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tv   Homeland Security Secretary Testifies on 2022 Budget  CSPAN  June 17, 2021 8:30am-11:17am EDT

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test. test. cyber security and infrastructure security agency which leads dhs. test test. test. test.
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efficiently and effectively. we have requested additional funds. we greatly appreciate your support, this community's support and congress's support for the additional money we've already received for that agency. >> mr. secretary, you admit that sissa is completely overwhelmed with the amount of work they have right now? >> i would not say that. i would say we are extraordinarily busy. we are incredibly focussed on this, one of our most critical urgent priorities, the cyber security of our nation. >> i understand that, sir. thank you, sir.
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we have several other questions to ask you. but given the gravity of the situation, given my discussions with folks at sissa, it's clear to me they need more resources. i would ask you to consider and speak to the administration about plussing this up. we're going to have to do this in the appropriations process. you're the one that's going to be the guy that's going to be the cheer leader for sissa, and a 6% increase isn't cutting the mustard. i would ask that you do that. >> if i may, i'm incredibly proud to serve as the chair leader, and i am undaunted and unrelented in that regard. >> then give more money. that would help. customs and border patrol, is it true there's not additional border patrol agents scheduled in this budget request? >> mr. ranking member, u.s. customs and border protection is
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seeking to invest significantly important modernization, and technology. >> i understand that. sir, i'm asking for a straight question. does the budget contemplate hiring more customs and border control agencies? >> it does not. we have focussed on recruiting and hiring additional personnel. >> the bottom line, if you go to the border, you'll know many phenomenon are happening. there's a retirement trait that's alarming and it's an increase because of what's going on at the border. and there's a 21-year high in border patrol agents being pulled to deal with the crisis at the border. it seems to be a time to contemplate border control. were you a prosecutor before you took this job? you prosecuted and tried cases? >> for 12 years aserved as an si
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tant united states attorney. >> i'm sure you'll agree, it's the best job you can ever have, but in that capacity did you ever go to the crime scene and kind of see with your head what happened with the crime so you could then prosecute it? >> i think you may recall since we both served as assistant united states attorney, it's important a federal prosecutor bringing a case not serve as a witness. it was our office policy not to observe a crime scene, to rely on the brave and extraordinary federal agents as well as state and local law enforcement who did the investigative work -- >> understood. >> i'm not talking about crime going on. just going back and surveying to get an eye and see what happened? you never did that? >> ranking member, i did not, and my record as a federal prosecutor speaks for itself. >> i'm not questioning that at
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all. obviously it was successful. okay. >> time has expired. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> chair recognizes the gentle lady from texas for five minutes. >> there are technical difficulties. the chair recognizes mr. higgens for five minutes. >> i'm back. >> mr. chair, was i recognized? mr. chair? >> yes, you were. >>. >> gentleman from louisiana. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate your recognition.
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today's hearing should be one of the most significant hearings in congress. we face unbelievable and unprecedented challenges on our southern border. we are taking what the one man that leads the department of homeland security today, and going to question them about the budget that's been requested by our president. we recognize as american citizens that our nation is imperilled. certainly that imperilled status is a threat from weak and agenda-driven policies by politicians who no longer recognize their service to we,
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the people. and our southern border is absolutely the frontline of defense for the sovereignty of our nation. and yet, america can expect no real answers today. what you're going to hear, my fellow citizens, is scripted, rehearsed speeches. he's not going to answer republican questions. he's made that clear. he's absolutely going to echo the talking points of the biden administration in a democrat majority. so let's ask about that. mr. my i don't recollect us, have you or your staff coordinated with the committee majority staff regarding your responses to questions you'll
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receive today and your answers? have you coordinated that? >> congressman higgens, i conduct my responsibilities and fulfill my duties to the american people in a bipartisan manner. >> answer my question. >> i have had the pleasure and privilege of speaking with members on both sides of the aisle prior to my testimony this morning. >> reclaiming my time. thank you for making my point. i have a question that you're probably not prepared for. you're in charge of defending our homeland. let's dig into your true beliefs. do you believe every inch of american soil is sovereign and
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should be preserved and protected? >> yes. >> every square inch is it sovereign and should be secured and protected? >> yes. i answered yes. >> you believe dhs, good sir? that's the pretty simple question. do you believe that -- the answer is yes. do you believe that you are as leader of the department of homeland security, do you believe you're accomplishing that task right now? >> we are. >> we have 1.1 illegal crossings in our border. we're in crisis as a nation. you're in charge. how we doing? >> congressman higgens, i hope you heard the answers to my
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questions. both of them were affirmative. >> he is completely making our point. >> mr. higgens, i'm very -- please allow the witness to answer the question. please answer the question. >> congressman higgens. >> attention to the crisis at our border? >> mr. chairman, i had technical difficulties or i should i say congressman higgens had technical difficulties. it was difficult to receive his questions. i don't know if he heard my questions. i answered his questions quite directly. >> yes. we heard it. and he's yielded his time.
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chair recognizes again the gentle lady from texas miss jackson-lee for five minutes. >> thank you, so very much. good morning, mr. secretary. thank you again. let me thank the administration for the humanitarian treatment of this difficult question of immigration. unaccompanied children this. we thank you for the work you've done to reunite children disastrously separated for the last four years crewly, as many of us have experienced those mothers and children not being reunited. let me turn to the important work of cyber and cyber response. we're under attack. the president made it clear in his meeting with mr. putin yesterday. i want to ask how is the cyber response recovery fund designed in concert in order to permit and respond to attacks on our critical infrastructure such as in the case with solar winds and colonial pipeline. secretary, as you know, my time
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is short and i have several other questions. >> congresswoman, thank you so much for your support of sissa and the critical mission. that fund is very important to equip and enable victims of cyber attacks, to recover from those attacks most swiftly in the service of the public/private partnership and the american public. >> i think it is very important that either we as a congress continue to increase that funding but also i would encourage developing the expertise at dhs as well. texas understands the challenge of climate crisis. will state and local governments with a history of dealing with climate emergencies and are projected to continue this experience, will they be able to be prioritized with competitive grants? >> congresswoman, yes, they will be, and we are taking a look at our fema grant programs which are critically important to
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disaster prevention relief and recovery and resilience, and the critical impacts of climate change on state's abilities to be prepared. >> transportation security administration has shown it over and over again, and the tsos, how they've been the frontline of our security. many of them were impacted by covid-19. the administration of a policy of trying to professionalize the tsa, tsos for retention, and as well, be able to support increased funding for that purpose? number one. number two, the department has security as its important point, but it also should have a commitment to civil rights and civil liberties. what is the process that occurs when a stake holder reaches out to the office if you take the tsa question first. >> thank you so much. we are dedicating to funding tsa
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work force. i applaud and grace the chairman's dedication to that work force. just a few weeks ago, i made a critical announcement about our commitment not only to provide collective bargaining rights to the tsa work force, to the tso, but also to work toward ensuring that their pay is at a level at least that level provided under title 5 of the united states code. so i share your commitment and i really praise the chairman's leadership in this area. one of the critical things, if i may, is a practice that i have instituted in the department of homeland security. our statutorily created office for civil rights and liberties does not engage at the end of our policy development and our
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processes and procedures, but at the very, very beginning. and that is critical to ensuring that the movements that we make, the decisions that we make, integrate that critical mission set, those values and principles on the front end of our work. and i look forward to working with you on that. >> very quickly, we know what is happening in the nation's air raid, and the nation's airlines and the nation's skies. i heard you make a comment about martials, and i would be interested -- marshals, and i would be interested -- civilians who have been called into action as if they are a staff or military to save the lives of the other traveling public. >> i look forward to working with you on that, congresswoman. i really applaud the tremendous work that our federal air
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marshals have done for many years. >> thank you. and i want to compliment fema. we were under siege as all of us with covid-19. they opened self-sites in the texas area with the surge of covid-19. we lost a lot of lives, but they were always there and particularly during the very difficult and very unhelpful time of trying to get ppe and other equipment prior to the vaccination. so thank you so very much. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. the chair recognizes the gentleman from mississippi for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for joining us today. and reviewing the information that you submitted to this committee. i see that in the category with you address the challenges at the border, you state that the number of encounters at the border has been elevated. you go onto say this resulted in substantial strain on the
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processing, transportation, and holding capacity of the u.s. border patrol. later you say as a result of the recent surge in unaccompanied children, this presents a serious challenge to dhs. i know you've made previous statements, previously i believe you said we are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years. in the lifetime you were here when questioned by the ranking member, he asked given the tremendous rise and surge of individuals coming to the border, wouldn't it be fair to call this a crisis? your response was i'm not spending any time on the language that we use. i'm spending time on the operational response to the situation at the border. you make that, and then we see today a budget that has no increased funding for key frontline agencies, and so my first question to you, mr. secretary, is that when compiling these budget requests,
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did you consultant with our state and local partners that we rely on so frequently as we attempt to secure our homeland? >> congressman, thank you for your question. i have most certainly engaged with state and local law enforcement throughout my four-month tenure. i have done so regularly. not only with chiefs of police but with sheriffs and on occasion rank and file so i understand what is being experienced on the ground, and best able and equipped to respond to it most effectively. most certainly, i have engaged, and i will continue to do so. in fact, if i may, i have elevated the position that was in the prior administration a deputy assistant as secretary for state and local law enforcement to the position of assistant secretary for state
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and local law enforcement. in addition to that, i designated an individual, a former chief of police as a senior counselor to ensure that our engagement in state and local law enforcement is both as robust as possible and effective in implementing the policies and procedures that we are tasked to perform. >> mr. secretary, i appreciate that open line of communication. i do see here where the governor of texas last week announced plans to build a wall on the southwest border. and i see that the budget request that you submitted has no funding for additional law, construction, governor abbott said our efforts will be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal rest, protect landowners, rid our community of dangerous drugs and provide texans with the support they need and deserve.
