SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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INTERIOR IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION,
BORDER SECURITY, AND CLAIMS
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
MARCH 10, 2005
Serial No. 1095
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/judiciary
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
DARRELL ISSA, California
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTOM FEENEY, Florida
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland
PHILIP G. KIKO, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSubcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana, Chairman
STEVE KING, Iowa
LOUIE GOHMERT, Texas
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
DANIEL E. LUNGREN, California
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
DARRELL ISSA, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
ZOE LOFGREN, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
GEORGE FISHMAN, Chief Counsel
ART ARTHUR, Counsel
LUKE BELLOCCHI, Full Committee Counsel
CINDY BLACKSTON, Professional Staff
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNOLAN RAPPAPORT, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
MARCH 10, 2005
The Honorable John N. Hostettler, a Representative in Congress from the State of Indiana, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims
Mr. Paul K. Martin, Deputy Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice
Mr. Michael W. Cutler, Former I.N.S. Special Agent
Mr. Randy Callahan, Executive Vice President, National Homeland Security Council, AFGE
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared Statement
Dr. Craig Haney, Professor, University of California at Santa Cruz
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Questions submitted to DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement by the Honorable John Hostettler
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress from the State of the Texas
Prepared Statement of the Honorable Linda Sánchez, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
INTERIOR IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES
THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2005
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Immigration,
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Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 12:14 p.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John N. Hostettler (Chair of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The Subcommittee will come to order.
Last week, this Subcommittee reviewed the lack of adequate resources to secure our national borders against the entry of criminals, gangs, terrorists, and other law breakers. But what resources have we committed to finding and removing such aliens who are already living among us? That is the subject of this week's hearing.
The 9/11 Commission staff report on terrorist travel stated it had, ''identified numerous entry and embedding tactics associated with earlier attacks in the United States,'' and that prior to 9/11, ''abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity.''
But this threat is hardly one for the history books. Admiral James Loy, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, recently testified that, ''We believe that attacking the homeland remains at the top of al-Qaeda's operational priority list. . . . We judge . . . that the next dramatic attack will attempt to replicate the 9/11 model of multiple attacks against geographically distant and symbolic targets that cause unprecedented economic damage, mass casualties, and physical destruction. . . . Thus, the probability of an attack in the United States is assessed to be high.''
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And Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller, testified that, ''In 2004, we learned that operatives had conducted detailed surveillance of financial targets in New York, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey . . . a sobering reminder of the threat we continue to face. . . . [There] is the threat from covert operatives who may be inside the U.S. who have the intention to facilitate or conduct an attack. I remain very concerned about what we are not seeing. Efforts by extremists to obtain training inside the U.S. is also an ongoing concern.''
Also, Representative Solomon Ortiz told us last week that, ''Enforcement officers routinely release illegal immigrants into the general population of the U.S. because they do not have the sufficient funds and space to detain them at detention facilities. Captured [Other-Than-Mexican aliens] are released on their own recognizance and are ordered to appear at a deportation hearing weeks after their release . . . but the number of released illegal immigrants not returning for deportation grows by the hundreds each week. [This is] undermining our national objective to take the war to the enemy so we do not have to fight the war on terror inside our country.''
My colleague from the minority is quite correct. I am concerned that we must, indeed, 'fight the war on terror inside our own country.' And while an aggressive and committed strengthening of our borders by the doubling of Border Patrol agents is a vitally important layer in our homeland security, it is but one layer of what should be a multi-layered approach.
Recently, there has been much discussion centering around the comments of members of the Administration regarding the use of our porous borders by terrorists to enter this country illegally and striking the homeland. But the question that I ask today is this, 'Why would a terrorist, or group of terrorists, risk possible interdiction at the border and subsequent detention, questioning, arrest, or removal when they could obtain, say, a student visa or visas, enter the country legally, melt into society, and stay as long as they wish, knowing the Federal Government will likely never give them another thought, even if they overstay their visa?'
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Purely imaginary, you would say? Well, imagine this. All 19 of the 9/11 hijackers legally entered the United States. However, on September 11, 2001, three of the 19 were illegally present in our country because their visas had lapsed. Due to a lack of resources, a lack of policy emphasis of removal of illegal aliens, or a combination of the two, there was no action taken to aggressively enforce the immigration laws in the interior United States, and the rest, as they say, is history.
These facts led the 9/11 Commission to report that apprehension of, [b]oth Hazmi and Mihdhar [two of the 9/11 hijackers] could have derailed the plan.' '[The] plan' that the Commission refers to is the flying of planes into buildings and that cornfield on that fateful day. The continuation of the lack of interior enforcement most probably encourages future terrorists to ask, 'If it's broke and they're not going to fix it, why change tactics?'
But as our colleague, Mr. Ortiz of Texas, testified last week, terrorists do not come into our country with a big ''T'' painted on their forehead. They make their way into our country-to use the gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King's, analogy-as that needle in a haystack of millions of legal and illegal immigrants. If we are to have any hope of ever exposing the needle, we must greatly diminish the size of the haystack.
'How do we do that?' You may ask? By remembering what the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform said in its 1997 Executive Summary when it stated, ''[r]educing the employment magnet is the lynchpin of a comprehensive strategy to deter unlawful migration.'' By aggressively enforcing our immigration laws in the interior United States and especially worksite enforcement, significantly increased numbers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE Agents, will complement the increased manpower defending the integrity of our borders.
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Likewise, Representative Ortiz told us the consequences of inadequate detention beds. And because of a lack of ICE Agents, absconders go free and as I said earlier, employer sanctions have been abandoned.
As Hal Rogers, Chairman of the Appropriation Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee recently stated, ''Detention and removal officers had to reduce the number of detainees held at one time, about 23,000, to below 18,000. . . . ICE has not been fully engaged in going after absconders and is removing deportable aliens at a slower rate than in 2004. . . . There is roughly 465,000 absconders. . . . Forty-five of those are criminals . . . this has got to be on the top of our list, has it not?''
Last year, this Congress passed and the President signed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. This Act called for an 800-agent increase in ICE strength in 2006 and for 8,000 more detention beds in 2006. Yet, the President's budget calls for only 143 new ICE investigators, and 1,920 detention beds, both less than 20% of the number we authorized.
I am deeply disappointed by the Administration's budget. It would be a horrible lapse of duty for this Subcommittee to allow a lack of resources to facilitate the embedding of terrorists and criminals in our country. I will do my utmost to ensure that the promise that Congress made to the American people in last year's legislation will be fulfilled.
The witnesses at today's hearing will examine the need for the increases set forth in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act from each of their unique perspectives.
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At this time, the chair now recognizes the Ranking Member from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee, for purposes of an opening statement.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me also welcome the witnesses, and as well, welcome new Members of our Committee, particularly those on the minority side. We welcome, as the Chairman has done, those who have been added on the majority side.
We have had now a series of hearings on how we can do better, and frankly, we have also had a series of hearings that would point out some of the fractures in the system. Today, we talk about the ICE functions and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement that was mergedhad merged investigative functions of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Customs Service.
Yesterday, in Homeland Security, we had an opportunity, as well, to listen to the questions being raised as to whether or not we should reengage those two entities under one and whether or not the idea of the enforcement inside the United States and enforcement at the border should be as one.
Frankly, Mr. Chairman, I think that in light of the needed requirements to up it, if you will, to ratchet it up on protecting this nation, I think we should leave no stone unturned on how we could be more effective in doing that. So this is a particularly important hearing as we address the question of whether or not we have the appropriate resources.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement merged the investigative function of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Customs Service, the INS detention and removal functions, most of the INS intelligence operation, the Federal Protective Service, and the Federal Air Marshals Service. ICE's areas of responsibility include the enforcement of laws dealing with the presence and activities of terrorists, human trafficking, commercial alien smuggling operations, document fraud, and drug trafficking, and many important aspects of their work have been successful.
Just recently, for example, we were able to applaud Operation Predator, which was able to bring in 5,000 arrests since 2003 on the question of those who are non-citizens who have come into this country and who have been predators against our children.
Also, for instance, ICE investigators conducted an 8-month investigation last year of two men who were selling false identity documents to members of terrorist organizations. The ICE investigators developed such a strong case against these individuals that they pleaded guilty on February 28, 2005, to a charge of involvement in a conspiracy to sell false documents to purported members of Abu Sayyaf, a Philippines-based group that has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 authorized 800 new ICE investigators for FY 2006 through FY 2010. The President's budget only requests funding for 143 new ICE investigators for FY 2006, which is only 17 percent of the authorized number. We need all of the 800 additional ICE investigators authorized by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And with a little lightness, Mr. Chairman, maybe the Administration was simply trying to tease us, to egg us on, to see if we had the stomach to do what is right, and that means that we need to fully fund the 800 additional ICE investigators. Let's take the bait, if you will, accept the challenge, and do what we need to do.
The National Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act also authorized 8,000 new detention beds each year from FY 2006 through 2010. The President, however, has requested funding for 1,920 beds for FY 2006, which is only 24 percent of the authorized number. Mr. Chairman, I know that you are headed to the border, at least a portion thereof. I have spent some time at the border with Congressman Ortiz. I saw what the need was and the crisishard-working men and women who understand the needs of securing the border, but more importantly, understanding the needs of retaining those who have entered this country illegally. They cannot do their job without the full funding of these detention beds and the recognition that, in fact, we have a responsibility to provide them with the necessary resources.
Now, to have 8,000 detention beds also means that we must have a process that recognizes the need for an expedited response to individuals who are detained. It doesn't make any sense to detain individuals for months and months, separating them from their family and not allowing them to petition their rights in the immigration judicial system. We must fix that, as well.
Again, these beds are necessary to provide appropriate detention facilities for asylum seekers and to detain people who might be dangerous, but as I said, we must find a pathway, a justice system that allows those asylum systems to be heard as quickly as possible.
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In a recently issued report on asylum seekers and expedited removal proceeding, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom provides information about 19 detention facilities that house asylum seekers. The facilities are located in 12 different States and include six county jails, 15 Homeland Security facilities, 17 private contract facilities, and one special county-run detention facility for alien families. These institutions housed more than 70 percent of all aliens subject to expedited removal in FY 2003. Overall, they house approximately 5,585 alien men and 1,015 alien women. More than half of the facilities reported that they house asylum seekers with criminals. Among the eight facilities that housed criminal inmates, seven permitted some contact between them and the detained alien. In four of the facilities, this included shared sleeping quarters.
Mr. Chairman, I think all of us would admit that is inappropriate and it must stop. The 8,000 beds are necessary not only for detention, but simply for justice and what is fairness. In only one of these facilities were the line officers or guards explicitly told which inmates were asylum seekers. Also, very few of the facilities provide any specific training to sensitize guards to the special needs or concerns of asylum seekers. Even fewer facilities provide training to recognize or address the special problems experienced by victims of torture and other forms of trauma.
One of the oppositions, or one of the reasons for opposing the intelligence bill before it had been amended or before that language had been eliminated was the language that was included about asylum seekers, and one of the reasons for opposing the recent bill that was on the floor dealing with asylum seekers was it was simply inappropriate, unfair, and did not recognize the plight that asylum seekers face.
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All the facilities but five reported that they used strip or other kinds of invasive searches on detainees as a standard procedure during the time they were processed into the facility. All but three reported using strip or invasive searches for security-related reasons during the detainees' subsequent confinement. Virtually all of the facilities reported using physical restraints. For example, the Tri-County Jail in Illinois used handcuffs, belly chains, and leg shackles when detainees left the facility. Only a few of the facilities provide the detainees with access to private, individual toilets, and only slightly more of our facilities were detainees able to shower privately. The overwhelming majority of the facilities require detainees to wear uniforms.
Some might say these individuals are undocumented and illegal, but what I would simply say to those in this country, to our Committee Members, that we can do better. America is known to do better and we would want to be treated in such a way if we were detained elsewhere around the world. It is what you do within your own boundaries and, as well, in what you do in upholding your values that speaks more volumes to the world.
It is unconscionable that we are treating asylum seekers this way. They have not been sentenced to incarceration as convicted criminals. Why are they being treated as if they were convicted criminals? This is especially distressing in view of the fact that some of them have come to the United States seeking refuge from torture and other forms of oppression and abuse.
The failure to provide adequate detention facilities does not just result in inappropriate incarceration of asylum seekers. It also results in the release of aliens who might be a threat to our national security. Although a large number of aliens cross the border between Mexico and the United States illegally, the U.S. Border Patrol catches many of them and returns many of them to Mexico.
