tv Acting CBP Commissioner Testifies on Border Security CSPAN May 21, 2021 8:01pm-10:09pm EDT
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of u.s. customs and border protection, an update on immigration policies and unaccompanied minors of the us-mexico border along with other issues affecting his agency's operations. house appropriations subcommittee, this is two hourss >> subcommittee on homeland security will come to order. his hearing, responsible for themselves. if you recognize to speak, if you have not commuted yourself, i will ask you if you would like the staff to unmute you. if you advocated by nodding, they will unmute your microphone. the chair or staff designated by the chair, participant michael when they are not recognized to speak. technology issues during the members speaking time, we will go to the next member until the issue is resolved and retain the balance of your time.
will follow a five minute rule with one minute remaining in your time, the clock on your screen will turn yellow. when you time has expired, the clock will turn red and it will be time to recognize the next member. we will go with the order set forth beginning with the chair and ranking member followed by members of the time of the hearing is called to order. will alternate by party. members not present will be ordered until every member present has had the first round. members can submit information in writing at any hearing using an e-mail provided in advance so let's begin. i'd like to welcome mr. troy miller, senior official with the duties of the commissioner. here to discuss his agency's operation, particularly along the southwest border.
this is his first time to testify in front of the subcommittee welcome, mr. miller. i've recently visited the border with secretary mayorkas. working so hard over the last few months to manage an incredibly difficult challenge. thank you for your efforts to impose order on what might otherwise have spiraled into an unmanageablele situation. challenges undoubtedly remain, i look forward to an update from you on the situation on the southern border and you are working to ensure they receive adequate shelter, nutrition, trauma care and due process while in custody these efforts are vital as we work toward a more humane, efficient
immigration system. i continue to have concerns about lack of child i welfare professionals and caregivers in these facilities. the subcommittee repeatedly has asked to be quickly deployed from professionals into facilities to provide child centric care for kids who have already experienced significant trauma. the covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the morale of the workforce which has continuous difficult circumstances to fulfill its mission of ensuring border security and the slow of international commerce. i understand you have establishedt his report, medical resources and caregiver support for the cbp workforce. let us know how we can help you with these initiatives. to help address the shortfall in
this collection, resulting from the pandemic related reduction in international travel, we appropriated 840 million supplemental funding fiscal year 2021 bill. it seems unlikely now the appropriations wille be sufficient to carry the agency through the end of the fiscal year. they will want your assessment about the current fiscal year. also, you're still limited in what you can say about the budget request, we will a good discussion for it would take to address all of these challenges both now and in fiscal year 2022. om theclusion on behalf of subcommittee, i convey heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives
in the linetr of duty. tragically since january 2020, leucine 32 during of which were directly tied to covid-19. i reaffirm continued support for the health and well-being of the workforce and appreciation for their service. i turned to the gentleman from tennessee, ranking member for his opening remarks. >> thank you madam chairwoman. i want to i welcome you to the subcommittee. thank you forou being with us today as we discussed the operations of customs and border protection. your commitment and leadership with customs are greatly appreciated.
i'd like you to thank you for stepping into this role during this transition. i know this has taken you away from your home and h family bute appreciate the stable steady leadership you provide to the men and women here especially .uring this challenging year i pass along this year condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the 34 employees who lost their lives to covid. the issues we are seeing at all borders and ports of injuries make it all the more challenging and unsettled economies. record numbers of migrants presented at our southern
border. we would not have imagined even in the busiest months of 2019 but turned the safety of our nation. we've heard about these identifying serious known criminals and even individuals with the terrorist watchlist within t many groups apprehended at the border. let me be clear, i am not saying every migrant apprehended is a criminal. i know that is not the case. however, the sheer volume of people makes it harder for the officers and agents to screen everyone for threats. further, the seizures of drugs and counterfeit during the pandemic, indicating criminal organizations are still targeting our borders and communities to fuel their process.
i was hoping we would have fiscal 2022ud budget by the time of this hearing but you have avoided questions about the upcoming budget i your. i will tell you, as you know, investment made her so important to the mission. technology, operations and yes, even this has played a avsignificant role in protecting our country. myon concerns of what i don't kw but what i do know about the budget, i don't like. i'm concerned the fiscal 22 budget doesn't contain new funds for the border wall construction even though it still exists. when you consider the work unfinished by the removal by these funds, dhs might need even more to complete it.
