tv Law Enforcement Officers Testify on Border Security CSPAN February 22, 2017 4:23pm-5:55pm EST
you take twitter, uber, airbnb and they seem like a seinfeld episode. they felt like i can do this like this. it was so much harder. >> sunday night on q and a, wall street journal reporter looks at the world of startups in silicon valley and the young people who have ventured there with hopes of becoming the next big success story. >> a lot of them felt like it -- it felt like the rush of hollywood actresses to l.a. and they end of being a waitress and they wait for their big day. i feel like it's harder to be elon musk than tom cruise. the people running them didn't have a lucky break. the stories were years and years and years of coding and
engineering. they have qualifications that i can't imagine. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on cspan's q and a. the house homeland security committee held a hearing on boarder security and president trump's executive orders on immigration. county sheriffs and local officials from texas and arizona provided an update on efforts to secure the southern boarder and discuss the implications of the president's boarder wall proposal. the committee will come to order. we'll hear from the second panel of witnesses. our second panel includes steve mccraw, director of texas department of homeland security. he became the director of the texas department of public safety in 2009. also serves as the governor's homeland security advisor. i know him well from my
prosecutor days. it's good to have you here, sir. mr. joe frank martinez, sheriff in texas. he served as a peace officer for 35 years. in 1999 he was promoted to the rank of sergeant of narcotics service in texas. he served in that capacity until his retirement. mr. leon wilmont is a sheriff and worked in law enforcement for over 30 years. since completing his service in the united states marine corps and was elected sheriff in 2012 and continues to serve in this capacity. final witness is the honorable eddie travino, judge in texas. he served in cameron county for 15 years. he's a partner and founder of
travino law firm. he was mayor from 2003 to 2007. in november of 2016, elected to the bench where he currently serves. i want to thank you for being here today. statements will appear in the record. i know many of you have flights to catch, with that the chair recognizes mr. mccraw for his testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member thompson. texas has as you know and we've heard testimony about how big texas is and congressman herd, thank you for pointing that out, but 1,900 miles belongs to texas and it's important and it impacts -- what happens at the board board boarder doesn't stay at the boarder. there are consequences throughout the nation. some of those consequences are the heroine epidemic that's happening in the northeast. other things that happen and of course in 2014 when boarder patrol was overwhelmed by the
surge and influx of central americans, they were -- it was a threat from a texas standpoint. the governor and the state legislator who has been proactive about protecting people and they're concerned about the influx of gangs, cartel operatives, cartel members, heroine, cocaine, and sex trafficking. this is packed throughout the state and nation. we were sent down there to do something and work with our federal partners, but more importantly coordinate with the local and state partners, national guard, also texas game wardens to conduct operations in direct support of the u.s. boarder patrol to deter, detect and intercept smuggling between the ports of entry. as we've seen in doing so over a period of time that you can influence the amount of drugs coming in and the amount of illegal aliens coming in. it's boarder control physics. you can go back to 1991 to look
at this issue and it was it can be done, but what they recommended is what secretary kelley talked about and that's what is so encouraging today and that is prevent it from coming in in the first place. that's the texas way that we've been obligated to work with the boarder patrol at the river and then the defense we've looked at is the fence and height to be able to stack it. it starts on the water and goes with censors and cameras to the helicopters and of course we've got 14 aircraft dedicated specifically to support boarder patrol agents on the ground. we have a tactical marine unit, which i wouldn't have believed we would have had the opportunity to have a navy, but we do now. that's what boarder patrol needed at the time. we don't need yesterday's technology for tomorrow. those kecensors are arrow kayic.
we have motion detection cameras to support boarder patrol. boarder patrol agents install them. they need that technology. i have no question whatsoever and we understand and the governor has been clear about this and so has the legislator that we know the boarder patrol can secure the u.s. boarder. we have an outstanding boarder patrol chief and we have no question he can do it if given the resources to do so. we look forward to working with the brave men and women of the boarder patrol. on behalf of the state legislator, i get to speak for them a little bit, and the governor because i've talked to his chief of staff last night, there's a concern of the amount of money that we continue to spend at the state level into a
federal mission. it's right now there's a price tag is over $1.4 billion. but our leaders and legislators have said texans are so important that we're going to spend this money if it can provide direct support of the boarder patrol. the last thing we want to do is diminish what is out there right now. i'm concerned about when i report tomorrow before the senate finance hearing is what i'm going to say. how am i going to explain. we're hoping strategically to get out of the business. we've had 3,742 deaths on texas highways last year and transnational gangs and we rescued 36 children who were victims of predators on our highways and another 26 by some of our special agents on the highway. we have much to do inwards inside the state of texas, including transnational gangs. texas is a hub city for the mexican or for the ms 13 simply because of an unsecure boarder.
we must deal with those things and right now our directive is to continue to support boarder patrol as we are and we'll do everything we can. one of the concerns is how fast can they do it? how long is it going to take them to get those resources in place? with that, mr. chairman, i conclude my testimony. >> thank you, steve. the chair recognizes the sheriff. >> distinguished members of the house, homeland security committee, thank you for the opportunity to address you today on issues that effect every citizen in my boarder county. the state of texas and the united states of america. i have spent 39 years as a career law enforcement professional. as the immediate past chairman of the sheriff's coalition and current chairman of the southwest boarder coalition i have dedicated my law enforcement career to serving the citizens of the state of texas right on the texas/mexico boarder at the state level and
as a member of the department of public safety and the current sheriff of the county. the sheriff's coalition is comprised of 20 boarder sheriffs, all of whom are within 20 miles -- 25 miles of the mexico boarder. they share approximately 1,254 miles with the boarder of mexico. my county shares approximately 110 miles of boarder with mexico. the southwestern boarders sheriff's coalition which includes the states of california, arizona, mexico and texas, combines of 1,999 miles of boarder. within the boarder from california to texas lie 31 counties. the terrain throughout much of these areas varies from ranch lands to desert and mountain
like ranges. most of these lands are titled to private landowners. some areas are national or state parks so the need for each of these individual counties is unique in its own way. the texas boarder sheriff coalition founded in 2005 to provide a cooperative effort to effect a regional solution to a national problem. we all share common issues, but there is one issue -- but there's no one issue more important than making sure that we secure our communities in which the people feel safe in their homes and surroundings. sheriffs have an interest in the quality of life of those that we serve. sheriffs are unique in the understanding of the pulse of their communities and public that evaluates during election time that determines whether they stay employed every four years. the texas boarder sheriff's
coalition was organized and represented by the chief law enforcement officer of each respective county. texas sheriffs empowered by the state constitution are committed to protect the lives and rights of the people by maintaining order and security in the united states along the republic of the mexico boarder and enforcing the laws impartially while providing partnership with other law enforcement agencies and community partners. the consequences of an unsecured boarder are felt throughout the united states. each boarder county sits at the g gateway into our country for legitimate and illegitimate trade and travel. the issue here is public safety. immigration, though an important factor, is a separate, but related issue whose responsibilities lie within federal government agencies. these federal agencies that we work with every day have had a
difficult job in carrying out their duties due to policy issues and changes and laws that are not on our books. sheriffs only encounter immigration issues as a biproduct of other criminal acts. some of the problems we encounter are drug smuggling, human smuggling, stolen vehicles, crimes against persons and property, sexual assault, and the list goes on. as many of you know, the lower population and property values most counties lack a sufficient tax basis to support the sheriff's office. each and every one of us are effected one way or another by what happens on the boarder and as such boarder states and the federal government are a natural resource to support the needs of the boarder as it impacts public safety. the problem for most sheriffs is a short fall of resources to address the problems identified
here, which are not all inclusive, but are prioritized as manpower, travel and training. the sheriffs coalition offers a less expensive approach to boarder security based on a partnership of action. the solution offered by the coalition is one of cooperation, being at the table to discuss these issues that effect all our communities on a daily basis. federal, state and local law enforcement needs to work together to find a solution in securing our boarders and our future. no one single form of government can do it alone. the plan for security in the communities along the boarder with mexico as presented by the members of the coalition is to provide a regional solution to a national problem. the plan is based on a partnership of action and not rhetoric. it's based on existing cooperating work and the willingness to share lessons learned and put into place best
practices. the plan is formulated by sheriffs who have ownership in their respective communities they serve and understand how local needs relate to a law enforcement, economic, social, health and an environmental perspective. the initiative created by sheriffs with respect to the federal agencies and in support of the men and women working on the front lines each day. the differences are in the solution that are based on the local community impact and not on policies enacted by people thousands of miles away. i want to thank the committee for this opportunity to address the needs of our boarder sheriffs. may god bless the united states of america and every law enforcement protecting the front lines. >> thank you. we appreciate your work along the boarder with all the sheriffs. >> good afternoon. thank you for the invitation to speak to you today on this very important subject.