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this is what he referred to in his statement as an unprecedented crisis. in reviewing the request that you have since submitted specifically as it relates to the southwest border, i see as it relates to u.s. customs and border patrol, we're looking at roughly a $1.9 million this budget year than last. no funding for additional border patrol agents or cbp officers. no funding for additional wall construction. i've personally had the opportunity to visit the border to meet with many of our frontline officers who are working extremely hard to contain what i believe is truly a crisis at the border. so my question is based upon the previous statements that you've made to this committee, that you've submitted in writing, that you've made to the public, could you please walk me through and explain to me the reason for the decline and cbp's budget request, the lack of additional
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funding for border patrol agents, the lack of additional funding for cbp agents and the rationale behind no additional wall funding when clearly the governor of texas thinks it is very important to the point that he has already committed $250 million of taxpayer money from the people of texas to build additional wall funding? >> congressman, let me take a step back, because we take a look at the border as a whole. it is not a one size fits all. the border is very dynamic, and there are different needs and challenges in different parts of the border. number one, with respect to the brave men and women of the united states border patrol, we are very focussed on hiring, recruiting, and hiring individuals to fill the vacancies. number two, we are studying the border wall construction. we have already focussed on repairing our roads and levies where the work is needed. we are looking at particular
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gaps in the wall in determining what is the best course of conduct to secure our border. and number three, and this is a vitally important consideration. innovation and technology as the greatest force multiplier in the service of border security. and that has been a bipartisan position ever since i have worked in the department of homeland security. and i am 20 years in to federal service this month. both as a member of the department of homeland security and as a federal prosecutor. and i remember very clearly and very powerfully my meeting with senator john mccain, and his advocacy to me about the need to focus on technology. that the innovations in modern development serve as the greatest force multiplier and
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have the greatest impact in ensuring our security. i agreed with him then, and we are executing on that approach now. not at the expense -- >> gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from rhode island for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. secretary, thank you for the important work you're doing and i want to recognize the important work of the men and women of the department and keeping the country safe and secure. mr. secretary, i wanted to begin by talking about the ransom ware that is affecting our country as epitomized by the pipe line. as the defense goes, we authorized the creation of a joint cyber planning office at sissa, otherwise known as jigpo.
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i'm grateful to me the president's budget funds the office. jigpo is based on a recommendation from the cyber space commission which i have the privilege of sering as a commissioner, brings together private sector entities to coordinate defense campaign plans. what role do you see for the jigpo and helping defend ourselves from ongoing ransom ware campaigns. >> first and foremost, thank you for being a champion of our cyber security mission, and sissa specifically. i think jigpo is on point for much of the work that sissa needs to do. i greatly appreciate the work of the commission. i had the privilege of spending a couple hours with the staff to better understand the details of its work and its recommendation, and i know the nominee to lead
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sissa, jennifer easterly, who have voted out of committee yesterday and we're hoping for her swift confirmation will invest a tremendous amount of focus on jigpo for the very reason you identify. >> thank you. and i certainly agree jigpo will be critical in the effort. however, the rate of the problem is immediate and demands immediate action. so mr. secretary, would you agree that we should convene the interagency and private sector at the jigpo as soon as possible to avoid duplication of effort and ensure coordination in our efforts? >> i most certainly do, congressman. thank you. as a matter of fact, my first public remarks on the cyber security challenges that our nation faces in february shortly after i was confirmed and assumed this role was on the threat of ransom ware.
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the very first 60 day sprint that we embarked upon with sissa was focussed on ransom ware before the colonial papline attack, before the attack on jbs. this is most certainly a critical threat that we face on the homeland. >> okay. very good. well, let us know how the committee can help you in doing that, and let's hope that we see action in weeks, not months. mr. secretary, i want to turn our attention to the issue of systemically important infrastructure. i think the colonial pipeline incident has demonstrated how a cyber incident affecting a single company can cause significant consequences for our economy and national security. so do you think that an approach focussed on systemically important providers similar to the section nine list from the obama executive order is useful
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to mitigating risk and will you commit to working with me on legislation to codify a new social contract with systemically important critical infrastructure? >> congressman, i share your focus on critical infrastructure. i know we across the department and, of course, particularly in sissa, share your concern, and i look forward to working with you on legislation if, indeed, that proves to be the best vehicle to bring strength to our focus. >> thank you. i have concerns about the pipeline incident was handled in the intraagency. i believe it was a significant cyber incident and we should have seen the standup of a cyber unified coordination. even if the ucg was not established, though, i feel that dhs as the lead agency for asset response likely should have
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coordinated the interagency. i realize that decisions were made and were -- were not made by you, so in set aside the specific incident, can you walk us through what dhs's role normally would be under the ppd 41 and the national cyber incident response plan? >> let me assure you, congressman, that we did, in fact, follow and execute an interagency model. we were in close communication, of course, with the white house, with ann newburgher whose expertise and leadership in this area is renowned and deservedly so. i worked very closely with secretary granholme. i was linked up with secretary buttigieg. we were so closely connected throughout the interagency that i can assure you that that
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interagency paradigm that we all ascribe to was executed in full. >> okay. >> gentleman's time has expired. >> the chair recognizes mr. bishop for five minutes. >> thank you. there's a point of the testimony at the bottom of page two that says since april 2020 the numb of encounters at the border has been elevated. just to put a final point on what he says, here's what elevated looks like. you see the blue line? for the sake of the committee, that blue line at the top that goes higher than any other and levels out, that's elevated. and by your expectation last time we had -- we were together in march, you anticipated that. the highest level on a sustained basis in over 21 years.
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here's another chart of it. this is the biden administration here. and you see what happened? the trump administration curtailed and then this enormous continuing spike. your understatement suggests the administration is out of touch with the dynamics of this situation. and also, secretary, you say in the same statement the number of encounters are elevated with ongoing violence, security, and poverty in a number of the countries. you do know, don't you, what the principal cause of this surge is changes in policy by the biden administration from the previous administration? and the factors that you site are from the prior administrations as well. that didn't cause the change. would you agree?