i don't know how the administration can make us add up. the cost to cancel contracts have not been made. it's one back into another when we haven't even had contracts. without a strong message that we are actively enforcing these laws, the numbers of the border will only grow and restrain our sources. thank you for being with us this morning, i support your testimony and madam chairwoman, i yield back. >> mr. miller, we will submit the full text of your official statement for the hearing record but i do want to note we did not receive your testimony until
late yesterday even though it was needed to be submitted 48 hours prior. this delay is unacceptable and hinders congress' ability for oversight and i certainly hope this is not going to be a pattern as we continue to request this important information for the subcommittee. please begin your oral summary which i ask you keep to five minutes. >> chairwoman, ranking member, members of the subcommittee, i'm honored to testify before you today on behalf of u.s. customs and border protection.r we probably serve american people as we take seriously our responsibly to protect u.s. from terrorism, criminalmi activity while enabling travel and trade. ethese responsibilities have ben challenged by covid, the
pandemic has forced all of us to do things differently and this is no exception. we have changed hown we process, care for and monitor those in our custody. along with federal, state and arnongovernmental areas have implemented a robust approach to make sure migrants continued their immigration into the u.s. covid cases appropriated for testing, diagnosis and treatment. dhs works to expand migrants who test positive and potentially have been exposed. tragically, covid has affected the lives of 34 and 30 in the line of duty. thirty-four lives, among all the american lives the buyers has claimed to date in this country. services will be held today for an employee who lost his life in
the line of duty. since the pandemic started, over 8700 and employees have tested positive even under the covid, we are better for two. today meet the demand during large-scale surges such as what we are currently experiencing on the southwest border. in march, 172,000 migrants across the border, that number increased 3% in april 2,178,000, that's over 62% expelled pursuant to title 32. fewer than 11% for unaccompanied children by the end of march, that population is a mishap of all the people in custody. in response, we've mobilized four facilities in arizona and texas combined for 2500. to expedite transfers in the department of health and human services, dhs has a movement
coordination with representatives from the federal emergency management agency, hhs office and u.s. immigration customs enforcement. this approach has been remarkable successful in the average number of children indr custody. may 11, there were just 455 children in our custody and every child in custody has dropped from 115 in march to just 28 hours in may. there are other challenges at our nation's ports of entries as well. the government of mexico and canada, only trade and travel is allowed to cross the borders, these restrictions are reviewed monthly to protect publich healh about unnecessary prolonging restrictions. air travel into the u.s. decreased by 95% in march 2020
and currently stands 70% below pre-pandemic levels. presidential proclamations remain in place, limiting entry from china, iran, the united kingdom, republic of ireland, brazil, south africa and india. international travel to mexico and the caribbean has shown signs of rebounding ready to secure and facilitate air travei as it returns to pre-pandemic levels. this decline in volume direct impact internationalna passes, about 94% which is about 40% in these operations. day after day, men and women persistently safeguard america's economic republic health entering travelers safely and efficiently across u.s. borders and migrants visitors are probably in trade laws regulations on these agreements.
we are committed for water security, national b security, caring for those in our custody and keeping american people in our workforce safe. thank you for the opportunity to testify today, i look forward to your questions. >> it is my understanding that ddp fermented a form of prosecutorial discretion to include reporting to ice, rti to certain migrant families in the sector with severe overcrowding in the facilities this began at a time cdp had thousands of unaccompanied children in custody and managing the impact of covid. cdp worked with hhs to reverse the number of children in their
custody. the number of these notices issued has gone down significantly. to report to ice, that's referred to as catch and release. that is what i found to be very disrespectful to migrants both of whom are in desperate conditions. i believe no one should be using a fishing term to refer to humans. can you elaborate rationale for issuance including the impactncf changes in ice operations and describe introducing more efficiency and accountability into the process? >> thank you for the question. as you indicate, the report was initiated in the rio grandee valley and only there march 19, 2021.
let me be clear, this is not a decision we made lightly but it was necessary as you pointed out, the capacity in our facilities decompress our facilities to keep not only our custody safe but agents and officers. the family units began january 23 in families with underaged. march 19, we encountered 2439 migrants between ports ofet enty alone. we had o over 2600 unaccompanied children, 1943 unaccompanied children were held over 72 hours in our facility. pre-covered, the capacity was 1000. did before in our
report, we moved 4702 the southwest border and set up the processing and increased over time for border patrol agents, we moved some of migrants for processing laterally to other sectors. dhs volunteers, hhs personnel were deployed to our facility. the report process the paperwork and have so let me clear up some misconceptions about this report. agents performed the same national security and border security that they do the notice. sensational recognition and they complete the i to 13. migrants are given key 56 tells them they must report within 60 days.
this is especially the same process in the same biological information. let me go back to the misrepresentation, currently determined in the mta time and date is to be determined so we are not on a court date today because d.o.j. is not having a non- detained document. the time is cut in half and the reason it continues to limited extent as we continue to see 1700 migrants a day with a greater percentage of family unit and 41% versus 25% nationally. unaccompanied children 14% versus 8% nationally. what we are w doing to fix this, we work with dhs, chief
information officer, streamlined and automated in that process. thank you for your. question. >> can't hear you, madam chair. >> so they do the assessment on individuals before considered to be released? >> they are. >> what responsibilities does your recipient have to report and what are the consequences on the report?
>> they are directed to report to the office within 60 days. they would have to complete the mta paperwork and obtain a paperwork. >> in addition, these forms that could address not be informed of these notices in a certain location? >> we have those now and thank you for your continued assistance through this portal that systems bringing the data together for hhs, and under the direction of cio from dhs to be continue to expand that program. >> i would like to say that it's a report to ice not in this discussion as some have mischaracterized it.sc it is managing immigration,
education process and it's become the threat and ice and hhs are unable to quickly assume custody of migrants. i now turn to ranking member for his questions. >> mr. miller, we have been waiting for the administration to release the results of border wall construction review. i'm very concerned about the administration seeking to notify the corporations that were the result of bipartisan bicameral negotiations and they are lawfully appropriated. what's already been done foolish and contrary and what the commissioners have requested prior to thehe trump
administration. i'll start with this and then go from there. what you anticipate congress will be on those results? can you tell us what being used to evaluate these and officers and agents being consulted? >> thank you for the question and as you know, we have signed for the safety exemption for rgb as well as san diego, the erosion issue we had in san diego, the border wall plan currentlyur sits dhs and administration and we await decisions and implement that once we get that.
>> okay. a lot has changed. is there a way to comprehensively evaluate different ways of security? technology or law enforcement personnel needed to maintain operation of security actively and efficiently? >> sir, yes. but something we are looking at very closely, as my predecessors used to call this, the infrastructure, technology, personnel, we need all three for border security, certainly border patrol continues to look at their version of the model which we hope to put out by the end of this year. we are looking at these needs as well so one 100%.
