tv Confirmation Hearing for Census Bureau ICE Nominees CSPAN November 4, 2021 8:05am-10:01am EDT
through his experiences during and after the civil war. exploring the american story, watch american history tv saturday on c-span2. >> the senate plans to vote on the nomination of a robert santos to be the next census director. over the summer he testified at his confirmation hearing along with president biden's nominee to head immigration and customs enforcement. the senate homeland security committee conducted the two-hour hearing. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the committee will come to order. today, we are considering two important nominations, robert santos to be director of the census bureau, within the department of commerce, and sheriff ed gonzalez to be assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement commonly referred to as the director for i.c.e. within the department of homeland security.
welcome to both of you and to your family members joining us today. congratulations on your nominations, and thank you for your willingness to take on these critical positions. the census bureau is the leading source of quality data about our nation's people and economy. the decennial census, and the bureau's surveys, are critical for helping communities, businesses, and people across our nation ensure they have the resources and information they need to thrive. mr. santos, if confirmed, you will lead the bureau as it completes the 2020 census, plans for 2030, and administers the bureau's crucial demographic and economic surveys in a changing nation. i know that you understand the importance of the census bureau's mission and the challenges it faces. as an expert in statistical research and survey design who has worked extensively with the
bureau, you know that stakeholders rely on the census bureau to produce data that is reliable and accurate. you also know that transparency and accountability are essential for building and maintaining trust in the bureau and its data. i am looking forward to hearing more about your background and your vision for the census bureau. sheriff gonzalez, if confirmed, you will lead an agency with a vast public safety mandate. in addition to immigration enforcement responsibilities, i.c.e. contains dhs's principal investigative entity, homeland security investigations, or hsi, which is charged with investigating transnational criminal activity that threatens the safety of communities throughout the united states. i.c.e.'s law enforcement professionals combat narcotics smuggling, terrorist networks, human trafficking, financial crimes, and other threats to public safety. as you know from your extensive law enforcement background, this
is vital and extraordinarily difficult work. i.c.e. and its workforce face no shortage of internal and external challenges. i.c.e. has been without a senate-confirmed director for four and a half years, and this absence of stable leadership has made it even more difficult for i.c.e. to effectively carry out its mission. i.c.e. urgently needs a qualified, committed leader who will tackle the agency's challenges head-on. if confirmed, you will be responsible for rebuilding trust, with i.c.e.'s workforce, congress, state and local partners, and other stakeholders. this means supporting and improving on what is working, but also recognizing and correcting what is not working. from our earlier conversation, i know that you understand and are prepared for the difficult work ahead, and i greatly appreciated your commitment to accountability and transparency.
i look forward to hearing more about your qualifications and plans to lead this critical agency. and will normally now turned over to senator portman who is my ranking member but as we discussed before the hearing we've got a lot of things happening simultaneously. we're all double booked. senator portman is very engaged i know in some of the budget negotiations. he will be joining us shortly, but when he arrives he will be making a statement or putting one into the record. so now it is the practice of this committee to swear in witnesses, so if you please stand and raise your right hand.
with over 40 years of experience in social science and policy research. after receiving his ba in mathematics from trinity university in san antonio, and an ma in statistics from the university of michigan, go blue, mr. santos with don on to hd several leadership roles including vice president of statistics and methodology of university of chicago's national opinion research center. director survey operations at the university unive, survey research center and partner and executive vice
president at a texas market research firm. mr. santos has served as an expert advisor to the cdc and the census bureau. he currently serves as the elected president of the american statistical association, the leading professional organization for statisticians in the united states. welcome, mr. santos. you may proceed with your opening remarks. >> thank you, chair. can you hear me? can you hear me? >> yes. >> thank you very much. i would like to first introduced my wife, abella, and my son emilio who are here in support, and i just want to say thank you for this opportunity to give an opening statement. and thank you committee members for those of you who are here and i understand if you can't be, and i will begin. it's an honor and i'm humbled to
appear before you today as the nominee for the director of the census bureau. i would like to thank the president and secretary raimondo for the trust be placed in me with this nomination. born and raised in san antonio as fortunate to be thin n mexican-american family whose parents secured civil servant jobs at kelly air force base. i was privileged to be educated by the irish nuns at little flower elementary school and i was taught to be a responsible adult the brothers at holy cross high school. the values instilled in me at these schools are foundational to my leadership. i'm a member of a gold star family. my brother rené died in vietnam in 1969 when i was i was a high school freshman. his death furnished the section eight government that i did not seek and obtain that
endures to this day. with the sacrifice to our country i was free to attend san antonio college, trinity university, and then the university of michigan to follow my dual passions of statistics and helping people. those opportunities that i had allowed me to believe that i should pay it forward, and i tried to do that everyday of my life. and if confirmed, it will be time to serve my country. i wouldn't be here today without the enduring support of my family. at age 18 i married my wife and we have now been married 48 years. she's my most important source of support, counsel, and love. our two children emilio and -- always support me and are
constant sources of comfort and pride. and my two granddaughters, nine-year-old rené and three-year-old laila brighten my heart incessantly. my wife and i take great pride in having cared for them the last half of 2020 during the covid pandemic while my daughter finished nursing school in arkansas, and her husband, chris, was deployed overseas with the air force. now, i'm eager to serve that census bureau director because i care deeply about this country and believe i can give back to a nation that has given so much to me. i understand the importance of data quality and the census bureaus role in providing data that nurtures our democracy, informs our people, and promote a great economy. you see, census bureau data help weave us together to form a more perfect union. although this is a political
appointment, i am no politician. i'm a scientist, executive level manager, a a researcher, and a longtime supporter of the census bureau. in a 40 year career-held leadership positions in academic, nonprofit and commercial research firms. i've conducted research for most federal agencies across many policy areas. i felt membership in scientific advisory committees from the census bureau to cdc, the national academies and others. i am a current president of the american statistical association, the world's largest association of statisticians. i was recently president of the american association for public opinion research. i've had the distinct honor of receiving the highest lifetime achievement awards from both organizations. i believe this body of work and recognition positions me well to
lead the bureau, if confirmed. the census bureau needs a director to understand the critical role of providing quality data to our country. society is in the mix of a technological renaissance and the census bureau should leverage technological advances and innovate to great efficiency and effectiveness. if confirmed, i can set priorities and directions in this area. the bureau also needs more transparency and independence to build public trust as a as a continuous planning for the 2030 decennial census and completes delivering the 2020 census products. career staff at the census bureau need recognition for the exceptional scientists that they are. the director must nurture a staff that has endured a tumultuous 2020. and finally, the director should cultivate lines of communication with stakeholders and with congress. in closing, i am incredibly
grateful and humbled by the support i've received from the scientific community, my colleagues, my friends and my family. if confirmed, i pledge to serve with humility, honor and integrity. thank you, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. santos. our next nominee isn't sheriff ed gonzalez nominated to be the assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement at the department of homeland security, more commonly referred to as the director of i.c.e. mr. gonzalez currently serves as the share of harris county texas the largest sheriff's office in the state of texas and the third-largest nationally. he began his law enforcement career as a civilian employee in the houston police department where he later became a police officer and rose to the rank of sergeant. he served on the elite hostage negotiation team and was assigned to the homicide
division as an investigator. after serving 18 years with the houston police department sheriff gonzalez retired in 2009 to served three terms on the houston city council. he was elected by his peers in 2010 to serve as vice mayor pro tem helping to manage the workforce of the city of houston. as share of harris county and is a city council member he has spearheaded innovative efforts to expand social services in order to reduce arrests, different crime, and improve public safety. welcome, sheriff gonzalez. you may proceed with your opening remarks. >> chairman peters, ranking member portman distinguished members of this committee, i am honored to appear before you to discuss my nomination to lead u.s. immigration and customs enforcement, i.c.e. i want to thank president biden for nominating me, secretary mayorkas for his confidence in me, and this committee for considering my nomination.
