintiff entry. entering this country. how is that screening for these issues and the like, how is that conducted and how is that different with those that are coming in illegally across the southern border? >> when someone presented a port of entry without travel documents. i would have to get back to you to determine whether there were any material differenc differene way they are processed. one of the great concerns is there's very little screening and going down as far as disease
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if you are simply asking somebody how they are feeling you are obviously not screening very thoroughly for disease. if you are not actually able to verify their identity or run their criminal records it doesn't sound like you are doing very much to screen criminals entering the country. and with the actual family relationships i'm told perhaps you can help me on this path there is a fairly large percentage of children being brought into this country by illegal immigrants who were not actually related to them. >> i've heard those report repot we haven't done any work on the issue. >> why haven't you done work on that issue? >> if the resource issue but something we are constantly considering and looking at issues giving a risk-based analysis. >> it's critical to the security of the southern border and absolutely central to what's going on down there right now. >> very important issues absolutely.
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>> let me expand on the point that was raised a child is apprehended by the customs and border patrol they've got to be released within 72 hours under the agreement is that correct? and if they apprehend children they are only allowed to release them to the hhs. the child is supposed to be transferred into hhs custody. they require that these unaccompanied children became released the hhs departments and the regulations requires us all to be done within 72 hours but
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that isn't happening we have prolonged attention in many cases. >> cbp is between a rock and a hard place with their own regulations and the agreement by keeping these children they would be violating that i really think the children to anyone other than hhs who doesn't have the capacity to accept these children is that what is going on? >> they cannot unilaterally affect. they need to find a suitable place. >> how important is the $4.6 billion the president requested months ago and house democrats delayed for several months before for deploying the funds -- >> how long would it take them to be deployed? >> some of them are meant to be this year so there is a small window for which it could be spent.
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>> the gentleman from california is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chair. you decided to stop check the inspection processing center. you mentioned you had some complained half lines. throughput in those complaints, that is one of the reasons he made that inspection happen quickly. >> to clarify for the record that is how we identify where we want to go with our unannounced inspections that doesn't suggest we have a particular complaint about any particular facility as one of the factors we look at. the officers working there, citizens, who actually caused that?
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>> upwards of 30,000 complaints a year that come from everyone across the country it might be internal employee, concerned citizen, sometimes it's an advocate for somebody that's in detention so we get a full range. >> you have visited dozens of detention centers in your career. have you ever seen overcrowding or conditions compatible to those we are seeing today? gimmick the inspections team some of whom have been doing this for the decade have never seen anything like this before. >> looking back at the 80s and '90s we've had a refugee challenge for a number of years from central america. what is it that is different this time under the obama administration a i remember as a state senator visiting and i concur i've never seen anything like this. are you able to determine what the difference is in terms of what is caused the situation to spring up en masse all of a
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sudden and? >> we will be trying to understand and identify those issues in the limit of the jurisdictions of the oversee the department of homeland security. we will be looking at factors that impact them and we will not be able to opine on the questions that he will be lookinwe will belooking at thine and the demographics you talk about the volume but i know in the past we've ha past week ands where the volumes have been comfortable. i do know in 2014 we saw an influx of unaccompanied alien children crossing at the time your coat is all i think some overcrowding prolonged detention but this is something that we have not seen before. >> did you check those children for criminal background slacks >> dhs and oig, no, we did not.