from a geographical perspective, the county is at the southwest boarder of arizona and california and we cover the boarder of mexico. we have 110 miles of international boundary that we share with the state of mexico. back in 2005, the boarder patrol tallied 272,300 plus illegal bree entries. the adverse effects diminish the quality of life of county residents, but also placed strain upon the budgets and resources of private and government agencies in the county. the community unfortunately experienced a significant spike in crime such as rapes, robberies, homicides, thefts of property, burglaries, home invasions, thefts, high speed pursuits, assaults on law
enforcement officers as well as ransom groups. the organizations operating along the boundary were explained by the sheriff when he testified in his own words, they are highly sophisticated and innovative in their transportation methods. aside from the normal use of human backpackers, which we refer to as mules, they have resorted to the use of aircraft and drones which cannot be detect n dete detected. they're utilizing catapults, launchers as well to get the marijuana into the u.s. i've witnessed the escalation of
violence by their assailants on our citizens, but i have seen the successes that can be accomplished through coordinated response with local, state and federal partners working with the prosecutorial agencies. by fiscal year 2008 the number of illegal entries totalled 15,900. this turn around can be attributed to four critical developments. significant upgrades in tactical infrastructure, to fencing to the barriers and camera systems and surveillance, the implementation of operation stre streamline which was a
programmed designed for prosecution of immigrants and operation stone garden which to us has been one of the most major successes of any federal grant program that we have ever witnessed before. with this we were able to have a force multiplier along the boarder area that otherwise could not be done within agency budgets. i will tell you that the following comprehensive recommendations are directly linked to our federal leaders. a, need to redefine the plan of the '90s and build upon those successes. have to have the political will to make boarder secure a mandated program. boarder security first, immigration reform second. support and embrace the first line agents that work the boarder regions and our federal partners. they have a dangerous job and it's no secret their frustration is high based on the unknown
complexities referenced in their assignments every day. they have great ideas to share and it was refreshing to see the general speaking about the fact he would go to each geographic location and sit down with those areas, talk with state, local and federal law enforcement areas and see what was best for that area. continued funding to operation stone garden. we need to remove that funding from fema. they're a cumbersome to law enforcement in being able to do our reporting. move that funding back into the department of homeland security where they know what's best for our mission as we partner and work alongside our federal partners. restore full reimbursement of the state criminal apprehension program. it's been devastating to our budge budgets. last year $30 million is what the sheriffs of arizona had to swallow because we only got
reimbursed five cents on the dollar for housing illegal immigrants that committed crimes in our areas. our team work and philosophy with our partners has proven to be beneficial in bringing overdue solutions to our unsecured boarder. unfortunately boarder security has become a discretionary program. one would hope that the priority of securing our boarder doesn't become about a price tag, but whether the requirement to safeguard america. today's opportunity to address this committee instills fresh hope that our voice does matter. >> thank you. i agree on all counts. judge travino. >> good afternoon. i want to thank secretary kelley
for his distinguished service to our country and for his visit to south texas last week. i hope it was productive. cameron county is part of the rio grand valley. we're home to the premier tourist destination for many throughout the united states and mexico. given the attention over the past weeks and months this hearing could not have been timelier. boarder security is a reality that we live with every day. as a locally elected official, i have an obligation to try and inform this panel to make common sense solutions that will be effective for all of us. on the boarder we have had to endure policies and programs put in place by the federal government over the years.