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>> i would respectfully disagree with you, congressman. those of us who have addressed challenges at the border for many, many years have seen spikes decrease, spikes again, decreases again. it's a very dynamic situation. and it is overdue. i think we address the root causes of the regular migration. >> well, i'm just asking about the cause as you deciphers it. i take your answer that you don't agree. i had five minutes with you in march. i asked if you expected the changes in policy would trigger the surge or you were surprised by that development. you said that you had no expectation either way, but we did what we had to do. i don't know that i had any particular expectation one way or the other, i just knew what
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we needed to do when we confront a situation, and in fact, we're doing it. but as this has developed, it's true. i've learned and it's true, isn't it that the cbp briefed incoming biden officials that the changes like terminating mpp would lead to exactly this surge? >> when i had the privilege of engaging with you back in march, the concern was the overcrowded of border patrol facilities. >> that's right. mr. secretary, i'm just asking whether or not you were briefed that these changes would lead to this type of surge? >> if i may, i was not -- >> yes or no? >> i was not -- >> answer the question. >> if i -- >> let's just give him -- excuse me, mr. secretary. mr. bishop, please allow the
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witness to answer the question, and then you can follow up. >> i'd just like him to answer that question. >> congressman, i was briefed on the border situation when i assumed office. in addition, if i may, when we engaged in march, we focussed on the crowdedness of facilities. i said it would take time. the situation at the border patrol facilities is drastically different than it was then. in fact, if you execute on the plan -- >> i reclaim my time. i only have about thirty-seconds, mr. secretary. tens of thousands of migrants have been admitted into the country on the premise of having an asylum claim. i once the majority, maybe the vast majority are determined not to be valid. what is the administration going to remove from the country those
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whose asylum are not being pursued or are determined unvalid? >> families who make plans for asylum under the laws of the united states placed in immigration proceedings to -- seek to advance those claims. if those claims are granted by an immigration judge, they are granted asylum rnd our laws. if those claims are rejected by a judge and appeals prove unsuccessful, those individuals are removed from the united states in accordance with the law. >> mr. chairman, in light of our time having expired, i request unanimous consent of the submission of these two charts. >> yes. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for five minutes.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, there were multiple failures leading up to and during the siege of the capitol on january 6th including the five stand by responses that the pentagon relayed to the national guard during the attack. in the complete and failure of both dhs and the fbi, and not issues a threat assessment or joint intelligence process specific to the january 6th joint session of congress, you were not secretary at the time, but the last time you were here, we reviewed the department's failures that allowed them to ransack the capitol without being arrested.
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can you assure this committee that dhs failure to ash threat assessment is not part of an attempt by the trump administration to lead the capitol and congress? >> congressman, i am not in a position to editorialize on the actions of the -- or inactions of the prior administration. i am focussed on lessons learned and what we can do to make sure that our responsibility are fulfilled, and, in fact, we have taken significant steps in that regard. we issued the first in task bulletin in january. the first in quite some time. since then, we have issued information bulletins to state, local, travel, and territorial partners with respect to the false narratives that we are observing on social media to make sure that the horrific
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events of january 6th do not happen again. we certainly have reviewed the events leading up to january 6th. we continue to review those. we continue to draw lessons learned, and we are very focussed on the point of your question which is the critical dissemination of information to equip local law enforcement and local communities in responding to events before -- to prevent them and respond until they tragically occur. >> okay. but wouldn't part of the lesson learned be trying to assess the prior administration's lack of response to this? wouldn't that be part of lessons learned?
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>> most certainly, and we did note the fact that products were not disseminated as robustly as we have begun to do, and we hope to continue to do. >> you know, we always talk about defending the homeland from foreign or domestic, and to the extent that we had a rogue administration potentially in the white house, that also has to be assessed. correct? >> well, congressman, we look at the events. we try to look at them and succeed in things, so fluid and apolitical lens as i articulated at the outset, our domestic terrorism, we look at an ideology neutral fashion.
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we look at the information that we are receiving, and we ask ourselves what is its connectivity to violence? what can we do to ensure that communities across the country are prepared, can prevent actions? we work to achieve partnership with our state, local, tribal, and territorial communities. >> and just so we're clear, i'm being apolitical as well. it's not a republican and democrat irrespective of who was in the white house at the time. that assessment needs to be made regardless of party. so this is apolitical for me as well, sir. dhs and this committee have been warning about the threat of domestic terrorism for over a decade now. i know the chairman has been
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consistent with this issue, and i have followed his lead as -- with the committee and learned as far back as 2009, dhs warned about resurgence in right wing extremism. >> the gentleman from new jersey's time has expired. the other gentleman from new jersey for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. mr. secretary, you must have noticed. you must feel and see it, that there's a crisis on our southern border. i know that to say there isn't, the administration say that there isn't, but if you speak -- you can feel the frustration of so many congress people that are here today questioning you. the bottom line is illegal border crossings are at a 21-year high. statistics don't lie.
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the bottom line is you can see the videos and visit the sites. you can see the pictures. it's just all there. it's real. and it's not something in the past. frankly, i don't want to talk about the past. i want to talk about what's happening now. you know, over 150,000 people a month, and the children. somebody mentioned what a wonderful job we're doing with the children. let me tell you what's happening to children. children are being abused as they cross the border. children are being abused before they get to the border. they've being used as drug mules. they're being sexually abused. so are women and families. i mean, this is horrific. it's inhumane. it's wrong. i feel like i'm in bar zoe world when we see it doesn't exist, it does. we can see it. you can go there. you can look at it. it is there. it's there now. right now. our customs and border protection agents are completely
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overwhelmed. the president's budget proposal has a 0% increase in homeland security funding for 2022. and further more, and i think this is bizarre to me. the budget does not mention border security. regardless of your partisan positions on things, is there anybody's positions on things, and i'm not trying to give you a hard time, but how can you have a budget of 72-page report and not mention budget security? whatever you think about it. we know that something needs to be done. the customs and border protection for the year 2022 request is almost 300 million below the 21 level. and there is no call for funding for additional border patrol agents or customs and border patrol officers. they are suffering down there. the people who are working there are suffering. the people who live there are suffering. the people on the country are suffering. and quite frankly, the undocumented that are coming
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across are going through hell in many cases as i mentioned. we aren't treating children well. the kus ps and border protection was cut in the president's budget by almost 50% from the '21 enacted level. it's awful. in in addition i'm concerned the bunt left out necessary funding for close guard needs. and if we have time, we can talk about that later. the budget included the recapitalization training which is in my district. the budget does little to address the backlog in the service current. we need to address the infrastructure of the coast guard without a doubt. this budget doesn't accomplish that. and it spends so much and doesn't accomplish that. that's, again, the bizarre, i don't know what other word to use, part of it all. mr. secretary, as you know, president biden issued a proclamation at the first day in office, to pause construction o.
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border wall. why? i don't know. and impose the obligation of the funds for the law. the government accountability office issued a report tuesday this week suggesting the department of homeland security submit a timeline to your committee dealing with how dhs plans to obligate the congressionally appropriated funds. this timeline is necessary to ensure that this committee maintains strong oversight over the department and the administration does not replace priorities established through a legislative process through its own agenda. will you please commit to providing the committee with this timeline? >> congressman, i have to respond. >> sure. i want you to respond. i want you to respond. >> please allow me to respond to some of your preliminary remarks. they require a response. i share your position that the
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smugglers and traffickers who exploit the children are heinous criminals that need to be addressed and, in fact, we have a number of law enforcement operations to elevate the attack on those smuggling and trafficking organizations over and above the work that was previously done. number one. number two, we are, in fact, addressing children in a more humane way than was previously the case. in the prior administration, congressman, unaccompanied children were expelled. we are now receiving those children and assessing the claims for humanitarian relief to which they are entitled under american law. we are no longer expelling those children. >> let me interrupt you, mr. secretary. yes, after they've gone through
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hell to get here and we're not committed to the agreement with the northern triangle and with mexico that was more secure. they were more secure. our country was more secure. >> the gentleman's time from new jersey expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you for being here. quick question. under the prior administration, dhs was able to provide congress with the every four-year homeland security review. this report is important to provide effective oversight by us congress of dhs and to make sure that your department has the assets, capabilities, budget, and policies to address the evolving threats. will you commit to your search today to deliver congress, us, the 2022 four-year security
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report? >> we will, indeed, do so, congressman. >> thank you. and mr. secretary, i want to talk about the border. we need more agents. and a number of years ago this committee had hearings on hiring new border patrol officers. back then, the problem was that most recruits couldn't pass the test or meet the qualifications. or most importantly, pass a poly graph test. the anti-corruption act requires a polygraph test for all new cbp law enforcement officers. i know some vets may be exempt from this, but mr. secretary, are we having the same problems hiring agents? >> congressman, we are very focussed on recruiting and hiring border patrol agents. we are looking at how the hiring
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process can be reformed to achieve greater efficiency. indeed, we are focussed on that critical effort. >> and sir, let me turn again to the border. i went to el paso and took a tour of the area. i met two young girls there. two refugees. two and five-year-olds. they were thrown over the border wall by smugglers. in this case, the wall didn't work. they were safe because two alert patrol border officers saw them with their high-tech equipment. they were able to detect an intrusion with high-tech equipment. so technology worked. my question, sir, is this what you have in mind when you talk about your budget and protecting our nation's security? more effective technology? >> i most certainly do, congressman, and thank you both
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for recognizing the forced multiplier technology is as well as the extraordinarily heroic work of the united states border patrol. >> mr. secretary, again, talking about the border and illegal drugs at the border. i agree with my colleagues. record number of illegal drug seizures at the border. but i would say, sir, that these two hand in hand with a record high demand in consumption for illegal drugs in our nation. would it be fair to say our dollars are purchasing more and more illegal drugs, and this is in great part driving the record number of importations and illegal drug seizures at the border? >> congressman, the demand for narcotics is one of the causal factors. in fact, the data shows that
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most narcotics are sought to be smuggled through the ports of entry which is another reason why we are focussed on innovative technology which is the greatest tool to intradikt the flow of narcotics through the ports of entry. >> so more technology, more effective homeland security? >> indeed, and with respect to the flow of illegal narcotics, the prior administration failed to promulgate critically needed regulations to implement the stop act, and we moved very swiftly in the service of senator portman's leadership in that area to implement the regulations. we're dedicated to that fight. >> secretary, thank you for being here. i look forward to continuing to work with you to secure the homeland, and mr. chairman, with that i yield.