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>> i don't have information on what they might have done on those individual cases. >> thank you very much and again i think you've done some good work that i hope to continue. what is it that is different now and again i've seen this and i know during the civil war a massive number of refugees 2014 again that was the time ^-caret co. i inspected from california and never have we seen folks at the border being overwhelmed and border checkpoints crossing between the border checkpoints and i hope you do that deep dive
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not in a policy that gives some facts, compare and contrast the past years versus current that have led to situations less serious than what we have here today. thank you and with that i will yield back the remainder of my time. >> i would recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you very much for being here today. we just want to follow-up on something that the gentleman just asked in terms of comparable volume, and i understand that this isn't your job, but it is the work of the agency that reports these. in 2014, the agency reported -- and i'm going to ask if this is correct, if this is approximately correct, the agency reported approximately 2,000 individuals per day crossing the border, and in
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2019, we had between four to 5,000 individuals per day crossing the border. and to those of some approximately correct? >> i'm sorry i personally don't know that information that i could get back to you with more details. >> what i would like to know is if there were comparable numbers because i don't believe there were. the surge that we have seen in the individuals in the last few months is unprecedented and has put an unprecedented amount of stress and strain on the system, and so i would appreciate knowing that. you were at some of these facilities. did your team give you feedback and i'm going to ask you to take your hat off for a second but as a person it pains me to see individuals in this kind of crowded condition. did anybody express that to you? what i can tell you and i like
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to stay close to the public reporting but i can tell you that david a a completed their second inspection team was concerned and immediately e-mailed me with photographs of what they had seen and based on that information i made the decision we need to put out a management alert and it needed to be done within three to four so we could shed a light on the issue because it is something we have never seen before and it is a risk associated with the overcrowding. >> there were individuals that were concerned about the conditions that they were being held in. >> absolutely they identified with risks associated. >> were there also concerns about the staff was there and the stress was placed on the staff? >> we try to talk to the staff and hear their point of view as well. we did ask them and got information about the rate of illness and we did a report on
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some staff experiencing low morale looking to make a early retirement so they do try to collect that information as well and we reported on it because we found also to be a risk factor and concerning. >> i guess what i'm trying to figure out his were there any staff that were happy that they were working in these kind of conditions and happy that they were trying or that they were holding people as they were being held its sound but a stressful situation for everybody. >> the observation is that everybody was challenged. >> we heard the word torture used earlier by the full committee. did your staff or team see any torture? you know what torture is, you are an attorney. did you or your tea team c. -- >> we didn't evaluate if it was taking place. what we do look at are the minimum standards which were not being complied with in terms of overcrowding at the conditions and so we did find that
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concerning. >> will you be looking at the interior of the country and noting the impact immigration has particularly on the small communities where an influx of individuals can literally bankrupt a school district putting stress on a school district having modeled the students in that school district in trying to will you have a deep dive on the fact of the vast numbers of illegal immigrants on the healthcare system in small or rural communities will you have any deep dive on the impact that they have on the justice system in the smaller communities? >> we do look to understand the
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effect of the findings that we make and so we would be looking at that but probably not be doing the deep dive that i hear you're describing. >> would you look up the cause of why you people are coming to this country and the numbers they are coming and especially taking advantage of the asylum laws if they are being coached to give certain answers when they arrived in the country so they don't identify economically but rather they identify with personal risks and safety. >> we will follow the facts where they lead us. doing in-depth research about the circumstances is probably beyond our scope but certainly at the time folks are being apprehended we are looking at the reasons and explanations provided by management to independently corroborate whatever we can. >> my time is up. >> the gentleman yields back. i would like to recognize the gentle lady from texas.
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>> thank you madam chair for putting the hearing together and for being here today. as i understand, you did not personally visit the centers that you had a team. how much time did they spend? is >> two days in the one instance and i'm trying to remember if it was two or three days. >> said they werso they were aba few flavors for all of the obligations of the facilities could be >> yes. >> what precautions are retaking for this? to >> as defined in the standards and includes minors, pregnant individuals, people who safety
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may be compromised for some other reason, so that is defined and that is the population that we look at and in particular this year they were focused entirely on children so there are children that are physically separated and who had arrived unaccompanied. >> would'v >> would also include young women that are pregnant or anyone that came through with young children newborns or toddlers? >> pregnant women and women traveling -- are pregnant women shackled? >> i would have to get back to you on that. >> did you see any children or anyone under 18-years-old shackled? >> i don't believe our team served anybody in the facilities shackled. >> i understand you said you
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made reference to someone suggesting that it was a ticking timebomb. anybody that has to be standing up for less than a day i know i wouldn't be able to handle it, so what if anything do you think they should be giving to avoid the potential of serious issues happening particularly in the adult area? >> any relief they can give to the system would help the overcrowding. we don't yet have work that would allow us to propose solutions that is part of what we are hoping to do with our deeper dive, but before we can make recommendations, we need to better understand the root causes, the full range o of different causes and from there we can inform our department.
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>> infecteimpacted by policy des that are made by members all the way from the white house and down on how people should be treated and handled the don't you agree? >> i haven't done the work yet. we will report our findings. >> tell me when you plan to do this. >> we have started the work. it's going to be a lengthy evaluation. it's not something we would want to rush. we understand that it's time sensitive so we will be working to get their reporting out. >> what did people at the facilities tell you? >> i know baloney sandwiches, sometimes if it was possible, frozen foods that had been heated.
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>> as we reported about the alerts the children that are supposed to have two hot meals a day that didn't receive them until the week of our arrival and so what we felt was arranged there wasn't a lack of food but hot meals. >> we talk about three hots and a cost. they are for sure not even getting the best. >> there wasn't a food contract and they were using credit cards to order 10,000 each day did you find that? >> i believe that is what we have reported. >> do you know why they are not able to correct that? >> it was a timing issue. they have addressed the food contracting issue if it is the instance that i am thinking of it just took them longer.