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The Mexican government, however, usually does not accept aliens from other countries. These aliens are referred to as ''other than a Mexican,'' or OTMs. Due to a shortage of detention beds, these individuals cannot be detained. According to information from the Congressional Research Service, USBP released 30,000 OTMs last year on their own recognizance and many of them do not return for trial. Most of the OTMs are ordinary people who come to the United States to seek a better life for themselves and their families.
There is a concern, however, that has been expressed by my colleague, Congressman Ortiz, that terrorists can use these fractures in our system, these weaknesses in our border security as a way to enter the country to do harm. Also, we have a growing number of MS13, Mara Salvatrucha, gangs in our major cities and members of these bloody, violent Central American gangs are entering the United States as OTMs.
Mr. Chairman, you mentioned the desire to fix our immigration system and you also mentioned the fact that visas can be abused. You are absolutely right, but I don't think we should use a blanket concern about a broken immigration system and our borders being porous to not recognize the validity of student visas. Even universities throughout America, some in your State and district, I know, find the student visa program and other visa programs to be helpful in the intellectual exchange and international exchange and the positiveness of working together around the world, collaborating to fight terror, to promote peace, to educate and understand each other's customs and values. It is important to have a system like that that works in a positive sense.
But we must fix our broken immigration system and provide adequate lawful access to the United States. The population of undocumented aliens and the number of aliens who come here illegally will be reduced greatly. Then it will be easier to deal with enforcement problems. We can even find a way to re-merge, if you will, these two entities, internal defense and external defense. But we need many more detention beds, and might I add, we need 10,000 Border Patrol Agents for the Northern and Southern border.
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In the meantime, however, we need additional ICE investigators and more detention beds. We also need to stop the inhumane practice of housing asylum seekers in penal settings where they are treated as incarcerated criminals.
I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, on these very important issues.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentlelady, and without objection, all Members may insert their opening statements into the record.
[Whereupon, at 12:32 p.m., the Subcommittee proceeded to other business, to resume at 12:42 p.m.]
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The Subcommittee now moves to the consideration of the hearing before us, and will the witnesses please return to the panel. Thank you for your indulgence, and I want to thank Members of the Subcommittee for your attendance.
Paul K. Martin has served as Deputy Inspector General at the Department of Justice since June 2003, and in the Inspector General's office since 1998. Mr. Martin was a founding staff member of the United States Sentencing Commission and served as its Deputy Director for 7 years. Mr. Martin received his Juris Doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1990 and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the Pennsylvania State University in 1982. He is married to Rebekah Liu, an attorney in Washington, D.C., and they have three daughters.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Michael Cutler began working for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS, in 1971, as an Immigration Inspector assigned to JFK International Airport in New York. In 1973, he was assigned as an examiner responsible for adjudicating petitions filed by American citizens on behalf of their alien spouses. His goal in this assignment was to attempt to uncover fraudulent marriage scams. In August 1975, he became a criminal investigator for the INS. From 1988 on, he was assigned as the INS representative to the Unified Intelligence Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency. In 1991, he was promoted to the position of Senior Special Agent and was assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force. His investigations of major alien drug trafficking organizations ultimately resulted in successful prosecutions for a wide variety of criminal violations. Mr. Cutler graduated from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1971 with a B.A. in Communications, Arts, and Sciences.
Randy Alan Callahan is Executive Vice President of the National Homeland Security Council, AFGE, the union representing ICE Agents. He began his career in the Federal Government in 1996 as an Immigration Inspector in Calexico, California. In August 1997, he transferred to San Diego to be a Detention Enforcement Officer. Randy served in that capacity until 2003, when his position was reclassified and called Immigration Enforcement Agent. Randy served 14 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves and is a Desert Storm veteran. He became a union steward in July 1998 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming Western Region Vice President in August of 2000, Secretary-Treasurer in 2002, and Executive Vice President in 2004.
Professor Craig Haney is currently a professor in the Psychology Department at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He is most well known for his work as one of the principal researchers on the highly publicized Stanford prison experiment in 1971. Professor Haney has published widely on prison-related topics in a variety of scholarly journals. Craig Haney was appointed by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to serve as an expert on detention issues. He received his Ph.D. in psychology and J.D. degrees from Stanford University in 1978.
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At this time, due to the Committee's policy with regard to an oath, I ask the witnesses to please rise and raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give before the Subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?
Mr. MARTIN. I do.
Mr. CUTLER. I do.
Mr. CALLAHAN. I do.
Mr. HANEY. I do.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, and let the record reflect that the witnesses have responded in the affirmative.
Gentlemen, once again, thank you for being here. We have a 5-minute limit to our opening statements. We would hope that you would stay as closely to that 5 minutes as possible.
Mr. Martin, you're recognized.
TESTIMONY OF PAUL K. MARTIN, DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
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Mr. MARTIN. Thank you very much. Chairman Hostettler, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, and Members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee as it examines the issue of interior immigration enforcement. I represent the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice where, up until March 2003, we were responsible for oversight of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service until it transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.
In 1996 and again in 2003, the OIG examined the INS's effectiveness at removing aliens after they had received final orders of removal. In both reviews, we found the INS generally successful at removing a high percentage of aliens it had detained, pending their removal. However, both reviews found that the INS was far less effective at apprehending and removing non-detained aliens with final orders. In addition to a lack of resources, we concluded that the INS had not effectively implemented the recommendations in our 1996 report to improve its performance at removing these aliens.
While 2 years have passed since we issued our last report on this subject, our findings remain relevant as this Subcommittee examines the appropriate level of resources to dedicate to interior immigration enforcement.
Our reports found that the INS was effective at removing more than 90 percent of detained aliens issued final removal orders. However, in 1996, we found that the INS removed only 11 percent of non-detained aliens. To improve its ability to carry out removals, our 1996 report recommended that the INS take more aggressive actions to remove non-detained aliens, including moving more quickly to present surrender notices to aliens after receiving final orders, delivering such notices to aliens instead of mailing them, and coordinating with other Government agencies to make use of all available databases for tracking aliens who failed to appear for removal.
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In late 2002, we initiated a follow-up review to assess the INS's progress in implementing these recommendations. Our February 2003 report found that the INS had made little progress in removing non-detained aliens since 1996 and had increased its removal rate to only 13 percent. We also found that the INS did not act timely, or, in some cases, did not act at all to correct deficiencies that were within its control. These included failing to follow through on a pilot project that targeted alien absconders for removal and failing, at least prior to September 11, to enter alien absconder information into the FBI's National Crime Information Center so that Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies could assist in apprehending criminal absconders.
Our 2003 review also examined three high-risk groups of non-detained aliens and found that the INS was ineffective at removing these individuals. Specifically, we found that during a 15-month period ending in December 2001, the INS removed only 6 percent of non-detained aliens from countries identified by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism.
In addition, although the INS had established removal of criminal aliens as its first priority, we found that it had removed only 35 percent of the non-detained criminals in our sample.
And third, we found that the INS removed only 3 percent of the non-detained aliens who sought asylum, were denied, and had received final removal orders. We were concerned by the low removal rate for unsuccessful asylum seekers because several individuals convicted of terrorist acts in the United States requested asylum as part of their efforts to remain in this country.
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As a result of these continuing problems, our February 2003 report made eight additional recommendations to the INS to help improve its ability to remove aliens issued final orders. The INS did not respond to these recommendations before the agency was transferred to the DHS in March 2003. Since then, the DHS Inspector General's office has had the responsibility for monitoring the response to these recommendations.
Oversight of the Federal Government's immigration enforcement efforts now rests with the DHS Inspector General. We, therefore, cannot provide the Subcommittee with definitive information about the DHS's current progress in removing aliens issued final orders. However, we believe that effective interior enforcement remains an important issue and the DHS, as well as this Subcommittee and the DHS IG's Office, should continue to focus attention on this important area.
This concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Martin.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Martin follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PAUL K. MARTIN
Chairman Hostettler, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, and Members of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims:
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I appreciate the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee as it examines the level of resources dedicated to interior immigration enforcement. I represent the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Justice (DOJ) where, up until March 2003, we were responsible for oversight of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) until it transferred from the DOJ to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The 2000 census estimated that as many as 8 million unlawful aliens reside in the United States. That total includes individuals who entered the United States without proper documentation and those who entered legally but overstayed or violated their visas or terms of entry.
In 1996 and in 2003, the OIG examined the INS's effectiveness at removing aliens after they had received final orders of removal from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).(see footnote 1) In both reviews, we found that the INS removed more than 90 percent of aliens it detained pending their removal.(see footnote 2) However, both reviews also found that the INS was far less effective at apprehending and removing non-detained aliens who had received final orders to leave the country. In both reviews, no more than 13 percent of the non-detained aliens in our samples left the country. Importantly, the 2003 review found that non-detained aliens in high-risk groups such as those from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism and aliens with criminal records generally were not removed. In addition, we found that the INS had made little progress between 1996 and 2003 in implementing recommendations to improve its ability to remove aliens issued final orders of removal.
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Because of a variety of factors, it is clear that detaining every alien undergoing a removal proceeding is not practical or desirable. However, we reviewed the INS's experience in removing aliens who had been issued final orders of removal after their cases had been adjudicated and finalized, including all appeals. We concluded that the INS did not effectively use all means at its disposal to improve its performance at removing aliens who were not detained. While two years have passed since we issued our last report and the INS moved to the DHS, the reasons for the agency's historical inability to remove non-detained aliens, as documented in our reports, and the possible approaches we identified for improving its capability in this area remain relevant as the Subcommittee examines the appropriate level of resources to dedicate to interior immigration enforcement.
II. REMOVAL OF UNLAWFUL ALIENS WITH FINAL ORDERS
When unlawful aliens are apprehended, the removal process begins with the filing of charging documents with the EOIR. After court hearings are scheduled with the EOIR, the INSnow the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the DHSmails information about the dates, times, and locations of the hearings to aliens. To ensure that aliens that could pose a danger are removed, the INS was required to detain certain categories of aliens. In September 1996, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act required that aliens with criminal backgrounds, those deemed a flight risk, those with mental illnesses, and those with dangerous physical illnesses be detained pending their removal. Other aliens are ''non-detained,'' the term used to describe aliens who either are not taken into custody or are released from custody while their immigration cases are pending. At the removal hearings, an Immigration Judge adjudicates the alien's case and either allows the alien to remain in the United States or orders the alien removed. Aliens may appeal EOIR rulings to the Board of Immigration Appeals and then to federal courts.
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The cases we reviewed for our 1996 and 2003 reports included aliens who either had exhausted their appeals or did not appeal the initial court decisions. Therefore, the removal orders for these aliens were final and could be carried out by the INS. Both reports found that the INS was effective at removing more than 90 percent of detained aliens issued final removal orders by the EOIR. The reasons for allowing the other detained aliens to remain in the United States included political or humanitarian concerns, grants of administrative relief, and the INS's inability to obtain necessary travel documents from the aliens' home countries.
However, both of our reviews found that the INS was far less effective at apprehending and removing non-detained aliens ordered to leave the country. In 1996, only 11 percent of non-detained aliens who had received final orders were removed. In some cases, the INS did not pursue removal because of political or humanitarian concerns, but in most cases the aliens had moved or failed to appear for removal after issuance of final orders (i.e., absconded), and the INS was unable to find them. Delays in transmitting the aliens' final removal orders from the EOIR to the INS may have contributed to the INS's difficulty in locating aliens. In addition, the INS did not always act promptly to carry out removals, and these delays also may have contributed to making it difficult to locate aliens for removal.
To improve the INS's ability to carry out removals, in 1996 the OIG recommended that the INS take more aggressive actions to remove non-detained aliens, such as:
Moving more quickly to present surrender notices to aliens after receiving final orders;
Delivering surrender notices instead of mailing them to aliens;
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Taking aliens into custody at hearings when final orders are issued;
Pursuing aliens who fail to appear and reviewing procedures for closing cases for aliens who fail to appear; and
Coordinating with other government agencies to make use of all databases available for tracking aliens who fail to appear.