after 911 we understood the reasoning afor the sudden changs of life on the boarder. we believe in the rule of law and want our country to be safe and secure. many residents answered the call to defend our country. despite the post 911 changes businesses have thrived and our communities are safe. the claims of lawlessness and violence in our boarder communities is wrong and nothing more than an attempt to paint it as something that it's not in order to support the misguided rhetoric against boarder communities, mexico and its people and the immigrant both legal and undocumented. i come before you today to request that you seek other opportunities other than the boarder wall proposal put forth by president trump. the boarder wall concept is ineffective and creates a false sense of security that will not alleviate the problem with organizations looking to harm our countries. our federal aettgents do an
unbelievable job with the resources they have. we must continue to help them in their mission, but not at the expense with our relationship with our second largest trading partner. this will not work by developing a one sized fits all approach such as a boarder wall. this is the most expensive all possible alternatives. if we provide a virtual wall of cameras and other state-of-the-art technology, we arm our federal agents with the resources they need to improve their jobs. improving road conditions along the boarder and removing barriers that provide cover to smugglers on federal lands along the boarder will give agents a better chance of controlling and surveilling the boarder. imagine investing the 15 to $20 billion estimated to build the wall and more boots on the
ground. the natural barrier of the rio grand river can work as a natural barrier. there have been extensive projects on the dam which would broaden the width of the river making it that much more difficult to cross. once illegal immigrants are detained there needs to be financial resources to address the processing. the judicial system is underfunded as there are not enough immigration judges to handle the backlog of approximately 500,000 cases which should be unacceptable to all of us. i must touch on america's need for workers. despite what many want to believe, skilled workers are needed in our country. the u.s. will need between 600,000 to 650,000 workers to keep our economy growing. this is something we should be concerned about if we want our country to grow. i hope this issue is studied in
a more objective manner. do we want to harm businesses because of the negative impact these policies will cause? an eye for an eye policy will leave all of us blind. governor abbott said last week we want to achieve safety and security, but we want to promote economic development. we've made great strides as a result of nafta and the trump administration wants to make changes to such agreements and there are diplomatic channel s o get the job done. changes to nafta should be mutually respectful. how can we improve the ideas and suggestions coming from washington for our boarder? how can we tell our story of the farmers, the restaurant owners and construction companies, hospitals, the waitresses and countless others that will be effected by such harmful proposals. my republican and democratic friends back home are worried. this proposal to build a wall and create a boarder tax and not address immigration reform will
have lasting effects across our country if we continue to kick this problem down the road without addressing it. history will judge us on our actions. we must build on our successes and not tear down what we've achieved together. thank you for having me this afternoon. i'm happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you. i recognize myself for questioning. i got elected -- it's hard to believe -- over 12 years ago as a federal prosecutor stating i was going to get the boarder secure. i'm going into my seventh term in congress. it's still not done. i think for the first time, and i know there are differing issues as to how to accomplish this, but we have the political will in washington to finally possibly get this done. it is a federal responsibility. i believe the state of texas and my home state have stepped up to the plate and taken on this
responsibility instead of the federal government. my first question is to director mccraw. as you austin, knowing that we will have a defense border supplemental bill, come down the pike in the springtime, what do you -- what would be the ask, if you will, from the state of texas? >> well, certainly we have representative chairman pro tem in ask of $2.3 billion based on what the state has already spent. obviously going forward, we'd have to coordinate with the governor what we wants, but the bottom line is, how do you leverage existing capabilities, at the state level, and local level, so the border patrol can gain control and continue border security every day. our concern just sitting here after listening to secretary kelly, it is very realistic that it takes time to build that infrastructure, it takes time to
build roads, to build any on stook also as opposed to barriers and technology. and particularly, hiring 5,000 to 10,000 border patrol agents. what does the state need to do to be able to stave off any type of incursions or influx or any problems that we've gained to this point in time. that's the challenge that we have. i can tell you that going forward, ideally, it would be -- we would be in a far better position to say, look, the border patrol needs three sheriffs deputies, four troopers, two dps aircraft, needs three tactical boats, needs a s.w.a.t. team. and be able to leverage that, like we do under the stafford act. that would allow us to be able to capture not just the costs, but also some of the operating costs that go into it. because it's clear that the -- the secretary made it clear they're serious about border security. our concern is how fast can we do it. of day matters. and if you get involved in these sex trafficking investigations,
you get involved in some of the sexual assault and some of the things that we've seen, the mexican cartels be engaged in, every day matters. but every level of security increases, the better off we are. one thing i would like to add while i've got the microphone here is, the great thing about technology is it gets smaller and it gets cheaper. and also, it provides a new way of metrics that we didn't have before. as congressman mcsally was concerned about. how do you measure success. we can actually prove what our collection posture is, what our detection pros tur is and our interdiction posture is. every special and their vehicle and their phone has a gps locating device. we're doing operations, i can prove anytime, any day of the week, what is our coverage posture right to the area. one challenge secretary kelly is going to address is border patrol needs that same cape ability. blue force tracking. you would expect they would know, not just for a security standpoint to be able to defend
exactly what their security posture is, officer safety issue. as you know, every day border patrol agents are threatened along that rio grande river. to that end, i would like to include it is absolutely disyasful that the federal government has not prosecuted those who have assaulted federal agents in the performance of their duties. i'm comfort that will change, but until that time, the texas border prosecutors stepped up to the plate as well as we've had our texas rangers who will investigate every one of those and prosecute at the state level until the federal government prosecutes those cases. >> we're trying to build a record here on the committee as to how to move forward with all this. texas has very unique challenge with the rio grande. and you can't build a wall in the river. you can build levees. but i don't see -- i think it's actually symbolic, saying the wall is symbolic for a physical
barrier, a multi-layer defense using all available assets using technology, aviation and fencing. i throw this out to all four of you. how would you best -- and i asked this of the secretary. we heard his response. how would you best describe the wall to finally achieve operational control of the border? >> well, we've -- you've got a chart, because our legislatures demanded we have a way to measure success beyond numbers. so you've seen what we've come up with. unsecured minimal control, operational control and substantial control. there's different things that have to be in place before you can go up to the next level. those things are measurable. if you can measure it, and discern it, you can measure it. from the texas standpoint, a wall, a strategic fence, all those things are obstacles, and they work for us and against the cartels. but as i said before, absent the
personnel, the technology, it's simply, you know, an obstacle to the cartels, not a barrier. because the cartels will clearly go under, through and around it, and certainly over it to be able to meet the unending demand for drugs and commercial sex in the u.s. that's the clear and compelling thing. >> obstacle, but not a barrier. >> it becomes a barrier when you have enough border agents and the technology. when they step over or on that fence, they will immediately see it. today you get to see a picture of it. you don't have to guess that there's a sensor, or has four legs or two legs carrying a bundle. there's no reason not to leverage this technology that's out there and available. >> i agree. mr. martinez? >> i agree with colonel mccraw. a fence is just a barrier.
but i think more importantly is the manpower initially, to get the manpower. let me give you an example. in my county there's 84 miles, and i have one deputy to cover that country. there's -- on a good day you'll have anywhere from 15 to 20 border patrol agents to kof that same area, which will consist of 8,000 square miles. which will qgo into crockett an sutton counties. it's like a needle in a haystack to find a needle in a haystack. so manpower, in combination with, you know, a physical barrier, some strategic locations, along with technology, will go a long way.
>> sheriff wilmot? >> in yuma county, we had to do a conglomeration of all of that. you have to look at your geographic location, and what are your natural and man-made boundaries that you already have. the colorado river that's flowing through yuma, that goes right into mexico. i have two tribal reservations, which are sovereign land. i have the barry mflt goldwater range which is our premier training center for our military forces that are being shipped overseas. i also have a u.s. fish and wildlife refuge. in each and every location, much like the general talked about today, the secretary, is he needs to go down, ascertain from those different geographic locations, what is needed best. it could be a fence. it could be vehicle barriers. it could be just electronic infrastructure such as radar operated camera systems, or detection radars, or lasers.
