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tv   U.S. Conference of Mayors Discuss Immigration Issues  CSPAN  January 21, 2022 11:30am-12:40pm EST

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watch it live at 1:50 p.m. eastern on c-span or watchful coverage on c-span now, our new video app. c-span is your unfiltered view of the funding by these televisioncompanies and more including mexico . >>. [music] midco supports c-span as a public service along with these othertelevision providers giving you a front row seat to democracy . actor and comedian jon stewart joined other advocates for a roundtable discussion to highlight veterans who are battling diseases after being exposed
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to toxins, particularly the massive pit used to burn trash in iraq and afghanistan . what's the veterans affairs committee hearing tonight at eight eastern on c-span2, online at c-span.org or watchful coverage on our new video app, c-span now . earlier this week the un conference of mayors hosted a conversation on immigration issues including the us relationship with mexico and resettlement ofafrican refugees, particularly children . thisis about an hour and 10 minutes . >>. [inuadible coversation] we will get going. good to see you.
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how are you. all right, well. i'll take the cochairs prerogative and get things started. as a reminder this is being live streamed on c-span so thank you very much to everybody across who has joined us at the usconference of mayors . a joint meeting you always do between the alliance and the immigration task force. this is a place where we have folks who are latino, latino curious, latino representing immigrant descendent, immigrant interested and for all of us that focus on some of the key issues across this country we got a super slate of leaders, mayor eric
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garcetti and i'm proud to be here with my friend john stiles and the head of our immigration task force. and if i can just start with a point of personal privilege , this is my last us mayors meeting so i'll be hosting an even longer address tomorrow. but when i started attending these meetings eight years ago, there were latino mayors and latina mayors across the country including my own but we didn't have our own conference. we saw it with such admiration american mayors could organize themselves and there was a meeting where we addressed issues that affected the latino community far beyond just immigration that are on the mind of every parent around the country. every fourth or fifth generation here. so i began with a profound
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sense of pride to stand up for the latino alliance and we've had long stretch of the three of us together. jorge lorca will continue to do powerful things in this country for many years to come and we have a personal friendship. mayor john childs is an artist bringing people together. he is i think registered republican. we always say we don't know but he's a leader on housing, on immigration and in so many places from such a wonderful state. i don't know if he's here yet but the mayor of san diego just sent out on his mail journey . and a lot of my family comes from arizona and i can't wait for her to take up the mantle and to lead in the future but together i think we've been able to strengthen american values, not just those concerned to latinos but the
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rights of immigrants. we've been on the border in el paso where my grandfather carried my grandmother over the border . through the worst and darkest moments that we believe in. and in my city where nearly 2 out of three immigrants, their children that we've got great mayors here from california, here as well. and i know that we worked for immigrants because we work for everybody. and i know that it's going to continue that work and i wish everybody all success from the newest mayor to the longest-serving onewith our federal and international partners here .whether it's asylum-seekers or refugees or minors, innovation and action is critical. and i think we're all frustrated that the country
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is had a rough decade when it comes to immigrant rights. everyone's out here fighting for immigrant rights as well as their community so let me introduce a special guest today. he's with us here today and i'm so glad that the commissioner magnus will be introduced by his former mayor or always mayor, and please welcome him and thank him for being here with us today. the mexican ambassador to the united states my dear friend i got the chance to work with before he was ambassador visiting with me in los angeles which is always only the second biggest mexican city in the world . thankyou ambassador . and chief of staff at the office of resettlement, jen myers is here as well as the assistant secretary for partnership and engagement of homeland security under mail. thank you. hello, italian? even better, greek. not all greek.