In late 2002, we began a follow-up review to assess the status of the INS's efforts to remove aliens with final orders and the progress of the INS's actions to implement the recommendations in our 1996 report. Our February 2003 report found that the INS had made little progress in removing non-detained aliens since 1996, improving its rate of removal to only 13 percent. We also examined three high-risk groups of non-detained aliens and found that the INS was ineffective at removing these individuals. The groups we examined were:
Aliens from countries identified as sponsors of terrorism. In 2001, the Department of State identified seven countries as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. We found that from October 1, 2000, to December 31, 2001, the INS removed only 6 percent of the non-detained aliens from these countries. Further, half of these removals occurred in the 3 1/2 months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Aliens with criminal records. Although the INS established the removal of criminal aliens as its first priority in its 1999 Interior Enforcement Strategy, we found that it had removed only 35 percent of the non-detained criminals in our sample.
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Aliens denied asylum. We found that the INS removed only 3 percent of the non-detained asylum seekers who received final removal orders. We were concerned by the low removal rate for unsuccessful asylum seekers because this group may include potential terrorists. Several individuals convicted of terrorist acts in the United States requested asylum as a part of their efforts to remain in the country.
Because of its ineffectiveness at removing aliens with final orders, as of June 2002 the INS estimated that a backlog of about 355,000 aliens remained in the United States with unexecuted removal orders. According to the INS, at the rate that the INS removed aliens in 2002 that backlog represented a 20- to 30-year workload. During our 2003 review, INS officials acknowledged that they did not have the resources to mount a substantial effort to locate and remove the large number of aliens who had absconded.
We also found that the INS had done little to timely or fully implement the recommendations we made in 1996 to improve its removal rate of aliens issued final orders. I will now briefly describe the INS's lack of progress in addressing the recommendations from our 1996 report before discussing other factors that affect alien removals.
III. THE INS FAILED TO TAKE TIMELY CORRECTIVE ACTIONS
While some factors regarding removal of aliens issued final orders, such as resource limitations, were wholly or partially outside the control of the INS, our reviews found that the agency did not act to correct factors that were within its control. In response to our 1996 report, the INS agreed to implement a variety of specific actions we recommended that would improve its effectiveness at removing non-detained aliens. However, in our 2003 follow-up review we found that the INS had delayed or failed to complete the implementation of these corrective actions and had failed to significantly improve its removal of non-detained aliens between 1996 and 2002.
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Pilot absconder removal project. In response to our 1996 report, the INS agreed to conduct field tests in which alien absconders would be targeted for removal. The INS later reported to us that a limited duration pilot had been conducted with positive results and that the INS intended to conduct two additional field tests before expanding the program. However, when we conducted our 2003 follow-up review, the INS was unable to provide any information regarding the pilot projects, the implementation of the program in response to the pilot projects, or even to locate anyone who could remember the pilot program.
Resources for apprehending absconders. In response to our 1996 report, the INS agreed to use a fiscal year (FY) 1996 budget enhancement of $11.2 million to fund 142 positions to remove alien absconders. It also agreed to use its Law Enforcement Support Center to enter alien absconder information into the National Crime Information Center and develop an automated list of criminal absconders so that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies could assist in apprehending them. However, the INS did not establish absconder removal teams or develop an automated list of absconders until after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Moreover, the INS was unable to document how it used the $11.2 million budget enhancement it received in FY 1996 for this program.
Rulemaking to improve notification methods. In 1996 we found that the INS was not effective at notifying aliens to surrender for removal and therefore we recommended that the INS present surrender notices to aliens more promptly after the aliens had received their final orders. We also recommended that the INS deliver surrender notices instead of mailing them to aliens. After agreeing to improve its methods of notifying aliens of their duty to surrender for removal and publishing a proposed rule in 1998 that would have enhanced its ability to remove aliens expeditiously if they failed to appear, the INS allowed the rulemaking to lapse. After the September 11 attacks, the INS revived and expanded the rulemaking titled Requiring Aliens Ordered Removed from the United States to Surrender to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for Removal. In preparation for this hearing, we checked with the EOIR on the status of the rulemaking and were told that as of March 2005 the rule still was not final.
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IV. RECOMMENDATIONS IN OUR FEBRUARY 2003 REPORT
As a result of the continued problems we found in our follow-up review, our February 2003 report made eight additional recommendations to the INS to improve its ability to remove aliens issued final orders of removal. For example, we recommended that the INS establish annual goals for apprehending and removing absconders and other non-detained aliens with final orders. In addition, we recommended that the INS identify the resources required to achieve its annual and strategic performance goals and track its resources to ensure they were used as intended.
Because of the data problems we encountered in reviewing the INS's electronic records, we also recommended that the INS establish a program to correct missing and inaccurate data and work with the EOIR to reconcile discrepancies between INS and EOIR data systems. We recommended that the INS work with the EOIR to implement a shared data system for case tracking, similar to the Interagency Border Inspections System, to identify and process aliens with final orders.(see footnote 3) Finally, we recommended that the INS improve the utility of its website for informing the public about high-risk absconders and to facilitate reporting of leads on absconders.
The INS did not respond to these recommendations before the agency was transferred to the DHS in March 2003. Since March 2003, the DHS Inspector General's Office has had the responsibility for tracking and monitoring the DHS's response to these recommendations. In preparation for this hearing, we asked the DHS OIG about the status of the response to these recommendations. The DHS OIG provided us with information that indicates that ICE has followed up on several of our recommendations. According to a March 2004 DHS report on management challenges, ICE developed a six-year plan to align its long-term detention and removal strategies with the resources required to fulfill those missions. ICE also created fugitive operations teams, issued new guidance to ensure administrative case closures were not abused, was working to replace its electronic case tracking system, and was working with the EOIR to improve the quality of data in its system. Finally, ICE established a ''Most Wanted'' section on its website.
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V. OTHER FACTORS AFFECTING ALIEN REMOVALS
In our two reviews, we also identified a variety of factors that limited the INS's effectiveness at removing aliens with final orders. Some of these factors were within the INS's control, but others were not. For example, limitations in resources are an issue in addressing the detention and removal of aliens issued final orders. The resource limitations that hindered the INS's removal of aliens included a lack of detention space, limited numbers of detention officers, and too few investigators and special agents to locate aliens in order to carry out the removals. According to the DOJ's FY 2001 Performance Report, the INS continued to face a ''severe shortage of bed space and personnel to effectively handle the processing and removal of aliens in immigration proceedings.''(see footnote 4) Although we have not reviewed this issue since the INS left the DOJ two years ago, February 2004 congressional testimony by a DHS official indicated that ICE had a daily detention population of approximately 21,000 aliens.
We note that the DHS appears to have directed some additional resources to removing aliens with final orders. According to the DHS Office of Detention and Removal's Strategic Plan for 2003 to 2012, the agency has dedicated 40 officers to its National Fugitive Operations Program/
Absconder Apprehension Initiative. However, the plan acknowledges that the staffing level is ''woefully inadequate to achieve the goal'' of eliminating 100 percent of the backlogged unexecuted orders of removal.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another factor we found that affected the INS's ability to remove aliens was the lack of complete and accurate data, especially correct addresses for aliens. Our own reviews, as well as Government Accountability Office and INS internal audits conducted between 1996 and 2003, found that the INS had serious and continuing problems with data reliability that impaired its ability to process aliens for removal. For example, in our 2003 review we found errors in aliens' names, missing cases, nationality errors, and incorrect case file numbers in 11 percent of the files we reviewed from the group of aliens from states that sponsor terrorism.
In addition, during our field work for our 1996 and 2003 reports, we found that the INS and the EOIR were unable to share information on immigration cases automatically. As a result, according to an INS statistician we interviewed for our 2003 report, an estimated 20 percent of the total cases in INS and EOIR systems did not contain matching data. Moreover, 195,000 files in the EOIR's system did not appear in the INS's system. As I noted earlier, the DHS has reported that ICE is working to correct its data problems.
External factors limiting removals include the quality of diplomatic relations between the United States and other nations. The INS was unable to remove aliens with final orders if they were from countries designated by the President for Deferred Enforced Departure. Examples of these cases include deferrals granted over the last 15 years to aliens from China, Haiti, and Liberia. The INS also was unable to remove aliens if they had been granted Temporary Protected Status by the Attorney General for humanitarian or other reasons.(see footnote 5)
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our office no longer has oversight of the federal government's immigration enforcement efforts. That jurisdiction now rests with the DHS Inspector General's Office. We therefore cannot provide the Subcommittee with definitive information regarding whether the actions taken by ICE during the past two years fully implement our February 2003 recommendations or the extent to which ICE has made progress in removing aliens issued final orders. However, we believe that effective interior enforcement remains an important issue, and we believe that the DHSas well as this Subcommittee and the DHS OIGshould continue to focus attention on this important area.
This concludes my prepared statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Cutler, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL W. CUTLER, FORMER I.N.S. SPECIAL AGENT
Mr. CUTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Hostettler, Ranking Member Jackson Lee, distinguished Members of Congress, members of the panel, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome this opportunity to provide testimony today on the critical issue of interior enforcement resources for the immigration laws.
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls. The task of securing America's borders falls to the dedicated men and women of CBP and ICE. These law enforcement officers are often put in harm's way as they try to prevent aliens from gaining unauthorized entry into our country. They are not succeeding in this vital mission, as evidenced by the millions of illegal aliens who currently live within our nation's borders today. This is not because of failings which the employees of ICE or CBP bear the responsibility, but rather because our Government has consistently failed to provide them with the resources that they need to make certain that this basic job gets done.
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The 9/11 Commission ultimately came to recognize the critical nature of immigration law enforcement where the war on terror is concerned. In fact, page 49 of the report entitled, ''9/11 and Terrorist Travel: A Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States,'' contains a sentence that reads, and I quote, ''Thus abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity,'' unquote.
Acting on recommendations of the Commission, Congress authorized the expenditure of funds to enable 800 new special agents to be hired to enforce the immigration laws from within the United States for each of the next 5 years. I would actually argue that this number of new agents would not be enough, especially considering the findings of the 9/11 Commission staff report that I have just quoted, and, therefore, I am frankly at a loss to understand why the Administration is not requesting at least as many new special agents as Congress authorized rather than the requested funding for the hiring of only 143 new special agents. I firmly believe that this represents a false economy and jeopardizes our nation's security.
Clearly, the effective enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States is critical for our nation to gain control of its borders and to protect its citizens from aliens who come to this country to engage in criminal activities and terrorism.
Our nation's inability and apparent unwillingness to enforce the immigration laws has caused our nation to pay a heavy price. As we know, on September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were launched from within our borders by aliens who exploited various weaknesses in the immigration system. We must not think of the attacks of September 11 as being a single attack, nor should we think of the attacks as being consisting of three attacks, the destruction of the World Trade Center, the destruction of a segment of the Pentagon, and the downing of United Airlines Flight 93 in that field in Pennsylvania. Rather, I would ask that you think of those attacks as being thousands of separate attacks because each of the nearly 3,000 lives that were so violently and horrifically ended was a precious and irreplaceable life. The loss of these lives to their families, loved ones, and friends has forever altered their lives, as well. Additionally, thousands more people were grievously injured, both emotionally as well as physically.
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The victims of 9/11 came from all over the United States and from other countries. No American city is safe if any American city is attacked, and I would like to point to that map that we've put up over there that shows how many States suffered how many casualties on that day, on September 11, 2001, and I would love to see that remain on permanent display somewhere as a reminder to Members of Congress that it was the entire country, not just New York and Washington, that were attacked on that day.
The specter of terrorist attacks is not the only price to be paid for our failure to secure our borders. Illegal immigration impacts more aspects of this country than does any other issue. It impacts everything from education, the economy, health care, criminal justice, and national security. In fact, it is estimated that some 30 percent of the Federal inmate population is comprised of aliens. It is not unreasonable to say that more people lose their lives each year as a result of crimes committed by criminal aliens within our borders than were killed on that horrific day in September of 2001.
When he testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last month, FBI Director Robert Mueller testified that he is very concerned about the lack of data on a network of al Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States. He went on to say, and I quote, ''finding them is a top priority for the FBI, but it's also one of the most difficult challenges,'' unquote.
Sleeper cells are not like cicadas. They do not simply slip into our country and then burrow into a hole for months or years awaiting instructions to emerge to carry out a terrorist attack. Sleepers are, in fact, aliens who, upon entering our country, manage to hide in plain sight by finding a job, attending a school, or managing to hide in plain sight by doing things that do not call attention to them. Someone once said that an effective spy is someone who could not attract the attention of a waitress at a greasy spoon diner, and the same could be said of an effective terrorist.