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>> chair recognizes mr. norman for five minutes. >> thank you. and thank you, secretary. secretary, can you hear me okay? >> i can. thank you. >> have you ever had a medical physical? >> congressman, i have, and that's, of course i have, and that's a -- quite a private question to pose to me. >> when you had the medical physical, i'm not talking about what they found, but did they physically get you in the office and see what's going on and was that effective? >> yes, sir. >> okay. why the, then, would the leader of this country and the vice president not want to go physically, look at the border, talk to the border patrol agents that you say you want to try to recruit, why if it applies to the many other fields, why does
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it not apply with this, and, in fact, is it fair if you had a doctor that laughed at you as the vice president did when asked to come to the border? can you comment on that? does that make sense to you? >> i make sense to you? >> i most certainly can. i consider that question to be quite unfair and disrespectful. and let me be very clear. the president and the vice president have requested and directed me to visit the border, which i have done on multiple occasions. and i'd like to -- i'd like to cite to my exchange with ranking member catco with respect to my work as a federal prosecutor and the direction that i provided to state and local law enforcement, to federal investigators, to visit particular scenes. they directed -- i'm sorry, if i may finish. >> i'm reclaiming my time. you made your statement.
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i'm reclaiming my time. you made the statement that my question was unfair. i'm making the statement that your comments are just words and unfair. i asked a simple question and i would like you to answer simply, does it make sense for the leaders of the free world go and talk to and see the border? i'm saying we don't want words. we want actions. when you say you're trying to hire border patrol agents, where's the money? >> we have, congressman, the funds to hire border patrol agents to fill the vacancies, number one, number two i am the secretary of homeland security and it is my responsibility to manage the border at the direction of the president and vice president. and i have visited the border on multiple occasions. number three -- >> have you talked to the border patrol agents? >> and number three -- >> have you spoken with the
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border patrol agents? >> i most certainly have. i most certainly have. and number three, if i may, the vice president served as the attorney general of a border state, of california, and she is quite familiar with the situation on the border. >> she's laughing at it. she has not been -- i'm reclaiming my time, secretary mayorkas. i have a limited amount of time. she's laughing at it. >> that is absolutely -- >> it's an insult for you to say you're looking at the border wall and looking at it when you're not -- what do you have to look at? you're not building it. when you say "technology," what i heard, how effective once the million to two million people are in this country illegally, how effective is technology going to be to root them out when you don't know who's coming in in the first place? simple question. >> congressman -- >> simple question.
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>> the premises of your question is inaccurate. and technology has proven to be an effective force multiplier. >> how about stopping them from coming in the first place, how about knowing who's coming in the country? is that not common sense. >> it is a multi-pronged effort and we do that as well. >> multi-pronged. wow. multi-pronged. it's like all the other words. it's basically you're not doing anything because the numbers don't lie, secretary mayorkas. unless you dispute the 180,000 that came last month as opposed to in the previous administration, 20,000, the same month of 2020. once you get them back in it's hard to get them out. the border agents, you know why they're demoralized, they they're changing diapers. in the budget this administration put out, do you know how many times border is mentioned? not once. you know how many times climate
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is mentioned? 54 times. it's not a priority. this is a crisis, we're going for a second time, many have been far more, we're going for a second time. we would invite you to come talk to the agents, see the children that are put with -- you have 2 and 3-year-olds -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes ms. slotkin for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm struck as we head to the 20th anniversary of 9/11 just how different the homeland issues are from when, you know, dhs was stood up, where most americans were, you know, worried about threats from foreign actors, terrorists, and attacks on the homeland. fast forward 20 years and we're talking about cyber attacks, the border, domestic terrorism, it's very different. so i want to ask about those
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pivots to the different things threatening americans. particularly on cyber. i would note it feels like all roads lead back to the department of homeland security. particularly in the last couple of weeks. first because these attacks have really started to affect the average american, they're affecting our gas and our meat and our video games. i'm standing with farmers and they're asking me about cyber security. you all are really the 911. you are the 911 call center for cyber attacks on businesses, our local governments. and it's critical you be well funded, well staffed, and ready to take on that responsibility. secondly, yesterday in the summit between president biden and president putin, you know, one of the big things where the president put down a marker was on this list of 16 different
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critical infrastructure sectors and how it was important that the russians understood that those sectors meant something to us. and so, i guess, my first question is, can you please tell us how you and ciza are prepared to take on this additional responsibility? particularly since yes, when it comes to deterring russian cyber attacks, chinese cyber attacks often resilience is the best way to deter future attacks. so tell me, we are waiting for your questions, concerns, asks on money, resources, tell us what you've done to prepare. >> congresswoman thank you so much for recognizing the fact that cisa is indeed, as we termed it, the quarterback of the federal government's cyber security efforts. we have requested funding of congress, we are grateful for the support that congress has provided. we have champions on this
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committee with respect to the work of cisa. we received, of course, $650 million already. and we're requesting additional funds. the model that we rely upon and that we are advancing is the public/private partnership, that's what's critical. not only the partnership across the federal enterprise with respect to all of the government agencies that are invested in and dedicated to this effort but a partnership with the private sector as well. it is so critically important. that is our focus. >> thank you, i appreciate that. given that the president put down this marker on these 16 different sectors that i think were identified by cisa i would appreciate it if you would come back and give us an update in those 16 sectors, have the russians tried to penetrate, have the chinese tried to penetrate, have ransomware
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groups tried to penetrate? hearing that from you is an accountability for allowing these groups mucking around in the stuff we need. i make that request. pivoting to the issue of domestic terrorism you came to the committee and talked about how domestic terrorism is now the most significant terrorist threat threatening the average american i know the white house put out their big domestic terrorism strategy. that's a hard pivot focussing on foreign terrorism to domestic terrorism. can you talk to me about how many analysts, what's your budget look like? tell me the people and scope you have working on this threat of domestic terrorism, if you will. >> we will update you in a couple months with respect to the cyber security challenge and the 16 sectors specifically. we have created a dedicated unit
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within the office of intelligence and analysis to focus on domestic terrorism. we have focused our efforts on information gathering, on information to not only best learn of the threat but to be able to disseminate information to our state, local, tribal, territorial partners. we have a concerted effort. we created a center for prevention program and partnership, cp-3 to focus on the effort also, and to develop partnerships that are so critical to this mission. we would welcome the opportunity to provide greater details to you about our intense focus on this mission set, which is, quite frankly, as i have articulated previously, the greatest terrorism related threat that we now face in the homeland. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from iowa for five minutes.
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>> thank you, mr. chair. secretary mayorkas thank you for coming before us here today. as you know in april ranking member catco and i wrote a letter to yourself regarding the bidding for sponsors and care givers of unaccompanied children at the border. we have not yet received a response. can you commit to providing a response on this within the next week? >> congresswoman, i apologize if we failed to respond to your letter, and we most certainly will as quickly as possible. >> thank you. >> i pride myself on responsiveness and we have received -- we have many committees to answer to, and i apologize and we'll address that immediately. >> thank you. yesterday i questioned secretary besarah on the vetting required for uacs and he stated, quote, we are not going to do anything that imperils the safety and care of the child. some of the children are dropped off over the border wall and
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brought here by human smugglers and traffickers. do you agree the smugglers put children at risk? >> absolutely. that's why we enhanced efforts to address the smugglers and traffickers. >> so you all agree, and i agree, these smugglers and traffickers are putting these children in danger yet we have seen no action from the biden administration, if we're serious about protecting children we need to stop making it profitable for smugglers to bring children into the u.s. your administration's open border messaging is putting children's lives at risk and 79,948 children have crossed our southwest border. while i was in the rio grand valley earlier in year, agents told me migrants are paying $4,000 apiece to be smuggled into the united states.