i also want to express my love and gratitude to my parents come both hard-working children of immigrants. my father was a self-taught welder. you never finished school or learned how to read or write. he made up for it by outworkings competition, and he raised me to value education and hard work as the keys to achieving the american dream. my mother owned a modest beauty salon where she showed me the power of community, service to others, personal responsibility, and strong relationships. my parents taught me to love our country not only for the land of opportunity that it is today but also for what it aspires to be. my wife doctor melissa consults is a lifelong educator and administrator and academia. our love and support have been my foundation throughout my career, and together we have built a family that includes are smart, strong, and talented daughters. america has shown the world that
it's not only possible to survive but thrive as a nation that welcomes those seeking a new home and a better life through hard, honest work. we have proven that people from varied backgrounds cannot just coexist but rally around common values and a shared dream of always doing better. with that said, the american dream relies upon the rule of law and a functioning legal immigration system. i have been proud throughout my career as a law enforcement professionals to uphold our nation's laws. if confirmed as i.c.e. director i i would be responsible for 20,000 dedicated men and women who work every day to guard against threats to our national security, public safety, and safeguard the integrity of our borders. this includes i.c.e. critical investigative mission to hsi as well as enforcement and removal operations carried out by i.c.e.
vro. it's a difficult and often thankless job but leading such a team would be the owner of a lifetime. i chose a law enforcement career because i cared deeply about the neighborhoods i grew up in, their people, the businesses, schools and houses of worship. when you have such a love for your home, your community and your country, you want to give back, and so i chose to protect and serve. i first started as as a patrn in the houston police department working my way up to the roles of homicide detective and hostage negotiator over nearly two decades. in each of these roles i had been privileged to keep our community safe from harm. in 2009 i took my next step in public service. i ran for the houston city council and went on to serve three terms representing my neighborhood. i also serve as houston's mayor
pro tem, a role that gave me the opportunity to help manage the operations of the countries four -- fourth-largest city. i check in proposal to equip our peace officers with the tools, training and resources they needed to keep our community safe while working to improve social services to address the root causes of many police calls. in 2016 the people of harris county elected me to serve as their sheriff. the harris county sheriff office is a largest in texas and the third-largest nationwide, with over 5000 employees protecting 4.5 million residents within a 1700 square mile area. in that role i i had been no stranger to serious challenges, bleeding heart agents and hurricane operations in 2017 and leading efforts to manage the covid-19 pandemic in our community and in our gel system since 2020.
as chair of five part and with eyes, the fbi, dea, u.s. marshal service, u.s. attorney's office and other federal agencies in order to investigate and prosecute crimes that span multiple jurisdictions and counties and country. if confirmed as i.c.e. director i look forward to building on these partnerships to make our community safer while working closely with communities to ensure i.c.e. is able to carry out its mission. if confirmed i look forward to working with this committee under the direction of secretary mayorkas in pursuit of these missions while upholding the highest principles of law enforcement public service. i pledge to keep communication open and to respect your oversight and guidance. thank you again for considering my nomination. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. ranking member portman you are recognized for your opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
thank you to mr. santos and sheriff gonzalez for your willingness to serve and for your statements today. the census bureau, mr. santos as you know, provides a critical service to our nation and you talked talk about that in your opening statement. the current delay in providing sensitive data for redistricting has negatively impacted a number of states in this country and one of them is ohio that i represent. we are very concerned about that because we're trying to look at the process but we need to have
the data. i've been assured by the census bureau that they have now agreed to provide redistricting data to ohio august 16. we cannot let that date slip. the census bureau must meet that deadline. mr. santos, i look for curing her thoughts on this issue as well as your views on the many other challenges facing the census bureau. sheriff gonzalez, you and i discussed yesterday that the director i.c.e. position is very important for a critical agency and deserves careful consideration by this committee which is oversight over department of homeland security. it's particularly import today because by any measure we have the worst crisis at our southern border that we've had and at least two decades. the numbers are overwhelming. and may more than 180,000 migrants were encountered at our southern border. june looks to be even higher from the preliminary data we've been able to hear about.
the number of migrants apprehended at the board has risen every single month since president biden took office. we are told that more than 90% of those migrants are crossing unlawfully and dangerously often between our ports of entry. border patrol agents also estimate, but generally do not report monthly, a number of migrants who evade apprehension, referred to those people as those who got away. this is a conservative estimate likely undercounts the true numbers. we are now seeing record numbers of those at the border who got away. in march and april this year the border patrol estimates 70,000 migrants evaded apprehension by its agents. we don't know who these people are. i traveled to the southern border earlier this year. i was in el paso where i have been before. i watched families who were enrolled in the migrant protection protocol as one example, the mpp program and these are families who were in
mexico pending the adjudication of their asylum claim. under the new administration they were brought in to the united states. i saw it. they were released into the country and an i.c.e. officer personally describe to me what the process is like that a witness in real type instead of giving these individuals a court date and saying you're asylum claim is being adjudicated, you need to shop in court at this time at this place. what they said was we're giving them a piece of paper. i saw the piece of paper and the piece of paper simply had i.c.e. offices listed on the back, and i said how do they know which i.c.e. office to go to? the answer was we don't know where they're going and where not suggesting where they go or certainly telling them where they go. they can go wherever they want and the united states and bridges giving them these offices so that when the in-depth where the in-depth they will hopefully have an i.c.e. office to them where they can go
to. i was shocked because i was told that people were given a court date and told to go to the court but that's not what's happening. you and i talked about this but i just, i just think our system is broken and we got to fix it otherwise will continue to be -- i was just in ecuador by the way since more migrants -- photius in guatemala which of course is one of the three countries that have been traditionally sending the most women and children unaccompanied kids in particula particular. el salvador, guatemala and honduras and heard the same thing, which is the leaders of this country don't want the young people going to the united states. they wanted to stay there and build the future of that country. and they don't like the fact with a system in place that provides this pool where if you get to the border and claim asylum you are allowed, the vast majority of cases, some say all but let's say the vast majority of cases to simply coming to the
country. and if this is the protocol where you say even if they show up for a court date because we're not even give you one, not even telling you were wheri just understand that systems going to work. when 19 we had a surge and it was largely unaccompanied kids as you recall. you were on the board at a know you understand this issue very well but i'm told i.c.e. has returned to virtually none of those unaccompanied kids, none of them. they are all still here. and so it's a wonder the coyotes can go and exploit that situation and charge these families the kind of money that we can't even imagine because for them, $10,000 and not and not just for whole life savings, it's the mortgage on the house, everything they have and then unfortunately many of these young people and families are views on the way to the border. it's a dangerous situation even short of the desert crossing often dangerous in and of
itself, as you well know, and so it's a system that's not serving anyone well right now. i have very deep concerns about it as you know. anyway, i later checked in with i.c.e. to ask them by the way where the migrants had gone the wide watched through this process who were told to check in with i.c.e., and i.c.e. was unable to tell me exactly how many migrants have checked in with i.c.e. to receive a court date. we've asked for this information repeatedly and we been told it is simply not available. so we don't know. as we all know cooperation between our federal, state and local law enforcement is critical important to keep our nation safe. in 2017 sheriff gonzalez you made a decision to in the department's voluntary compliance program with i.c.e. this voluntary compliance and the cooperation known as 287(g) program has helped remove a lot of dangers
communities -- criminals from our communities. you have also stated you still on the i.c.e. to work inside the county jail but your spoken at horsley against texas law that mandated cooperation with i.c.e. so i am concerned as you know from our conversation about whether it would be appropriate for you to lead an agency that given so critical of, even as a if the board prices into tomorrow i.c.e. will be dealing with the ramifications of this border crisis for many years to come. as you have noted to meet a lot of people are coming to this country on visas and overstaying their visas pick so it's not just about the border. it's not isis broader responsibility as a said many times we are a nation of immigrants and we're proud of that and we welcome immigrants to this country in a legal proper manner and we should. we are a generous country and we should be but we also have to have immigration laws that are clear enforceable and allow people to come here legally properly and in a humane way.
i look for him from both of you and thank you again for your willingness to serve here. >> thank you, ranking member portman. there are three questions the committee asks of every nominee. i'm going to ask each of you to respond briefly with the just a yes or a no. we'll start with santos and then mr. gonzalez. first come into anything you're aware of in your background might present a cognitive interest with the duties of the office to which you have been nominated? >> no. >> no. >> second, do you know of anything personal or otherwise i would in any way prevent you from fully and honorably discharging the responsibilities of the office to which you have been nominated? >> no. >> no. >> lastly, do you agree without reservation to comply with any request or summons to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of congress, if you are confirmed? >> yes. >> yes. >> all right, thank you.