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so the federal government's partnership in addressing many of these concerns especially the arrival to our cities of unaccompanied children and thank you to mayors open that. there are locals at the state of who we are welcoming countries. more and more recently the afghan refugees we found in so many of our cities as well. there are those resources will help us create the next generation of americans bearing the same traumas they did as well. so finally i want to thank this amazing i like to say in the city of angels, laurel paxman and her staff. please give her a round of applause. she's incredible what shedoes on behalf of all of you . so let me toss it over to mayor giles. thank you all. [applause]
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>> thank you mayor garcetti. we're all struggling to figure out what the convention is going to feel like without eric garcetti. you're so gracious and bipartisan and you've made us all feel like and sees every time we come to one of these meetings. i'm sure the entire country of india is not the continent will have a similar affection for you so we're very excited . we're excited for ourcountry . to see your success. i have been looking forward to this meeting for months and as it has progressed, it becomes clear to me that the mayors are putting 20 pounds of flour into a 10 pounds sack cause you look at the agendafor this meeting , really the key issues that i think are on top of the agenda for our communities are very much reflected and were going to talk about refugee resettlement . who hasn't been pondering on that issue over the past few
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weeks. and who hasn't been raising questions as to how this will impact our situation? customs and border control i can tell you that the as the border state mayor there are things i will be talking about as i go back on the information where going to see. we we can strengthen our relationship with who i believe our country's greatest partner . and it's an opportunity. the sooner i stop talking the sooner you'll be able to hear him speak again, i just wanted to express my appreciation for mayor garcetti and all of you for the very collaborative attitudes you bring to the session. and i look forward to participating . and now my good friend jorge. >> thank you mayor. so i did the chair and us
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i've been with him now six or seven years and i want to thank everybody for being in this room for so many sessions and for being at the table on this issue in our communities over all of these years, the last five years in particular. and especially when we think about the challenges that so many immigrants face in coming to the united states, some of the them and/or almost unspeakable horrors and then they land in our communities and they realize that these people are not paved in gold. and that equal hardship awaits them. in the face of all those challenges, mayors throughout the country and around the table stepped up and you all have taken tangible substantive steps to make sure the immigrant community is lifted up. and at the same time you've also taken the intangible and symbolic steps to make sure other immigrant communities
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and their home cities feel welcome, feel supported and feel at home and their plans so not only as chair of this committee as somebody born and raised in immigrant household, i want to thank you for today's conversation. >> there is. perfect timing. it is my pleasure, a lot of peoplethink it's a joke in my office . i visited last time and i am half jewish, half latino. whenever i meet anybody from another country i say i had a great-grandmother there. but it's been instructed, gloria whose ancestry is latino and native, white and she is just a tremendous person first and foremost. she represents the largest support unit that we have in the united states . truly a super city called fc funnel and she's done an
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amazing job and she's stepping up to help lead a new mayor but not official because he was a great member before that, he served on the council in san diego. the microphone is yours. >> thank you for the opportunity to present john. we have to squeeze 20 pounds of volume into a 10 pound bag or i would say 40 hours of work . i was raised to be everywhere early. so thank you eric for that time. to share the sadness that you've imparted it's important. [inaudible] for those of you wondering, i am the first puerto rican filipino mayor. the way that happens is the navy. we welcome people from all around the world through their military service and also their discharge in our city.
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why wouldn't he be san diego. and they are a tourism community, there also a border city. and i deeply appreciate our relationship with the department and i would say that the year or so i've been there, i've worked on a lot of issues. a lot of my issues are national so it's fairly significant. i would point out that our city and our region has a lot of nonessential travel restrictions. the listing of those i'm sure they talk about reopening during the pandemic in 2021. we had the lifting of those restrictions just a couple weeks ago and i definitely appreciate you keeping that possible. and with mayors every time
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you get a game there something on the ledger onthe other side . staffing issues we all are familiar with and i'm sure the commissioner will talk about that a little bit but we have to talk about that directly. and the human nature of this issue, we talked about the border and the economy. this is not a matter of gdp, this is a matter of movement with that. we talk about the context of san diego's who live on one side of the border and reside on another. there's a lot of travel which is why those people are so essential to our community. mayor garcetti mentioned the opening of many of our communities . i want my fellow mayors to know there was tremendous amounts of pushback for
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hosting those children in need in our community with the exception of 45 minutes on day one always saw was an outpouring of support. we understand these are folks coming to our country. servicemembers, immigrants, we welcome you tosan diego . we're going to continue to do it going forward at the federal level so i appreciate you and i want to hear from other people who are here but thank you i really appreciate your leadership and i look forward to you leading in this conference for many years to come. let me talk a little but more about mayor romero. there's several people and by the way he's been kind of a cochair and i can't do it without him. when we were assigned to the infrastructure act he was so inspired. we had 30 or so of our african-american brothers and
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sisters. there were three of us who were there who were latino and i chose this despite being the having the majority of new schoolchildren and new jobs and businesses and that's coming from the latino community and we still have strategies so when romero was elected i can think of probably several people i selected to make this official but i could think of nobody better to leave the latino alliance. i'm sure in your hands we will be able to continue this momentum. you will make us proud as the next leader but i know you're not here for that . you're here to introduce a dear friend who had a connection to your city now is leading at the highest levels of the ministration and who is looking to solve problems and to accept an opportunity and that comes with immigrants so with that please welcome our new mayor, ms. romero.