but i think they need to approach that from the perspective on the boots on the ground level like i mentioned earlier in order to address that. >> would access to federal lands help? that would be a law we would have to change. >> absolutely, sir. and we encounter that same situation down there in yuma county back in '05-'06 when they were putting in the fence utilizing our national guard. we worked with our tribal partners and we're able to do the brush clearing like asked about before, because it was along the colorado river corridor. it opened up recreational areas for the yuma citizens to be able to enjoy it again. versus the criminal element that was so often exploiting that, for getting their illegal contraband across the river. >> judge trevino? >> mr. chairman, just like everybody else on this committee, i'm more in the listening phase because i've had
the opportunity to listen to the border patrol sector chiefs. and the thing that was surprising to me was when i learned that they were not able to utilize and be on federal park land, national park lands in order to do their surveillance and investigation. the other part of the equation was the fact that much of the technologies are already several decades old. while it's still operational, it's nowhere near as effective as the advanced tech nothing provided to lawsuit. we need to upgrade. the other part of this they want to utilize in conjunction with the technology upgrade, there is a quicker response because the people operating the technology, or the uavs, whatever is entailed, will be in a better to direct our boots on the ground where the impact is going to be. i think we're all in agreement that the resources to upgrade the technology, and provide the resources to the boots on the
ground is something that's absolutely needed. and if i may quickly say, you mentioned that ten years ago when you first started and were a former prosecutor, you thought to have the border secure. i think part of the problem, mr. chairman, is that if we really, really utilize a clear definition for secure porder, i don't know if we can ever achieve that. the reality is, as long as there's a criminal element, as long as there's human activity, they're going to do anything to either provide the products, whether it's drugs or human trafficking or whatever the case might be, but i think it's safe to say that the border is definitely much more secure today than it was a decade ago, or 20 years ago. and i think that's important for the rest of the country to understand that. we're able to live our lives, have a good quality of life on the border as a result of these gentlemen to my right and all the law enforcement operating back home on the border. >> thank you. you've given us an excellent record, testimonial as we move forward with our border
supplemental bill, what needs to be appropriated. and what shouldn't be. with that, i now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i thank the witnesses for that testimony. it's been a long time since we had a panel of people who live it every day. in terms of this issue before us. i think it's been quite enlightening. the question that a lot of us have is, why not come up with a sound policy that addresses border security rather than coming up with a product in terms of a fence? and i think as just about everyone has said, there are ways that fencing might be good. there are other ways that technology. there are other ways of using --
other things might be good. but when you come with a one size fits all model, that creates some real challenges. the rio grande river, the lakes and some other areas, tribal lands. so i guess the question is, what i'm hearing from the witnesses, and i heard from the secretary and his testimony, that you will be involved in the process. so that rather than washington coming to your communities and saying, well, big brother's here, we have the solution, we would say, what do you think? you do this every day, you live it, what suggestions or recommendations that you might have. and i think that's a very good model for us to adopt.
because in washington, we can just see one part. so for the record, we are 1,500 persons short in the approved cdp allotment for boots on the ground. and i think we've been, what, two years, three years? about two years trying to complete that. so if we get 5,000 more, that means we have 6,500 vacancies that we can't fill. so part of what we're going to have to do is try to work with state and locals to figure out, since we can't put all these boots on the ground, having trouble filling it, how do we backfill it. technology. you know, if we can see somebody
five, ten, 20 miles away approaching an area, then if we had the ability to communicate with local law enforcement or whomever, we can perhaps move the assets to that area from an interdiction standpoint. and i would -- for the sheriffs especially. are you allowed to train with cdp and other federal officials in a manner that gives you comfort, or are there some things that you'd like to see being done that's not being done? sheriff martinez? >> thank you. we work well with our federal partners. we don't train with them. basically, if we come across a
crime, that has an otm, or mexican national, we refer those individuals to border patrol. we work through stone garden. the last week we had eight referrals in our sector. so i take it that that's from the locals referring someone over to our federal partners. and they take over from there. but going on to some of your question, you know, you say you're miles away, but i'd like to invite each and every one of you to our communities where we live every day. not to -- don't show up when they have all the manpower and resources. visit us in our natural state, and our natural state, and you can see all the deficiencies that we have. that will be a big impact on
what happens up here, on your votes up here. >> i will tell you that there are -- our agency trains quite a bit with the u.s. border patrol under chief provaznick. we have awesome lines of communication. most of our training has to do with search and rescue type, or narcotics interdiction working side by side with our personnel. the other hamper that we're running into, with sheriffs all across the united states right now, is actually getting some sort of legal opinion in regards to the 287-g and honoring of detainers in our jails. because some sheriffs in some places along the u.s. are being sued for violation of fourth amendment rights. we're being told on one side that we have to honor them by federal law. but we're also being told by
state that you cannot honor that because you're violating this law or that law. whether it's arizona, texas, new york, illinois, idaho. so the sheriffs as a whole, the one thing that we need is some sort of legal opinion in regards to honoring detainers for the jails. that's one of the things that is a significant impact for us, when an individual is in our jails. typically for us, they're booked into the jail. they go through the state process. they get sentenced to prison. and then they're turned over to the state for doc. so -- and that's something that all the sheriffs across the u.s. -- and we articulated that to the secretary yesterday. >> so -- thank you. judge, in your everyday duties, what security issues would you
be concerned about, and do you see the wall as an answer to those security issues from your standpoint? >> thank you for the question, congressman. let me point out that our county and neighboring county, approximately 70 miles, we already have 54 miles of fencing already in place. you alieued to it right now when you say we have another 1,500 vacancies. these gentlemen to my right, their responsibility is to provide local law enforcement to the community that they serve. because of the change in dynamics in our country, they've also had to become quasi federal agents because of the demands that have been placed on them with regards to border security. the concern that i have, and just for the record, the county judge in tex as is not a judicial position, it's an administrative position, and i don't want anyone to think i'm holding court back home.
so i work with all of the agencies in that endeavor. the concern that i would have, and i would venture to guess they would have also, i can tell you in the valley, many of our local law enforcement agencies, whether it's local police departments or sheriff's department and jailers, we've lost a lot of the individuals to the federal government because of the demand for federal agents because they obviously pay better than our local lawsuit entities. we rely on unfortunately usually very low poverty tax basis to fund our budgets. as a result of that, in addition to the jail costs, we have the medical costs associated to take care of them while they're in our custody. so all of these, what i referred to earlier as unfunded mandates, are concerns, because we don't have an immense back load, or a rainy day fund that can help us get through these days. but we're doing the best that we can. i think that's something, as the -- as congress takes this into account, they have to
understand that the demands placed upon our local entities and jurisdictions on the texas/mexico border, are so different than the demands placed elsewhere in the country. so when we're asking for those funds and resources, we're not doing it because we want them, we're asking because we need them. we're already performing the job. obviously if there is a big increase in boots on the ground which i think we all agree is necessary, the concern we're going to have is, we're going to need those additional funds ourselves to make sure that our local law enforcement positions are also well manned. i don't like hearing the fact about situations where you have one officer patrolling 84 square miles. you know what that means. he can't be everywhere all the time. thank you. >> i yield back. >> i agree with your point, mr. martinez. go down and see it, because you don't understand it once you go down and see it. i always advocate for members to do that. it's not -- there's no real simplistic answer.