sheriff gonzalez, if confirmed, you will lead a workforce that has suffered from low morale for several years now. more than 20,000 men and women serve throughout i.c.e., including many who face incredibly dangerous situations as they were each and every day to keep us all safe. can you briefly discuss your experience involved in approving the morale as to a law-enforcement leader through your extensive career in the capacity, and how you plan to engage the i.c.e. workforce, if confirmed? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have experience in working with large workforces, first in my role as the city councilmember and mayor pro tem working alongside the mayor we oversaw a workforce of more than 20,000 municipal employees in
the city of houston. now in my role as harris county sheriff i work with 5000 outstanding men and women that operate one of the largest jail systems in the country as well as complex law enforcement operations, including a maritime unit, security and around the port of houston as well as investigative functions as well. i've always tried to approach any coming in and working closely with the workforce. i think it's important to make sure that we're working collaboratively. i am an inclusive literature i believe in two-way communication. tightly been able to engage with a workforce to try to make sure that we're making some decision that a popular with them that may improve the working condition. i care deeply for the team members that work with me. i commonly use that phrase team member, so i would use that experience if confirmed to be i.c.e. director to come in,
listen, to try to understand the work, to understand what's working and what we can make things better. i am a big believer in continuous improvement and the morale of the i.c.e. workforce is critical to making sure we successfully accomplish its mission. >> thank you. the census bureau and its workforce has faced many challenges as you're well aware in recent years take her in 2020, including planning and executing for significant adjustments to the decennial census operations in light of the covid-19 pandemic, but also as a result of attempted political influence in the census operations. if confirmed, how do you plan to engage with and support the census bureau's career workforce and ensure that its expertise that drives the bureau's decision-making? >> thank you for the question, senator, i highly value the career staff at the census
bureau. they represent some of the best scientists in the country, some of the best operations people. and i understand the tumult that they underwent through operationalizing the 2020 census and responding to that. many of them ended up working seven days a week, possibly 80 hour weekdays. it's been harrowing, and these staff deserve to be recognized for the job that they did, and rewarded for it. so i believe you are things that can be done to understand the depth of stress that they've undergone through listening sessions come through other types of things. and then proceed to craft with lessons learned from covid a better work environment for
them. there are morale issues, we know that. morale is a symptom. it's not the root cause of a problem. i would like to work with the census career staff and the staff themselves to understand what are the root causes of job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction? what can we do? there's typically the standard oh, we can give bonuses and raises and such, and that's very good and that can be leveraged. but the benefit of those types of rewards really wears off quite quickly. it's more rewarding to provide individuals an opportunity to find an additional research path, or given covid and the way that folks have learned how to actually work better at home, provide flexibility in terms of work at home, remote work and
things of that sort. so i would have, work with senior since his career staff to avail ourselves of a variety of personal tools, work with h.r. to develop some packages and some approaches that, number one, understand the root cause of morale issues, and secondly,, find ways to support folks for the long-term so that they grow in their careers, they are satisfied and the benefit the country as we want them to. >> thank you. sheriff gonzalez, as you know isis law enforcement mission is extremely broad. one critical piece of that is dealing with human trafficking. in fact, i.c.e. homeland security investigations or hsi is responsible for overseeing a white effort within dhs to combat human trafficking. so my question to you is can you tell us about your experience in
this area and how you would approach a jet size work to combat human trafficking in this country? >> -- hsi work. >> i do a vast expansion investigating human trafficking matters come human trafficking crime. first, obviously as a patrolman and later as an investigator working many of these complex investigations of the years i have direct experience of how these cases, or these criminal networks operate, having arrested many throughout the years. in my role at city council as chair of the public safety and homeland security i worked very closely with men mayor parker as we launched our first ever office dealing with human trafficking, and we elected a wonderful leader who is still in place today to really help formulate a plan for the city of houston that was very holistic and really consider a lot of the
interrelated factors that's been a success and that office remains today. now as harris county sheriff we are often seen as a hub for human trafficking, so we put in place a lot of importance on this making sure were working with the ngos, that we are working with other law enforcement partners both local, state, and federal as well, making sure that our enforcement action is not focus on the survivors but instead on those that seek to take advantage of others. and so we work very closely also collaboratively as well. we work on task forces with both the local police department, which is hpd, as well as with our district attorney's office, which referred to as project 180. so we work very closely and number of different angles to be able to tackle this issue. we know it's very complex. these investigations take a long time but we work very hard to try to dismantle this in our houston area and region.
we also work collaboratively when we do have an major scale event for which houston is known come to make sure we're also raising awareness in our community as well. we also often workloads with hotel operators to make sure that we are educating and raising awareness how many times individuals can be manipulated and what are some of the signs to see. so we have let a very successful effort, and also the men the men and women of i.c.e., hsi that it had great success in this area threat the years and i look forward to joining their efforts, learning what is been done and how we can continue to advance the work and use my experience to continue to seek continuous improvement in the area of human trafficking that is critically important, and we must put a stop to it. >> thank you, mr. gonzález. the chair recognizes senator johnson for your questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
mr. gonzalez, since july 15 -- it is july 15 and we don't even know what the june apprehension numbers are from dhs from cbp. it's a little disappointing. i believe dhs is utilizing title 42 protecting our country from covid and returning people immediately, but i don't have those numbers either. i don't think we've got them from april, may or june. this committee is to a certain extent operate in the dark in terms of what is exactly happening. i think my first question for you, i ask this of secretary mayorkas, he is not honored his promise, but will you commit to this committee to be transparent and get as this information on a timely basis? >> absolutely, senator johnson. you in your role here, congress and in your role here in this committee provided a critical oversight. if confirmed, i will make sure that we're working in a timely
manner providing you with the necessary information. it's important for you to be able to -- >> i will hold you to that commitment. now, i think the next point is i don't believe we have any idea where the people that are being processed and disperse -- let's face it, when the administration says they're fixing this problem all they're doing is getting more efficient at processing and dispersing people to all points of america. and i don't think anybody knows where they are going. as senator portman was talking about they get a list of i.c.e. offices because they don't know where they are going. i think that's absurd. do you agree with me that we have no idea where these people are going? >> senator, it is concerned to not have that information. >> do you think states and cities ought to be told when an airplane full or busload of
people who have come to this country illegally and are being dispersed by dhs, do you think i ought to be told when they're getting a batch of these individuals? >> i think coordination with local state partners is very important. that's something i've experience with and i think it is important to make sure we are communicating information with them. >> but we are not sharing that with any state or local government, are we? >> i'm not in the role yet. >> when you were sheriff of houston to dhs judges that by the way, a busload is coming up from mcallen, we're going to terminated and trout these people often houston? were you ever told that? >> no, sir. >> how much experience do you have in houston with gang activity? >> i have a great deal of experience. i worked on gang murders before that had obviously i gang nexus as well as currently we operate in a number of different avenues to combat gang crime in argumen
argument. >> which were the prominent gains in houston that you dealt with? >> we had some of the local ones like tango blast, it's known,, the bloods, the cribs, southwest cellos, ms-13. we have friday just like many other jurisdictions. so under my chairmanship we held a hint on ms-13 and it was chilling to say the least, the brutality of that gang. when we are apprehending 6000 people a day overwhelming cbp, that's opening up core adores for drugs desha core adores her drugs, gang members, for very unsavory individuals, the god of ways. there's 6000 apprehend, 1000 no doubt awaits. have no idea how many unknown gotaways. this is way more than a crisis and its continuing by the way. what percent of the individuals do you believe are going to show
up and i.c.e. office having been dispersed with just the address a few i.c.e. -- do you think a a high percentage of the 6000 a day if we in title 42 they will be dispersed? do you think they will show up in an i.c.e. office? >> if confirmed, i would want to understand what criteria cbp is using, what information they are gathering. old money they make those decisions on ndaa's in comparison to npr's. so i want to see what criteria and then what information is been utilized so we can work effectively so that we can keep an eye on the security of her homeland. >> again we don't even know where they're going for don't know where they're going. we haven't given a notice to appear. we just given them -- let's face it, very few if any are going to show up. so get 6000 people a day, no notice to appear, dispersed to all points of eric which we don't even know what you're going and were not providing any notice to state and local governments. let's talk about the unaccompanied chiller.