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>> for the record i sit on the education committee in the texas state senate and there was never a school district that came to us to tell us that they were bankrupt because of my grandchildren overflow or spanish speakers. i think that is one of the myths that goes around many others. >> the time is expired and we return out o now to the gentle y from florida. >> thank you for testifying in for the report was issued by the office that showed the administration detaining people in these conditions of the border there is severe overcrowding at some facilities a so meant for 35 people has over 155 people and they are kept in cells sometimes days or weeks no place to lie down or have any breathing room i think we are losing all human decent
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cms country. ththe records alsothe report alr not the showers available, toilets and sinks are not available for people that have been apprehended and what was so shocking to me is i heard the vice president when he visited the facilities last week and he's all these conditions and she's all for himself but overcrowding that we are showing this afternoon in the hearing and his comments were what we saw today is a facility that is providing care that every american would be proud of and so i ask you promote your office wall at these facilities, are these conditions something that americans should be proud of? >> i can't comment on the conditions that the vice president observed that from the conditions our team observed we
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found serious issues with overcrowding and prolonged detention that are not in compliance with standards of minimum care. >> you believe we could do better than that? >> of the recording shows that there is room for improvement. >> and also to reply to some of my colleagues across the aisle that say that we haven't provided the resources, i want to remind everybody here today that in 2017, the house of representatives sent $12.2 million to cbc and the democratic majority house of representatives has sent to date in $201,914.7 billion. so the resources are there. the apprehensions are high because we are not processing asylum requests, and because this administration has chosen to detain people seeking refuge in asylum. a question that i want to turn to now is the management alert
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about the rio grande valley facilities. they had been there longer than 72 hours. 165 of the children have been living in these horrible conditions for weeks. they seek to have children moved out within 72 hours. >> what are the reasons that they gave you for holding these children for so long? >> the assessment of the individuals that we spoke with indicated that it was a lack of space available to take both minors and single adults. we have not finished or deep dive to independently corroborate whether that is true or whether there are other issues impacting back but it's something we will be looking at very carefully. >> did your team find that the children were being kept in
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cells like we described where there's not enough room for them to lay down or with basic health sanitation resources? >> the cells that we observed holding family units people with children and also unaccompanied alien children were overcrowded. in some instances it didn't allow for laying down a mat even though it was possible to suit the situation was very crowded and maybe not as significant as what we thought but certainly concerning and made compliance with the standards very difficult. >> did the team that visited the facility stuck about the demeanor of the children? >> they did. as you might expect, there is a range, but that is something that we observe when we go on site. we saw overcrowding, people that have been there a long time,
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children that were confused about the circumstances and what was happening. >> so it was clear we continue to separate children from their families at the barber? scenic i can tell you in the facilities at a minimum there is physical separation happening all the time simply because the rules dictate what populations are allowed to be maintained in the same space with others so there may be instances. they're separated while they are in physical custody. we didn't evaluate whether legal suffocation or separation was happening that was outside the scope. >> my time is expired. quickly, age range? >> i think at one of the facilities or at least in the rio grande valley we saw at least 50 under the age of seven. >> the gentle lady from texas is recognized. >> thank you for holding the
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hearing today. i'm very grateful. thank you for being here. i think it's very important that we focus on solution and while some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to focus on resources, i would like to remind them there was an emergency supplemental passed in february and and other past few months later and things have not changed so for many of us it isn't simply a question of resources but a question of policy. i represent el paso texas which is at the very heart of your investigation, and i have seen these conditions over and over again. so i'm asking questions coming from a place of deep knowledge of this happening in my own community. we have been hearing for a long time that the conditions in cbp are this way because single adults that are not available. isn't it true they have the ability to release migrants from custody the same way?