it's multifaceted. >> thanks, mr. chairman. gentlemen, is it mr. mccraw? very briefly, you know, some people don't like the terminology, the wall. so whether it's a wall, whether it's a fence, whether it's unmanned vehicles, or sensors or cameras or whatever, some protection, security belt along the border that keeps incursions from happening, i think we need that. but i think it begins with an attitude that you want to uphold the law and defend the border of your country, the sovereign nation. you mentioned one of the things you saw is a problem that people not being prosecuted for assaulting border patrol agents. >> i'll have to give you the example of the cases. i'll get back on what they are. there's been instances where border patrol agents are being assaulted when they're trying to
make an arrest. we used to work federal assault on federal officers when i was in the fbi. that's what we did. one was killed by two drug traffickers from mexico. we worked an assault on a federal officer. and the prosecutor would prosecute those things. over the last several months, that hasn't been the case. there's been no prosecution. they've been turned down. all we've done is basically -- because the state legislature funded the border prosecutor units, we go into the district attorney's office and say, look, border patrol agents are being assaulted, not prosecuted. in texas, we're a law and order state. you assault a police officer, there's got to be consequences. they immediately take the cases. we're using a state resource to turn it over to the prosecutors to prosecute. >> you said over the last couple of months. >> several months. it could be six months, it could be eight months. i'll give you the exact time. and the exact cases that we've worked for. >> what do you think the impetus for failure to follow through from the federal government's
standpoint is? why would they not do -- >> i don't know. it's inexplicable. >> i appreciate that information. if you can get it to me. also, federal -- >> i do need to mention, the governor brought that to secretary kelly's point. i've met some great secretaries, napolitano, chertoff, ridge, you know, he's taken the time to go down there. he's already been down there and asked questions, listened to briefs. we're very encouraged he did that. the governor brought that to his attention. i have no doubt that he's going to talk to the attorney general about that. that that will be fixed. i'm very confident that will be addressed. >> i would think that has to be a minimum standard so that the border patrol agents know when they're putting their lives on the line, that there will be a penalty for assaulting them. as there should be for any law enforcement officer assaulted in the united states. in the parklands, can you give us an indication of -- i don't think a lot of people realize
that there's a restriction for border patrol agents in those circumstances. can you give us some information from your viewpoint on how that affects the ability of the federal government oh safeguard the border? >> yes. there's several pockets of refuges along the rio grande river, to protect wildlife. what they end up doing is often protect the cartels or smugglers because they're havens for hiding. border patrol is allowed to access, they're just not allowed to build infrastructure or use some of their tools to pursue smugglers and traffickers in those areas. hence, they may take an hour to get to a location, they could take ten minutes. they're not allowed to build the infrastructure you would expect other parts of the border. so we're hopeful that that will be addressed. >> it sounds like if we're serious about securing the border, something's got to change there. >> change. and the judge had a very good point, there's a drought that sucks the water out.
also, it works for the cartels. >> right. okay. sheriff wilmot, very quickly. the operation stone garden program and your trouble getting money through fema is something i would like you to elaborate on. and also, reimbursement of your scat funding. and nonsanctuary cities, i think it's important to note, at least i get from this sanctuary cities are receiving scat money. they're inviting essentially people to be in their city illegally but also getting federal funds in that regard. is that correct? if you can elaborate. >> we want them to get across that if you do have an entity that runs a jail, that supports that, then that funding should be given to those other entities that run the jail, that are actually doing the job. for skap. we still need to get 100% reimbursement on that.
as well as the medical costs associated with it. because i can't put in for an individual that i have to take to dialysis three times a week. that's impacting my budget at over $100,000 just for one person. i've got 117 backpackers who went through. i sent a bill to the attorney general of the united states last year because of the policies that went into effect on not prosecuting these individuals. i cross-deputized border patrol agents and daefea so they couldt these cases taken care of. to this point, attorney general owes me $1.8 million just for housing those sxr sheriff, does the government south of you, the national government south of you, do they spend anywhere near the resources, or have the same diligence that you have in patrolling the border from their people going northward? >> to answer your question, in
regards to yuma county, we have great cross-border communication with the law enforcement counterparts. we work together a lot in regards to promoting the quality of life and safety of our communities on both sides of the border. and that's why we were able to do what we did to curb that criminal enterprise to do what they were doing in '05-'06. >> the perception that the mexican government doesn't feel as strongly about controlling north of the border as we do, i don't know if that's accurate or not. my concern is, all the american taxpayers are paying for this, and you're out the money because you're providing the service and the american taxpayers can't afford to pay for it. what is the government to the south doing to help from a financial standpoint, or from a tactical standpoint? mr. chairman, my time is expired. but if you could elaborate throughout your conversation, i would love to hear it. >> would you like to respond to that, sir?
>> whatever you're comfortable with, sir. >> if you would like to respond, i would give you that time. >> i will tell you that we in arizona have a great cross-border communication with our lawsuit counterparts, even through the pesa program, policing international s law enforcement. we do training together. we cover the problems that we're encountering in our geographic locations. to a certain extent, they're doing what they can with what they have. >> chair recognizes mr. vela. >> to follow up on that, sheriff wilmot, that kind of cooperative arrangement that you have with your counterparts on the mexican side of the border, that's why it's important to have a positive and productive relationship with the neighbors to the south, right? >> i would agree with you 100%. you have to have that open line of communication. >> thank you. colonel mccraw, you made some
reference to the expenditure of state funds along the border. and how it might have impacted, for example, traffic deaths in other parts of the state. and perhaps affected other areas of responsibility that the department of public safety would have had. can you elaborate, or tell us specifically how you think the diversion of funds to the border has affected those other responsibilities? >> well, to begin with, we weren't overstaffed, we're understaffed based on the state's growth in the last ten years. nearly 28 million people. we have over 313,000 miles of roadway. for us to be able to do proactive high visibility pro s patrols, we need a certain amount of troopers. because of the influx and mission we've been given, we surge troopers from around the state, doesn't matter from parrington, that's 14 hours away from the border, okay? texas, or from dallas, move them down there, on a day, work seven
days straight, 12 to 14-hour days, go back home and continue that cycle month after month and wave after wave, and we've been doing that for two and a half years. so anytime you move a trooper, or a texas ranger, as we have, or a special agent who is engaged in these enterprise investigations, targeting gangs, to the border, to be able to support border patrol, there's consequences to it. now, the advantages are, because at the end of the day, most of the traffic is coming right at the border. so there is some positive impact in terms of the rest of the state. but it still makes it less safe, other parts where we take the resources from. >> have you seen a direct correlation to the diversion of state funds to the border with respect to traffic deaths? >> i can't say it's causal right now. i can't say that it's enough right now that we can make that causal determination. i know just from the -- talking to sheriffs in other parts of the state, when there's less troopers in that area, you know, they believe that it's less safe in that area.