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>> i was going to be lobbied to be the next chair. >> we will do it publicly. you're right, just see if you agree. >> i will promise to think about it. it is an honor for me to be here, most importantly on an issue that is and has been key to the life of myself and my family. i'm a proud daughter of immigrants. and blessed to have been part of the desert which by the way the current desert covers both mexico and arizona. so my family has been in the desert for the past seven generations including my children. on the snow inside i was the person in my family in arizona. and but i'm here to introduce
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my friend and the former chief of police of tucson which i had the honor to serve together first as lead counsel member for tucson and then most recently as mayor. first comes to the role of commissioner of the united states customsand border protection with a wealth of experience . he is quick thinking, compassionate. and in an innovator. he began his career as a dispatch and there in lansing michigan. he then served as police chief of fargo north dakota in richmond california where he developed a reputation nationwide for his community-based approach to policing. having been seen chief magnus
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magnus compliments and his success in fargo and richmond, the city of tucson is fortunate to put him from richmond california. and bring him to the city of tucson which by the way, while he was our chief of police innovated and transformed our police to the wonderful leading agency it is today in tucson. he launched a nationally recognized diversion program to help on sheltered and mentally challenged individuals. during our work together as chief of police we both launched a community safety health and wellness program. to make sure that we are paying attention to the calls that are coming in and being able to diver some of the calls fromour police department .
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as a police chief of a city on the borderlands, he and i worked together on policies to protect undocumented people and witnesses of crime and president biden recognized his strength and the role he played in our committee in nominating him to become the customs and border protection commissioner. in december 2021, he became the fifth senate confirmed commissioner of customs and border protection. all right. i'm very happy to have and honored to have been introduced to you commissioner magnus. >> mayer, thank you so much.
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i had the privilege, i've had the privilege of working with two distinct mayors in my career but i really was fortunate to work with this mayor for the six years again and i've got to tell you, i learned not only a lot about immigration issues because there's nobody who knows more about those issues but i also knew a lot about strategies for social justice. and together, the mayor showed that this could really be an effective partnership. and city government overall in this community to advanced social justice. we did a lot of work together
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and i appreciate your leadership. it's such an honor to be here marking this with another great special guest today. i'd love to be able to spend more time with all of you. i am very happy to be launching this. i feel a little bit like a visitor still myself. since i just moved here from tucson. my difficult move was a week ago and you can only imagine what is going on right now. and we brought two dogs along and they don't seem to quite share the enthusiasm i have for washington dc in the winter. we let them out and i can almost feel them saying when you get to go back to arizona ? so in my new role as dep
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commissioner i feel so strange saying that. i'm going to be working with people from all sorts of governmental agencies . not just other governmental agencies but various ngos and of course travel and trade, we're excited to learn more about those. so i get to work i think with so many interesting people and partners but i need to convey today that i am going to make it my highest priority to really work and build relationships with this country. more voices without? some of the most important when it comes to providing dep really with the ideas that if we need to have.
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so here are one of my first plans which as i travel around the country, i'm going to be doing a fair amount of that. i'm going to be looking for opportunities with mayors wherever i can that one of the things i want to do early on here with really no later than next month or so is convening with a small group of mayors who can just sit down and share ideas and talk frankly about the relationships that are out there. i feel sometimes that's the most valuable just to hear what's on people's minds. i know it's easy to say we're seeking a meaningful partnership but i'm really committed to doing this so that actions speak louder than words. i've come to learn much more than i thought when i was in
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this position and really it's been a diverse and far reaching responsibilities. and of course everybody knows especially those who think about border security and immigration but not everyone is part of the management at the port of entry. course with trade agreements like the nda. ensuring that the efficient flow of goods particularly the supply chain. and dd also plays a critical role in reducing the flow of drugs into this country as well as some really significant challenge on terrorism initiatives. now, when i was working in tucson as the police chief, it often seems like questions of policy in washington are so abstract and frankly
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removed from day-to-day reality but i've come to appreciate more and more different policies have made significant impact on the state in many ways. those of you from cities along the border likely noticed that land in various ports of entry have required vaccinations. we had this has caused a significant uptick in border crossings . good news is by and large current vaccination requirements have not increased border wait times. in the future dhs will require that all inbound foreign national travelers crossing us land or various ports of entry either essential or nonessential travel be fully vaccinated for covid-19 and approve that
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vaccination.we also need you to note that we are regularly evaluating travelers and we are prepared to adjust back. as traffic increases through the port of entry been receiving much greater amounts of illegal drugs. just in thelast three fiscal years . increasing amounts of fentanyl and methamphetamine. to put it in the context of nationwide we've received probably 1000 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal year 2021 which is really a massive increase from what we saw in 2019 respectively. now, i'm sure all of you are your cities have been impacted by the increased flow of dangerous drugs particularly as a former
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police chief i saw the terrible toll that ... [inaudible] but i want to assure you that illegal drug addiction or illegal drugs shipped through the mail which we receive more and more of continue to be high priority for dep. this is something i care deeply about. our nation is currently confronting many challenging challenges that involve border security and immigration. and here's the thing, cbp is caught in the middle of what i think nobody can deny is a frequently changing legal landscape that requires our personnel to take on additionalresponsibilities , learn new skills, interact with larger numbers of people and frankly to adjust to increasingly complex expectations.