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It is, therefore, vital that we regain control of our borders and the entire immigration bureaucracy and enforcement program if we are to protect our nation against terrorists and criminals, and this requires that we have an adequate number of law enforcement agents dedicated to this critical mission.
It has been estimated that more than 40 percent of the illegal aliens in the United States did not evade the valiant Border Patrol Agents who stand watch on our nation's border, but rather strolled through ports of entry, having been inspected by the process and then went on to hide in plain sight within our country, and many aliens find this to be a relatively easy endeavor. And as you know, I speak from experience, having been an immigration inspector at JFK Airport. Additionally, the visa waiver program further hampers the inspections process.
There's another critical element to the interior enforcement of the immigration laws that's seldom discussed, the investigation of applications for immigration benefits to uncover fraud, which, according to a GAO report issued 3 years ago, is a pervasive problem within the immigration benefits program. A terrorist bent on attacking the United States would most want three things to attack our nation: Money, a weapon of mass destruction, and a U.S. passport. The passport enables an alien to easily travel across our borders, but also across the borders of other countries. And, as we now know, the 9/11 commission found that the ability to travel freely and extensively was essential to the terrorists of 9/11 as they prepared to attack us.
Aliens who succeed in acquiring resident alien status can more readily embed themselves in our country and ultimately attain U.S. citizenship, making them eligible for that highly coveted U.S. passport. Immigration fraud enables aliens to avail themselves of this opportunity through deception.
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While technology can and should play a role in enforcing the laws and helping to lend integrity to these processes, we must remember that law enforcement is a labor-intensive activity. Computers don't arrest law violators, law enforcement officers do. We can use computers for data mining to help uncover fraud, but again, it is the agent conducting field investigations who is most likely to uncover fraud or other criminal activities. While technology can be a force multiplier, in the end, without sufficient numbers of dedicated law enforcement officers and appropriate resources, including sufficient detention facilities, the job will simply not get done.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Cutler, could you summarize the remainder of your testimony?
Mr. CUTLER. Sure. The one point that I would make is that Vice President Cheney aptly compared 9/11 to what happened on December 7. After December 7, this nation made a tremendous effort to build airplanes, battleships, nuclear weapons, whatever was needed to get the job done. The efforts that we do today must be no less intensive to wage war on the terrorists who are just as intent on destroying us today.
I know there's a clip. I don't know if this would be the time to do it or not. But CNN did a piece that I think relates to what we're doing today and I would like the opportunity for the Committee to see it.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Without objection.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CUTLER. Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[A videotape was shown.]
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. CUTLER. I just wanted to thank CNN for providing that and I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cutler follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MICHAEL W. CUTLER
Chairman Hostettler, Ranking member Jackson Lee, distinguished members of Congress, members of the panel, ladies and gentlemen. I welcome this opportunity to provide testimony today on the critical issue of interior immigration enforcement resources.
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls. The task of securing America's borders falls to the dedicated men and women of CBP and ICE. These law enforcement officers are often put in harm's way as they try to prevent aliens from gaining unauthorized entry into our country. They are not succeeding in this vital mission as evidenced by the millions of illegal aliens who currently live within our nation's borders. This is not because of failings for which the employees of ICE or CBP bear the responsibility, but rather because our government has consistently failed to provide them with the resources they need to make certain that this basic job gets done.
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The 9/11 Commission ultimately came to recognize the critical nature of immigration law enforcement where the ''War on Terror'' is concerned. In fact, page 49 of the report entitled, ''9/11 and Terrorist Travel, A Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States'' contains a sentence that reads, ''Thus abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity.'' This page incidentally is contained in the chapter entitled, ''Terrorist Travel and Embedding Tactics.'' Acting on recommendations of the Commission, Congress authorized the expenditure of funds to enable 800 new special agents to be hired to enforce the immigration laws from within the United States for each of the next 5 years. I would actually argue that these new agents would not be enough especially considering the findings of the 9/11 Commission staff report I quoted. Therefore I am frankly at a loss to understand why the administration is not requesting at least as many new special agents as Congress authorized rather than the requested funding for the hiring of only 143 new special agents. I firmly believe that this represents a false economy and jeopardizes our nation's security.
Clearly the effective enforcement of the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States is critical for our nation to gain control of its borders and to protect our citizens from aliens who come to this country to engage in criminal activities and terrorism.
Our nation's inability and apparent unwillingness to enforce the immigration laws has caused our nation to pay a heavy price. As we know, on September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were launched within our borders by aliens who exploited various weaknesses in the immigration system. We must not think of the attacks of September 11 as being a single attack, nor should we think of the attacks as consisting of three attacks; the destruction of the World Trade Center, the destruction of a segment of the Pentagon and the downing of United Airlines Flight 93 in that field in Pennsylvania. I would ask that you think of those attacks as being thousands of separate attacks, because each of the nearly 3,000 lives that was so violently and horrifically ended was a precious and irreplaceable life. The loss of these lives to their families, loved ones and friends has forever altered their lives as well. Additionally, thousands more people were grievously injured, both emotionally as well as physically. The victims of 9/11 came from all over the United States and from many countries. No American city is safe if any American city is attacked. However, the specter of terrorist attacks is not the only price to be paid for our failure to secure our borders. Illegal immigration impacts more aspects of this country than does any other issue. It impacts everything from education, the economy, health care and the environment to criminal justice and national security. It has been estimated that aliens account for some 30% of the inmate population in federal correctional institutions. It is not unreasonable to say that more people lose their lives each year as a result of crimes committed by criminal aliens than were killed on that horrific day in September of 2001.
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When he testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last month, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III testified that he is ''very concerned'' about the lack of data on a network of al Qaeda ''sleeper'' cells in the United States. He went on to say that, ''Finding them is a top priority for the FBI, but it is also one of the most difficult challenges.''
Sleeper agents are not like cicadas; they do not simply slip into our country and then burrow into a hole for months or years awaiting their instructions to emerge to carry out a deadly terrorist attack. Sleepers are, in fact, aliens who, upon entering our country, manage to hide in plain sight by finding a job, attending a school or doing other such ''ordinary things'' that do not call attention to them. Someone once said that an effective spy is someone who could not attract the attention of a waitress at a greasy spoon diner. The same can be said of an effective terrorist. It is vital that we regain control of our borders and the entire immigration bureaucracy and enforcement program if we are to protect our nation against terrorists and criminals. This requires that we have an adequate number of law enforcement officers who are dedicated to this critical mission.
I have read estimates that more than 40% of the illegal aliens in the United States did not evade the valiant Border Patrol agents who stand watch on our borders, but rather strolled through ports of entry intent on violating our laws. Many aliens find this to be a relatively easy endeavor. As you know, I speak from experience, having spent four years as an Immigration Inspector assigned to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York before I became a Special Agent for the former INS. The inspectors are supposed to conduct an inspection of an arriving alien in about one minute. In that brief period of time the inspector is supposed to examine the arriving alien's passport, compare the alien's name against a watch list to make certain that the person standing before him is not prohibited from entering the United States and then ask a few questions to try to determine the intentions of the alien seeking to enter our country. Of course, if serious questions are raised the inspector has the option of referring the alien to a section known as ''Secondary'' where a more intensive effort can be made to determine whether or not the alien in question should be admitted, but the pressure is on to quickly move the lines of arriving aliens. Additionally, the Visa Waiver Program further hampers the inspection process.
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An adequate number of special agents is needed to back up the Border Patrol and the CBP inspectors.
There is another critical element to the interior enforcement of the immigration laws that is seldom discussed. The investigation of applications for immigration benefits to uncover fraud, which according to a GAO report issued three years ago, was a pervasive problem within the immigration benefits program. A terrorist bent on attacking the United States would most want three things in order to attack our country; money, a weapon of mass destruction and a United States passport to facilitate travel not only across the borders of the United States, but to also facilitate travel into many other countries. The 9/11 Commission found, in fact, that the ability to travel freely and extensively was essential to the terrorists of 9/11 as they prepared to attack us. Aliens who succeed in acquiring resident alien status can more readily embed themselves in our country and ultimately attain United States citizenship thereby making them eligible to receive that highly coveted United States passport. Immigration fraud enables aliens to avail themselves of that opportunity through deception and places such aliens on the road to United States citizenship. It is therefore crucial that we do a far better job of making certain that the immigration benefits program has real integrity.
While technology can and should play a role in enforcing the laws and helping to lend integrity to these processes, we must remember that law enforcement is a labor-intensive activity. Computers don't arrest law violators, law enforcement officers do. We can use computers for data mining to help uncover fraud, but again, it is the agent conducting field investigations who is most likely to uncover fraud or other criminal activities. While technology can be a force multiplier, in the end, without sufficient numbers of dedicated law enforcement officers and appropriate resources, including sufficient detention facilities, the job will simply not get done.
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During the last Presidential campaign, Vice President Cheney aptly compared the attacks of September 11, 2001 with the attack on Pearl Harbor launched on December 7, 1941. I would like to point out that after the attack on Pearl Harbor our nation created fleets of aircraft that had never existed before. We created fleets of ocean going warships that had never existed before and we even created nuclear weapons that had never been constructed before. Less than 4 years after that terrible attack we defeated the enemy that was bent on the destruction of our nation, our allies and our way of life. The terrorists that attacked us on September 11 are just as determined to destroy us today. We are in the fourth year of our ''War on terror.'' Our resolve to win this war must be as strong as it was for those who fought World War II. We must do everything reasonable to secure our country's borders, and the time to act is now. Our nation's future hangs in the balance.
I look forward to your questions.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Callahan.
TESTIMONY OF RANDY CALLAHAN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL, AFGE
Mr. CALLAHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Ms. Jackson Lee, Members of the Subcommittee. I'm an Immigration Enforcement Agent with the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Today, I'm here as the Executive Vice President of the National Homeland Security Council, AFGE. The Council represents approximately 15,000 employees of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was split into three bureaus, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Citizenship and Immigration Services.
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The purpose of today's hearing is to address the budget crisis at ICE, and believe me, there is a crisis. Though the overall budget for ICE in fiscal year 2005 increased over fiscal year 2004, many of the programs that had full funding in 2004 do not have funding in 2005. ICE programs are short-staffed due to a hiring freeze that has been in place for some time now.
The Detention and Removal Operations Division alone is short approximately 1,300 full-time and part-time employees. If Detention Removal, or DRO, were a military unit, it would be considered nondeployable.
All academy training for fiscal year 2005 and ICE has been canceled for the rest of the year. This includes training designed to train up to approximately 2,000 former Detention Enforcement Officers who were reclassified and combined with Immigration Agents into one position called Immigration Enforcement Agent. There are approximately 900 employees who anxiously await the opportunity to attend this training because it would mean they would then have the training and the authority to perform expanded immigration law enforcement functions, which would allow DRO to locate and apprehend more fugitive aliens at large across the country, thereby making the country safer.
There are no funds available for uniforms, so uniformed Immigration Enforcement Agents are not able to replace worn-out uniforms. Worse than this is the fact that the uniform in use today still has the Immigration and Naturalization Service patch on it. I've been trying to work with ICE to develop a new uniform and a grooming standards policy, but ICE simply has no money to develop or purchase new uniforms.
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My badge still says Immigration Detention Enforcement Officer, a position which no longer exists, and my credentials still say Department of Justice. This was understandable for about the first six to 9 months after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, but now it is just embarrassing.
The most disturbing fact with regard to ICE's budget is the detention bed space issue. Within 5 days after today's hearing, I am told that ICE will no longer have enough money to detain suspected illegal aliens in custody. I've talked with ICE management about this issue and they believe they will receive either an approved reprogramming request to continue detention operations or they will receive a supplemental appropriation from Congress to keep over 17,000 illegal aliens, many of which are criminals, in custody. I have since found out that many offices are already reducing their adult detained population.
What are ICE's immediate funding needs? First and foremost, funding needs to be immediately approved for the continued detention of immigration law violators. To do otherwise would be a violation of the public trust.
The hiring freeze needs to be lifted. We need to train our Immigration Enforcement Agents and other ICE officers. We need new badges and credentials issued. ICE needs funds to develop a new uniform with the correct bureau patch on it, or eliminate the uniform entirely and save a million dollars a year or more.
ICE is a bureau in financial crisis. They don't have enough money to hold people in custody, buy new uniforms and equipment for employees, or even issue badges and credentials with the correct Department on them. Something needs to be done to correct this problem.