i talked about gangs are we. what we don't talk about very often is the fact that when we talk about unaccompanied children, i think two or three-year-olds. we we see all the pictures. the press publishes pictures of this drink the last administration. the fact is 70% of those unaccompanied children are 15, 16, 17-year-old. that's a very small percentage. another fact is 70% of them are male. so having experience with the gangs, whinges a a 15, 16, 17-year-old immigrant male would fit the profile of somebody who might be in a gang, or be recruited by a gang, or the use by the drug traffickers to traffic there drugs, right? don't you find that in law enforcement? it's a minor trafficking the drugs because they it don't away for dozens and dozens of years because they are a minor. isn't that what's the reality of
the situation is, of this, we're letting people in our allegedly gang members can will be trafficking drugs, or human trafficking. isn't that your experience as houston's sheriff? >> i'm always mindful of not profiling and developing the stereotypes in the works are try to look at the facts. >> that's not profiling. >> but i'm saying at the end of the day they are still teenagers. i know there come into our country, their process by cbp. there's different screenings that are done and at the end of a they day they are still teens and if it hsi is the preeminent lawn for the agency what comes investigating how criminal networks are manipulating immigration system to take advance of these individuals. i think it's important we use our resources to combat and dismantle those criminal networks. >> mr. gonzalez, you're engaging the same state of denial, denial of reality that is happening under this administration, dhs and secretary mayorkas.
if you're denying the problem we have no chance of fixing it whatsoever. this is a crisis that is not being addressed. it's a tragedy for this nation. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator johnson. the chair recognizes senator hawley for your question. >> thank you very much, mr. cha. congratulations to both the nominees. thank you for being here. mr. gonzalez i'd like to start with the following fus i've asked of the nominees who appear before this committee. do you believe unauthorized entry at our borders should remain a crime? >> yes, sir. >> here's another fundamental question. putting aside any resource constraints, whatever they may be due think of an alien enters illegally they should be subject to removal from the united states? >> best. >> do you believe individuals who can't have an order of removal should in fact, be removed from the united states? >> yes. >> if an illegal alien enters a country and it's been convicted of a crime, do you believe the odd to be subject to removal? >> yes. >> what about illegal aliens have have been convicted of
things, say assault, homicide, kidnapping, sex offenses, sexual assault, weapons offenses, do these illegal aliens, should they be removed from the united states? >> in my opinion, yes. >> good. i'm glad you're all of that. i'm asking you because according to internalize documents that were released as part of the litigation ongoing between the states of montana and arizona, and the united united stn administration's new limitations on enforcement could result in the release of convicted felons were already and i.c.e. custody including 3300 aliens have committed assault crimes, 4000 who committed drug crimes, , and hundreds who have convicted of sex crimes. let me ask you, if you're confirmed to this position do you plan to facilitate the release of these criminal illegal aliens from i.c.e. custody? >> senator, in my view of the current guidance that is being offered would make those a priority. i think those are public safety priorities and so i would make
sure that were working in accordance with that guidance. this permit for the removal of those individuals as a public safety threat. >> what the documents show according to the lawsuit that documents obtained as part of the lawsuit is under the current guidance in these aliens who are currently in i.c.e. custody could be released. what you're telling here today, i'm asking you if you will facilitate the release. think you're saying nobody want to make sure. are you saying no that you not facilitate the release of aliens who have committed assault crimes, drug crimes, sex crimes? is that they know? >> can you repeat the question? >> what you facilitate the release of aliens have committed sex crimes, , assault crimes, other violent crimes? >> if the prince ther question is that it's under some type of legal action that's taken place i know part of the guides included that consideration that there is ongoing lawsuits and other things. i would work in accordance to
the law with what i'm allowed to do and if there's a court order that orders me to remove them. otherwise, i would go with the guidance we had which allows me, if confirmed, as i.c.e. directory built to move them. i see them as a threat, if it's under my authority i would move to remove them. >> would you make it a priority? which make it a priority to remove aliens who have been convicted of these kinds? >> yes. to me those are serious crimes. >> do you agree that criminal illegal aliens who have by definition committed these crimes that we've been talking about, if there released back into our communities, they are at least some of them are likely to be recidivists and commit other crimes. i'm sure you've seen that as sheriff and, therefore, to import remove them and actually make sure that they are not released to the public works ? do you agree pgh yes. public safety is my north star. >> with the administration's recent administration, doesn't
this come isn't this a free pass for those who have entered come who arrived here over six months ago? i don't understand this. give me your view. it sounds like like a freeo me. isn't this a free pass for anybody who came before novembe? >> the ones that came before, in my understanding of the guidance that's been offered, doesn't preclude anyone that is here unlawful to not be still removed. so i think that is still there. i think it's just a matter of prioritizing key areas, and i think it doesn't preclude anyone from being removed. >> okay good. i think you're telling me that you would attempt to enforce the law and to remove those who came to this country illegally in violation of our laws before november 1, 2020? >> part of the role of i.c.e. is to conduct enforcement operations. those have to be prioritized when we're considering limited
operations and resources. i think that we do that every day. there's a lot of crimes on the books but it's a matter of trade-offs pickets making sure we're focusing on a strategic approach that those individuals that you pose the greatest danger to the integrity of our border, public safety, a national security. >> but here's my problem with the discussion about priorities. since this administration has come to office the number of i.c.e. arrests has plunged. it has plunged. the trump administration i think arrested over 6000 people, 6000 arrests per month on average in the final months of the last presidency. there were 10,000 a month before the pandemic. this is according to the "washington post" so these are public numbers. so far in this administration i.c.e. offices have made about 2500 arrests during the biden presidency. that's a dramatic drop in difference. sounds like what is being
prioritized is not the resources. what's prioritizes not arresting people who are here illegally. what i would like to get from you as a commitment you will vigorously enforce our laws that are on the books and will make i.c.e.'s mission to do so a priority. can you give me that commitment pgh yes, , sir i am through with the article. to me the one data point in my experience i would like to see more data to see what other factors heavily into that to better understand the numbers. it is concerning. so i would make sure that begin if we are being strategic and prioritizing properly that we could go after those individuals that pose the greatest threat to our community. that's reasonable and appropriate but we would be aggressive in going after them. >> do you agree with i.c.e.'s current policy of requiring i.c.e. offices to receipt preapproval from senior leadership before the make a lawful arrest? >> i think that under the priorities that are listed do not require any kind of
approvals. i think it's laid out they can still use their own discretion on those and others. it doesn't preclude them from taking action that didn't have to work in concert with the regional directors, the field of directors to make sure that it falls in accordance with the priorities, at and that theyd at other criteria. >> with due respect, working in coordination with before you take action sounds like preapproval to me. do deputies in the risk and insurance office neat preapproval from you before making lawful arrest? >> though, sir. >> my last question. let's give an example. it's my understanding these restrictions on i.c.e. enforcement removal operations take with the preapproval requirement is having a significant impact in the field. i've learned in one instance i.c.e. offices requested permission to place a detainer on the subject has been deported four times previous to come has convictions of evading arrest, a skate, domestic violence and multiple duis. this request was denied by
i.c.e. senior leadership. this seems crazy to me. the whole procedure seems crazy to me. doesn't this seem like a reasonable way to proceed to you? >> senator, in my opinion during that it doesn't seem reasonable. tonight i would want to understand better about that case and to understand why the local field of directors made the decision to prats not pursue enforcement action. i would like to better understand, and i understand your concern. >> i appreciate that. i will just say in conclusion that appreciate your answer, sheriff. i think they do put you in significant tension with this administration's policy. i am personally fine with that. i hope you will go in for so long vigorously. i don't know with the white house will think of your answers but i will probably have additional questions for the record. thank you for your indulgence. >> thank you, senator hawley. the chair recognizes senator carper for your question. >> thank you, mr. chairman. what you think mr. santos for his willingness to share and serve in the role as director of u.s. census bureau and
willingness to sheriff gonzalez, to service head of i.c.e. a couple of, a lot of yes no questions but i will ask about three of them of sheriff gonzalez today to start this off. if you would just basically get a yes or answer i would appreciate that. at the direction of secretary mayorkas, i.c.e. is prioritizing i think i should know folks who pose a threat to public safety. do these priorities take away from i.c.e.'s ability to arrest anyone enters the country unlawfully? just a guess on a. >> no. >> second question, do you believe local jurisdiction should cooperate with i.c.e. when it comes to apprehending and those who pose a threat to public safety or nationals agouti, yes or no? >> yes, sir. >> and lastly do you believe i.c.e. should be abolished? >> no. >> all right, we are 343.