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in fiscal year 2021 for example rent control at over 1.7 million encounters with people trying to cross the border illegally which 1.3 million were unique encounters. cdp also continues to assist the center for disease control and forcing title 42 at a public health order. those who cannot be expelled under title 42 don't have a legal basis to remain in the us are placed in removal proceedings. see where very realistic about the impact of title to going away at some point. this means we're working really for all governance approach she a safe and orderly process along the southwest work. remember for title 42
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everyone was processed under title eight title eight provides the general immigration and border patrol to really conduct their standards. our communication with those cities along the border will be key to our success in addressing this challenge. how we work together to avoid circumstances like the surge that took place in del rio last year is something we are taking various seriously. so of course our planning process has to involve more than just those of you in local government and our various ngo workers. >> ..
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i'll acknowledge right now some missteps seem impossible to avoid. but we are going to do the best we can to continue to improve in our level of preparedness and collaboration. then there's the micro protection. now the course of mandated that this program be reinstated and look at the leader of lawn for the agency my obligation to assure that cbp complies with the rulings of the courts. cbp is working closely with other agencies and uscis, united states customs immigration, to proceed with m.o.a. but again our commitment is to
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ensure that everyone has a right to counsel, to be offered covid vaccinations, and provide migrants with the best possible humanitarian care. these really are our commitments which we intend to live up to as best we can. of course i need to emphasize that the biden administration is working to eventually -- [inaudible] there some concerns of them expressed clearly by secretary mayorkas that the program fails to provide their process and it fails to provide adequate humanitarian protections. so any one of these commitments has its own degree of complexity, requires partnership and is difficult when resources are limited. yet from what i've seen and what i believe, cbp consistently step up to meet expectations.
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none of this is easy. cbp must consistently and constantly balance how we follow the law. we are a law enforcement agency. we must develop and ensure processes that are both efficient and effective, and we must be responsible to concerns and questions from members of congress. i certainly got a sense of that when i was in the confirmation process, from the media, from advocacy groups, and from the larger public. but cbp personnel are used to this balancing act, and that confidence that we're going to be able to do what is expected of us here now, the unfortunate and, frankly, sometimes frustrating part of all this is that the public does not always see the efforts that cbp workforce confronts these and other challenges every day. challenges like facilitating
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efficient -- interdicting loads of illegal drugs such as signal. courageously rescuing migrants dropped off by human trafficking in areas were survival rates are low, and caring for -- across the border with young children. these are things that the many women of cbp do on a daily basis. i have to tell you, early on i had a chance to grow up in one of our -- go up in one of our black hawk helicopters, never as i would say that in my life, writing and black in k helicopter. but i was able to go to tucson to human and we went over some mountain ranges that were incredible enough but the when you think about there are human beings that are trying to cross these mountains under just incredibly harsh conditions, whether it's winter or summer no less, and i learned talking to the members of our air and marine division and others, just
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how many rescues they conduct,, frankly, at tremendous peril to their own lives. when you see that terrain, you really, you gain a whole new appreciation for what a lot of our personnel do. but look, by highlighting all this great work i am in no way ignoring or marginalizing negative incidents involving small number of cbp personnel that cbp personnel have caused some members of the public a level of confidence in her agency. in fact, it's because of these very incidents, as well as our commitment to continuous improvement, the hairdressing internal oversight process, updating certain policies and looking further in some aspects of our training. i think you saw some of that when i was the chief in tucson because look, i believe this is
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what ongoing learning and professionalism is all about. during the confirmation process i talked a lot about disrupting the status quo, implementing best practices, and accountability. to fulfill these commitments i will be exploring external resources that can help us do better, but i will also be building on pride and commitmen commitment, excellent that the hard-working men and women of cbp already have. so thank you so much again for the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon. i look forward to building relationships with all of you, as well as frequent opportunities for productive dialogue, and no matter where you are from i hope you enjoy your time here. thank you again. >> thank you very much, commissioner. [applause] we appreciate you sharing that vision and those words with us, and were going to have you stick
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around for some q&a bottom want to turn over to -- i think will do all the speakers and then to q&a over the last ten minutes or so and opened up to everybody for, to questions. new mexico is for many of us are most important partner and our nearest neighbor. many of us like myself traced our roots to its sonoran desert or parts of next new mexico and for all americans, mexicans are neighbors, friends and partners. we are very honored to have today the mexican ambassador to the united states of america, my friend who has made it his mission to deepen those ties, define the common north american language over both sides of the border. if los angeles is home to the largest conservation mexicans outside mexico and argue be the second-largest executed in the world, i work very closely with ambassador to reinforce those strong ties and were grateful you're with us today. a great man, great representative of this country, please welcome our ambassador from mexico to the united