>> thank you, if they submit this improvement plan to the committee for review? >> i'll have to get back to you are not. >> okay, we'd appreciate that. i ask these questions last week but i'd like to get your side. operating under title 32 because of the public pandemic. it's been repatriating and immediately after apprehensions thus keeping the numbers in the u.s. after crossing illegally but we get defensive and revoking the china to declaration will return migrants also. his focus is how many people are you estimating on the border
into those stations for processing? what part did they have in this can you meet these demands within your current budget? >> thank you for the question, we continue obviously we are still under a global pandemic and the order will be lifted professionals but as we look at the eventual and hope soon panels to be honest for the psaki of our economy and the world, we continue to assess our operations number one, the facilities we have step up for, we are in the process of standing up for this, we have additional resources downright border patrols. agents, we have stood up movement coordination
so called help desk move with hhs and icete which has helped s move children into appropriate settings and we are going to create a movement for single adults and family units that will bese hers here at the ronad reagan building. we continue to look at these procedures, dhs, cio and continue to look at projections going forward but right now the majority continues to be single adultso 65% and we believe we have the appropriate policies in place. >> thank you for your responses. my time is expired. thank you.
>> mr. miller, i appreciate all the good folks who have been here up and d down the border ad every part of the u.s. i want to talk about nonessential travel. something i have been trying to do and open up last year, under this commission, we almost had something worked out we could have depending on the health of the communities that the localhe communities decide how to open the borders in the state, we are in a much better situation and we were last year, vaccinations and cases and my hometown in the valley the cases are extremely low and all that.
the contradictions we have, not you but you know we let undocumented agents into the u.s. and there is no health issue. we talk about legal holders before the pandemic were trending over $19 billion for restaurants, hotels, small businesses, not only the border but california, texas, colorado and all over but there is a health issue on that. they say health issue according to the secretary. when you let a rich mexican fly in, they can fly in and it's not a health issue. you let a poor mexican come over and spend 15 or $20 and see a family member on site, it's a health issue so there's a lot of contradictions. in my area along the border, there are some businesses that depend on 40, to 50% or maybe
even more on them. when i talked to the secretary, he said the health issue which i mentioned, which i especially disagree with the way you put it especially with the contradictions i just mentioned to you so i talked to cdc and they basically said it's a health issue, i talked to cdc and they pushed it back to homeland and said it homeland security issues. i've had good a luck with gary d he does a great job and i'm just trying to figure out, when are we going to open up? there's so many contradictions and i've got businesses that have closed down not only because of the pandemic but on top of that, you lose 40 to 60% of your business, what do we need to do to get this open in
spite of all the contradictions i laid out to you? my businesses are so frustrated in the communities are so frustrated. i assume we can open again but i'm seeing if we can expedite this in a safe way and i want to follow up with you after this call if you don't mind after the hearing. >> thank you so much and first ofnk all, thank you for the herc work of men and women there they continue to do under the most difficult situations. first, as you know from the background of my career, i grew up in small communities and i understand the economic impacts has had on the small communities on the southwest border so i am
committed to working with you over the next 30 days or so to see what weay can do in a more regional approach and i look forward to working with you into the future so we can do that as well and we will continue with dhs like you said, dw ft cdc and cbp to ensure we have a clear path forward and thank you for the questions. >> i would like to follow up because i keep getting different signals. real quick, i would ask because i have another line of questions if we have time but i want to ask you to look at the technology and some of the requests for proposals set up in the 14 years of performance, i'm worried about that. we can follow up, i got about 20 seconds left but i am concerned if we go with this, we are going to see o the same thing we saw d
boeing in 2008 and facebook technology. anyway, i'd like to follow up on that and some of what you put out for communications, my time is up but i'd like to follow up on that and thank you for your time. >> thank you, madam chair and commissioner, thank you for being here today. appreciate everything you're doing asin you mentioned, your offering under unprecedented times and hardships. a big thanks to the cdc agents and their families showing up everyday. number one goal keeping t safe mode that should be the number one goal of this committee and all members in congress so thank you for what you do. i had the t opportunity to go to the border in 2019 as part of the appropriations committee and
we had a great host, we went to laredo and ranking member was with us and while we were at the entry, dacey seven to eight of cocaine and my colleagues are focused on the "humanitarian crisis" of the border and we are focused on it as well but i'm wondering about the crisis and dangers of our agents and others being misdirected, taken off the core missions to focus on other jobs and things to help address this "humanitarian crisis". we have huge gaping holes in our southern w border, we don't know what is coming over for the true
amount of drugs. what you see in 2020, the covert epidemic obviously did not keep cartel from working overtime. 24000 cap pounds of cocaine, 177,000 pounds of methamphetamine and 4700 pounds of functional. if i'm correct, 4700 pounds is enough to kill every american to times over and that's what you see so it scares me of what we have not ceased. addressing the people there apprehending whether they are on the terrorist watch list, offenders, the watchlist, those are the ones we are catching, not the getaways. we are also concerned hard narcotics coming across and what technologies can we give you?