let me talk a little bit about root causes. as my colleagues on the spinning of i'm a cause guy. i believe -- lack of economic opportunity drives folks in central america and northern tribal and other places -- address of those drivers to make the journey north they will continue to see migrants arriving illegally. .. >> a lack of record for over four years, four years. having said if confirmed how would you work with the dhs and
counterparts root causes to the mission and work of agents at ice? >> thank you, senator, i appreciate it. as you mentioned, i'm a collaborator by nature. i've learned to expand coordination and collaboration in my roles both on houston city council, as mayor pro tem, working at the diverse group of agencies as well as now at the sheriff on the law enforcement side and strategic in our enforcement protecting our region from harm as well as developing continuums of care when it comes to dealing with vulnerable populations that have been incarcerated. that are grappling with addiction and mental illness and other things and have been able to work very collaboratively with many to to do that and i would work closely with the ice work force that has the experience and relationships. i would make sure that i'm working with our sister agencies to make sure that
we're fulfilling the mission of protecting our homeland and keeping the integrity of our maintaining the integrity of our border, so i would make sure that we continue to work with those relationships. i do it now working with hsi, with the u.s. marshal's office, with ice, with many mothers, i believe in coordination, i think it's important fulfilling the mission of ice and i would be committed to continuing that. >> thanks so much. and let me ask the questions of mr. santos who has been nominated for director. mr. santos, in june of 2021, the accountability office known as gao, planned implementation during the 2020 census helped the census bureau optimize operations and slow the trend of costly accounts. at the same time the report made three recommendations for
improving the way the bureau tracks the benefits and costs attributable to specific innovation areas. mr. santos, can you please take a moment to share how you might work with gao and their controller general, the general to implement open recommendations and other lessons learned in the 2020 census. the bureau begins for the --. >> thank you, senator. i believe it's important to work with gao, i believe they are an ally to the census bureau in terms of informing them on cost efficiencies and other types of strategies that can be used in terms of creating a more effective and efficient census operation. i would -- i also believe that gao represents one of a number of stakeholders that can and should be consulted in order to
get their ideas, their innovations that they offer, in order to consider for the upcoming 2030 census. i understand that-- and i would feel if confirmed, that as director, there is an obligation to carefully consider and respond to gao suggestions on innovation and other types of activities like this. i know that the census bureau has, as i've said before, an incredibly talented staff, career staff and they have been working on innovations. i expect to, if confirmed, work with them, to understand the direction that they are currently taking with regard -- and the gao response would be part of that. >> thank you very much for that
response. question back for sheriff gonzalez. with respect to leadership, i like to say the singlemost for organizations, and critical in government. sheriff gonzalez could you share with us how our nearly two decades of law enforcement has for the role in ice after decades of vacancy. >> i am a hard worker, a strong work ethic. my heart is in the right place and an effective leader able to effectively manage work forces. and dismantled drug forces. and i've had to go and tell a mother that their son or daughter was killed as a result of gun violence. i've led and oversaw our law
enforcement response in our county to an unprecedented event when it was up to -- with regards to hurricane harvey. i've been battle tested. i've been on the ground, i know how to lead at a high level and effectively lead a large work force and i've also never forgotten the importance of those front lines, team members that are out there doing the heavy lifting each day. so i know how to lead. i know how to be effective. i'm a good listener, a good collaborator. i'm a good steward of taxpayer resources, i've done it effecttively leading a large budget of over 570 million dollars in my years as sheriff. and in helping have a hand with the city's budget of nearly $5 billion as well. so, i've proven an effective leader, i'm battle tested, i know how to get done. i also understand when it comes to law enforcement that we could be firm on crime. we could be firm on enforcement. but we don't have to lose our
compassion and humanity as well. so i try to be a leader that approaches things from a thoughtful manner that looks for results. >> great, great you guys, great comments, thanks for those and thanks for your willingness to serve. thank you. >> thank you, senator carper, ranking member portman, you're recognized for your questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for allowing me to defer so my colleagues could get their questions in. ohio, mr. santos is working on redistricting, as you know, incredibly important. there are people thinking of running for office they don't to what the district looks like because we can't get the data from the census. it's been a disaster in ohio and i'm sure others are the same. we have a commission now and that commission has a deadline of maps being due for the legislative district on september 1st and congressional district and maps and plans are due on september 30th. and with no other options, i
supported attorney general yost's lawsuit against the census bureau to get the data. without the data we can't draw the lines and literally, we don't know what districts, the constituents don't no what districts they're going to be in. and the lawsuit ended up with the bureau agreeing to provide this data and september 1st is the deadline and august 1st is not much time to put together the plan and that cannot slip. can i ask you today, if confirmed today. there will be no delay for the census data? >> thank you for that question, senator. i very much sympathize with the concerns of the state of ohio in advancing democracy by-- with redistricting. i understand the urgency. i also understand the importance of having accurate information in order to make
the critical decisions that drive our democracy. i also understand the timeliness. timeliness is an element of data quality that has only relatively recently been recognized as something that is crucial and that we need to take into account when we're developing data products. so, i am with you in terms of wanting to produce data by the dates that have been committed to. i have full confidence in the census bureau, the career staff, the excellent data processors. >> let me cut to the chase, if i could with apology for interrupting you. i agree with everything you said, but i need a commitment, will you commit to the august 16th date, yes or no? >> i will commit to trying to meet it as much as possible. i do not have the information
right now to know where the census bureau-- >> well, it's a court ordered deadline. if we can't do it, we can't do the redistricting. i wish i would commit today to adhering to this deadline. that's the least you could do as a nominee for a bureau that has not provided the data needed for us to, as you say, be sure our democracy can move forward by having redistricting on a timely basis so i'm disappointed you can't commit to it, but i'll leave it there unless you'd like to commit to it. >> august 16th, that's all i'm asking. >> i am confident that the census bureau will produce it by august 16th. >> but you won't make a commitment to getting it done? >> i do not have the information to make a commitment and it would be irresponsible-- >> i've given you the information that it's court ordered and the agreement is to do it on that date. >> that may be-- that is absolutely correct and i totally understand that. >> okay.
sheriff gonzalez, as you know, ice has a longstanding principle to establish and maintain these partnerships with state and local law enforcement to both serve effectiveness in executing the ice mission and our country's mission to ensure that we are protected by ice. wuensch these programs is called 287-g program, which allows trained law enforcement to partner with ice and removing dangerous criminals from the united states. as harris county sheriff. why did you terminate the 287-g agreement with ice in 2017? >> thank you, ranking member portman. for me, i made a thoughtful decision. i considered a number of different factors. when i first began as county sheriff, i was inheriting a budget that was 8 million in arrears. so i had to look at the monetary component of how our resources were utilized. i think they need to look at resource allocation. two, that this was a voluntary
program, so i was working in an amicable manner in coordination with the local ice director to making sure what the impacts of my decision would be. and i had consider obviously the local realities as well and the importance of local law enforcement also working with the diverse immigrant community. i also wanted to make sure that we continue to remain focused on having the avenues necessary to arrest serious offenders in our community that impact our public safety. so ice has always maintained a presence to this date inside our facility. we work in a coordinated manner when it comes to that. there's never been any issues, i've never declined a detainer. >> so, this concerns me on 287-g. would you, if confirmed, want to terminate the 287-g program? you don't think it works well? you don't think you want it in your own county? would you want to terminate that program? >> for me, it was a local
decision. >> let me-- my question is, would you want to terminate the program? >> that would not be my intent. >> you have made comments saying that you would like to terminate-- you're to terminate with ice, you wished that the wouldn't didn't have to with ice, ice when they arrived, ended 287g program i committed to do. we can get away from that. and then you said, i advocated against ice before, i think it's unneeded and i think it's a bad law with regard to the it extext law mandating cooperation with ice. you said if ice determined previous-- someone had a previous history with it, then ice, then it's ice's purview. i wish it wasn't like that, but it is. you and i talked about this i'm concerned about the potential leader of ice having these views about ice and what the effect would be on morale of
the individuals. and do you stand by those or do you wish that the ice you're wishing to proceed-- >> i'd like to add context to the comments. that was with regards to a state law and i believe in local control, that was mandated by the state legislature as a mandate on local law enforcement and i felt that as an elected leader in my county. i'm best-- i best understand the reality on the ground and my area of responsibility, and the experience of working with local communities. and so my perspective on that issue was based or my comments were focused on the mandate that it was being mandated by the state legislature on local law. >> my time is expiring. i'm going to leave you with one question if you would get back with me on the record and we don't have time unfortunately to get into this in detail, but the arrest records, what are your views on that, when the executive order and
inauguration day no deportations for 100 days, no longer an emergency at the border and a huge drop in ice arrests. during the last administration, from october to january of 2020 and 2021, roughly-- and february to may numbers 10,000, about a 58% decrease, 58% decrease with the same budget in ice arrests. so, if you can comment on that, are you concerned about that dramatic decrease in ice arrests following the executive order coupled with the worst half year we've had in 20 years in terms of unlawful crossings at the border i'd appreciate a response in writing and appreciate your past service for both of you, thank you for your willingness to step forward. >> thank you ranking member portman. >> senator hassan, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you both for this hearing and to both of our nominees, thank you.