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states. [applause] >> thank you my friend. mayor garcetti, and congratulations on the announcement of los angeles hosting the united summit of americans. we agree with president biden, he said that we need to strengthen our democracies to close the gap between what we promise and what we deliver. and i am fortunate to show the -- public servants that a proven time and time again their commitment towards building governments closer to the people. mayors know people's needs very well. the recent reopening of the land border between our countries wouldn't have been possible without your community support, and that was a relief for me. thanks to a true team effort, we
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managed to resume the most dynamic border in the world. i have seen how you have fought for that, , gloria, with incredible work and we appreciate the effort. because covid-19 has -- not only health, education and the economy but also the mental health of a large sector of the nation. however, as the spanish philosopher said, a catastrophe is only truly catastrophic if something does not emerge from it to rescue. for the bilateral relationship between the u.s. and mexico, this crisis revealed as never before the depth of our ties and strengthen the north american
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region. what has emerged from this catastrophe is a unique relationship, our friendship and ties. i hidden truth, but we really need each other. putting it into numbers in the american region encompasses 500 million people, and trades $1.3 trillion. besides our free trade and those astonishing numbers, migration is one of the greatest issues the u.s. and mexico shared priority. at the time when migrants are on the rise around the world, and immigration continues to reshape our societies, we need to have a constant dialogue to advance on or national, common objectives. these common objectives have
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become bridges. i had a conversation with john about it, and i think that this is a truth that we have to approach migration with our original purpose. president biden and president obrador's have been committed to addressing the real progress a migration to where making a collective effort to adopt the necessary public policies to have an orderly, safe and regular migration. central america faces economic growth, low levels of spending, challenging demographics, violence, effective climate change and lack of employment. the real answer for us is improving the quality of life of the people in their places or region. let me tell you about a new
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migratory phenomenon. mexico has become a new growing country for asylum-seekers. we are now together with the usa a host country for refugees. at the end of 2021, the mexican government registered the historical number of more than 131,000 persons who requested refugee status in mexico. this amounts to three-quarters of the applications received from 2013-2020. also the challenge to mexico is that 35% of immigrants trying to reach the u.s. decides to stay in our country for good. this is a game changer. before mexico was a transit country. not anymore. that is why the mexican government has invested significant public resources,
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working solutions, particularly in two programs, -- and young people building the future. this initiative promotes the development in the southern region to mexico, creating 900,000 jobs, and 63,000 jobs in central america, expanding over -- targeting communities that have the biggest expulsion of young population. so far this is a success story that has contributed to reinforcing the route to mexican and central american people to their own communities of origin. what is needed is to expand. dear friends, we understand immigration better. immigrants are not just agricultural or construction workers anymore. there is almost 1 million mexicans working in the u.s.
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with higher education studies or postgraduate credits. finding that constructive solution to management immigration requires an original approach. the question that mexico and the u.s. need to answer is what is the best way to move forward together? the north american trilateral summit and the renewed high-level economic dialogue established concrete actions that will allow us to consolidate a coordinated original response to migration. i had a conversation with jorge. i want to underscore that we talk about migration, we need to talk about the border. for these reasons we work together through several mechanisms, not -- [inaudible] and the binational bridges of border crossing group. these mechanisms regularly
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monitor and ensure that -- specific actions to improve our infrastructure and financial protection and to facilitate the movement of goods in people in a safe, efficient and lawful manner. but there is a layer at the top of all our mechanisms. north american development plan to foresee what we want to build his original from today to the year 2050. a few of the forests not only of the trees, a map to a language -- an ally to platform, and we need urgently as geopolitics as -- [inaudible] dear friends, dialogue is a living process that is constantly -- we are ready to continue this dialogue with you
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to exchange ideas and find common solutions, common purposes, to build a common future. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, mr. ambassador. i did have the privilege of speaking with the ambassador just a short while ago and actually had met him a couple of months previous. i think that was in arizona, and really appreciated his willingness to make plans with a local mayor on issues that we can work together on an additional appointments that without the future to follow up on on issues. eric, if you're looking for the example how be an ambassador, you couldn't look any further, so thank you, mr. ambassador. it's my privilege to introduce -- because of time constraints i won't delve deep into her bio but suffice it to say that she has been very diligently serving
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the refugee community for many years both in government and faith-based programs and i noticed interest me that she also did like commissioner magnus had a significant time to tucson as well. i always thought mason was the center of the universe. [laughing] apparently i'm a little off. >> it's not. >> so thank you. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the chief of staff for the office of refugee resettlement. [applause] >> thank you, everyone. it's a pleasure to join you today and want to thank the mayors and the commission and the ambassador, and really everyone on behalf of the office of refugee resettlement. please go back home and thank your communities. the welcome that has been extended specifically to afghan evacuees come part of operation allies welcome, has been incredible. we feel it. we know their incredible stories of communities all over the country that have extended their arms in welcome and we're