obviously congress isn't committed to giving you all the barriers you need and we've racked capitol around it. the technology, what is the most effective way to do this to keep americans safe? >> thank you for acknowledging this incredible work and women are doing because ultimately that's what they are hired to do and what they are doing.. a little bit on the numbers as we sit here today, fentanyl is up 308%1, 14% cocaine one 100% and methamphetamine 20%. doing a phenomenal job keeping these dangers narcotics off the
streets so a couple of things on the technology we have a pretty good plan going into 22242 increase the vehicles being screened on southwest border, less than 1% to around 40% in 2024, thank you to congress for that. we have a plan to increase screening technology or commercial on the southwest border up to 90% by fiscal year 2024 and we are in the process of procuring equipment as well. if you look at the functional pandemic and where it started, it started at mail facilities and things to this committee, we received funds and additional technology at mail facilities and jfk where my daytime job is, january 20 and that technology
and ecc's are hugely beneficial. we continue to look at technology with artificial intelligence and that should help ensure weo direct agents to the places we need to be to encounter we need toen encounte. >> i look forward to second round of questions. my time is up. >> thank you and welcome, commissioner, we appreciate your testimony and your service. i have some questions about altering the remain in mexico policy and we will be addressing that. i want to start with an aspect on what i encountered, i visited
the border and had a lasting impression. this has to do with the so-called metering. as you know under the trump administration, they engaged in the practice of regulating asylum-seekers at the ports of entry severely limiting the number of people who could seek asylum. i remember the summer of 2019, families were waiting outside the bridge unable to go on the bridge. 102 degrees, insecure conditions, deprived conditions. some waited three or four months for their names to be called from a vague list. use lots were available to even have applications for asylum and
they knew when they did come up, they would need to spend time in overcrowded facilities where they would be sent back to mexico. there was no cbp in the official process allowing migrants to wait in line run by someone different in every town. the names appeared on the list and what order, no transparency but there might be people jumping the line. the list was taped to the window, he had 2000 names on it. no name had been called, not one plan. this created a huge backlog of asylum-seekers not even having the chance to get an application. it is sometimes concluded they had no human attempt to cross
the border so what can you tell me about that policy? was going on with this class of asylum-seekers? human the history of this and other policies, what have you done to improve the process for handling this large backlog? >> thank you for your question. as you know at our nation's ports of entry and the southwest border, we have a difficult task juggling legitimate trade and travel while doing things like intercepting fentanyl coming into our communities whether it's hard narcotics, that is our major job, trade and travel and on top of that, when you layer in the situation we are currently seeing with a global
pandemic, our facilities are not built to hold migrants or anybody for long amounts of time so to answer your question, it started through the mpp process and ringing it back to the country for their hearings, we are getting mass information and scheduling time for them to arrive at ports of entry and it's enabling us to process them in a timely manner so as move forward i with innovation with those things, i think those are the processes we need to look at to do vetting in advance and ensure we process appropriately when they arrived at our nation's ports of entry so the
same time we can do our job for trade and travel. >> sold are these encampments still there? how has the situation changed for an asylum-seekers who previously was waiting in this situation? >> for the folks remaining in mexico, we schedule appointments, we have gone down that process and there are large groups. >> do they know when they can or are they still waiting for days? for some kind of list to be cleared? that is my question. >> i'll have to get back to you on that. >> all right, thank you madam chair.
>> thank you and good morning. i want to go back to the line of questioning we started last week, we spoke with issues on the communication challenges between ice. commissioner miller, i'm going to focus on that today. i appreciate your service to our country. i think it's imperative we acknowledge our gratitude for the men andti women keeping our floors safe i want to make sure we prioritize the morale. we are hearing about challenging situations at the border and they are always on the front lines. in april i had the chance to visit the southern border myself to see the current crisis and they welcomed me there and our delegation. we heard about the time and energy they devote to their jobs to keep the country safe and i'm grateful to them they are putting their lives in harm's way. not only crossing into our
country illegally but there policing human smugglers, drug traffickers, cartels, i think it's got too be frustrating for them to see those people released into the interior soon after. your official notices issued to illegal immigrants telling them they are expected to report to court proceeding or immigration office, i'd like to start on these questions, i appreciated remarks from the discrepancy, my first question, are they currently providing this information to all released into the interior? if not, can you give me a specific ratio? >> we are issuing processing pathways, unaccompanied children are processed under title eight
and turned over to hhs and single adults if returned, they will be processed on title eight. if we are talking about the family unit,er whether it to appear or report, we are measuring that. >> is there specific written guidance for how you issue these and who does not? >> there is. policies and procedures to cross theoc border. >> if you could have our office see that, that would be appreciated. is it possible for cbp and ice to work agency independently to direct an a individual and mta? >> i do understand the question we are, they would not get them,
we would not have encountered that. >> without mta, there is no wayw to track them. once you get them mta, is there a way to track them when you release them, do you know? >> we don't't release them with mtr. however, if we do release them, we collect the information in 385 information and we do collect the information if they give it toe us. we can pull out as well. >> but can you actually track them? can you find out, what is the process for ensuring after they that, they actually get to the place they said they were going to be, do you have the ability to do that? >> we could pull the information from information we have in our systems and reported in the next
few days as they are supposed to. >> to the biggest concern i have is the breakdown in communication between them because as we learned last week, they did tell us there's no way to track them once the mta get them out of your custody until they either checkck in or many times they don't. i'd like to t know what efforts you take as an organization to coordinate with ice on tracking those people and making sure your processes are more coordinated because right now, one arm doesn't know with the other arm is doing. >> thank you for that question and i will say our relationship with ice today is one 100% better. it continues to get better, we talk every single day and we stood up in the ronald reagan, ice is in i coordination and ase continue to look at single adults and family units, it will put additional people in that
sale which will allow us to ensure we are doing the same thing at the. same time. >> i look forward to second round of questioning. thank you very much and i yield back. >> thank you for holding today's hearing. we know vaccinations remain a critical part of the covid-19 pandemic and saving lives. i'm interesting about the covid and people in your custody. what percentage of cdc employees are fully vaccinated as ofee toy or most recent available data? >> thank you for your question. i do not know percentage of individuals our workforce with the vaccination, obviously there are privacy laws and they get the vaccination on their own or through the va. i can tell you we had a rollout
of vaccination to the workforce under the guise of our chief medical officer, we've made significant processes in the vaccines available for all those who want it. >> i did read in your testimony 33% of the eligible workforce were vaccinated at ba sites and the rest to have access to these sites. do you know how many have actually taken advantage of the access. >> the ba partnership, i do not know. >> so i understand they previously based vaccine supply challenges that slowed down workforce vaccination efforts. now that vaccinect production hs high demand, are yous finding it easier to get more shots in arms or have vaccine covenants issued
challenges on the demand side? >> certainly on the demand side, i think everybody who wants a vaccine can get the vaccine and we are continue to show the benefits of the vaccine and encouraging them to get the vaccine. >> this is a top concern to me and it needs to be a proactive priority for the department as well. vaccine hesitancy in america is an all-time high and it's literally life orl- death i was devastated to hear border patrol agents who lost his life to covid earlier this month, his wife, a a nurse reports took evy precaution to protect his family over the past year but ultimately he delayed getting vaccinated. what steps are you taking to proactively combat vaccine hesitancy and disinformation and make sure your employees have accurate information about the safety and efficacy of critical importance of covid seen?