and i don't disagree. >> i'm curious, have we seen an increase or decrease in highway traffic deaths? >> increase in highway deaths across texas. and it's not just in terms of the rural area, but urban areas as well. we've had increased fatalities. >> thank you, colonel. judge trevino, i've got two questions and about three minutes. the first, with respect to the wore we're dam, how would that environmental impact from a flood control standpoint, the area that we live in, and what would be the impact from a security standpoint? >> well, my understanding, congressman, is after decades of studying the environmental impact would be minimal at best. as you know, brownsville is the last stop, and the rio grande, before it empties out into the gulf of mexico. because of the rapid growth that we've had on both sides of the border from el paso south, everybody on the border utilizes the rio grande as their source
for water. and since we're the last stop, it was a concern years ago that if the river was to ever run dry in certain areas of the state, there are trickles, we would be in a bad, bad situation. brownsville was very progressive in developing a reverse osmosis by the utilization of braccish ground water, so that brownsville community is no longer completely reliant on the river. the proposal would obviously raise the water level. and it would allow the flood control situation to be utilized in the event we ever had a shortage. lake falcon where we basically -- that's our reserve system, it was developed back in i believe the '50s, and the long-term goal was it would be replenished by mother nature anytime we had a natural disaster. as a growth, no one foresaw the growth on both sides of the
border. and its impact. so we've had to be more progressive as far as that goes. >> so what's life like for the 96,000 winter texans mostly from the midwest that are living in rio grande valley right now? >> it's safe to say those winter visitors are our life blood during the winter months. they bring, first of all, a lot of resources. they spend their money in the valley. but more than anything, they're a complete asset to our area. many of them are from the midwest, minnesota, iowa, all those states, and they've been a huge, huge asset. they spend their money, they go to mexico on a daily basis to shop. and to receive medical care. and eat. they spend their money buying refrigerators and cars, and the consumable goods that we all rely on. their impact on an economic basis is huge. and not just on the u.s. side, but obviously on the mexican side. if there was any chaos or danger
down there, they wouldn't keep coming in those numbers. they continue to grow each and every year. >> thank all four of you for being with us today. >> chair recognizes mr. hurd from texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and gentlemen, appreciate you all being here today. director mccraw, sheriff martinez and judge trevino, you've helped educate me on this issue. and sheriff wilmot, your testimony gave me three or four things i didn't think about before. my first question is to the two sheriffs, and maybe sheriff martinez, you first. we talked about stone garden, and sheriff wilmot in his remarks talked about moving those funds back to dhs from fema. is there other uses of -- stone garden is restrictive in how you can use those funds. are there other areas where you -- currently right now you can't use stone garden funds, i'm not sure which you could, and sheriff martinez, let's
start with you. >> on the stone garden funds, it has to be a little bit of flexibility. border patrol, dps, every sheriff is short on manpower. and we're talking about hiring all kinds of people. so i'd like to see that same opportunity extended to the sheriffs to be able to hire manpower to support securing our border. >> sheriff, that's because right now you can only use stone garden funds to pay overtime, is that correct? and you would like to be able to use those initial funds for the first year of salary or something like that? >> yes, sir. . correct. >> excellent. >> congressman, i've been listening to the sheriffs talk about this for a good seven years. they can only eat so much overtime. you can give them all the overtime in the world, but they've only got so many deputies. to use that money, if you would allow them to use it, an
agreement up-front, that this is only as long as the money is there, a deputy, now all of a sudden they've got an increase of resources in the area. and that's better for border patrol, that's certainly better for the state as well. there's value in that investment. there's other funding streams that are far more flexible than stone garden funds. although we like what the dhs did with that. of course, the state doesn't benefit at all. we don't get any use of the funds allocated for state police agencies. >> sheriff wilmot, do you have some opinions? >> yes, i do, and i would be more than happy to throw those in there. in addition to operations stone garden, it's labor intensive just doing the reporting requirements, it also restricts the type of equipment that you need going through fema. another thing is, in regards to stone garden, is that you can only use so much for overtime. and then you have to use so much for equipment. and then so much per mileage on your vehicles. so it's broken down.
you can't change the percentage at all. so it's something that -- and this is the one true grant that actually comes to the sheriffs to actually allocate out to local law enforcement. at least in arizona. as well as share with other counties along our borders and the state as well, if they can help complement our operations. that's where we need to keep it. dhs is more qualified to say, yes, this type of equipment is what we need for this location. because, again, we can't paint that brought brush across the whole border. >> thank you. director mccraw, my next question is for you. when i got elected and came in last congress, we had a lengthy debate about what operational control of the border actually means. in your materials you provided, the texas border security levels, and i've always fought
to use dps's perspective on what operational control means, because of all the arguments and conversation i've had on this, it seems to be the most thoughtful. so first question is, have you seen reticence in some of your federal partners in adopting a similar framework, and do your partner states have a similar -- do your peer organizations have a similar perspective on what operational control the border needs? >> i kont believe that case right now. but we've been working with our legislature and governor's office to be able to have some standards. i, frankly, have not looked at -- we have looked at our federal partners. you go back to the '90s, and it's the same thing all over again. you can't use the number of illegal aliens to predict success and failure. you have to come up with something more substantive. technology allowed us to do that. now we can actually identify and track out and map the level of
security. so the focus that we've come up with is simply to figure out what those levels of security are, agree upon what those variables are, count those variables, and track them. the point with the evidence is that unless you can prove it, then there's no way to be able to justify that saying we're at this point or that point. you've got to be able to prove it, too. you can't just say i'm in operational control. the advantage we have right now is like i said before, gps will allow you to do that. both the infrastructure, both in materials of technology, and the coverage level, and your interdiction capacity. >> excellent. thank you for your leadership on this topic. and we need you to keep talking about this. because, again, as we get into the debates again up here, we need to have a common -- we need to be speaking the same language. i've run out of time. but one thing i'll be following up with all of you all is intelligence sharing. and how do we improve that. how do we make sure that we are
able to extend our defenses. because let's stop the problem before they get to our borders. or if we know something is imminent. and y'all are going to be the ones that get called first, not border patrol, whenever there is a problem. so making sure you all have access to the information and how we can improve that is something i look forward to talking to you all about in the future. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> chair recognizes mrs. watson coleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. judge trevino -- >> yes, ma'am. >> did i say that properly? >> you sure did. >> good. i have a couple of questions for you first. you've been pointed out that you -- you've pointed out that cameron county owns three international bridges, and you've described how critical cross-border trade is to your economy and how important that cross-border travel is to your constituents as they go about their daily lives.
how have cbp's staffing shortage at ports of entry affected bridges in your county? has it resulted in increased wait times at the bridges and what else could the federal government do to promote cross-border commerce and trade? >> i would love to tell you there's been no impact, but that wouldn't be accurate. the reality that you just hit the nail on the head, because of the shortages of the personnel, the lines can be much longer. it's not unusual for many people to live in brownsville and work in madam morris or live in madam morris and work in brownsville. there are cross-border industries that rely on each other. if somebody's going over there for work, they kind of have to do it. but for those looking to more of a recreational, whether to eat,
shop, dine, or receive health care on either side, the reality is we'll have less -- we've had that, and the impact. not going to sit here and tell you that the cartel violence in mexico didn't have an impact. but the reality is, things have calmed down. i think that's exactly why the cooperation between our two countries, at the national level, is critical, because at the local level, that's what needs to be done and that's what the local law enforcement -- they rely on their counterparts on the mexican side and vice versa, whether it's locating an individual who wants to be -- or is under indictment, or charged with a particular serious crime. whatever it may be. but obviously, staffing levels need to be at the rate where the wait times are as minimal as possible without sacrificing security and surveillance. but also allow more opportunity to catch those individuals that are crossing at our ports of entry that are either crossing illicit drugs or merchandise or whatever the case may be.