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>> i'm sorry i couldn't answer that question for you. >> it does and i would like you to include that please. what justification if any of your investigators asked david cbp explained to provide why it is refusing to release people even though migrants are suffering in the appalling conditions. >> that isn't something we reviewed as a part of the inspection. >> i would like for you to follow-up on that please. >> is it your understanding that they are available but the agency is refusing to accept single adults in order to ensure the availability for increased enforcement such as the recent raid that the administration has ordered? >> i don't have information on the i'm sorry. >> i would love for you to look into that because obviously one has to wonder how can the administration conduct such a significant interior raids if there are no beds available? i would like very much for you
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to look into that and also, are you aware that the el paso border patrol station there is a pretty significant subsidy? >> i believe that is correct. >> my staff visited the border patrol station number one a week before there was a congressional delegation visit and if there were 200 women who had been held for over a outburst in 90 plus degree heat and yards away there was a nearly empty facility. do you know why that is? >> that isn't something that our team has observed so i'm afraid i don't have information about that. >> would you look into that please would you mind as a follow-up? i would also ask if you believe there are other policy decisions by the administration such as family separation that has exacerbated the increasing number of individuals surviving
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the border, that by separating families, we could very well with the trump administration could very well have made challenging situations far worse. as a part of the root cause now we would be looking at various factors one could be policy but we don't make the policy on behalf of the department. we evaluate looking at the cause and effect it's something that might come up. >> there is something else i would like you all to look into and at the detention facilities, we have heard from lawyers but there are a number of single adults in long-term detention sum up to a year, some longer than a year essentially being held by the administration even though they don't have a criminal record and even though they have a sponsor in the country. have you all looked at anything like that? >> we haven't looked at that specific issue but we also
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conduct unannounced inspections to evaluate their compliance with their own standards and so, in the course of doing that, we do interview individuals and hear about how long they've been detained and collect evidence about that. >> i would urge you to do that only because we keep hearing over and over again we need more beds. the interesting detail there has been starving raids where will people go and also i would like for you to loo look at the longm detention and i just want to say in closing i find it deeply troubling that at the hearing where we are looking at the conditions for people in our custody we get a request from the ranking member of that you look at the impact spanish speakers are having in the schools into mobile america. thank you for your time. >> the gentleman from texas.
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i think the chairwoman. i have my appreciation for the hearing at this time. i think the attorney inspector general thank you for your presence here. i noticed the date on the initial report coming from your visit to the site. >> that's the date the report was published. we send over a draft report for the management. >> when did the secretary get gt the report? >> i believe we sent it to them on may 20. >> as you knows you have seen a series of congressional groups and as well the vice president and i assume you watch
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television, social media and few have seen similar sites that you saw when you inspected. >> can you explain to me by the secretary of homeland security and the staff from may 20 to july 2 and july 1 when i was in the area and then just last week last thursday conditions were exactly the same. >> i can't comment with the conditions were at the time of the visit. i wouldn't be able to compare them to what we saw. >> do you look at television? if it were overcrowding, is that not a challenge you reported was still going on last thursday. if it was, would that be a
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problem? >> overcrowding is noncompliant. >> and what you reported to the secretary is that not correct? >> in your report o with the red into the record you said this is for your action italiciz in thet require immediate attention and action. would also requiraction. thick anthat can be nothingwitht is important that you have the opportunity .
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>> is thato have the opportunity to visit as relates for the oversight, we consider it up unannounced and sesee issues as and it might likely be the oversight committee. >> i don't have an opinion on >> at least you mention the opportunity to visi.did you andt they were experiencing illness is what impact all we reported were observations and certainly it seems ti thinkfolks generalln
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overworked don't havyou watchedn standing >> in onstanding >> brings that kind of making judgments about those individuals, is that something thanormalup because they are vit because of the conditions? >> i can't make a general statement that whe they did sorf express frustration and try to get our enough tha and didn't pr which we would typically do just in order to make sure we were maintaining the safety
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>> thank yothe gentle lady is recognized for five minutes calling this important hearintoe given to summarize a couple of thmay and the one from a earlie. >> the jula >> i just wanted to make sure i was on the same page. >> indicates that the inspecto and that included non- compliance with standards applicable to the hot meals and
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change of the issue of the leadership recommended th.then y that the department is not developing a long-term plan to? plan. and that the response to th 201, no child had died in the customs and border patrol but at least seven children the custom, so it
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a horrifyininamerican. >> i think we have confirmed we have i'd wanted to follow-up on an exhibit or figure that the a couplfromtheandthe their valuables to the custom ym alsof theproperties such as bac, figure five that w.theseand it y
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to throw away personal possessions of people people >> now, the standards that govern this and tagging property and it typically would be stored when they are released. >> at that tim and i'm wonderinf yoso i can make a fewcomments ai would like to make was empty when these pictures were the
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individuals coming over unaccompanied minor children a e act provides individualthey do f entrentry or between the pointsf entry. so to say this i is illegal and reinfected act. confiryou will take a look at tf what you are going to be looking at. >> one of the project that we recently put a proposal together for and we will and who within the dhs senior leadership is aware of and how they utilize
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this what actions have been taken. >> we the conditionthat is uncon allegation of sexual us up by that you are looking into i cann confirm that we are the allegation of the individual. >> a look to see whether there are hav.we want to make sure nof that is di do you plan to take r look to continue to take a look at the we do intend to continue
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we don'wecontinue to monitor the situation closely. >> i are pursuant tsome of themr inability to use the facilities that are the family case management is fully funded at the beginning of this year that had nearly showing up t. appearance her.i think we will
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i conclude today's hearinmateri. without objection, the hearing is adjourned. so my dad had a s.
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