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The union asks that you fast-track approval of fundingfunds to keep ICE operating and investigate potential mismanagement issues.
On a final unrelated note, my ability to testify at this hearing stems from my right to be part of a union. It is an honor for me to be here, and I hope to be the voice of ICE employees for a long time to come.
My colleagues in the ICE Office of Investigations, the Federal Air Marshals Service, the Transportation Security Agency, and other agencies that make up the Department of Homeland Security do not have the same protective rights. Please correct this injustice by allowing them to join the union and strengthening whistleblower protection laws.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide this testimony, and I will be happy to answer your questions.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Callahan.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Callahan follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF RANDY CALLAHAN
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee:
My name is Randy Callahan. I am currently an Immigration Enforcement Agent with the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Detention and Removal Operations. I began my career in 1996, when I was hired by the Immigration & Naturalization Service as an Immigration Inspector. In 1997, I became an Immigration Detention Enforcement Officer. In August of 2003, the Detention Enforcement Officer was reclassified into my current position. I am here today as the Executive Vice-President of Council 117 of the American Federation of Government Employees, also known as the National Homeland Security Council 117. The Council, represents approximately fifteen thousand employees of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, which was split into three separate Bureaus: Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (C.I.S) in March of 2003. On behalf of the bargaining unit members of these Bureaus, I thank you for inviting me to present our organization's views on the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) budget crisis.
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CURRENT FINANCIAL STATUS OF I.C.E:
The purpose of the hearing is to address the budget crisis at I.C.E and believe me, there is a crisis. Though the overall budget for I.C.E in FY 2005 increased over FY 2004, many of the programs that had full funding in 2004 do not have funding in 2005. For several months, there has been a hiring freeze in place. All Academy training has been canceled for the remainder of FY 2005, so even if I.C.E began hiring today, it would take months to ready the Academy for classes. I am told that the Detention & Removal Operations (DRO) branch of I.C.E is short approximately 1300 full time and part time employees. I am told that our ''warfighter'' levels are down to approximately 70%, which I hear would make DRO undeployable if it were a military unit. In addition to the hiring freeze, I.C.E has put a hold on all permanent changes of station (PCS) moves.
I mentioned the cancellation of training earlier, this includes activities designed to fully train approximately two thousand former Detention Enforcement Officers, who were reclassified and combined with Immigration Agent into a position called, Immigration Enforcement Agent (IEA). The training is just over half way completed, but I.C.E still has a significant number of employees, approximately nine hundred, who do not have the training yet. Without the training, which is called the enforcement transition program (ETP), I.C.E cannot use the officers for any type of law enforcement function, except transportation officer and possibly some computer work.
There is no money for uniforms, so uniformed Immigration Enforcement Agents are not able to order replacement uniforms. In fact, the uniforms being used nationwide right now still have Immigration & Naturalization Service patches on them. The Union has been trying for several months to work with I.C.E to develop a new uniform and grooming standards policies, but with the budget problems, I.C.E can not afford to do it. I.C.E employees still use Department of Justice credentials and old INS badges to identify themselves as federal agents. One would think that two years after the creation of I.C.E they would be able to design and get approval for new uniforms, as well as badges and credentials. While I.C.E can not get out of the expense of changing the badges and credentials of I.C.E employees, the Union has recommended that DRO eliminate the uniform requirement and make all positions ''plain clothes'' positions. This would save at least $1 million per year. It may be a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things, but it's a start!
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Perhaps the most disturbing fact with regard to the I.C.E budget, is the detention bed space issue. I received a call about two weeks ago from a concerned employee, who told me that Headquarters I.C.E was seriously discussing the release of detainees from custody, because I.C.E would run out of money by March 1st. I later found out that the money will actually run out in the middle of March. I attempted to secure documentation that would corroborate the rumors I had heard, but I.C.E management said that the release of detainees from custody would only be considered as a last resort.
Unfortunately, I found out last week that DRO in San Diego, CA was already releasing detainees from custody. Apparently, management told employees that the office had to reduce their adult detention bed space to one hundred from over several hundred. I.C.E management said that they believed they would get the funding they needed to keep the detention spaces open, either by the reallocation of funds request currently on its way to the Department, or by a supplemental appropriations request. Just one of these funding requests will keep current funding levels of bed space, which is approximately 17,000 nationwide, for a few more months. I understand that Congress funded approximately 22,000 bed spaces nationwide in the FY 2005 Appropriations bill. If it is true that the current bed space used is at 17,000, so I am forced to ask: What happened to the funds that were appropriated for the remaining five thousand beds?
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF THE I.C.E BUDGET CRISIS:
The Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) was ordered to conduct an audit of I.C.E's financial records. Though I have not seen the OIG report, I have heard that approximately $300 million to $500 million was given to the bureaus of Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P) and Citizenship and Immigration Services (C.I.S).
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It is unclear where this money has gone, but DHS mismanagement is certainly a possibility. I hear from employees who complain that their managers may be misusing government vehicles. In San Diego, for example, several managers are assigned their own government vehicle as a commuting vehicle. These managers are not supervising fugitive operations teams, conducting investigations or surveillance in the field, so how is it they are authorized a take home government vehicle for commuting purposes? I hear also that these same managers are offering ride sharing opportunities to their friends that work in the same location. The Union asks that an inquiry be done to determine if any vehicles are being misused by I.C.E managers and take appropriate action to correct the problem. In our view, this kind of government excess and waste is unforgiveable, especially when the security interests of the nation are at stake.
IMMEDIATE FUNDING NEEDS:
First and foremost, funding needs to be approved for the continued detention of immigration law violators. To do otherwise would be a violation of the public trust. I.C.E needs funds to start training back up again. IEAs that need the ETP classes should be started up ASAP, while at the same time bringing in new hires. The Bureau needs to
fund the development and purchase of new uniforms for DRO personnel, or make it a plain-clothes position. We need new badges and credentials issued. I.C.E needs to fill approximately 1300 positions. All they need is money to bring the new hires on board and get them to training.
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I.C.E is a bureau in financial crisis. They do not have enough money to hold people in custody, buy new uniforms and equipment for employees, or even issue badges and credentials with the correct Department on them. Some of the funds for I.C.E were incorrectly sent to the other two Bureaus created from the former Immigration & Naturalization Service. Some of I.C.E's resources have been misused. Something needs to be done to correct this problem. The Union asks that you fast track approval of the reallocation of funds request, any and all supplemental appropriations requests, as well as investigate the allegation of misuse of government vehicles.
Mr. Chairman, I want to express our Organization's strong support for provisions in the 2005 Intelligence Reform legislation that increased the number of I.C.E Investigators by 4,000 over the next five years and the number of detention beds by 40,000 over the same period of time. We were disappointed to see that the Administration proposed an increase of only 1920 beds in FY06 and 484 I.C.E Investigators. I can only hope that the Appropriations Committees share your commitment to improving the desperate situation which currently exists in I.C.E.
On a final, unrelated note, my ability to testify at this hearing stems from my right to be part of a union. It is an honor for me to be here and I hope to the voice of I.C.E employees for a long time to come. My colleagues in the I.C.E Office of Investigations, the Federal Air Marshal Service, the TSA, and other agencies that make up the Department of Homeland Security do not have the same protected right. Please correct this injustice, whether by allowing them to join a union, or by strengthening whistleblower protections. Employees should not have to suffer gladly management fraud, waste and abuse. Thank you again for the opportunity to provide this testimony.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. Professor Haney.
TESTIMONY OF CRAIG HANEY, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SANTA CRUZ
Mr. HANEY. Chairman Hostettler, Ranking Member Jackson Lee, and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to testify. I'm here to speak today about what I learned as a detention expert appointed by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to conduct a Congressionally authorized study of the treatment of asylum seekers who were placed in expedited removal proceedings. The study uncovered serious problems with the way in which asylum seekers are detained and released. These problems are disturbing from a national security standpoint as well as a human rights standpoint.
The study findings and recommendations that relate to detention are attached to my written testimony and I respectfully request that these be included in the record.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Without objection.
Mr. HANEY. My testimony represents only my views except for when I cite to the specific findings in which the Commission and the other experts concurred.
Among other things, the study found that the availability of bed space is clearly an important issue, made more important by dramatic regional variations in release rates that appear to be related to the number of incoming asylum seekers and the space available in which to house them.
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However, I would suggest that the answer is not simply for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide more bed space. We urge that ICE consistently enforce its own policies to ensure that aliens who should be detained are detained, but also that aliens who need not be detained, particularly non-criminal asylum seekers who establish identity and pose neither a flight nor security risk are released.
In addition, the part of the study that I conducted focused on the conditions of detention for asylum seekers, aliens who claim to have fled religious, political, or other forms of persecution and applied to the United States for protection. As someone whose academic expertise is not in immigration law or the asylum issue per se, I have spent more than three decades studying the psychological effects of conditions of confinement, what happens to people when they are confined in prisons and jails in the United States and other countries. But I was not sure what to expect when I began to examine the conditions under which asylum seekers were detained in the United States.
The results of the study were sobering. Unfortunately, in fact, I found that the conditions of confinement for asylum seekers were remarkably similar to those I had often encountered in the past in examining domestic prisons and jails. In virtually every important respect in the overwhelming majority of facilities that we investigated, examined, and surveyed, asylum seekers were being kept under conditions that were virtually identical to the harsh places that our society has reserved for persons who have committed crimes.
Indeed, one-third of asylum seekers are detained not merely in jail-like facilities but in actual jails and prisons in which DHS rents beds. And although a violation of DHS's own detention standards, asylum seekers in such facilities are often intermingled with criminal aliens and even with inmates still serving criminal sentences.
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Let me be more specific. In terms of the training of the staff who operate the facilities, the way the facilities themselves are physically constructed, the kind of elaborate security procedures that are imposed, multiple fences, barriers, locked gates and doors that separate the exterior of the facilities from the housing areas where detainees are kept and the tightly restricted movement of asylum seekers inside, these facilities are virtually identical to conventional prisons and jails. There are widespread and commonplace invasions of privacies and asylum seekers are denied the opportunity to take a shower or use toilet facilities outside the presence of another person. They are limited in terms of meaningful programming opportunities.
Many asylum seekers in detention are not proactively monitored for signs of psychological distress or exacerbated mental illness. Their contact with the outside world is greatly constricted. Virtually all the facilities we surveyed limited the ability of asylum seekers to make phone calls, correspond with others, and even have contact visits.
Precisely because of what we know about the potential negative psychological consequences of jail or prison confinement on inmates, no matter who they are or why they are incarcerated, the authors of the study concluded that the kind of detention to which these asylum seekers are being subjected is inappropriate, unnecessarily severe, and a matter of grave concern. Thus, any expansion of DHS bed space must address the nature of the conditions of confinement themselves.
We strongly urge that for non-criminal asylum seekers, a model of non-jail-like confinement be adopted. In fact, as you will see in the report and in our discussion of the recommendations supplementing my testimony, we found one model actually in operation in the United States, the Broward Facility in Florida, which again is elaborately detailed in my report and in the supplement to my testimony. It is a humane alternative which demonstrates that those asylum seekers who genuinely must be detained can be kept under conditions that are secure, that better protect their mental health and well-being, and also that this can be done in a way that is no more costly than the jail-like facilities currently in use.
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In addition to recommending that ICE ensure that its field officers implement existing ICE parole policies in a consistent manner and that ICE stop using jail-like facilities to detain asylum seekers who do not meet those release criteria, we also urge Secretary Chertoff to establish a refugee coordinator position with delegated authority to see such reforms through, since under current organizational structure of DHS only the DHS Secretary and Deputy Secretary have the authority to coordinate changes affecting the expedited removal process, as these procedures involve three distinct DHS bureaus, U.S. CIS, ICE, and CBP.
Thank you, and I look forward to answering your questions.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Professor Haney.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Haney follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CRAIG HANEY
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. At this time, we will move to questions by Members of the Subcommittee.
First of all, Mr. Martin, your testimony asserts that, historically, formerly INS and now DHS has been unable to remove non-detained aliens to a great extent. Is that because it simply doesn't have enough agents to find the absconders?