and thank your families for your willingness to serve, this is a team effort and we appreciate you stepping forward very much. i have two questions for you, sheriff and then one question for you, mr. santos. to sheriff gonzalez, u.s. immigration and customs enforcement manages three operational components, including homeland security investigations. homeland security investigations is a critical component of ice responsible for vetting immigrants, as well as investigating trans-national organizations and cyber crimes and international exploitation of children, human trafficking and transnational drug crimes. if confirmed, how will you ensure that the homeland security investigations important missions including fighting the substance misuse continues tore a priority? >> thank you, senator, all of those issues are incredibly important. if worked, i would work closely with the personnel that's in
place to understand that threat landscape and get updates where we're at and then trying to see how we could best lead a strategic and targeted response to all of these different challenges that you mentioned. hsi is the preeminent law enforcement agency when it comes to being able to understand how cartels are utilizing the different migration paths, for example. and taking advantage of others, so want to see how we could dismantle those networks and making sure we're working with the partner agencies in an effective manner to make sure that we're tackling the various issues, like fentanyl, which is a concern in harris county for me. >> thank you very much. the ip flux of fentanyl is critical for the entire country and we're seeing, as you know, a huge increase in overdose deaths. so i would look forward to working with you on that as
well. sheriff, i'm going to follow up with something we talked about the other day. new hampshire is home to a group of indonesian immigrants who have lived in the united states for many years. many game here fleeing religious persecution, many of them do not have green cards, some because they were given bad legal advice years ago. they are important members of our community at this point, people who have worked jobs, paid taxes, raised their families in new hampshire. under the obama administration, as long as these individuals checked in with ice authorities regularly, and didn't commit any crimes, they were not a priority for detention or removal and they were provided work permits. however, the previous administration attempted to deport many members of the community. if confirmed would you work with my office to protect this community. >> if confirmed i look forward working on that issue. i think it speaks to some extent the importance of a
prioritized response that not every situation is the same, and that we need some guidance on this and i think that that's where the prioritization and other factors that may be available would more than happy to work with you on that. >> i appreciate that very much and i look forward to doing that. to mr. santos, each congress accountability office or gao issues a high risk list with helps to resolve weaknesses in federal critical programs at particular risk for mismanagement or waste of taxpayer dollars. one of the critical programs on this high risk list is the census, which provides, as we've talked about, critical data for congressional representation and to inform the federal government how to allocate the resources. despite the conclusion of the 2020 census months ago, gao anticipates that the next
census will face challenges such as meeting goals and dead license for testing new data collection technology and recruiting and dispatching thousands of census workers and evaluating the accuracy of the collected data in a timely way. if confirmed, sir, how will you work to mitigate these management challenges? >> thank you for that question, senator. i will work with the census bureau staff who has been eagerly and earnestly planning the 2030 census. i understand, but i have not been briefed on the plans of further incorporating technology, leveraging the lessons learned from the 2020, which was an extraordinary census in almost any sense of the word, because of the pandemic. and it was because it was also the 2020 census was also the first fully digitized operation, there are a lot of quality indicators that can
give clues about efficiencies that heretofore had not been available. so it's critical to take a look at those, to analyze those and incorporate that and i can, in my role as director, if confirmed, prioritize those particular areas of research so that we can reveal the nuggets of insights that allow us to create more effective operation. >> well, thank you for that and now, what i would look forward to doing, staying in communication about the challenges, what you believe you can glean from this research and new data so that we can improve management and also an ongoing conversation with congress so that we are preparing to have an effective and efficient next census as is possible. >> thank you, i would very much like to do that, thank you, senator. >> thank you very much, mr. chair, i yield the remainder of my time. >> thank you, senator hassan.
senator scott has agreed to temporarily postpone his questions so that senator rosen can ask her questions i know has another meeting to get to right away. so senator rosen, you are recognized. >> thank you, senator scott. i really appreciate that. i owe you one there. thank you, chairman peters, ranking member portman and i want to thank sheriff gonzalez and mr. santos for being here today and i enjoyed speaking with you. and i know the senator brought this up and i want it build on this. sheriff gonzalez, of course, i appreciated the chance to discuss how it's increasingly challenging for ice to recruit and retain qualityfied agents the last few years, i know you agree it's important for high standards for ice personnel and screen recruits appropriately during the hiring process to reduce the chance of corruption
and misconduct. of course, which have plagued the agency in the past and nevada last year saw a worse case scenario when reporting agreed a core civic employee at the southern nevada detention center was actively, actively participating in a neo-nazi website expressing interest in starting the a white supremacist group as well. this is absolutely unacceptable, particularly for an agency that works disproportionately with the underrepresented minority and vulnerable undocumented communities. going forward, how will you ensure that ice properly screens for individuals who embrace white supremacy or other dangerous ideology? and what are your plans to conduct the human capitals needs assessments to identify the needed improvements in recruitment and retention. >> thank you, senator. i think obviously maintaining a work force that has the highest integrity is always critical to
being making sure that we're maintaining public trust. this is something that i work with on a regular basis leading a background and recruiting operation within the harris county sheriff's office and my role on city government. this is something that we're always working, in fact, i met recently with my team to see how we could do better with our screening protocols, making sure that we're on boarding the right leaders into our agency. i know across the board, nationally, that many law enforcement agencies are also grappling with this, not only the initial on boarding, but further check-ins throughout their career to make sure that things somehow aren't getting, you know, gone side ways in some way or no longer fit the mission of the agency when it comes to a team member's behavior and so this is something that i would commit to. understanding more and working with you to work with you
through those concerns, if confirmed to be the director. >> i appreciate that and i want to move on, too, to talk a little about how the isis contracting practices-- and how the ice's contracting practices, and shocking proceeds for women without their consent that was corrections managed and i was relieved to hear that the irwin county detention center would be closing. of course, we've heard similar serious complaints about the health and safety of detainees and others owned and operated by other companies. if confirmed, what policy changes are you considering, or would you consider with ice's practices, in the realm with respects to the health and safety practices? >> thank you, senator. if confirmed the health and
safety of our facilities is paramount. not only for those that are under our care, but also for our work force as well. so i understand the critical nature of it. i operate one of the largest jail systems, it comes with many challenges. so i'm quite attuned to those challenges, and working with a team to work through those challenges. i also understand the complexity of working with a very detailed oversight body when it comes to the review and inspections of our jail facilities. i understand that under ice they own and operate directly five facilities, but there are other facilities that-- where there are contracts in place. in total, i saw breaks with four different sets of standards so it's very complex, operating and overseeing an operation that big. so i would want to understand what oversight and safeguards are in place to make sure that there are certain standards that are being met.