>> i myself, the leadership here we continue to message at the local and national level, court levels but ultimately, it is a personal choice. we will message in any way we can and i'm willing to work with you if you think you have some good ideas in continuing to message the benefits of the vaccination workforce because i believe also that it is incredibly i important and it doesn't break myta heart. >> thank you. vaccinating employees is in central not only protecting their own health but also ensuring they don't expose but migrants to the buyers or bring it home to their families and communities. now that we have enough vaccine to go around, there's no excuse for vaccination rates be so low as they are especially for our own federal workforce.
as you said, you don't want to lose more agents and more than i do so i look forward to partnering with you and keeping informed about your plans to proactively address this. can you tell me about your plans for vaccinating migrants in custody? i understand dhs is evaluating vaccination strategies and i will soon get a direct allocation. what changes can we expect to see? >> i can tell you as you pointed out, our first goal was getting our own folks vaccinated and continues to be number one priority. our second goal was to fix the overcrowding in our facilities with hhs, ice and fema to ensure we getti children the proper cae they need and right now, the children, it's about 21 hours,
in a day. i have conversations with the chief medical officer at the department, he's indicated he's working with ice. >> okay. as you know, vaccinating migrants not only keeps them safe but also protects the communities they may travel to after they leave your custody. the question we face must not be how -- must be how, not if we get vaccines for migrants. i ask that you begin to make those plans and keep our committee updated on resource needs you have as you do the vaccine rollout. mr. miller, as you know, the chairwoman and i include funding and appropriations were in operable health records system for customs and border patrol and as a nurse, good record
keeping is important for good patient care. obviously care is a greater challenge for migrants transferred from one agency to another and i witnessed this myself when i visited the border in 2019 and saw records keptw on paper or not at all. i'm so glad have provided this to be put to use. nearly completed the phase one, dhr rollout so quickly before my time is expired, along the southwest border, have officers begun using a new system to ensure migrants get appropriate care? >> yes, we have an easy you stated, this summer we will complete across the southwest border in phase two will be connecting to our other system and border patrol and we will start working with government
agencies. >> excellent, my time has expired. i yield back. >> mr. miller, thank you for your service. our condolences for the officers who lost their lives. also, the families as well as thosevi today, we greatly appreciate and honor their service to this country but as you know, we do have a lot of crisis we are facing in this country right now not just on the side of the border, we are
looking at an economic crisis, lumber is skyrocketing prices, food costs are going up, we got an energy crisis, we've got gas lines and a national security issue with israel and hamas, i think the weakness of this administration and now, they finally admit we have a crisis of the bar that quite frankly you are going to have to deal with so i want to make sure this committee is all we can to help you be successful. i think what we need to do is start with some of these programs. it's not a notice to appear so
limited by the biden/harris administration. because i can tell you my community was much safer because i get all those criminal aliens out of the country. so i would be curious to know and the disappear. >> senator, i thank you for your question and i will defer all those questions to i.c.e. >> have you heard of that discussion quick. >> i have not. >> let me ask you this.
as the point of entry and with those points of entry those are a major factor. but i really do believe that it is insufficient at best what do we need to do to have a betterte program started quick. >> thank you for that question. i think we have made progress these last couple of years we set up regional teams in el paso texas and san diego california and along with the
task force. we have made additional investments of mobile detection technologies. i just received a brief yesterday about the interagency collaboration that's going on. time is expired but and then to address this problem area and we will continue to work with you and your staff to make sure weim have the right technology to improve the program. >> we can talk about that more on the second round. >> i yield back. >> madame chairman, welcome sir itr, was good to talk to you the other day. has mentioned i would like to go into a little more detail. on august 28, 2020, 20 dogs
entered chicago o'hare due to improper vaccination 18 were denied entry and housed by a cbp warehouse. and cdc a waited of review the animals were later found in small cages without food or water for several days covered in feces and urine a clear violation of the animal welfare act. some of them died my venable imports as past pets increase significantly and we are wonder they have those procedures to care for live animals at this time there's only one that's equipped to
safely handle live animals with the quarantine located in new york city which obviously doesn't help anyone else in the country why is her only one bonded warehouse to care for live animals with a legally required quarantine can you add more facilities to meet the standard of care at all ports of entry and what resources do you need to do this? for the you question. number one, we did work with the enter agency partners in chicago to investigate that issue to make sure nothing like that happens again. there were multiple agencies involved if it was cdc as you mentioned we do have a bonded warehouse in new york to cover
such issues. i am committed to work with you in the enter agency to figure out what we should do to make sure we have the proper care and facilities. >> it's not that there are not private sector facilities that can do this we need to locate them and certify them and pay them for their services. they can we commit to doing this? especially at the major ports of interest on - - entry in the united states? >> again. 's i have to talk and we look at that and get back to you. >>nt currently there are no cpb practices to require every bonded warehouse to have a standard of care for live animals that with that is a
violation of the animal will on - - animal welfare act in chicago we see that was a major fail will you commit to updating the practices to ensure taking welfare animals into custody and to be in contract with you? >> yes. we will work with that with our partners. >> we appreciate that i yield back. thank you. >> thank you madame chair sorry for my tardiness with multiple committee hearings. i to ask a little bit commission about your conversation with the ranking member after title 42 you mentioned coordination with or
are with respect to unaccompanied children why does cbp plan to coordinate with other organizations that support asylum seekers as that strategy? >> yes sir. we do and we are coordinating we actually have ngo coordinators across the southwestff border in the office of field operations who are having almost daily conversations with the ngo. i myself met with a good portion across the southwest border. >> how many do you have with respect to the conversations, is there a conversation about post title 42 or that we will all work together? i am asking specifically about title 42.