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smugglers are openly advertising their services on facebook. these cartels are making billions of dollars smuggling individuals and drugs into our country. because of this, your agents told me they feel like we are aiding and abetting transnational criminal organizations and the policies of the previous administration were working. if we want to tackle root causes as the biden administration continues to state, then we should not be promoting policies that enrich the cartels and lead to worsening corruption in the northern triangle countries. in addition yesterday, i met with -- who have come into the u.s. legally with their parents as children on a visa status yet these documented dreamers are soon to be deported. i sponsored a bill regarding this and year after year their families have been applied for the green card lottery only to be denied. when they talk to your staff they are told to get married or
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leave and come through the southern border. they're young adults penalized because their parents didn't come in legally. it would be incumbent on you and your staff to address that. finally i co-sponsored bills regarding special interest visas. there's no greater urgency for your department than to bring safely to the united states those who helped us in afghanistan during the global war on terror. the situation is becoming more dire with each day that passes and with reports that the the taliban has closed off access roadways. i'm a vietnam era veteran and i know firsthand, no one wants to see the message of a helicopter leaving with people dangling from the foot plates. can you commit to working with the state department and department of defense with a renewed urgency for evacuating these individuals from afghanistan? >> congresswoman, yes.
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indeed we are very focused on that, number one. number two, allow me to thank you for your service. which is the noblist thing one can do in one's career. number three, i share your view of the smuggling organizations, the trafficking organizations, and the harm they caused. it is why it was such a terrible decision for the prior administration to dismantle the central american minor's program and eliminate a legal and safe pathway for children to arrive in the united states who have a legitimate claim for relief under united states law, which is why we have -- >> secretary mayorkas, those individuals who come into this country and then go back for their hearing, there is only 90% who do not go to the hearing,
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10% who go to the hearing, that only 10% of those 10% are eligible for asylum. so i thank you for your answers, i yield back my time. >> chair recognizes gentle lady from new york for five minutes. ms. clark. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's good to see you again, secretary mayorkas. i applaud your decision earlier this year to require state homeland security program and urban area security initiative grantees to dedicate at least 7.5% of the award to enhancing the cyber security posture. i also understand the administration is seeking funding for a cyber response and recovery fund. i support these efforts but i believe we get more bang for our bunk investing in efforts to prevent actors from compromising
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networks in the first place. the ever increasing number of ransomware attacks has demonstrated that additional support is needed going forward. for that reason, this committee recently passed my legislation, the state and local cyber security improvement act which would authorize $500 million in annual cyber security grants to state, local, tribal and territorial governments. do you agree that the vulnerability of our state, local governments to cyber attacks is a national security threat? and that the federal government should provide a dedicated grant program to strengthen state and local cyber security? >> congresswoman, thank you for championing this effort. i do agree that the cyber vulnerability of state and local governments is a homeland security issue across our nation. and i would look forward to working with you to see how we
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can best empower and equip and resource state and local governments, especially those that don't have the education and resources to strengthen their cyber security alone. >> i look forward to working with you as well, mr. secretary. as the chairwoman of the cyber security committee, i'm extremely concern about the rise in ransomware and the cyber attacks targeting our critical infrastructure. and i'm concerned that we seem to be -- to keep relearning the same lessons from each other -- each of these attacks. we've asked cisa to do an enormous job but we've given them next to no regulatory authority over privately owned critical infrastructure, nor do they have sustained visibility into threats on private networks. i'm working on legislation to close both of those gaps. first by requiring critical infrastructure owners and operators to report cyber incidents to cisa and second, by
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authorizing capabilities they have built through a pilot called cyber century, which allows cisa to partner with certain strategically placed critical infrastructure to monitor and detect threats in real time. specifically threats to industrial control systems and operational technology. would you agree that for cisa to be effective it needs information about attacks of cyber attacks and greater visibility to privately owned infrastructure? >> i think, congresswoman, once again, thank you. i do believe that cisa's visibility into or what is happening across the country is critical to securing our homeland against cyber attacks. it is why the public/private information sharing architecture is central to its strategy. >> can you give me a sense of how your budget supports those
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goals, then? >> so we -- we are very focused on resourcing cisa, we appreciate this committee's and congress's support. we have developed teams that most effectively deploy to public and private entities to assist them in remediation and enhancing their cyber hygiene, working with them to provide tools, education and our expert resources when they are otherwise ill equipped to do so. we are very engaged in the partnership, the funding we hope to obtain will further resource cisa to deploy the teams across
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the country because in cyber we're only as strong as our weakest link. >> i agree, mr. secretary. i want to say it's been six years since congress passed the cyber security act. the fact is we're still not seeing the robust engagement we hoped for. at some point we have to go back to the drawing board and find a solution that works. i look forward to working with you on that. mr. chairman, having said that i yield back. >> chair recognizes the gentlemen from michigan for five minutes, mr. meyer. >> thank you, mr. chairman and secretary mayorkas thank you coming before the committee today. i appreciate your willingness to answer our questions. in my time today i wanted to drill down on what i hope is a major priority for the department and the administration more broadly, that is the u.s. troop
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withdrawal from afghanistan and ensuring the safety of our afghan partners that worked alongside us. we have a moral obligation to protect our allies, put their lives on the line for us, we've been working for months to make sure there's a plan with few concrete results. we recognize the complexity of the withdrawal and understand there are a lot of interagency components involved but time is running out and we're talking about the lives of those who served us, we made a commitment to and we need more transparency and action from the administration beyond ongoing interagency conversations. the current program cannot move quickly enough to address this challenge and we need to develop a plan for those afghan interpreters who put their lives on the line alongside u.s. forces. there's a precedent for this in operation new life during the ford administration in 1975. today it's unclear who's in charge of the effort and what the obstacles are. we'll talk to one department and
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they'll send us over to another and again just this interagency round about. i know that you cannot speak for the state department or department of defense or other agencies but dhs is part of this interagency effort. today i want to get clarity on what dhs's roles and opinions are on this matter. specifically, mr. secretary, does dhs have any objections to the guam option to evacuate our partners and allow processing to continue in a safer location than afghanistan? >> congressman i share your dedication as i know my partners under the leadership of president biden share your beliefs. i need to study the guam proposal. i know it's an american territory and that has implications. but we are focused on this program and i would welcome the opportunity to speak with you
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further about it. i share your dedication to it. >> i would welcome that, mr. secretary. time is running out here. i know our staff, you know, talked prior and so i hope we can get an answer on this, quickly. because the diffuse claims there's some issue on the dhs side with having a guam relocation plan, to your point it is a u.s. territory, making sure we can do whatever we can to alleviate what concerns those may be if that is a statutory constraint, we can hopefully work as a congress expeditiously in order to alleviate that because we need to help our allies and i understand having spent time in afghanistan and having been a soldier in iraq, of the siv issues that the interpreters there were facing
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under the obama administration. things get bad slowly and then all at once. we need to make sure to plan and prepare and if there are issues i hope those are brought out into the open and we can work to remedy and address them as best as we can. if there are procedural modifications that can be made to alleviate concerns that you may have over the guam evacuation we are here to push forward those options because doing nothing is not satisfactory. please consider us a willing and able partner in this but also one that will be pushing forward to make sure we are leaving no stone unturned. we're not taking no for an answer. but we're drilling down and doing everything we can for the afghans that put their lives on the line for us.
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thank you, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentle lady from new jersey for five minutes. ms. watson-coleman. >> good morning and thank you mr. chairman. thank you secretary mayorkas for being here. first of all, let me say that i am encouraged by a number of initiatives as you have advanced today in priorities where dhs. i am also very encouraged about your recent administrative actions to improve protections and the pay for the tsa workers. these actions do represent significant progress towards ensuring that these offices receive the pay protection and benefits they deserve. however, they do not place tsa under title 5 of the u.s. code. therefore, enabling a future administration to roll back these actions without protection in place for the workforce. secretary mayorkas, a few questions to this extent. would you support the
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legislative changes such as the passage of hr-903, the rights for the tsa workforce act, to build upon the recent actions taken to support the tsa workforce and ensure their performance? >> thank you, congresswoman. we deeply appreciate chairman thompson's leadership in this area and i know our subject matter experts are working with his staff to provide technical advice with respect to that legislation. >> so i'm going to say a possibility you're still examining the implications of it. >> yes. >> thank you. while your announcement included actions to improve the pay for the tsa workforce, it didn't actually place the employees on the general schedule wage system, which would ensure that they were getting regular increases as people working in like jobs in perhaps other agencies.