we had experience or i had experience in this early on in times when we've had to outsource temporarily into other facilities, private facilities, it's a practice that generally i'm not in favor of. we're currently not outsourcing any in our facility. that's sometimes my concern with private facilities, understanding and making sure we're holding folks accountable. so this is an area of concern and i've heard stores of unhumane treatment and that would not be in alignment with ice what i would have and i'm making sure that we're going to look at that closely. senator. >> i want to make sure in the minute i have left with mr. santos, breaking down the language barrier, i mentioned before in this committee. i applaud the burrow for providing resources in 59
languages and census questionnaire was available in 12 english languages and in api. our communities not just in in he have nevada, but across the country. and seniors and other underrepresented populations had trouble completing the census due to a lack of broadband access and literacy which is a particular problem because we did experience postal delays last year and of course, a lot of fears around that as well. so, mr. santos, how are you going to address some of the broadband, technological issues, the language issues, how do you intend to minimize those if confirmed? >> thank you for the questions, senator. i believe that all voices need to be heard when it comes to the-- the census as well as a
massive survey program and data collection programs which are the other part of the census bureau that folks don't often recognize because they're incredibly important to our economy and understanding our people. in for people of different languages, it's important to tailor to situations that people are in. often, it's not enough to simply translate a form and pass it on. there are issues of cultural relevance. what is the reading level of the populations that we're going after. ultimately it demands research so that we can take the various populations in the wonderfully diverse united states that we live in, and tailor different approaches to different individuals to maximize their
chance of participation. that includes not only translations, that includes outreach, it includes talking to stakeholders and getting their buy-in. it includes a whole variety, a large tool kit that need to work together in order to create the strategies and practices and protocols that-- >> thank you. >> that will achieve. >> see, my time is expired. i just want to be mindful of senator scott, who was kind enough to yield to me. we'll take the rest of the questions and answers off the record, appreciate that. thank you, senator scott, we'll see you later. >> thank you, senator. thank you senator rosen. senator scott. >> firstoff, congratulations both of you for your nominations and your willingness to serve. my questions are-- law enforcement is very important, and as we talked
about yesterday. >>. one i think this we talked about yesterday, could you talk a little about the importance of enforcing the law and complying with the law and we talked a little about something i've been surprised at and i think you'll be a little bit. at the federal level, i don't know if it happens much at the county level, but people decide what laws they're going to enforce and what they're not. can you give your thoughts on that? >> yes, sir, for me, i think it's important to respect the rule of law. it's been, obviously, my life's work from all my adult service in law enforcement. so it's something to me that's fundamentalment i know it's an important american ideal as well. just as our immigration system is as well and i think it's one of america's great success stories immigration. but i think that it's also paradox sometimes because we also need to make sure we're maintaining the rule of law. >> so you've probably talked about the border today. you know, when i think about the border, i think about the
little-- you saw the 14-year-old nicaraguan boy left in the desert and asking for help and left, i guess, to die. and saw the two little girls three and five years old, they just dropped over the wall and you just, the kids and grandkids, your heart goes out to these people and so in your position as running ice, is there anything you will be able to do to try to make sure those things don't happen? because it's disgusting for these little kids. i mean, you can't-- your heart goes out to them. >> thank you, senator. you're right. i think that it's important, in my opinion, to always lead in a humane and compassionate way. that's something that for me would be very important, that we look at the systemles that ice operates, whether it be enforcement or whatever interactions we may have, to
operate, again, within the rule of law, but also to make sure that we're being respectful, that there's asylum system, to the extent where ice can help deal with back logs as well would be important to the extent where i can help bring some of my perspective of working with local diverse communities. houston is one of the most diverse in the country and make sure we're implementing some semblance of looking at circumstances and being open to, like you said, the hardships that sometimes come with the situations as well. >> so there's all of these stories that ice employees are not allowed to enforce the law. i mean, do you believe that's true? and what do you think about that? >> i do not believe it's true. i would want to understand, if confirmed, how they're interpreting guidance.
i think there's a lot of latitude at the field office, i think it's smart. i think that many of those decisions should be under the area of responsibility of local officials that better understand the landscape in the community and better have those partnerships. so i would want to understand, again, in my reviewing of the guidance that's been offered, i think that there's ample latitude for us to be effective and get the job done. and it doesn't preclude anyone from obviously being a focus of enforcement if it needs the priority. >> and in all the different jobs you've had. have you ever had a situation where somebody told you know the to enforce the law? >> in my experience, i haven't. >> how would you handle that, look, we know what the law is, we don't like that, so we want you in the new job not to enforce it, how would you handle that? >> i know it's been concerning. i know that there have been
priorities given to ice in the past and in previous ice administrations as well. my understanding the time they weren't universally popular. i think it's important to understand within the confident of our limited work resources and making sure we're effective in the enforcement and understand the quality of arrest, make sure that that we're listening to the ice work force. it's my understanding that that's what secretary mayorkas is doing now and engaging with ice and sister agencies to make sure he's getting a full understanding of concerns and other things and i hope that that informs his thoughts on this matter. >> so your background is law enforcement. how important is it for local law enforcement to work with ice and what do you -- do you believe you're going to be able to create a relationship where law enforcement will want to work with ice going forward?
>> absolutely, yes, sir. i do see many possibilities. i think we could move forward in a positive direction. i've talked to many counterparts across the nation and i think it's important to understand some of the successes and also, where we could do better. if confirmed, i would want to see how we could be a better partner to fulfill the mission, and making sure, i believe, in working coordination. i don't think one agency can work alone. we have to depend on others. and i think that it's important that there will always be a good coordination, especially with local law enforcement for deconflicting purposes and reasons as well to maintain our public safety. >> so, assuming you get confirmed and you're there for two years, what would you define success? >> for me, i'm -- if confirmed, i would welcome the opportunity and consider it an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to work with the men and women of ice. i would like to see where we've become a strategic agency, a
preeminent law enforcement agency that works effectively that's prioritized. because i think it's a reality of managing. i would want to make sure that we're looking at more expansive data sets. i've heard some data that's often given, but i would like to see to make sure that we're leading an effective agency that is an enforcement agency, that both respects the rule of law, that products-- my north star is public safety, did we keep our community safe when it comes to these issues, but, too, did we create an agency that also engages with the community? are we engaging with the community better? i think that the work of ice can be hard to understand and it's important for us to be engaging with the community. those would be for me. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you. my opportunity now to ask some questions before calling upon the next senator. first is for sheriff gonzalez. good morning.
>> good morning. >> under the trump administration there were reports of ice agents falsely claiming to be police and concealing their true identities to persuade community members to open their doors and allow agents into their homes without judicial warrants. this was found to be a violation of the fourth amendment and a class action lawsuit last spring in california. in addition ice has used unmarked vehicles to pull over people in areas heavily used by farm workers, for example, to increase the number of community arrests even though they are not authorized to stop people in this manner. so, sheriff, as someone who has worked in local law enforcement, it's great perspective to bring here. do you believe ice officers impersonating local police officers helps or harms public safety? and as a follow-up question to that, what steps would you take
if confirmed to ensure that ice officers would not engage in such practices in the future? >> thank you, senator. first, i would want-- if confirmed, i would work to understand what the protocols are. obviously, i believe you said there were some maybe legal action that was taken on this matter. so, obviously, we would want to make sure we're working in accordance with the law. at the same time, i understand from my experience that sometimes we may have to take certain action depending on the individuals that were having to take action on, where it may merit a different, higher threshold in our response. but with that said, i think it always needs to be in the context of proportionality, to make sure that we're not unnecessarily scaring communities, you know, with the presence and there's not other mitigating factors that we have to consider. it's important that ice does not work in a manner that in
any way intentionally seeks to terrorize communities or anything of the sort. make sure it's done effectively and make sure that the men and women of ice that have to carry out the actions are safe. that the community is safe and that we could do it in a lawful, orderly way as much as possible. >> and i appreciate that, and in particular, as a follow-up to some of senator scott's questions about ice enforce the law and that's pretty broad. again, as you can appreciate, you being the important perspective much local law enforcement has their specific role to play and federal law enforcement has a different role to play. in unique circumstances, there's some collaboration that may be justifiable or in order, but by and large, it's a very unique mission. and when federal agents are
intentionally or otherwise misrepresenting themselves as local law enforcement, i think that does undermine broader efforts by local law enforcement to build trust and rapport with community members and community leaders. so, that's something that if confirmed, i look forward to working with you to address. my next questions are for mr. santos. much of the attention on the census work. on the census given this last year, given the challenges to the 2020decennial census. >> they conduct other survey in the decennial census, that relies on sampling and data modeling in the years between the decennial censuses. they ask more questions, more questions and more detailed questions and new data is released every year on the
changing demographics of the united states including information about housing levels, income, marital status, and more. this coupled with the dekrechlt dekrechlt-- decennial census, how can we be sure that it's robust enough so that it accurately represents smaller population areas in the united states where there might be a higher need for investments in education, infrastructure, social safety programs, et cetera? >> thank you very much for that question. the american community survey is a national treasure because it really does allow us to understand who we are as a nation in our rich diversity
and our situation. and what basically i guess, not too many people know this, but the american community survey used to be part of the decennial census, but it was captured once a year, by moving it over to continuous survey, not only do we get through sampling the information, the rich information that we were accustomed to under the decennial census model, but we get it much more contemporaneously, we can track over time. as a part of the design, the statistical sample design of the american community survey, there are over samples, there are deliberate overrepresentations of rural areas, of small towns, et cetera, that are sprinkled throughout the decade so that
we can capture that information accurately and reflect it for the benefit of the public. >> okay. and one other question, over the past few years, there's a significant debate about how the race and ethnicity questions phrased on the census. many experts claim that those of hispanic origin are not accurately counted due to the mixed race status. they ask spanish, latino, spanish origin and then asks for the individual's race which could be confusing to many hispanics, who are often from mixed race and ethnic backgrounds. in 2015, the census bureau did its own test using a combined race and ethnicity question and more individuals identified as hispanic, however, in order for this question to be put upon the census, the office of management and budgets would have to change their standard.