>> there is a coordinator at each sector and field office. we are talking specifically about the coordination between the ngo and cbp. are we talking specifically about post 42 environment? i have to get back to you on that. >> i appreciate it if you would. also continuing on the line of questioning about vaccinations on how cbp posture may change as they interact with more vaccinated individuals do they have a process to interact with individuals who state they have received the vaccine? and does cbp have a plan to
validate if the individual has received the vaccine? >> as of now with that hazard analysis of how we interact with the traveling public and on a daily basis. we continually update that hazard analysis based on the conditions that we face but as things change we can update the guidance. >> whatt type of strategies are the medical professionals talking about with respect to vaccinated individuals? i understand those policies
get updated but i'm asking specifically about this issue. >> specifically today we are treating everybody we are still wearing ppa e-with that hazard analysis we put out there. cdc the folks that dictate the vaccination our testing regimen and how they enter the country. >> do you know what that planning might look like what resources or size word you need to ensure the safety of the cbp personnel minors and asylum-seekersic and if the border should reopen? >> senator we continue to ensure we have a stockpile of ppe aes and we have the appropriate supplies we update
guidance as the pandemic changes we have, long way during the pandemic for what supplies we need to make sure we have the appropriate stockpile to give the agency credit we arere one of the few that has the appropriate stockpiles during the pandemic with what we're dealing with today. >> and tong give the agency credit for doing that is what we could do to provide that discussion and those policies to look past the next curve we need to do more of deep dive in those conversations. i yield back. >> that concludes the first round mr. miller last week you
showed 70000 total encounters at the border. can you talk more of the demographics that make up the number? migrants cominges from countrie? and talk about the push and pull factors in those demographics in different awards needing on - - originating countries. >> thank you madame for that question. across the southwest border. somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 percent unaccompanied children and 25 percent with that percentage a little bit
higher. and with mexico in the triangle ecuador brazil venezuela, nicaragua what we have seen on the western flanks that provides a unique challenge and then to communicate with them. and we continue to see a high amount of the venezuelans as well. >> and those push and pull factors? cs>> those push and pull factors are pretty much the same and
then to focus on brazil it has had a tough time with the pandemic with that economic insecurity we have had droughts and hurricanes some of those factors we have seen over time remain the same. >> those countries in march over 73000 for those individuals who try to reenter the country after being previously removed do you think a relatively on - - relatively high recidivism would rely on title 42 authority?
>> i do. title 42 lends itself to higher recidivism rates to process the folks and send them b back relatively quickly to keep them out of our facilitiesli. >> recently looking at a temporary facility in texas and compared to the surgeon 2019 but to care for children and families i understand you're working closely with the chief medical officer with a long-term issue to improve the care of children. what recommendations are you making? >> with 2016 we have all
medical staff at our facility at the beginning of the current situation with the medical staff and then we have additionalgi caregivers that is on the short term recommendations made that we are acting on we have for behavioral health advisors and with those other recommendations that the children are orientated with orientation videos and then to contact the relatives and then activities like coloring books make sure they are outside two or three times a day.
>> i have a follow-up i think is important of the status of the staffing of the recreational program increasing the amount ofty caregivers that is a top priority of this committee can you give us? more on that. >> we are hiring additional caregivers, we are getting them on the ground. >> and what is the status of the cbp personnel coming in contact with the migrants and trauma? with those officers with
children who have trauma? >> thank you for that question we will be trading the border patrol agents along with the caregivers with trauma informed care. >> think - - thank you. >> thank you madame chair. continuing with my last question title 42 are people waiting in mexico in anticipation of the title 42 declaration being lifted soon? >>n i don't know if there waiting in mexico for the title 42 to be lifted. those that are in cbp not for the for that to be lifted but
we are doing things to prepare for it. >> i see in your written testimony it shows 62 percent resulted in the title 42 expulsion but that 38 percent of persons, what was the ultimate result of cbp and what was that about this population that made them not eligible for title 42 expulsion? >> the easiest way to say this for the spanish speaking nation, other locations, maybe would've been those family units that we talked about those are be the two biggest groups. >> so and title 42 was lifted
what can quickly be repatriated? >> as we discussed before, large percentage now about 65 percent are single adults that will work with i.c.e. >> thank you for following up on that. are we getting the support we need for my sand hhs to move from the border patrol entry?s and ports of >> we made significant progress with unaccompanied children for those that we stood we are literally sitting side-by-side looking at the information we receive to make sure they are within that
mandated 72 hours we are taking the same approach of single adults and we will up set up with i.c.e. and cbp that continues to look at the surges across the southwest border such as the field office so we can respond timely to those situations. >> yes sir will covid be an operational challenge at the border even the public health declaration is lifted? how do you need to adapt to keep people safe? >> thank you foror that question. as the workforce continues to be the number one priority. we need to work very closely with cdc and everybody to ensure the previous line of questioning on exactly what we
will do with the eventualities of title 42 so those are ongoing discussions with a professional and i'll be happy to update you. >> thank you for answering my question madame chair in light of the fact some of the members want to ask additional questions i will yield back at this time. thank you so much i appreciate your testimony. >> thank you madame chair. as we have already reached out to your office and your help to talk aboutct border restrictions and as i mentioned, just to add one last point i go home every day in a live on the border so i see things very different from some of my colleagues and
every time i fly over here in the morning, i asked the border patrol folks how many families are there how many people are there? families fly every time to dc on the plane, again but the legal ones from mexico but i do want to follow up on that. so i to ask about the construction of the border wall. glad they send the money but you made a determination that my area needed a border while we don't want to border wall there was one.$3 billion appropriated to build a wall.