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so would you support placing the tsa employees on the gs system? in order to align them with pay scales and opportunities akin to those with like jobs in other agencies? >> congresswoman, i would support providing pay that is at least at the level of the general schedule. i know that there are some positions where adherence to the general schedule might have unintended consequences that don't serve the interest of particular employees. so i believe that in my direction internally here in the department of homeland security, i wanted to ensure compensation at least at the level of the general schedule. >> not only compensation but moving forward, the kinds of increases that happen when
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you're part of a system. thank you. >> i concur. >> unfortunately the if the's budget request didn't include the funding to implement the changes that you announced. how do you propose congress pay for those expensive actions? would you support ending the diversion of the passenger security fees into the general fund to ensure they go to tsa where they can help pay for these workforce improvements that are so needed? >> i would very much look forward to working with you to review the diversion of those funds and whether -- and if so, how best those funds could be used in the service of the compensation of our tsa workforce? >> that certainly is the most encouraging answer i've gotten to this question in a while. last but not least we're having discussion about private
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security, ransomware attacks on critical pipelines and things of that nature. would you consider directing tsa and cisa to work collaboratively to issue required cyber security standards for all modes of transportation, either through security directives or full notice and comment regulations? >> congresswoman, i -- let me if i can cite to the work that cisa performed with tsa. tsa issued a security directive to the pipeline industry in the wake of the colonial pipeline attack. that was an example and a terrific model of two offices working together to address one of our critical infrastructure sectors. we are looking at critical infrastructure across the board and how best we can use our administrative tools and our regulatory tools that are resident in different parts of the federal government to bring
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a cohesive approach to an increased cyber, it's something i would welcome discussing with you further. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you very much. chair recognizes the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mayorkas thank you for being here. i represent texas' 11th congressional district and have travelled to all 29 counties. i hold town halls, talk to law enforcement and i want to say that the situation at the border is a crisis of epic proportion. the amount of drugs entering this country, the human trafficking, the people being exploited, it's a complete tragedy and crisis. mr. secretary when is the last time that you talked to a customs and border protection agent in the el paso sector oreo
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grand valley or any sector in texas. >> i believe -- i'm not sure if it was yesterday or -- it was certainly within the last few days. i speak to the border patrol multiple times every week if not multiple times every day. >> mr. secretary, those agents are they saying the word help to you? that's what they're saying to me. every time i talk to them and the law enforcement agents in my district are saying because there's been an abdication of protecting that border we have to send dps troops, national guard troops down to the border, which is leaving our communities less safe, less secure when we have an immense amount of drugs entering. just two weeks ago, saturday, in the most -- one of the most northern most counties of my district we had two high speed chases and one of them, the sheriff told me there was a an
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f-350 full of illegal immigrants and the next one, there was a sedan, two got away, were not apprehended. and in that vehicle was fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other drugs. this is a crisis hitting my community and we are not a border district. how are we going to curb the flow of 180,000 folks in may, the amount of drugs and fentanyl entering this country, the children being exploited, what is our path forward? >> congressman, let me answer that precisely. let me first correct a data error. it is not 180,000 individuals. it is 180,000 encounters. that is an important distinction because we are expelling single adults under title 42 of the united states code and we are seeing repeat offenders under title 42. so it's not 180,000 individuals.
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it's 180,000 encounters and i wanted to make that note. when i was a federal prosecutor in the 1990s -- >> mr. secretary, i want to know -- mr. secretary, let me reclaim my time. i'm asking what the plan is -- >> exactly what we have -- thank you, so much congressman, exactly what we have asked of this congress in the president's fiscal year 2022 budget. provide us with the funding to resource innovation and technology, which is the greatest force multiplier in the service of security at our borders. both southern and northern. >> mr. secretary, we are seeing a cut in cbp-specific funding. we have a $6 trillion proposal from the president, and meanwhile, every single agent that i talk to, whether it's border patrol, i.c.e. customs, they're saying help.
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their morale is down, they're not able to do their jobs because the priorities haven't been issued. >> they're asking you for help in technology just as we are asking congress for help in technology. that is precisely why we are directing our funding request in the service of enhanced technology, the greatest force multiplier to achieve security. >> i don't disagree with that. at one point in time, as senator biden, he said, you can tell me what you value but show me your budget and i'll tell you what you value. i think that's what we're looking at right now. in my district and in texas we have a crisis of epic proportion, that we don't seem to be able to get our arms around and the policies that we need are not there to curb that flow. and so when it comes to our budget, when it comes to putting our best foot forward, mr. secretary, we are asking demanding that that we stop this
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mass surge in crisis hitting my community and every other community in the state of texas and on these -- in these border states. >> congressman, we have a strategy, we are executing that strategy. i am confident in the strategy, and i am confident in the proposal that we have submitted to this congress to best resource that strategy. . >> the gentleman from texas, time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentle lady from nevada, ms. titus for five minutes. >> thank you. i'd like to echo the sentiments of some of the others on this committee to say how reassured we are to have you in this position. especially after the parade of incompetents before this committee after the last four years. i'd like to ask about the budget that cuts $15.3 million in funding, especially in wake of the attack on the capitol, and
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with the new emphasis on domestic terrorism that seems to be a bigger threat now than foreign terrorism. >> congresswoman, we are focussing our intelligence and analysis resources on the greatest terrorism related threat to the homeland, and that is domestic terrorism. we have created cp-3 as it is known by its acronym, the center for prevention programs and partnership, we have created a discreet unit within the office of intelligence and analyst to focus on domestic terrorism. we are building an i.t. infrastructure to more ably disseminate information to our state, local, tribal, and territorial partners. we are doing so much in this area and we appreciate the president's leadership in issuing the national strategy
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that we are executing on. >> well, i think that's true, but i -- my district is las vegas and we certainly know what the results of domestic terrorism are, after the october shooting. and we use those funds in a very effective way through our fusion center which works with your department very closely and we hate to see those cut. so i hope that congress can find a way to restore some of those dollars. speaking of my district, i would also ask you about temporary protective status. i have a large population from el salvador in my district. and folks from there and honduras especially are concerned because they're on hold, they don't know when that might be extended, what the courts might do what your position is? they can't go home, whether it's a natural disaster or armed conflict or something and many of them have been here for a
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long time, their families have grown up here. so could you tell us kind of what you're thinking for a time line for decision on tps. >> congresswoman, i appreciate the question a great deal. we're closely and intensely studying the country conditions in el salvador and honduras and
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the former administration's abuse of the waiver authority led to destroying habitats for at risk species and was harmful to tribal nations whose lands cross the southern border. so last congress this committee passed my bill rescinding dhs' waiver authority, do you agree that you and your successors should not have unchecked authority to waive critical public health and safety laws, including the endangered species act, the national environmental policy act, safe drinking water act for wall construction and how are we going to rebuild trust in the u.s. government? >> we are very committed to the environmental protection. any waiver authority that we would exercise would only be compelled by circumstances that
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include an evaluation of environmental impacts and i look forward to working with you on that legislation, congresswoman. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. i yield back mr. chairman. >> thank you, gentle lady leads back. the chair recognizes gentleman from texas, mr. mccall for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you mr. secretary. since january 2021, there have been over 700,000 illegal crossings across the southwest border, a 21 year high that you, in fact, predicted. this month the biden administration officially rescinded the migrant protection protocols. i want to ask you about that, but first, my home state of texas passed a billion dollars in taxpayer dollars because the federal government is failing to step up to the plate.
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texas has had to take this crisis in its own hands, the governor talked about spending now $250 million to begin border wall construction. and is now taking donations. are you, sir, prepared to -- it is a federal responsibility, the border, not a state. we all understand that. are you prepared to reimburse texans for their border security expenses? >> congressman mccaul good to see you again. it's been a while since we worked together, when you were chairman of the committee and i served as the deputy secretary. i believe it is indeed a federal responsibility. we are fulfilling that responsibility. we are executing our strategy and we will continue to do so. >> well, it is a federal responsibility and it -- you know, at some point the federal government needs to pick up the cost. and the tab on this.