Mr. MARTIN. Certainly, resources was one of the issues over the years. As our report indicates, in the 15-month period that we examined, there were 140,000 aliens who were issued final orders of removal. Fifty-five percent of those aliens issued final orders of removal were detained. Forty-five percent were non-detained. The INS was effective in removing 90 percent of the detained aliens. So I think resources is one issue. It's also a priority issue of INS over the years.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. Your testimony also states that resource limitations that hindered the removal of aliens included a lack of detention space. Are you saying that ICE needs more detention space?
Mr. MARTIN. I think what we're saying in our reports is the INS was very effective at removing aliens issued final orders if they were detained. They were significantly less effective if they were not detained.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you. Then are you saying that the only way to enforce the laws is to actually detain all aliens who have final removal orders?
Mr. MARTIN. I don't think that's the only way. I think our report also points out that the INS had not been as effective with the resources that it had been afforded as it could have been, and we made a series of recommendations to improve that.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Very good. Thank you.
Mr. Callahan, as an experienced veteran of immigration enforcement, can you tell us how you assess the security situation, the national security situation, with regard to dangerous aliens today?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Dangerous aliens as in out in the public at large or in the criminal population? I'm not sure I understand the question.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOSTETTLER. Dangerous aliens who are at large.
Mr. CALLAHAN. It is a priority for our fugitive operations teams, of which there are only a few nationwide, that those are the people that we try to find first. Unfortunately, we're not as successful as we could be if we had, again, the resources, the staffing levels and the authority to really go out and do more fugitive operations.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. How is morale for ICE Agents in the field?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Right now, morale is at an all-time low. We have, as I mentioned, 900 people that are waiting to go to training, there are two things with the training. Number one, after completing the training, the employee is going to get a promotion because they're going to be expected to do higher-level work. The other aspect of it, the more operational aspect of it is, right now, these officers don't have the authority to go out and find people that are out in the public that are removable. With this training, they'll then have the authority to go out and effect those arrests.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Are ICE Agents being told to concentrate more on Customs enforcement than Immigration enforcement?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Unfortunately, I can't answer that very well because our criminal investigators that were INS criminal investigators were taken out of the union, and a lot of them honestly are afraid to talk to me as a union rep. They're afraid to talk to me for fear of reprisal by managers. I have heard that they are focusing more on money laundering and traditional Customs-type investigations, but that's the best information I have.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you.
Mr. Cutler, about our security situation, has ICE been able to enforce the immigration laws enough to say that potential alien terrorists have been deterred from embedding themselves safely in our society?
Mr. CUTLER. I wish I could say it was, but that's not the case. And there are two things that I need to make clear. You just asked about whether or not the mission is being pushed over toward the Customs side. Let's start with training.
Right now, the new agents going through ICE Academy are not even getting Spanish language training. Customs traditionally never gave Spanish language training. The new agents aren't getting it. It's been estimated that 80 percent of the illegal alien population is Spanish speaking. There's no way that you can investigate people that you can't communicate with. So to my thinking, it's perfectly clear that the Immigration mission is being made secondary to the Customs mission. So that's a major problem right there.
And with the lack of resources, we're very much at risk. You know, I spoke during my prepared testimony about the problem of benefit fraud. The whole idea to embedding himself in our society for a terrorist or a criminal is to do whatever it takes to keep a low profile. Obtaining immigration benefits is the best way of doing it. This means they no longer have to fear deportation, not that that's a very big fear the way things now stand. There are so few Immigration Agents. Let me just give you a fast analogy.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm a New Yorker. New York likes to brag that it's the safest big city in America. We have eight million people. We are policed by a department that has nearly 40,000 police officers confined to the City of New York. There is probably at least double that number, 15, 16, 17 million illegal aliens living in the United States, scattered across a third of the North American continent, being policed by 2,000 special agents. What would happen to New York's crime rate if there were only 2,000 police officers instead of 40,000 police officers? That's the reason that we're in such chaos right now.
We need the agents desperately. We need it not only to react to people that have committed crimes and people who are working illegally. Frauds have been ignored. And when I've spoken to people who were involved with the adjudications process, there's a great reliance on computers, almost no reliance on field agents. You can't uncover fraud without putting boots on the ground, people out there to knock on the doors and conduct the field investigations. It's labor-intensive work, but it's critical work to prevent terrorists and bad guys from putting themselves on the road to that very much desirable U.S. passport.
So right now, I would say that we are no safer than we were in the days before 9/11, and that's not acceptable, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Cutler.
The chair now recognizes the Ranking Member, Ms. Jackson Lee, for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the Chairman. It causes one to just want to sit and be still and absorb the testimony of all of the witnesses because it is striking where we find ourselves today.
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We spent 2 days as Members of the Homeland Security Committee looking at some of the stark realities of securing the nation. It was a very effective opportunity for a Committee now that has been established as a permanent Committee of the House of Representatives, enunciating or at least reaffirming to America that the Congress believes this is an important duty.
Mr. Chairman, this is a budget hearing and therefore, I think, I am going to focus my questioning along the lines of ratcheting up, as I said, the crisis that we face. Now, let me say this. I think there needs to be a balance and some order to this question of removal. I think, Mr. Cutler, the vignette that you showed us is an abomination, criminals, predators running amok and not being detained. The interesting thing is, a Palestinian family of seven who had given out flags after 9/11, whose children were in medical school and other schools, was easily deported, people who begged to be able to stay in a country they love. But we have criminal predators and others who we don't know who might do harm to this country running amok.
Frankly, we have an expedited or a supplemental appropriations coming through this Congress that I will purposely go and look Mr. Callahan, for funding for your agency. The question is, in the wisdom of the Administration, have they failed to acknowledge that we are in the midst of an abysmal crisis, in a dark hole, if you will, struggling to get out? Eight hundred requested, 143 still143 as the offering. It's a pittance. We shouldn't even dignify that number. Eight hundred ICE recommended, which I'm sure was at the low end, and only 143 in the Administration's budget. And an emergency supplemental of $82 billion.
Now, let me say this. You know, we won't quarrel over supporting troops, and that's what's going to be utilized against those of us who are going to be challenging the emergency supplemental as failing America. Oh, we're supporting troops. In fact, we would like them to come home and have a secure Iraq. This is not a hearing on that at this point, but it is a hearing dealing with emergencies. You have said and indicated we have an emergency.
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So my line of questioning will focus on that because we have a budget that is going to put us in a trillion dollars' worth of debt, with tax cuts to those who don't need it, the 1 percent of this country that happen to be beyond the need of tax cuts, and we have Mr. Callahan and his team without badges. Frankly, you know that if someone was doing their duty, they could tell you to go away. You are not credentialed. You are not documented. In fact, as you walked into this building, if someone asked you for your documentation, you are, in essence, misrepresenting to law enforcement officers in the United States Capitol that you are someone who you are not. You have no documentation
Mr. CALLAHAN. That is correct.
Ms. JACKSON LEE.in a hearing on immigration that wants people to be documented.
So, Mr. Cutler, let me justwe had a hearing yesterday. Could you just give me just a sentence that ties into this, of fixing this split that we have? Did you come to a conclusion at the Homeland Security hearing that this is something we need to expedite and fix, and this question of the divide between Border and ICE, is that something that we need to fix, as well, as we look at the budget process here?
Mr. CUTLER. We need to fix it. We need to fix it quickly. My recommendation, to sum it up as briefly as I know how, we've erected an artificial border between two agencies that are supposed to be doing the same job, that is CBP and ICE. I think that makes no sense. We need to fortify our nation's exterior border but not create internal borders among the bureaucracies that are charged with this vital mission.
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So what I've recommended is that we should link the two agencies together, eliminate this gap that exists between CBP and ICE, put it under one roof, but at the same time, I would like to see a separate chain of command, separate training, and separate budgeting for the immigration mission simply so that we don't wind up with what I referred to yesterday as the Customization of immigration law enforcement. We need to make certain that the resources that are dedicated to Immigration enforcement are, indeed, dedicated to Immigration enforcement, not to say that Customs enforcement isn't critical, but what I'm seeing here is the total abdication, or close to a total abdication, of the enforcement of the immigration statutes that would protect us from criminal aliens and terrorists. So that was the Cliff Note, the short version, of my recommendation at yesterday's hearing.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Callahanthank you very much. Mr. Callahan, obviously, the lack of firewalls on 9/11 was raised as a problem when the intelligence agencies were not speaking to each other. Obviously, that is what is happening now with ICE and Border Patrol.
But Mr. Callahan, just quickly, you mentioned some terrible, beyond your documentation and lack of a badge, but you mentioned the issue of the hiring freeze and the fact that you are unable even to have funding for detention. Would you view this as an emergency deserving of being looked at as to be included in what is now called an emergency supplemental? Would you think we're at a point where your funding needs to be included in the emergency supplemental?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Absolutely. I mean, within 5 days, as I testified, we either have to go in to violate the Anti-Deficit Act and keep people in custody but be in violation of that Act, or we have to release them. So I'd say it is an emergency.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I would just simply ask that we, as a Committee, make a request that the full funding for ICE be included into the emergency supplemental and, as well, on Mr. Haney's testimony, realize that the brutalizing of asylum seekers is not compatible with the values of America, and if necessary, ask for emergency funding, as Mr. Haney has indicated, the problems we face with asylum seekers, and I make that request. I thank the Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentlelady.
The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gohmert, for 5 minutes.
Mr. GOHMERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you people for your testimony at this hearing. You are all so equivocal in your positions. Sarcasm. [Laughter.]
We obviously have a major problem. As a former district judge and Chief Justice, I ran into this problem constantly. We had one INS Agent for the entire East Texas area. But I do have some questions to clarify some of the testimony.
Mr. Martin, you had indicated 35 percent of the non-detained aliens who were criminals were deported, I believe, of the sample, and I think maybe those figures you were giving us were of the sample that was taken. Can you tell us what sample was taken?
Mr. MARTIN. Right. The aliens in the database when I used the 55 percent detained versus the 45 percent was over a 15-month period. It was approximately 141,000 aliens.
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Mr. GOHMERT. Oh, your sample was 141,000?
Mr. MARTIN. A hundred-and-forty-one-thousand
Mr. GOHMERT. Okay. That's a good sample.
Mr. MARTIN. It was a smaller sample, though, when we looked at these high-risk groups, the state-sponsored terrorism, the asylum seekers who were denied and not detained. That was a smaller group.
Mr. GOHMERT. Okay. What would you give as the number one reason why people are not detained in the various categories that you mentioned?
Mr. MARTIN. I think it's a lack of resources coupled with a lack of priority.
Mr. GOHMERT. Lack of resources, meaning what?
Mr. MARTIN. Meaning officers, meaning detention space.
Mr. GOHMERT. So you're saying we need more detention space to get them out of the country?
Mr. MARTIN. Well, again, our reviews have shown that the INS is effective, and if they detain the alien, they are effective in removing the alien.
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Mr. GOHMERT. Well, I can tell you from my own experience that one anecdotal situation, for example, a guy is repeatedly arrested for DWI. He doesn't get deported until it's a felony, comes to my felony court. I send him to prison. He's immediately deported once he gets to prison. He comes back to my court because he's in an accident and hits somebody while drunk and I see that he's going to keep coming back. I send him to 10 months of treatment where I can at least lock him down where he won't hurt people, and after a few months, they get him and deport him and who knows where he is now hurting whom.
But those kind of things lead me to ask, when aliens are deported, where are they taken? What is done with them?
Mr. MARTIN. I will defer to the ICE Agent.
Mr. GOHMERT. Is that Mr. Callahan? Is that your bailiwick?
Mr. CALLAHAN. I can actually answer that. It depends on where they're from. If they're from Mexico, we just take them down to the border at Mexico. There is a program
Mr. GOHMERT. You take them down there and do what?
Mr. CALLAHAN. We watch them go across the border.
Mr. GOHMERT. Watch them go across the border. Okay. Do you know if people hang around long enough to watch them come back, or do they just turn around and leave?
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Mr. CALLAHAN. Where I'm from in San Diego, there's a large Border Patrol contingent there that is at the border and if they are coming backa lot of times, what'll happen is they speak good enough English to where they can go around to come in through the port of entry, and if they can convince that inspector, since there's no requirementright now, there's no requirement to have a U.S. passport or U.S. documentation to come in from Mexico. So if he speaks good enough English and can convince that inspector that he's a U.S. citizen, they'll let him through.