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immensely appreciative. some going to focus both on operation allies welcome and on our mission religious of the unaccompanied children. but it wanted to provide a little bit of background for those of you may not know, the office of refugee resettlement was started in 1980 under the refugee act of 1980 which officially created the office under the administration for children and families within the department of health and human services. and over the last 40 years or so orr has expanded our mission in large part congress has expanded our mission to include victims of trafficking, victims of torture, cuban haitian entrants and unencumbered children and the most recently as of september 30 we're able to provide services the same services we provide to refugees to afghan evacuees as part of operation allies welcome. we're incredibly humbled and honored i that ability to provide services. the services that we provide
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include time-limited cash and medical existent, case management, english language services, job readiness and employment services and we administer those by providing funding through a public-private partnership with nonprofit providers and also with the states. it really is this public-private partnership working with community-based organizations to make resettlement successful and help people rebuild their lives. as you are also likely aware, orr has amended under the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act to provide care and custody of unaccompanied children until they released to that it spots, usually a close relative or parent. first of all talk about operation allies welcome. following the fall of kabul on august 15 and the increased urgency to evacuate afghans, president biden direct that a private of homeland security on august 29 to lead efforts across the federal government to support afghan evacuees through operation allies rescued and operations allies welcome.
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orr staff deployed first and the to all the safe havens military visas that are hosting afghan evacuees, as well as we deployed staff to the airport philadelphian doles does d some in chicago to make sure that when individuals came with a child that was not their biological child, many children were pleading with a loved one, a caregiver, and aunt or uncle, a family friend that we are able to keep that family unit together whenever possible so that the traumas of separation would not follow the trauma they've already endured. so all our not only that the unaccompanied afghan miters mission but also orr provided temporary medical coverage for emergency room just through our partnership with the state department spirit of population, refugees, and migration. we also provide support for our partnership with the substance abuse and mental health services administration within hhs,
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samhsa, to provide mental health services to afghan evacuees while they were at safe haven. at this point nearly all of the afghan evacuees have been resettled or are in the process of being resettled through one of the nine refugee resettlement agencies in the united states, or in many cases to the state administered partnership that we have state administered place assessment in colorado, minnesota, missouri, washington and some other states have joined. there are countless -- of the local committees have opened their arms. i also want to talk of unaccompanied afghan miters. so currently there are 225 unaccompanied afghan miters in our care. none of them have a sponsor in the united states but all of them have a parent or a primary caregiver in afghanistan. and so we are striving to provide these children culturally and linguistically confident care within our network of service providers across the united states, including through foster care
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programs. we are incredibly grateful for our more than 212 providers across the country working to provide that care as well as the countless families that of stepped forward and are working on a website to sign up as foster parents and be licensed to the states in which they live. orr is legal responsibility to care for unaccompanied children is no matter what the nationality is. people are most frequently accustomed to us serving children from guatemala, honduras and el salvador and that does represent more than 90% of the children in orr care but we have served and continue to serve children from all over the world. so children in our care, 90% of the time, are able to be united with a close family member or care for for a legal guardi. while there with us their safety is our number one priority. we don't make immigration determinations and is not for us to determine what will happen when they go before an immigration judge but while there with us we try to provide
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the best quality of care. this year has been a challenging one. as folks know in fiscal year 2023 about 15,000 children referred to orr. in fiscal year 20,213th been more than 121,000 children prefer to office of refugee resettlement for our care. we've resettlement for our care. we been able to provide unification services to more than 110,000 of those children and currently we have about 8000 children in our care. that's down from a high level of 25,000 children over the spring and summer. we did this by really focusing on reducing the length of care the children are in our facilities that we know congregate care is no place for children and children should be an congregate care for some time as possible. we reduce the average length of care from upwards to 90 days when we came in office to now close to the 25 days. that's a big point of pride.
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we did have to do things out of the box this year. as folks know reactivated the emergency -- 14 of them across the country in addition to the influx care facilities but now we're down to only two of those sites from the 14. the emergency intake sites are not our standard operating procedure. we are committed to providing care to unaccompanied children through our network of license care providers across the country, and so as we able to demobilize even those two remaining emergency intake sites we are committed to do that. today there are fewer than 200 children across the intake sites. so this year we're continuing to hope to build to some of the things we started coming into office wanting to do including increasing access to legal representation and increasing release services to the children when you release from our care.