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with respect to migrant protection protocols, you know, i've been very -- i have been very harsh in my criticism of the decision remain in mexico and the asylum cooperation agreements with central america. i think that was a foreign policy master piece by the trump administration and a foreign policy blunder by the biden administration, which has created this self-inflicted wound which opened up the border to the traffickers, the traffickers are the ones winning here not the children for sure. and now we're seeing -- we'll probably see a million come into this country, along with the drugs, including fentanyl which is now killing people not only in the northeast but in my home state of texas. i've seen many deaths take place and the apprehensions that are
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going up. what is your plan to deal with this migrant surge? i know you went down to mexico, but please tell me you're negotiating with central america and mexico, you can call it whatever you want, but some agreement with them to stop this crisis that we're now -- >> we have a multi-tiered strategy, congressman, as i think you well know. one, we are addressing the root causes of irregular migration that have persisted for quite a number of years. peaks at several times. you and i worked together to address peaks over the many years. number one. number two, we are building legal pathways, alternatives to irregular migration so people don't have to take the perilous
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journey. we're rebuilding the minor's program, building processing centers in the countries of origin and third, we are, indeed, addressing the tools that we have that bring consequences to bear when individuals seek to avoid detection -- >> if i can reclaim my time. >> organizations -- >> i know it's called -- i talked to the ambassador a lot and that's great to have these processing centers, but until you change the policies that rescinded, the traffic ers are not going to choose those centers they're going to choose to make 15 million a day and half a billion a month by taking these children on this dangerous journey. i would ask as you work with the state department, we have the development finance cooperation when i talked to the guatemala
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ambassador he said i don't want aid, i want trade. he wants private investment in central america we created into law the development finance corporation and there are other avenues to work with the private sector to get private investment in central america because it's one area you and i agree on this one, is that until we fix that we're going to continue to have a migration problem. so i hope you can work -- >> the gentleman's time from texas has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. greene, for five minutes. chair recognizes ms. demmons from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, secretary mayorkas, it's great to see you and have you in your position. i'm pleased to see the administration's announcement of
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the national strategy for countering domestic terrorism this week. as you know, we all must, especially on this committee, be truthful about the threats we face and it's clear that domestic terrorism is an urgent threat the united states faces today. while we in congress survived the attack on our capitol, everyone, as you know, mr. secretary, did not. and we should do everything in our power to thoroughly investigate it and ensure that while we are here doing the people's business that we, our staff members, and the people who work in this building are safe. and how can we forget the law enforcement officers who were beaten down that day and gave all they had to, as they say, hold the line. i appreciate the work the administration is doing to have fema assist state and local
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governments combat domestic terrorist threats in their community. this year the notice of funding opportunity for fiscal year 2021 for fema state homeland security grant program and urban security initiative included domestic terrorism as a new national priority. secretary mayorkas, can you explain the significance of this change in the homeland security grant programs and how you think its impact will be? >> thank you for your focus on this critical area. as i've mentioned, it's the greatest terrorism related threat we face on the homeland. we require grant recipients under the program that you identified to dedicate at least $77 million to this effort. and we believe that the greatest utility, the most effective measure is to build partnerships
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to equip local, state, tribal, territorial law enforcement agencies to understand, to receive, to understand and actionalize the information they receive with respect to threat streams and to build programs of partnership in the communities in which they reside to protect us, to be able to identify individuals who are exhibiting signs of radicalization and intention to commit violence and prevent it before it occurs. >> mr. secretary, thank you so much for that. but by the same token as the chair of the subcommittee of the emergency care and response. the department proposed a decrease of 15.3 million to the urban area security initiative program. one that i as a local official, local police chief, certainly
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depended upon. the department's budget justification states that the proposed reduction will have a minimal impact on accomplishing the goals. mr. secretary, how do the department engage jurisdictions, local law enforcement organizations, and emergency managers to determine that a $15.3 million cut would have a, quote, minimal impact on accomplishing the goals? >> a three part answer if i may, congresswoman. >> yes. >> certainly i recognize your distinguished service as the chief of police before becoming a member of congress. number one, i immediately halted when i came to office a significant diversion of funds that was planned by the prior administration. number two, we have shifted a focus from developing capacity
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to sustainment to now being able to address emerging threats for precisely the reason that your first question underscores. and third, we are working very closely with state and local anw enforcement to analyze the grant formula that underlies the uasi program and make sure that it addresses the needs most effectively of the entire first responder community. >> mr. secretary, i am out of time. thank you so much. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, the gentlewoman yields back. congresswoman verigan will take over as the chairwoman has gone to the floor to vote. next, representative ardino, you are recognized for five minutes.
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>> thank you very much, madam secretary, for being here. the order gives cisa a lot of responsibilities and has several requirements for him, and while we're supportive of these steps, the budget does not request extra funding for cisa to carry this out. is there a reason that cisa is not getting additional funding for all the items in the order? >> we appreciate the funding congress has already provided. we do seek additional funding for cisa, and we intend to devote all of our efforts to execute on the president's leadership in this area. >> but was there a reason that the executive order and the budget requests were not coordinated more closely? >> we do think that the strategy is coordinated very effectively, congressman, and our team would be very pleased to meet with you
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and your staff to ensure that you understand exactly the coordination that we have undertaken. >> so you believe cisa has the resources to meet the requirements under the executive order? >> we have the resources. we have requested the resources and we will continue to request the resources to expand on the mission as the threats so compel. >> i appreciate that, and i agree with the ranking member that cisa needs to be a much more funded organization and needs to be, really, the centerpiece of the government cybersecurity. which is why i'm wondering, where is the administration? i know they're currently reviewing and providing comments on cybersecurity bills that would give the department of energy, enhance cybersecurity authorities relating to the
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energy and pipeline sectors. it's not just the pipeline and energy sectors that are under attack from the cyberattacks, so wouldn't it make more sense for cisa to have the responsibility across the board to be the quarterback and not give d.o.e. enhanced authorities over these pipelines? these attacks are not sector specific. >> we've been taking a look at that. we believe the question raises very complex issues that we would also look forward to discussing. i think what we've done in the pipeline arena, in the pipeline sector in response to the colonial pipeline ransomware attack speaks of the complexity of the issues. tsa has assuredly, you know, regulates the security of the gas pipelines in coordination with cisa, issued a new security directive several weeks ago
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which required -- imposed certain obligations on gas pipeline operators such as identifying a cybersecurity coordinator who would be on call 24/7, such as providing information to cisa upon an attack. and i think this is a very complex area with respect to the role of cisa vis-a-vis regulatory agencies across the different sectors. i would look forward to discussing that with you, congressman garbarino. >> we don't have enough time here today to go over it, but we should definitely work together on that. i want to change angles here real quick. i was down at the border recently. the biden administration has reduced the enforcement of title 42 for uacs and title 42 for other adults, we spoke to border patrol. they said having that -- the border police having that type of 42 authority right now is
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extremely helpful in stopping their officers, their buildings from being overrun. if the administration fully revokes title 42, even though the pandemic is -- we still have a global pandemic and the covid numbers in mexico are very high, is there enough funding for border patrol to make sure that they can deal with the influx of migrants coming across? they are very concerned about what's going to happen if title 42 is fully revoked. >> congressman, it is a very -- this is a very important point. title 42 is a public health authority. it is not an immigration authority. the ability to employ the title 42 authority is dependent upon the public health situation.
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it is driven by public health data not a matter of immigration policy, and that is dictated by law. >> but the border patrol agents still have to deal with it. they're going to need the resources. >> that is correct, and we have a plan before the pandemic to address irregular migration in between the ports of entry absent a public health imperative. >> the gentleman's time has expired. thank you to the gentleman for your questions. i will now recognize myself for five minutes of questions. mr. secretary, first, thank you for being with us today and i will just remind my colleagues on the other side who have been asking for this country to open up because there is no longer a health crisis, according to them, that we will continue to encourage the administration to look at title 42 now that the country is reopening again.