>> so what is it that you would tell the federal government that you think that it should support, or do in order to support and sustain and ensure that there is this sort of cross-border trade and travel that is both sufficient for the economy and safe for the communities? >> in addition to increasing the staffing we alluded to earlier, we would also heavily request a re investment in our infrastructure, while the county owns the bridge, all the facilities on there are owned by the federal government. gateway bridge, in particular, was opened in 1960. there's been literally no reinvestment or upgrades since that time frame to the present. we moved all the truck traffic from the gateway bridge over to another bridge, veterans bridge, and because of that, some of the facilities at the gateway are basically just sitting there. if we were to open up additional lanes of travel, we did a recent trip to el paso, we have one
pedestrian lane at gateway for all three bridges. last year, we had over 2 million people crossing with that one particular lane. in el paso, which at one bridge has 14 lanes. it looked like an airport to me. they have 5 million. and they've got 14 lanes just at one bridge. now i believe they have seven bridges. so i know that it would generate a lot more revenue on the local basis, and also allow us to enhance the relationship between our border communities. >> thank you. a very quick question, if you might answer to the three gentlemen, mr. mccraw, mr. martinez -- sheriff martinez and mr. wilmot. my question has to do with the proposed wall. do you believe that the proposed wall is the best utilization of resources to keep our borders protected in the areas that you represent? and are concerned with? i'll start with you, mr. mccraw. >> yes, ma'am. as i indicated before, a wall --
>> i apologize for not being here. >> not at all. a wall in itself is an obstacle, not a barrier. it takes a combination of things. i think secretary kelly did a very good job today explaining that in some places, he noted, you get down to big ben country, you have a barrier out there already, a natural barrier. how do you exploit technology. how do you exploit resources on top of that. so it's not one thing for one area. it changes. as the judge trevino notes very well, we build a wall, it doesn't make sense in some areas. allstead, it doesn't make sense. every place is different. but one thing is in mind, you need a barrier between the ports of entry. >> i've exceeded my time. if i could get my questions answered. >> gentle lady's time is expired. we'll go to mr. rutherford from florida. >> you are not extending that in a very short request and
indulgence? >> i'll allow them to answer your question. >> thank you. thank you. >> a fence in and of itself is not the only answer. del rio is separated by a fence, a two-mile fence, that has made our side of the border a little bit safer. when it comes to property crimes. it's rerouted to the outside of that fence. but in and of itself is not thes answer. thank you. >> congresswoman, in regards to that question, yuma county has 110 1/2 miles of border with mexico. most of it is fence. other areas that cannot be fenced already have vehicle barriers. i will tell you that once that was put into place, the humanitarian side of that, preventing the deaths in the desert, has stopped. we are very minimal on that. i've had to go out there and process 14 victims that were
left for dead on one occasion where it's 115 degrees out. i don't think anybody wants to experience what we've had to see as law enforcement when we have to go out there and process those victims that have been abandoned and died. 14 all at once, just a travesty. to see them and what they went through, and to see a fence to go up to prevent that, what's the cost of a life. >> thank the jest will lady. the chair now recognizes mr. rutherford from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for your testimony today. and i want to ask something a little more away from the border and back into, i think, interior of the country. the 287-g program, can you give me your experience and position
on how effective 287-g has been at the border, and then further away from the border, is it well utilized within law enforcement? is that your experience? >> congressman, it depends on the agency. it depends on the locale. certainly it works very well in jails. in large jails, where there's a criminal alien population. they train individuals to look, identify, and be able to query some of the federal databases to identify that. that's always helpful. when they get a hit on a secure committee, or priority hit through fingerprints. certainly from an investigative standpoint, it was an advantage, or drug traffickers, advantage of having a legacy ins expert on the team that would help you, in many ways, shape or form. but each individual jurisdiction needs to make that decision. >> i know that we have a jail,
population 1,200-plus. isis in our jails every day. detainers are honored in our facility. >> in regards to the question, congressman, in regard to the 287-g, we participated in it at one time. but i can't use taxpayer funding to do the federal job. so it was only on an overtime basis, if they had the moneys to be able to pay our officer on overtime to perform that function. what we have done in yuma, because they are right there working with us, is they have access to our facility. and they can screen through all those documents. and they placed a hold on the question for the sheriffs throughout the u.s., that does not have that ability to have the two-hour response, or an hour response for somebody to come pick them up. what legal ability are they able
to honor the detainers. and that's our biggest concern as far as sheriffs across the whole u.s. who are impacted -- they don't have that privilege of i.c.e. ero in our counties. so we release them into them. but it's very seldom. because most of them leave our jails and go to prison. >> congressman, i wish i had a better answer for you, but i don't believe our local sheriff's department is still involved in that. but i'd have to get a better answer for you. i wish you could tell you that right now. >> thank you, gentlemen. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentlemen and now recognizes, i think the last member, the gentle lady miss bar i gan. >> i would like to ask for unanimous consent for the statement prepared by the
immigration council be submitted for the record. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. i want to follow up on some of what was asked. there's been a number of comments about the wall being an obstacle, not a barrier. and then in our packet, i see these photos of what appears to be people smuggling drugs, just climb iing over a fence. it appears to be easy for them to hop over. who is the wall most effective against? is it most effective against the drug cartels, people smuggling drugs, or the families that are coming over because they're escaping violence? who is it most effective against? >> i think it's equally effective to either, frankly.