we don't want the wall. we want the technology. we want checkpoints for border patrol outside of laredo. the port of entry to be the fourth largest port of entry in the whole country and the bridges now at 17000 per day and most come to the ports of entry and my question i asked the chairwoman about this at the very beginning if we have one.$3 billion that werel appropriated to stay there for technology or this is money that homeland will take out input and other places of the area. the questions are still there
>> thank you serve. look at the points that we raised to take on these transnational they are profiting off the vulnerable for those operations and to protect them. >> we will follow up for smuggling income in the us and we have a conversation and with that, thank you madame chair. >> thank you madame chair. mr. miller back in 2020 through 2013 was on the helmet authorization committee and
that the work of every single day i do hope that the security and safety and welfare that we encounter is incredible. >> i'm glad to hear that. to be used in a huge multiplying effort to help you focus on a your jobs and also get this valuable training as well. and i know we talk a lot about the southern border with a humanitarian crisis and it's an invasion in all kinds of
adjectives to describe it. we all have our own reasons why we think it is a severe crisis but extended to the maritime border, you mentioned in your testimony 95000 miles. i'm more specific to the gulf of mexico. that is a huge blind spot for us trying to interdict one —-dash in the south and central america so what are the things that you could use or share with us any issues with maritime? >> as you pointed out is a lot of miles to patrol the maritime border is likee the
the review to wait in those tolerable circumstances. let me turn to mexico as you know migrants make this treacherous journey to the us to seek legal refuge. having had to wait and overcrowded cbc facilities for that prescribed time and then under the trump administration, the policy was many if not most of these cases to return the migrants to mexico the encampment situation with very little oversight. they face extreme difficulties in mexico to be food
insecure. dangerous situations. of course trouble with legal counsel and often had their cases closed in absentia because they were unable to return for their court k hearings or in any kind of reliable way. so thankfully the biden administration has announced it is sending the policy to thousands of people including vulnerable populations returning to mexico are now beginning to be processed. if you can describe the challenges of a the agency to do the course correction of the resources or legislative
changes to regain our footing to processing of these individuals and what kind of success have you had since the february change in policy? >> thank you for that question. i like to highlight office of field operations in the office of information technology. working with partners and mexico, international organizations where we can collect information through the cbp one at two that those in advance of arrival and schedule arrival times from laredo and san diego to ensure that we are processing expeditiously and also
continuing to uphold border security and national security efforts at the same time so with 10000 ofid those individuals as far as challenges, looking at the additional populations in absentia and working with el ir to have those cases open at which time we would begin the same process to gather information and scheduling the time. >> thank you for that update and if you want to provide further information for the record that would let us gauge the scale of this effort and
what is remaining that would be helpful we commend you to turn this around. we know it's not easy and the situations are inherently difficult to any other information you want to provide we would bel receptive. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you madame chair and to the commissioner miller france ring our questions today i will focus the second round about human trafficking across the southern border especially when minor children are involved in one district and working and i went to and human trafficking so i went to ask questions specifically about that. how does cbp verify individuals when they are apprehended at the border?
because there could be some discrepancies so how does that work? >> it is difficult process to be honest to encounter the's individuals if they don't have documents for who they are with their our questions for them and family members obviously border patrol agents are well trained in this type of activity we have a couple of different things we can fingerprint children n if neede. we work with i.c.e. on the rapid dna to determine the family members that collectively to determine age and relationships that they are legitimate. >> if someone doesn't have an id or documentation of their
would certainly appreciate that. and then also talking about technology. >> and how those could be helpful to keep agent safe and keep the border safe as well. >> thank you for that question we have a team of start up companies of small businesses to look at counter and we have used contracts to establish procurement of drones and we continue to look at artificial intelligence so there is a different number of things that we use at the southwest
border for technology. >> that surveillance power that you are referring to answer what we can do with that technology i encourage your conversation and continued conversations about these technologies that so we need moving forward to keep us safe. thank you for answering our questions today. i appreciate it. >> i yield back. >> thank you madame chair i have moreti questions i want to pick up where we left off with electronic health record system looking at phase two and then to integrate electronic health records with the cbp other systems do you anticipate any challenges or need for additional resources to meet the timeline? >> i believe on the
integration with our own system, we should be fine on the timeline i think it's back at ave future time talk about immigration so i think we're i'm pretty good shape for our own integration. >> as we rollout this system mr. miller we both know that when you encounter the unaccompanied child at the border you don't want them unsupervised of having kids temporarily in your custody is the unfortunate reality as you prepare to transfer them to a specialized facility and reunite with families i believe the number of children in custody has decreased from 520,500 in the past few months and itro has decreased from five days to under 24 hours and
with his progress of there is more we could do to provide for the emotional health of these children so the chief medical officers. >> first and foremost i will take every opportunity to say thank you to the men and women who do the work that is going on and that compassion of the border patrol agents continue to have an that many of us are fathers or mothers and it's a tough situation for them. so some of the's other things that we mentioned is having that connectivity with those advisors and then we continue to look at that and continue
to look at those caregivers and then we up the caregivers at the facilities training of officers and agents to ensure they get ther proper training. the orientation as you pointed out often with children who travel these long distances to quite understand where they are or how they got there to be perfectly honest and the orientation video to get that on a timely basis keeping the children active and ensuring that they are outside which frankly was difficultlt with over 3000. getting them outside at least two times a day looking at the additional activities so coloring and those sorts of