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that is my breathing for now. happy to answer questions and grateful to many of you. [applause] >> thank you, jim. i work with some moderate my time but these three individuals are incredible moderators but you won't get to hear the moderate because they sabina we just start asking questions? i think we can stay about five minutes later. i just ask if you raise your hand and introduce yourself to your fellow mayors and to our guests, and please go ahead with questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. commissioner magnus, welcome, good to hear that you -- with the border in tucson and to our good friend, mayor. mayor garcetti were going to miss you. you really are a great mayor and a good friend to the conference. but anyways, , commission i just want to say i don't think the border crossing cards on your authority. the navy but if they're not i knew the input that you have will be significant but actually
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worked out great for my friend here who is right, five minutes from the mexican border. i'm from las cruces, new mexico. the border crossing card truly helped. i knew arizona i think they can go 75 miles but in new mexico they can go 55 miles, which would equate the trade between her communities, our business is working together. anyway i want to congratulate you. get some great people in the el paso sector. they really do a great job crossing el paso into mexico. >> thank you. appreciate that very much. >> yes please. >> good afternoon. doctor sanchez, mayor of -- in los angeles county, and have a question i'm also a daughter of a farmworker, and how can specifically small cities like mayors of small cities like ourselves help the emigrants
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that come in? as we know, farm workers don't you stay at border cities. they come in and we also students, children, and so how can mayors of small cities assist in these efforts? >> do you want to take that? >> absently. it had been phenomenal partnerships including in los angeles county and across california in particular in terms of utilizing some of the systems in place for immigrant children and making sure unaccompanied children can be part of that. especially making sure compliance with some things like making sure school districts know that all children regardless of immigration status have access to school as something that's also been really critical. just making sure there's commit occasion and education with anyone who is working with children. a lot of time people don't know what to do or they might be asking for guardianship papers when it's not necessary. some of those things. i think looking at things from
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the eyes of an unaccompanied child or from the eyes of a sponsor not have guardianship papers but has been provided care and custody while they're waiting for immigration hearing is really critical. and making sure there's commit occasion between schools and social service providers and immigration court system as well is really important. we have also had really great dialogue with a lot of local officials to try to hone in more specifically about what their equities are and what they're looking to do and how we can right size it as well. >> i just have one thing, foster care system is one of the best ways, my wife and i have done foskett for many years and often does not commit occasion between the federal, state and cantaloupe and certainly not with the cities. you probably had some people who do have minors and others that they foster pics i was a couple things get what is to recruit more pairs. second is to work with l.a. county and our case but you can our state has the authority to try to find out while
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safeguarding privacy where those homes are and offering kind of informal networks that are culturally competent teachers, whether it's folks who are in churches and religious can and want to. that's probably the best way i think cities can help. >> to say one word. i don't know what your experience with -- but i think having conversation with them can help to promote some programs to help them, the migrants here. >> a couple quick thoughts. not specific to immigrant children but in general. usually there are some significant legal needs and legal costs mount a pretty quickly. somehow providing or offsetting some of those costs there's a lot of cities throughout the country that is use american rescue plan dollars to provide
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legal representation for immigrants, that sort of thing is helpful. something that works in providence right now is there's a lot of families that are legal residents that qualify for citizenship but just can't afford to pay the application and so a one time payment to help them with that process. that's another approach that helps the entire family. the last is asking the product unity for support. not only with the afghan immigrants that we've seen in providence in general. it's amazing how generous the community is. sometimes they don't know how or don't know where but if the mayor asked them to do something, the community will show up. >> so thank you so much for sharing all this information, and i think one thing we realize with a look at the situation, by the way, i am mayor of fremont, california, and it is likely home to one of the largest afghan diasporas in the united states so far no without about 87 children arrive and we
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welcome a couple dozen families and we are at to spend more arrivals. and it definitely echo the sentiments that a been heard regarding the courts and the faith-based groups and also just going out doing outreach but we started afghan refuge and did it we've raised approximately hundred 20,000 veterans of donations from the community as well as others have stepped up. what were hoping to do because without this process in the past is to be able to work with our 20 base organizations and have people apply for this funding application. some of the things i keep hearing, i definitely echo the comment regarding the rolling application fee. that is a real factor and i sure that in the past with secretary mayorkas, $575 may not sound like a lot but how do you choose your mother or your relative or how do you choose which one do you pick? the other area is much like in the '80s when so many had