Mr. GOHMERT. Another question, Mr. Callahan. You said you could do more if you had more staffing and authority to go into the field. We heard discussion and I think a couple of you have indicated there may be more priority with Customs than with Immigration. Who makes that decision as to what is the priority?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Well, right now Detention and Removal Operations is charged with locating fugitive aliens. So we need more staff there. There are about 2,000 to 3,000 Immigration Enforcement Agents and Detention or Deportation Officers, but not all of them are assigned that work. I'd say probably, you know, 200, 300 at best.
Mr. GOHMERT. Yes, but my question was who makes the priority? Who sets the priority?
Mr. CALLAHAN. It would be the headquarters ICE or headquarters Detention Removal.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOHMERT. Okay. Mr. Cutler, I appreciated everything you had to say. I couldn't agree more with everything you had to say except for one thing. You said, we're no safer now than we were on 9/11. It seems like in so many areas we have become safer, everywhere except in the area of immigration, that that's
Mr. CUTLER. Well, I do have to clarify that
Mr. GOHMERT. Yes?
Mr. CUTLER.and that is the area of concern for me, though. And if you read the
Mr. GOHMERT. Well, for a lot of us.
Mr. CUTLER. Well, yes. And if you read this 9/11 staff report, they talk about terrorist travel. It seems as though our Government, and I don't mean you, I mean the powers that be
Mr. GOHMERT. We're all part of it.
Mr. CUTLER. Well, but you understand what I'm trying to say, sir.
Mr. GOHMERT. Sure.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CUTLER. As a New Yorker, as an American, as a former agent, I don't think that the Government has learned the lessons that we should have learned. The fact that we haven't appreciably increased the number of agents to do interior enforcement, the fact that we're talking about 843goodness gracious, 2,000 special agents for the entire country. Look at the manpower that we flooded into Iraq, and this isn't going to be about Iraq, but the point is, we should match the effort to secure Iraq with an effort to secure our own country up close and in person, and it really pales by comparison.
Mr. GOHMERT. Yes.
Mr. CUTLER. It's troubling.
Mr. GOHMERT. Yes. I'm not advocating pulling from one to go to the other. We just need to
Mr. CUTLER. No, no, no. You understand what I'm saying, sir?
Mr. GOHMERT. Yes. We need to make this a priority.
Mr. CUTLER. And to say we're fighting it there so we don't have to fight it here is foolish. I mean
Mr. GOHMERT. I think we're on the same page. Thank you very much for your efforts.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CUTLER. Okay, sir. Yes.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Gohmert.
The chair now recognizes the gentlelady from California, Ms. Sánchez, for 5 minutes.
Ms. SÁNCHEZ. Thank you. Mr. Callahan, I found your testimony particularly compelling, I must say, because you're one of those folks that, day in and day out, are on the front lines. And what I found particularly interesting about your testimony is that on numerous occasions, we have had Department heads from ICE and Border Patrol tell this Committee that they have sufficient resources to do the job, and yet I'm hearing the exact opposite from your mouth. I just want to reassure you that you're not alone, because I recently heard from several ICE Agents that, in fact, they oftentimes have to pay for their own gasoline to do their patrols and conduct their raids.
Now, a question I have for you is why do you think there's this discrepancy between what the Administration officials are telling us and what the folks who are on the front line doing the job day in, day out, are experiencing firsthand?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Well, I think it comes down to the fact that the senior leadership in the Department serve, honestly, at the will of the President, and so they need to reflect whatthey need to show support for his budget, and that's where I think the discrepancy comes from. It's not that they don't want to come out and say, we need more; I think you'd have to ask them that question themselves, but I think they honestly feel that they need to support the President's budget.
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Ms. SÁNCHEZ. Let me ask you something. Do you think that we're safer since September 11 in how we conduct our internal security and our homeland security?
Mr. CALLAHAN. I think we're more focused than we were before September 11, but we've got a long way to go.
Ms. SÁNCHEZ. As another note, as an IBEW member myself, I know how helpful unions can be in giving workers a voice and a say in what is going on and getting some of these concerns addressed by higher-ups in the organization. What are some things that you can suggest perhaps to Congress that we can do to help returnor retain, pardon me, ICE Agents and to overall try to improve the retention rate of employees for the Department of Homeland Security?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Well, that's a very good question and one of the ways is awardingrecognizing employees that perform. It's funny that you bring that up, because I'm told that we don't have funds right now to award employees for performance, and as you know, in the future, the very near future, we will be moving to a pay-for-performance system, and if our budget is so tight that we can't afford to award employees, then effectively you're saying to them, you didn't perform well enough this year.
Ms. SÁNCHEZ. Excellent. Another question that I have for you is with respect to the training, or the lack of training, I guess is a better way of addressing it. How important do you think training is for new officers who are just coming onto the job?
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Mr. CALLAHAN. Well, training is critical, not just for new officers. I mean, obviously, you have to get them through a basic level of training to begin with, but it's also important for those that go into the field, especially these Immigration Enforcement Agents that were Detention Enforcement Officers before that had never gone through the type of training to identify someone who's here illegally. It's critical for that. If you're going to give them the authority to determine their alienage, or determine alienage and put people into removal proceedings, they need to know the law, and right now, they don't have it. So that's absolutely critical.
Ms. SÁNCHEZ. Let me ask you something. Do you think it would bethis is my last questiona good idea to have local law enforcement officers who have no training to do the job that agents like you are supposed to be doing? Does that sound like a good idea to you?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Well, without any training, certainly, it's not a good idea. If the idea is to hold someone until an INS-trained officer can come in and determine alienage and begin the removal proceedings, that would be a good idea. That would actually be helpful, because thatand that does happen somewhat in the field.
Ms. SÁNCHEZ. But doing something proactively, going out on a day-to-day basis trying to do the similar type of job that you are doing, do you think that's a good idea, without any training?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Without any training, I would disagree with that.
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Ms. SÁNCHEZ. Okay. Thank you. I have no further questions. I yield back.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentlelady.
The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Smith, for 5 minutes.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, Mr. Martin, thank you for your past good work as Inspector General at the INS. We both go back to those times that you always did a great job.
I had a number of questions today, but let me start off with trying to make the point that I think the problem is greater than any of us think that it is. You mentioned in your testimony that you thought there were eight million illegal aliens in the United States. I think the Census actually revised that to ten to 11 million. But the census figure, as you and I know, is based upon the number of illegal aliens who are permanent residents, who are residents in the United States. It does not count the number of illegal immigrants who might be in this country on a temporary basis, whether it be 1 day or 11 months and 29 days.
So to me, it's reasonable to say that the problem may be twice as great as many of us, or as most people think. Instead of having ten million illegal aliens, there may be 20 million on a given day in the United States. Would you agree, generally, with that statement?
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Mr. MARTIN. I can't disagree with that statement. I haven't done enough research on that. We haven't looked at that.
Mr. SMITH. Suffice it to say the problem is greater than just the people who are in the country illegally on a permanent basis.
Mr. MARTIN. We would agree with that.
Mr. SMITH. The question that I wanted to ask Mr. Martin, Mr. Cutler, and Mr. Callahan, and Mr. Haney, I don't mean to omit you, but your testimony is primarily on asylum and that's not the thrust of my question, but do you all support Congress in our efforts to try to get 800 new ICE investigators a year and the 8,000 new detention beds a year? Mr. Callahan, you said we had a budget crisis in your testimony, and Mr. Cutler pointed out accurately that 40 percent of the people in the country illegally actually came over legally on visas and then overstayed, and Mr. Martin pointed to the need, as well. Would you support our efforts to get those numbers? Mr. Martin?
Mr. MARTIN. I would supportI think we supportour research has shown that, again, the INS is effective if aliens issued final orders for removal are detained. And so whatever resources are provided to the ICE
Mr. SMITH. Okay. Mr. Cutler?
Mr. CUTLER. Absolutely.
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Mr. SMITH. And Mr. Callahan?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Absolutely, but in addition to detention bed space, we need to realize that you could have 10,000 more bed spaces, but if you don't have personnel to manage that
Mr. SMITH. Actually, you anticipated my next question, which is why did the Administration cancel the training when you've got people waiting to and want to go through that training and when you have such a great demonstrated need?
Mr. CALLAHAN. You'd have to ask Mr. Garcia that question, but I believe they just don't have any money.
Mr. SMITH. They ought to request the money if they don't have it.
Mr. CUTLER. But the training also needs to be in-service, document training, for example. Documents are the lynchpin that holds immigration together. And I don't know that there's any ongoing program to give document training to any of our line personnel. Now, this isn't an acceptable situation, so
Mr. SMITH. Let me try to bring another question to you. We have a series of votes that have been called.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Martin, we have a problem with non-detained aliens who receive their final deportation orders. What is the solution to that? What would you recommend, and then I will ask Mr. Cutler and Mr. Callahan the same question?
Mr. MARTIN. I think resources are a big part of it. I think it's also a focus on interior enforcement, which we do go back a lot of years looking at the INS. It has not been a historic
Mr. SMITH. Speaking of interior enforcement, do you all realize that the Administration in 2004 did not fine a single employer for hiring illegal immigrants?
Mr. CALLAHAN. Yes, I'm aware of it and I think it's outrageous.
Mr. SMITH. I interrupted you, Mr. Martin, but we need to
Mr. MARTIN. No, I'm all right.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Cutler, what is your solution to the non-detained aliens who have received final deportation notice?
Mr. CUTLER. All I can tell you is I know right now, there's well in excess of 400,000 such aliens that are wandering around the United States. I think we need many more beds. We need to do a better job. And I think we need to be more creative in the way we try to enforce the laws, also.
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Mr. SMITH. Mr. Callahan?
Mr. CALLAHAN. The Fugitive Operations Team in San Diego started to, instead of mailing out the notice that their final hearing has been adjudicated and they're removed, we've gone out to their residence to hand deliver it to them and pick them up at the same time. So I think something along those lines would be effective.
Mr. SMITH. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentleman.
The chair now recognizes the gentlelady from California, Ms. Waters.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Members. I am new to this Committee, but I have witnessed this Administration organize the so-called war on terror and they said that homeland security was perhaps the top priority. To come into this Committee today and hear that we do not have enough agents, that we don't have enough beds to detain illegal aliens who have been involved in criminal activity, to find out that we're releasing aliens out into the general public and we don't track them, we don't know where they are, it's all very strange to me.
Mr. Martin, does the President of the United States know that his homeland security is at great risk because of the problems that were identified here today and other problems we have?
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I want to add to this the fact that I just learned that suspected terrorists can buy handguns in the United States, and also, we areand I am from Los Angeles here. We're real worried about a lack of security at our ports, and still we don't have the answer to how we secure containers, let alone nuclear facilities. So, I mean, every day, I learn something new.
Mr. Martin, does the President of the United States know that homeland security is not working in the United States?
Mr. MARTIN. Congresswoman, since March of 2003, the immigration enforcement effort has been moved out of the Department of Justice to the Department of Homeland Security. We are the Inspector General's office for the Department of Justice, so I think that's probably a more appropriate question for the IG's Office of Homeland Security.
Ms. WATERS. But you haven't heard anything? Aren't you concerned about security, even though it's not in your Department, as you have described?
Mr. MARTIN. As the father of three daughters, I'm concerned about security.
Ms. WATERS. So what have you heard? Tell us what you know about this. You must know more than you say.
Mr. MARTIN. Again, what we're reporting on today at this hearing are studies that we have conducted in 1996 and 2003 that focus on the INS's effectiveness at removing detained and non-detained aliens.
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Ms. WATERS. All right. Well, let me just ask Mr. Cutler, you mentioned something about sleeper cells.
Mr. CUTLER. Yes.
Ms. WATERS. Is that true?
Mr. CUTLER. Well, if you're concerned about sleepers, then what you need to do is remove the foliage that they hide behind. I mean, that's the whole idea of embedding. If somebody is in the United States looking to hide in plain sight, which is really what a sleeper is, it's somebody that you might pass on the street 1 day and not realize that this person is waiting for that phone call or that letter to arrive in the mail telling him or her to go out and commit an attack against us. That's what a sleeper is.
What we saw when you look at the report from the 9/11 Commission was that the terrorists who attacked us became very adept at using our systems against us to go out there, hide in plain sight, and then position themselves so that they could attack us. And we're not using the resources and we aren't getting the resources that we need to defend ourselves against this sort of thing and it makes no sense to me. I don't understand it.
I don't understand why have a 9/11 Commission if you're not going to take the advice that they give you at great expense and at great effort.