but again, as i've testified, and i believe some of the other sheriffs have testified, is that unless you have technology on that fence, unless someone's observing, unless you have coverage on that fence, unless you have someone to do the interdiction when someone comes over that fence or under that fence or through that fence, it's an obstacle, not a barrier. >> how often -- does anybody have any information on how often, or how frequently the border agents will catch somebody hopping the fence, or, you know, shortly after they have? >> i guess in hopping the fence, i don't think they have that many apprehensions where i'm located. but for the week of january 27th, through february 3rd, they apprehended 461 individuals in the del rio sector. del rio has a two-mile fence,
maverick county, el paso, texas, has a three-mile fence. so all those individuals that were -- in my belief, all those individuals that were apprehended, were apprehended outside of that boundary. >> were those that were apprehended people that turned themselves in, or people that were -- didn't voluntarily turn themselves in? >> i would believe that they didn't voluntarily turn themselves in. >> sheriff wilmot, do you want to add to any of that? >> congresswoman, i would have to defer to border patrol for those numbers. i do not have that available to me. i can only comment on the facts that i know for sure. >> okay. >> the only comment i would add, congresswoman, is the fact that in speaking with the local border sector chiefs, i do know that the apprehensions have decreased considerably over the last several years.
that's the only statistic that i'm aware of. but i don't have the specific numbers. >> okay. sheriff wilmot, you -- i know some people asked about this -- you have advocated for removing funding for fema and moving it into dhs. who would suffer by the fema fundings that you advocating we move those funds over? >> i don't believe anybody would suffer any financial loss from moving those funds from fema to dhs. they started out in dhs to begin with, as i understand it. so nobody would lose any funding. >> do you know what their funds are currently used from -- for that we would be pulling from fema? >> those funds were specifically designated from the very beginning for operations stone garden, overtime, and equipment, to help partner with our border patrol and federal counterparts. there was no funding removed that i am aware of from any
other budget for that to happen. >> congresswoman, it used to be in dhs. and it was moved to fema. the fund will stream didn't change, just who administers it. >> sheriff wilmot, you mentioned, and i didn't catch it all, you mentioned that there's been prevention of a number of deaths in the desert. can you just elaborate on what you said, and how that prevention occurred? what was it that caused the prevention? >> as i stated in the beginning of my testimony, in 2005, 2006, yuma county was the worst in the nation in regards to cross-border traffic as well as the criminal element that so much accompanies is. and we are experiencing, unfortunately, having to go out into the desert, sometimes on a weekly or monthly basis to recover those victims that were abandoned by those smugglers out in the desert.
we as sheriffs, we are the ones that have to respond out there, whether it's federal land, state land. we have to process those crime scenes. and our officers were going out there, as i stated, if not weekly, or monthly, to recover those victims that were left out there, abandoned to die. >> whoa prevented that? that's my question. >> the deterrent factor between the partnerships with our federal officers, the combination of fencing, law enforcement presence on the border, and the technology with the cameras and sensors, to be able to detect individuals crossing the desert, was all a contributing factor in reducing that criminal element, and those individuals being victimized coming across. rapes, robberies and the homicides. >> great. >> if i can just add, in brooks county, since 2006, i think that
they have worked 563 deaths in that county, and they are 100 miles from the border. that's people who have come across. so i don't know what the makeup -- there is a fence there, on the border in that area. but that's what brooks county has suffered since 2006. and all that, i think, a lot of that is at taxpayers expense. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. i do want to ask one last question. i'll make it fast. we hear a lot, bricks and mortar versus fencing. i hear a lot different, you know, i mean, there are a lot of people with the wall being talked about, that they want a brick and mortar wall like israel has. they said it will be most effective. then i talk to people like yourselves who actually live down there, and the fencing, you can actually see through it. which provides an advantage, if it's done correctly.
anybody on the panel have any comments on that comparison? >> i think secretary kelly made a good point of seeing through it. you like to see what's on the other side of it. the same obstacle type of capability, and you can see through it, there's value in that. >> i tend to agree. sheriff martinez? >> yes, i've been to israel and i've seen the fence there. and i see -- i've seen what they go through. but just here in d.c., how many fence jumpers have you had here on this property here. and it took an armed federal agent on the other side of that fence to neutralize the situation. so the same back home is going to need the same kind of attention. >> sheriff wilmot? >> i would agree that it helps to be able to see through. we have that type of fencing. and it's a plus as far as our
border patrol agents are concerned. you know what's on the other side. so you're not encountering that threat. without even knowing it's five foot away from you. >> judge? >> mr. chairman, from my meetings and conversations with the border patrol agents, they certainly appreciate the fact that they're able to see, and not necessarily always be seen. the concern behind a more concrete, or less visible barrier would give the advantage to the other side. the sheriffs have alluded to, i think the agents have to know what's on the other side to properly defend themselves and protect -- >> it's very helpful. again, a lot of these members tout the brick and mortar that have never been down there. you guys really are the experts. thank you for being here today. members may have additional questions in writing. i would ask you to respond. sheriff, did you have one last comment? >> i would like to throw out there, sir, that our priority
would also be to add in being able to support the u.s. attorney's office, in getting u.s. attorneys that can actually handle the caseload. and they built a brand-new federal courthouse in courthouse in yuma county that only has one federal magistrate. all our agents, u.s. attorneys, have to travel three hours to get to court in phoenix. they could save a lot of money by hiring a district judge to be in yuma, to handle that case load, free those officers up and u.s. attorneys to be able to perform their jobs. >> the secretary had discussed that in my conversations with judge sessions who will be the attorney general. he agrees. we talked about "operation stream line" which was very effective from a deterrent standpoint with the prosecutions. so that's very good. also pursuant to rule 70, the hearing will be open for ten days. with that, without objection, the committee stands adjourned.
american tore tv primetime all this week while congress is on break. here on c-span3. watch c-span as president donald trump delivers his first address to a joint session of congress. >> this congress is going to be the busiest congress we've had in decades. >> live tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and cspan.org. listen live on the free c-span radio app. in case you missed it, here are some clips of c-span's programming last week. kentucky senator rand paul spoke at the republican health care news conference about the gop plan to replace the affordable care act. >> it's going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance. it's going to expand health savings accounts so people can save to buy their insurance. they can use it for their deductible or their premium for
vitamins, weight loss, you name it. exercise. and it also allows individuals to join an association so that they're not left out in the cold by themselves to buy insurance in a small insurance pool. >> actor ashton kutcher shared his insights on modern slavery with the senate foreign relations committee. >> i've been on fbi raids where i've seen things that no person should ever see. i've seen video content -- of a child that's the same age as mine. being raped by an american man that was a sex tourist cambodia. and this child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play. >> from the senate floor, senator charles grassley on gun background checks for mentally ill citizens. >> the government is essentially saying that a person with a
disability such as an eating disorder is more likely to be violent and should no longer be allowed to own a gun. there is no evidence to support that general idea. >> at a news conference, house minority leader nancy pelosi spoke out against president trump's policy agenda. >> it is a vision that disdains hard-working, law-abiding immigrants and embraces vladimir putin. the disgraceful new i.c.e. raids targeting immigrant families are deeply upsetting, cruel, and designed to spread fear. it is a vision that makes america less safe, less strong, and more fearful. >> sima verma, nominee for the centers to have medicare and medicaid services at her confirmation hearing. >> i'm extremely humbled as a first-generation american to be sitting before this committee after being nominated by the president of the united states. it is a testament to the fact that the a