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i want to thank you, mr. secretary, for all the work that you have done at the border and for allowing me to visit the border with you to see the remarkable progress we've seen and having children out of border patrol custody as quickly as possible under your work and work of this administration has been remarkable to see the hours go down significantly, less than 72 hours in many cases, 24 hours. i want to thank you for that. we also heard from colleagues across the aisle about help on the border. i'm happy to report to my colleagues that help is on the way. i had the opportunity to go to fluxon for a graduation ceremony there for the second class border coordinator which was a position that was created to
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provide that additional assistance for border patrol agents so they had that extra help to process migrants to make sure we are getting them better care for children and for families and to allow more agents to remain in the field. so i wanted to thank you, mr. secretary, for that. mr. secretary, as you know, the department of homeland security is the largest federal law enforcement in the country. at least 16 tribal law enforcement officers received training from one of dhs's components. as i mentioned, i was fortunate to visit the federal law enforcement training center in charleston early this week. this visit reinforced my belief that dhs has the opportunity to be a leader in law enforcement training by prioritizing de-escalation tactics and oversight mechanisms in its
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standards regarding use of force and sharing compliance throughout the department. secretary mayorkas, what efforts is dhs making to ensure that the department's law enforcement components are prioritizing de-escalation and utilizing proper use of force tactics? >> congresswoman, thank you for your preliminary remarks. we are every day looking at the training that we provide to our law enforcement personnel and ensuring that it comports with best practices as they emerge, and we are very focused in ensuring that fletsi has an important role with respect to state and local law enforcement. i would be pleased to provide
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the particulars to you. >> thank you, and you kind of read my next question, was, you know, what are flexi and the department doing to convey these best practices to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies? >> we work in close partnership with state and local tribal territorial law enforcement. i was just in california last week and met with chiefs of police, sheriffs, highway patrol and spoke about these very issues. we take a very collaborative and communicative approach with our partners on that. >> thank you for that. i was impressed with seeing the efficiency of having this law enforcement training center there and so many agencies, i believe over 100, using it to collaborate and working together. i'm also pleased the chairman of
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our committee has taken action on this issue by developing action in dhs reform bill that prohibits the use of chokeholds, among other reforms. mr. secretary, will you contribute to working with the committee on acting and implementing these reforms? >> i look forward to doing so, congresswoman. >> thank you. i see my colleague, mr. torres, of new york has joined us. i want to recognize the gentleman from new york, mr. torres, for five minutes. >> good morning, mr. secretary. my first question is about the 287-g program. as you know, the program grew by 240% during the trump administration. it has led to the localization and has done incredible damage to public safety.
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despite promising to end the program, which has been abused by the likes of sheriff parpeio, your administration has so far kept it intact. so i ask, when do you plan to end the program as the president promised? >> congressman, let me share with you the approach that we are taking. number one, i should say as a predicate, change takes time. number two, it is clear that we need to strengthen and improve our relationship with state and local law enforcement to make sure that it is productive in the service of our mission and and in adherence with our values. i am working with law enforcement on new enforcement guidelines, and that, i think, is the first step necessary as we reform our immigration enforcement system.
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number two, an additional point, and i think you are aware of this, if perhaps we see the pernicious abuse of a 287-g agreement, the mistreatment of individuals in immigration custody, we will act accordingly and, indeed, i have done so and i specifically and respectfully draw your attention to our actions in the state of massachusetts in keeping with the findings of the attorney general in that state. >> once you're conducting a review, what's the timeline for the review? >> we will move as swiftly as we can. >> do we have something more concrete? >> i do not have a more concrete timeline for you. >> a question about dps. as you know, two hurricanes in
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particular had an impact on 11 million people causing the evacuation of 800,000. since environmental disaster is one of the criteria for temporary protected status, are you open to designating guatemala and redesignating el salvador and nicaragua? >> we're looking at those country conditions very carefully, and we fully recognize that climate disasters are considered a factor in our review. >> is there a timeline for that review? >> we're also moving as swiftly as possible, congressman. >> as you know, mr. secretary, there has been a surge in cyberattacks. the law department in america's largest city was struck by cyberattacks, so was the
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metropolitan transit authority, the largest public transit system in the united states. are you aware of each of these attacks? >> i am. >> and since local and state governments and public transit systems have no reporting obligation to dhs when it comes to cyber incidents, how did you find out about these attacks? when did you find out? did you find out immediately? >> congressman, we pride ourselves on our partnerships with both public agencies across the nation as well as with the private sector. we are looking at reporting obligations, the current architecture. they are voluntary. we're determining the pros and cons of making reporting obligations mandatory, i should say obliging of them. >> my time is running out. does dhs have to report
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incidents to receive dhs funding? >> i would have to look into that. >> if you did have authority, would you be able to give authority to states that have cyberattacks? >> i would have to analyze that. i'm not equipped to answer such a question extemporaneously. >> i see my time is about to expire, so i thank you for your public service. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. the gentleman's time is expired. i thank the gentlelady from california for stepping in while i went and voted. thank you much. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate it, and good morning, secretary mayorkas.
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>> congresswoman, i apologize for interrupting. it's a little difficult to hear you. >> i think you need to turn your volume up. >> can you hear me better now? >> yes. i'll focus even more intensely. >> i'll jump right in on the questions and i'll speak as loud as i possibly can. so, secretary mayorkas, you would, i'm assuming, certainly agree that border security is under the purview of homeland security? >> yes. >> excellent. so can you tell me what the job description of the borders is? >> do you mean the secretary of homeland security? my responsibilities -- >> i'm referring to the appointment from president biden to vice president harris as the border czar. >> congresswoman, you are speaking with the individual who has responsibility for border
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security as the secretary of homeland security. the vice president's responsibility -- >> so it is our understanding that vice president harris has been appointed by president biden as a border czar. >> that is a misunderstanding. the vice president, her focus is on addressing the root causes of regular migration, working with the countries of guatemala, el salvador and honduras in the northern triangle to understand why people are leaving their home countries, their homes where they speak the language, where they built their lives -- >> i understand where you're going with this, but i'm going to reclaim my time. i'm just going to redirect. how many border patrol agents do we have on the southwest border? >> i will provide you with the precise number, congresswoman.
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i will provide that to you later today. >> as secretary of homeland security, we have a border crisis and you can't tell me how many agents we have, roughly, approximately, on the southwest border? >> congresswoman, i think you're aware of the fact that tens of thousands of border patrol agents that we have. you're well aware of the responsibilities that they execute and the talent and ex expertise they have. >> can you tell me how many sectors there are in texas? >> i can't tell you. >> there are nine sectors. it is equivalent of 125 agents which are not full-fledged agents. they are transporters for migrants and paper intake folks.
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but when we have a record number of retirees out of the border patrol agents with some of the lowest morale in the country and agents in the sector alone, one of the sectors seeing the highest numbers of got-aways on the southwest border, do you think 125 agents of additional coordinators is sufficient given the number? >> congresswoman, if you understand the force and its needs -- >> i don't mean to be rude, but a yes or no will suffice. >> may i please have the opportunity to answer your question because this is vitally important. not only to the execution of our facilities but to the border and morale of our agents. we have them execute mission
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support, and therefore we are recruiting and hiring individuals with different job portfolios so that those with expertise can actually execute the responsibilities within the parameters of their expertise. >> secretary mayorkas, i'm not sure what expertise is required to drive a bus or van and to fill out paperwork, but i do think that our full-fledged sworn officers and agents need more support from the administration, absolutely. i'm going to direct the remaining time that i have. as you know fema, food and agency food program, provides federal funds. i have recently been on an airplane in mcgowen, texas in which migrants were flown, these were migrants we picked up the night before, and it's my understanding fema is supporting the cost of these migrants, is that true? >> we brought fema from different agencies to address the security of the border. it reflects our commitment to
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achieving that security. it is part of our strategy, and we are executing on that strategy. we have taken fema personnel to the department of health and human services as well, personnel from u.s. citizen and immigration services to address the needs of unaccompanied children. it's what you and i spoke of at the last hearing, and i think the progress that -- extraordinary progress that we made with respect to that mission set speaks precisely to what i communicated to you in march, which is we have a strategy, are executing our strategy -- >> my time has expired. i want to be respectful of the chairman, so i'll take your answer as a yes, that fema has been providing the cost of support of migrants, and questions i sent to you in march have gone unanswered. i will repeat my question for your office to respond in writing those requests, and with
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that, i yield back. >> the gentlelady yields back. mr. mayorkas, i'm submitting for the record a letter from chairwoman maxine waters asking for certain information from your office with consent for it to be included in the record. no objection. i want to thank the secretary for his testimony. members of the committee may have additional questions for the secretary, and we ask that you respond expeditiously in writing to those questions. the chair reminds members that the committee record will remain open for ten business days. let me thank you again, mr. secretary. you have done almost three hours, so thank you very much. without objection, the committee stands adjourned.
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see a trench and a bunker at the health and education center in carlton, pennsylvania. and hear how first ladies jacqueline kennedy and lady bird johnson worked on enhancing the white house. now house homeland security committee ranking member john katko talks about security after recent cyberattacks. following his remarks, cyber experts talk about lessons learned in the 2020 elections and the


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