and you've discussed the need for data collection methods to evolve and assure that everyone is fairly represented. can you briefly, our time is up, but can you briefly tell us how you work with omd for a combined race and ethnic question for the 2030 census. >> yes, i can commit to working with omb on this to the extent that it's possible to use a single race ethnicity question. i would be in favor of that, the census director doesn't have the authority to include any specific questions. it has to abide by omb. but i can use my own personal perspective as a latino and use my research experience and my leadership position to work with omb and assure that the proper attention is given to that specific issue so that we can see whether or not we can incorporate it into the next
decennial or-- >> thank you. senator lankford. >> let me ask you a quick question. i have talked for several years to the census leadership and they've said every year how hard it is to be able to connect with every american once every 10 years and i have reminded them there is an agency in the federal government that connects with almost every american every single year and it's the irs. the irs gathers information in april every single year, the census bureau gathers information about americans in april every 10 years. can you help me understand why the two of them cannot work together once every 10 years, that on a tax form that as you're submitting your tax information on that every 10-year time period that the census information cannot also be included so you turn in your taxes you complete your census information? >> thank you so much for that question, senator.
and i congratulate you on your long-term continuing efforts to create efficiencies or to find efficiencies. >> it's about a $8 billion difference the best we can determine. >> yes, absolutely. and i understand that. the good news is that the census bureau does cooperate with the irs and even the postal service on the conduct of the 2020 census and has leveraged information and resources from both of those. as far as your particular idea, i think it is worthy of consideration and if confirmed, i can discuss with the census bureau. >> right. let's sit and visit on that as follow up on it. i know we're getting information to be able to clarify addresses and other information and fill information in. i'm talking about completing your form so that we're not having to chase as many people down at this point, and to be able to make it simpler for the
american people they don't have 0 two different sets of information to complete both from the federal government, both in april. it just makes sense to be able to put those two together and follow up. there are legislative issues i'm sure we'll have to clarify, let's work on those together f we don't plan for it now we'll have another $8 billion inefficiency 10 years from now. that we can and should avoid on that. so thank you, look forward to getting a chance to follow up with that. sheriff gonzalez, good to see you again and thanks for a chance to come by the office for a chance to visit. you've had multiple questions on this, you're not currently at ice, and we understand that. there are some policies that are currently happening at ice that you are not responsible for, but you're walking into a situation. so let me ask a couple of questions, have you visited with the national ice council and the leadership there? will you commit an advance to sit and here from them so you'll get feedback from the field what's occurring? >> senator i have not met with them. if confirmed i would look forward to working with them. >> great.
they can give you face-to-face story what's actually happening in the field i think would be helpful. i'm going to give a situation and tell you where our frustration was. person arrested to sexual battery against a child. ice officers requested permission of management to make an arrest, but management denied the officer's request even though it was sexual battery against a child. second story, a person deported two times previously. distribution of heroin, endangerment of a child and older adult. failure to stop at police. appeared at designated location, with heroin attempted to sell to an undercover police officer. realized what was happening. attempted to ram the police officer with the car and almost hit the undercover officer he knew was an officer. that person had a woman and baby in the back seat of the car during the heroin sale.
ice declined to lodge the detainer on the individual. as i've mentioned to you before the current policy is they cannot make arrest without reaching out to regional leadership. this was one of those situations where they requested regional leadership and were denied the ability to be able to make those arrests in both those. sexual battery against a child. assault on a police officer and distribution of heroin. what do you think of those, you haven't seen the full case. those don't look hard and complicated to me, why we shouldn't put a detainer on this and start the process. >> senator, those facts-- the safety concerns if confirmed i would want more information on those particular cases and also understand from the local field directors, regional directors on why those decisions were made not to pursue enforcement action. it seems to me on those fact
patterns it would be appropriate. i haven't seen anything in the guidant that would preclude that from happening and i would want to see why. >> i would hope for that. in the past ice when they went to make arrest, they were aware a criminal alien, met the criteria when they arrived. if they happened to be with three other people, two other people, one other person that was not legally presents in the ideas, those individuals were also detained as well. should that be continued as a policy or literally if you encounter four people in this place that are not legally present, you only actively detain one person and the others you just ignore? >> senator, for me, again, i think it's a matter of prioritization. i think that with any agency that has limited resources, manpower, another consideration, i think that we-- it's appropriate to have priorities. i think we could always assess if those are effective and it doesn't preclude any of the
others from, still, being potentially up for enforcement removal, but again, i think that i would trust that our personnel on the field could make those judgment decisions and look at the totality of circumstances and see if it's a good resources, it's a matter of trade-off if we're pursuing multiple individuals in the scenario that you gave and then there's others that perhaps we're not focusing on. i think that we should be strategic and smart in our enforcement. >> it's i understand. last may, because we have not been able to get from ice the statistics for june. 6,000 ice agents in the field and they do 3,000 deportations in a month. it is a record low for them. and so, clearly, they're not overworked at this point. in fact, the ice agents that we interact with are pretty frustrated saying they're handcuffed currently and not able to actually do law enforcement or told by regional leadership, no, that doesn't meet the standards, you need to
stand down, even though you know these persons have multiple dui's, sexual battery on a child or on a police officer. and to interdict, they're told, no, they can't do that. the challenge is obviously it sends a signal to people here not legally present, that ice is not going to enforce the law. as you mentioned earlier in your testimony if somebody is not legally present here, they're not legally present here. it's a challenge, who do we actually engage. i'm not asking to go pursue and go door-to-door through a neighborhood. but if we're in pursuits of and they're with not legally present. do we ignore one and not pick up the other one-- or pick up the other one? >> again, senator, i think that it's important for us to be
strategic and be thoughtful in our enforcement. he think it's important. i think at the end of the day, making ash trarry like that-- arbitrary like that. and sometimes taking may be a business owner and that-- i'm not saying that precludes, that they're handsoff, but the totally of circumstances. i believe a prioritized approach is reasonable. >> sure. i understand prioritized approached. i'm not talking doing massive sweeps, i'm trying to figure out where it's going. if we know someone is not following the law, and we ignore it, we have a law we're not applying at all and obviously you know what that does, that leads to more criminal activity as you go and trying to be able to figure out how to interdict that in the future. we'll continue to be able to do
follow up. thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator lankford. mr. santos, mr. gonzalez, again, i'd like to congratulate you on your nomination for these incredibly important positions and also, to thank you for your willingness to take on these roles. these are challenging roles and we expect the men and women who serve in this capacity to do work for the entire country. so we appreciate your willingness to do that. for the record, both nominees this made financial disclosures and provided responses to those previously by the committee. without objection this will be made part of the hearing record with the exception of the financial data on file and available for public inspection in the committee offices. the hearing record will remain open until 12 p.m. tomorrow july 16th for the submission of statements and yes for the record and with that, this hearing is now adjourned.
[inaudible conversations] >> coming up today on c-span. the house is back at 10 a.m. eastern for general speeches, following by legislative business at noon. members will finish work on the bill to prevent age discrimination in the workplace. and possibly take up the president's nearly $2 trillion social spending package and the senate passed bipartisan infrastructure bill. on c-span2, the senator returns at 10 a.m. to consider executive nominations, including rob santos to head the u.s. census bureau and at 10 a.m. on c-span 3:00 dr. anthony fauci c.d.c. dr.
rochelle walensky, the federal response to the pandemic. you can watch everything on-line at c-span.org or watch on our free local app, c-span now. ♪♪ weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday you'll find events and people that explore our nation's past on american history tv. on sunday, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors, it's television for serious readers. learn, discover, explore. weekends on c-span2. a new mobile video app from c-span. c-span now. download today. >> the u.s. senate about to gavel in for legislative business on this thursday.
senators will be considering several executive nominations today, including robert santos to serve as census bureau director. and michael connor, and votes 11 eastern this morning. live to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, your glory endures through the seasons and your divine majesty sustains us. lead our lawmakers to a