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arrived originally in fremont, i think immigrants would like to be with her own family members and those who they that seh in the past. what we are finding them for a touch in some ways when you select the reaching out, many other come in my city, 50% have one or two members in the family poverty are immigrants but even though they may not be afghan in heritage come because they had the experience whether through vietnam or chinese or india, they feel compelled to help and assist it we've been trying to work with school districts, i think like even caring outreach and i don't know if there's any of the programs, like helping people get their driver's license, helping people with assisting with giving out packages to allow people to resettle and help with her household goods. so we're hoping to continue that but if there's any other effort you can think of, i think showing our support as the
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community, one to encourage and welcome others is a good way but we welcome the continued partnership because we realize it's not something that we one thing. the other thing i noticed come for the longer-term effect is sometimes the mental health aspects of it. many years ago i the pleasure of also welcoming the afghan robotics girls team. i was glad -- but that is also the other thing i hear about from so many of our young women is the concern for the long-term trauma for some of them as they settle. so anything in terms of resources you can do we would be thrilled to have. >> thank you. this is an currently helpful and i appreciate the question. i agree in terms of application for all i know has been a big impediment to folks and will make sure to -- i will say one of the programs that orr and mrs. is the ethnic base organization grant and those are
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grants that are competitive grants that local 20 base organizations can apply directly for those grants rather than having to be unaware of the national resettlement agencies or getting grants from the states. we do provide a lot of money to states and in the state refugee coordinator decides where those go. but refugees and afghan evacuees as well are eligible for either medicaid or if they're not eligible based on the state requirements, they're eligible for refugee medical assistance which is kind of our program if you will. that can also be helpful in providing the support needed to find mental health providers. the provision of mental health is a critical one to the united states. that's that specific to the refugee community with afghan community. so much is reliant on what the availability of mental health services are locally but we are working really closely with some providers like the u.s. committee for refugees and immigrants and others to deploy
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mental health resources to critical areas that need essentially an influx of that expertise to provide care to afghans in particular given that, they've endured and it is something were continue to work through, how we can make sure we're not just reliant on some of the places where there's not mental health provisions. >> thank you. >> were out of time. real quick state your question her, and if there's response, will get a quick one and then we will wrap it up. last one will be right here. >> thank you, mayor garcetti. i represent the city of west sacramento. appreciate your presence and the information you provided. i should concerns of the mayor from fremont to explain that of making sure that we get folks the resources they need, housing is very expensive. we do have refugee afghan refugee population come into the sacramento region and housing is one of the key areas we're
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trying to build housing support for them. driver's license or id. without an id they cannot access the benefits and resources in california that we provide for the period the governor is going to be looking at providing medi-cal for all immigrants. be helpful if the matching funds to deliver the services would alleviate the resources in the long-term to go to fight the resources for those that are needed. mental health services is limited and that's result of a shortage. whatever we can do to incentivize people, loan forgiveness or to get access to education, there would be a huge asset. as far as the increase in illegal fentanyl and drugs going into the milk and that is something i'm concerned about. whatever we can do to build additional support to the united states postal service to be able to track that come to be able to reduce that is included important for us to reduce the death among children. i want to say thank you so much.
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>> thank you. in a quick response from anybody? i think it speaks for itself. we have been so blessed by this panel, so blessed by all of you to come here. thank you all. next year in dallas or i will see you there. [laughing] >> not done yet. >> i'll talk it over. >> richeson mayor garcetti off right. this is his last meeting here with the conference of mayors and part of this group. mayor, it's been just an honor and a true pleasure working with you all of these years. i have been so personally impressed by the way that you been willing and able to take on the toughest challenges. you are always insightful, yet you are humble. you are genuine. you really, really care, and you've been an inspiration to so many of us. on behalf of all of us who want to wish you the best -- [inaudible] >> thank you.
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[applause] >> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> this afternoon president biden will speak to the mayors in their closing session. you can watch it live at 1:50 1:50 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at c-span.org, or watch full coverage on c-span now, our new video app. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by the television companies and more including co cox. >> cox is committed to providing eligible families access to affordable internet through the connect to compete program, bridging the digital divide one connected and engage student at a time. cox, bringing us closer.
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>> cox, support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving a front front row seat to democracy. >> actor and comedian jon stewart joined other advocates for a roundtable discussion to highlight veterans who are battling disease after being exposed to toxins particularly a massive it's used to burn trash in iraq and afghanistan. watch the hearing tonight at eight eastern on c-span2, online at c-span.org or watch full coverage on her new video app, c-span now. >> it's time for our spotlight on podcasts segment and joining us this week, matthew sitman, the cohost of the know your enemy podcasts. thanks for joining us. >> thank you so much for having. i'm excited to be here. >> how would you describe your podcast to other people? >> our tagline is if the

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