things. and a number of different things depending on the age of thee children. >> if you had to have a timeline associated with those recommendations what would that expected timeline be and what resources do you need from the committee to implement the full list quick. >> i have an exact timeline if on all those issues as we speak today but to fill you in on the timeline i don't have the whole recommendation yet so once i get the formal recommendations and a formal plan then we can let you know what we are doing. >> so does that mean one month? >>on it means i think within the next week or two weeks we
would have a plan. >> fantastic. thank you mr. miller and sharing my concern about the well-being of their children who make this o difficult journey to our border and then to ensure t there stays are possible and i yield back. >> thank you madame chair. commissioner miller one of the things i want to make sure that were doing all we can to be successful particularly at the southern border and then to ask about that operational control but i would actually like to see it certified
because i know as you travel to san diego through the rio grande valley there is a whole myriad of different types of enforcement taking place in a think that idea as was said that not every border needs of all. there is surveillance technology and access. so what we need and where you needed and one of the things i toan focus on is i know for example and arizona tremendous work is going on and i would
guess it's one of the highest control areas because they are working together they are. so all of that i think works want to makei sure that at the southern border people want the wall but when they go around it but as you know in my district i to make sure to give you for those operations i know their son issues that will let me
know how we can help you with thatn we would like to follow up on that as well as the technology we talked about earlier. where do you think we are with the aml? >> i will start by addressing and i agree 100 percent right read by region we do track by region and went to make sure we acknowledge the border patrol in the criteria that we use. i appreciate your support for the continued support and i believe that we have our training needs but certainly i will get back to you and let
you know we are making additional progress to modernize the flea and to standardize the fleet i think we're making progress there as well. >> they have been great but i do believe there are additional things we can do we will look into that. >> and on that maritime front we are seeing this and san diego working very closely with us coast guard to address that. >> my time is just about out. >> thank you madame chair and
went to pick up on a topic that was mentioned through the discretionary request someone for dhs to support the humane treatment of migrants in cbp custody is with my colleagues and the caucus have raised with the president and vice president to support cbp of those asylum-seekers. this is to create a humanitarian response team at the border staffed by volunteers who have been trained to rapidly respond for those appointment and unaccompanied children at the border the humanitarian response teams medical assistance teams but also caseworkers and social workers to reduce these times a remain and custody and then to help
with transportation and logistics. and those family members working with hhs to create these teams. would that be beneficial to help those individuals at the border quick. >> that's something wei have to look at what that humanitarian care center but that humanitarian response teams and then to see proposal and get feedback. >> absolutely i would love for you to have h a conversation with a colleagues in the hispanic caucus and then to see what technical support or advice you might have.
>> commissioner i'm concerned some of theag language referenced earlier regarding individuals presenting themselves without names the vast majority seeking asylum have been dangerous her life threatening circumstances we should do all we can to make sure they receive the appropriate protections and care as we can. are you aware that the migrant children are presenting themselves under different names? >> i am i not at this point. >> are you aware government tracking children. >> are you aware of the government tracking as referenced in an earlier question. >> back in 2019 with children
being trafficked that's why we worked with i.c.e. to start dna testing. >> but not by the government. >> not by the government. no. sorry. [laughter] >> no i just want to be conscious of the language that we use they have consequences based on little or no evidence. i just want to be thoughtful how we talkes about those sensitive issues. i appreciate you sticking around for a second round in thank you for the indulgence to the chair and i yield back. >> i don't think there are any more questions i would like to ask one more question of all
members of the subcommittee of those officers and other personal have lost her life in the line of duty since january of last year in addition to these tragedies with that personnel with desperate circumstances and it cannot be discounted had to address the mental health needs as a result of covid and clinical operations and how does that withon cbp personnel? >> thank you for the question with the tragedy of the pandemic it has taken a toll on the workforce as we see
every single day we have a robust peers support program a very robust employee assistance program or eap for the survivors and to be in contact im worried about taking care of those who take care of us so one of the things we are looking at with those on the southwest border we have three of them. one is in the lbo and i had the chance to visit with the chief at the southwest border of san antonio last week.
those that have the program say somebody was on site with them not a call that somebody they could talk to that they had averted some unfortunate circumstances for team members so looking at that program , two additional sectors and sectors word that be beneficial but frankly i'm willing to work with anyone i will come suggestions. >> but the death of this cbp personnel in 2021. what we do for those that are contemplating suicide and how
can we help you help your workforce? . . . . we are out there, they are out there talking to our. supports, chaplains every single day. they spend a lot of time there, we have was called a campaign right now, myself and senior leadership talking to the folks about ensuring they are getting the help they need which is good. i think the communications and trying to get out as much as i can to talk to the men and women to see what additional support they need.
it's an alll in approach but again, i am open to taking additional ideas, any additional ideas the committeeee thinks wod help, we are all ears. >> okay the information on the professionals you talk to in any way we can be helpful, please let us know. if there are no more questions, the subcommittee on home and security stands adjourned. ♪♪ >> c-span, unfiltered view of government. funded by these television companies and more including comcast. >> you think of the community center? no, it's way more. >> 1000 community centers partner, wi-fi enabled list so
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those who don't need standards, jobs like management style and i think he's involved that way as well. there are many fewer of those stories and amazon unbound. there are some in that respect, maybe it's a little godfather to light, we are flashing back to pairing up documents entering into employees and motivating them in that way. he got the more delicate touchdown. >> watch "afterwards" with brad stone sunday night 9:00 p.m. eastern on tv on c-span2. you can listen to every roots program is a podcast where you get your podcast. >> a hearing on what's causing shortages of personal protective equipment during the pandemic and what can be done to prevent more in the future from the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee,
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