Ms. WATERS. I agree with you and I guess, you know, being new to this Committee, I don't understand why the Members on the opposite side of the aisle who represent the majority in the Congress of the United States can't convince their President that there's something wrong with not having enough agents to investigate and protect the interior and not having enough detention beds, not having a real homeland security program as it does with immigration. I don't know why we are here. This is the kind of problem that should be discussed right inside the Administration and the Members on the opposite side of the aisle, we would like us to feel safer since 9/11, should be in the forefront of this in ways that we shouldn't be dallying around. It should be reflected in the budget. I just don't understand.
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Mr. CUTLER. I want to say one thing. I don't think it's one side of the aisle or the other. If you look at what happened in 1993 after the first Trade Center attack, nothing changed in terms of immigration enforcement. We don't, as a country, seem to learn the lessons, and I blame both sides of the aisle for this. We've got to get away from the idea that we can ignore the problem and it'll go away. It only gets worse.
Ms. WATERS. Yes, but we've had 9/11 and it's been referred to many times here today as you talk about the Commission
Mr. CUTLER. Absolutely.
Ms. WATERS. The definition of this Administration is the war on terror.
Mr. CUTLER. Absolutely.
Ms. WATERS. This is what the President is all about. This is his big push. This is his top priority. So we are to sit here and talk about he's nickel and diming us on the agents that are supposed to be responsible for the investigation and enforcement in the interior? What are we talking about? So what do you suggest we do, Mr. Callahan?
Mr. CALLAHAN. I think we definitely need to go beyond what was requested in the President's budget. We need to go with what was recommended on the Congressional side.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentlelady.
Ms. WATERS. I'm not finished yet
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Well, the red light iswe're facing
Ms. WATERS. Unanimous consent for 30 more seconds so I can put a little heat on you. [Laughter.]
Mr. HOSTETTLER. For 30 more seconds, without objection.
Ms. WATERS. Well, let me just address my comments in these 30 seconds to say time is very precious around here and it seems absolutely ridiculous that we should be spending time trying to convince the President of the United States to do what he said he was doing, and that is protect the homeland. And so I would hope we would not take up more time with witnesses, we would not keep identifying what's wrong in immigration, that somehow, my friends on the opposite side of the aisle would just tell the President to do the right thing and to advance the budget, increase the numbers for the agents, put the money where it's supposed to be, and let's protect the homeland.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentlelady.
Ms. WATERS. I yield back the balance of my time.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. I thank the gentlelady and welcome you to the Subcommittee.
For the time being, the Subcommittee will recess. We have votes on the floor, two votes. We will return shortly thereafter. I appreciate the indulgence of the witnesses. We have at least a couple more Members that would like to ask you questions. We are recessed.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. The Subcommittee is called back to order. The chair thanks the witnesses for your patience and recognizes now the gentleman from California, Mr. Lungren, for 5 minutes.
Mr. LUNGREN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the panelists for being here. I appreciate this. This is a subject I've been dealing with for the last 26 years, both as a Member of Congress and then as Attorney General of California and now as a Member of Congress again.
Some of the questions that have been raised about lack of support for interior enforcement, and maybe you don't want to venture this opinion, but I would just ask you, have you ever noticed Congress attempting to influence this Administration and prior Administrations about interior enforcement? And by that, I recall not too long ago Congress trying to stop some interior enforcement and giving some rather strong signals to the Administration in charge that we ought not to do this because somehow, it would cause discrimination against folks. Are any of you aware of Congress being part of the problem rather than just the executive branch? Yes, sir, Mr. Cutler?
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Mr. CUTLER. Well, I recall a Member of Congress making a speech in Mexico equating a raid on, I believe it was Wal-Mart, with an act of terrorism being committed against aliens. I have to tell you that as a former INS Agent, I had steam blowing out of my ears when I heard it.
The bottom line is we've politicized immigration to an extent that's incredible. You know, they call Social Security the third rail. It doesn't have nearly as much juice as a third rail as the immigration issue does. And I think what we really need to understand is that you get one shot at a first impression. It's the immigration laws that serve as that first impression for people from all over the world and we can't afford to politicize it.
And now, of course, with the war on terror ongoing, we certainly need to make certain that the immigration laws are properly, fairly, and effectively enforced and interior enforcement is the key. You can't control the border at the border if you don't take care of the interior. The Maginot Line didn't work in the Second World War and it certainly doesn't work here.
Mr. LUNGREN. See, my problem is sometimes it looks like we're too busy finger pointing rather than realizing that we have a national problem
Mr. CUTLER. Right.
Mr. LUNGREN.that stems from a lack of national will and a lack of national strategy, which stems from both the Congress and the executive branch, Democrat and Republican, not taking this subject seriously.
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I was one of those who volunteered for service on this Subcommittee 26 years ago and it was not difficult to get on the Subcommittee because nobody wanted to be on the Subcommittee.
Mr. CUTLER. I suspect your colleagues thought it was political suicide.
Mr. LUNGREN. Well, I can show you some results in some campaigns that I've been in that might suggest that to be true.
The question I have is, does it make sense to have a division between the CBP and ICE? Am I wrong in assuming that this is similar to a police department dividing its detectives from its foot patrol?
Mr. CUTLER. I think that's a great analogy and it makes no sense, because what we've done is to erect an artificial barrier between the interior and the border, and it's a continuum and there's so much overlap and we need to understand that they're all trying to work the same goal. And, in fact, I've spoken to people at ICE and at CBP, and by the way, under the new management rules, these people were petrified that I might identify them in any way, shape, or form for fear of reprisal, and that's not the way the Congress can do effective oversight, but that's an effective issue.
But the point of the matter is that we need to have a coordinated effort, because right now, we have CBP Agents calling up the FBI when there are violations of law that more appropriately should be handled by ICE, and that's counterproductive. It's terrible for morale. It's terrible for a sense of continuity. You need to have seamless enforcement.
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Years ago, I called for a tripod. I want everybody in this enforcement tripod. You've got the inspectors enforcing the laws at ports of entry, the Border Patrol between ports of entry, backed up by the special agents and Deportation Officers operating from within the interior of the United States, making up the third leg. Well, look how truncated that third leg is, 2,000 interior agents versus 10,000 Border Agents. We need to have legs of equal length, and so we need to have equal emphasis on the interior and the border and they need to be coordinated and understand that they all work in the same program to accomplish a common goal. The problem is, no one's ever established what the goal is.
Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Martin, I'd like to ask you to address this question. In my prior service in the Congress, I remember many times there were questions raised by Members of Congress concerning the separation between the Customs Service and the INS, Border Patrol, that it would make more sense from an efficiency standpoint if we brought them together. Do you fear, as Mr. Cutler has suggested, that the result of the reorganization has been an over-emphasis on Customs duties to the exclusion of or to the detriment of Immigration or Border Patrol, as we used to call it?
Mr. MARTIN. Congressman, our expertise looking at the immigration matter really ended almost 2 years ago when INS moved to the Department of Homeland Security. I understand the DHS IG's office is currently studying the issue about whether or not the two entities should be brought together.
Mr. LUNGREN. Mr. Callahan?
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CALLAHAN. I think that irregardless of the organizational structure, you need to have good leaders in place to concentrate on the mission and you need to have adequate staff and resources to get the job done.
Mr. LUNGREN. There's been a suggestion here that we don't have enough money, don't have enough people. You know something? That's absolutely true, and one of the reasons that we never talk about here in Congress is when you try to do everything, you don't do anything well.
I was in a hearing yesterday on the budget, and as we were marking up budget people are saying, ''We are responsible in the Congress for putting boots on the ground in every single law enforcement agency in the country. That, somehow, it's the Federal obligation to pay for local law enforcement officers. It's a Federal obligation to pay for local drug agents. It's a Federal obligation to do all of these things.'' But frankly, under the Constitution, it is the Federal Government that has the sole responsibility for Border Patrol. We can ask local law enforcement to assist us but because we're spreading ourselves so thin to do everything for everybody and never say no, we can't do the job that we're supposed to be doing here.
I'm absolutely convinced that if the Administration didn't have these other concerns and other responsibilities in many ways imposed upon them by this and prior Congresses, they would give you the money and the manpower you need because we'd have it. But the problem is, we are three-plus years past 9/11 and we have not reorganized ourselves in terms of priorities to recognize the Federal Government has the sole responsibility for Border Patrol. The Federal Government has the primary responsibility for dealing with terror inside and outside this country.
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And if that be true, then we ought to organize ourselves that way and maybe in some ways we tell, as tough as it is politically, some local governments and State governments, you know, police responsibility is primarily yours, and if you don't do that, there's no reason for you to exist, and we have to go about the business of doing what we're supposed to do.
Instead of having an Administration bragging about the fact they put 100,000 cops across this nation, and that was a little bait-and-switch because the original program was we pay 100 percent the first year, 75 percent the second year, 50 percent the third, 25 percent the fourth year, and nothing the fifth year, and you all know what happened. Around the fourth year, local jurisdictions came here and said, ''You're responsible for paying for these folks.''
What if we instead had gotten 100,000 Federal officers involved with Border Patrol, interior inspection, and the other things that are our responsibility? I doubt any of you'd be here. We'd probably have enough money to treat people properly under Mr. Haney's consideration. But instead, we're sitting here chasing our tails. Sorry, that's not a question. [Laughter.]
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. No, but it does deserve a hearty amen.
I thank the witnesses for your testimony today and your service to our country. All Members will have seven legislative days to enter remarks into the record, extension of remarks into the record.
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The business before this Subcommittee being completed, we are adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:20 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
QUESTIONS FOR THE RECORD SUBMITTED TO DHS IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT BY CHAIRMAN JOHN HOSTETTLER
How many spaces did ICE commit to using contract/ local facilities instead of its own?
DACS indicates 19,508 detainees on March 1. Of those, 16,013 were NOT in SPCs
Have contract facilities ever released detained aliens by mistake?
In FY 2005, we have had six detainees escape from custody. DRO will have to look into the individual incident reports to see if any of these escapees used false IDs and was ''released.''
How many previously detained aliens were released last year? (similar - how many aliens with final orders were released last year?)
The attached Excel sheet has the releases by type and month for all locations, locations excluding SPCs, and SPCs only. ''Unknown'' releases are those in which the last detention record for an alien indicates a transfer to another facility but there is no record from that facility.
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE
The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) merged the investigative functions of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Customs Service, the INS detention and removal functions, most of the INS intelligence operations, the Federal Protective Service, and the Federal Air Marshals Service. ICE's areas of responsibility include the enforcement of laws dealing with the presence and activities of terrorists, human trafficking, commercial alien smuggling operations, document fraud, and drug trafficking.
For instance, ICE investigators conducted an eight-month investigation last year of two men who were selling false identity documents to members of terrorist organizations. The ICE investigators developed such a strong case against these individuals that they pleaded guilty on February 28, 2005, to a charge of involvement in a conspiracy to sell false documents to purported members of Abu Sayyaf, a Philippines-based group that has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 authorized 800 new ICE investigators for FY2006 through FY2010. The President's budget only requests funding for 143 new Ice investigators for FY 2006, which is only 17% of the authorized number. We need all of the 800 additional ICE investigators authorized by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.
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The National Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act also authorized 8,000 new detention beds each year from FY2006 through FY2010. The President, however, has requested funding for 1,920 beds for FY2006, which is only 24% of the authorized number. We need all of the 8,000 beds that were authorized. They are necessary to provide appropriate detention facilities for asylum seekers and to detain people who might be dangerous.
In a recently issued Report on Asylum Seekers in Expedited Removal Proceedings, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom provides information about 19 detention facilities that house asylum seekers. The facilities are located in 12 different states and include 6 county jails, 5 Homeland Security facilities, 7 private contract facilities, and one special county-run detention facility for alien families. These institutions housed more than 70 percent of all aliens subject to Expedited Removal in FY 2003. Overall, they housed approximately 5585 alien men and 1015 alien women.
More than half of the facilities reported that they housed asylum seekers with criminals. Among the 8 facilities that housed criminal inmates, 7 permitted some contact between them and the detained aliens. In 4 of the facilities, this included shared sleeping quarters.
In only one of these facilities were the line officers or guards explicitly told which inmates were asylum seekers. Also, very few of the facilities provide any specific training to sensitize guards to the special needs or concerns of asylum seekers. Even fewer facilities provided training to recognize or address the special problems experienced by victims of torture and other forms of trauma.
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All of the facilities but 5 reported that they used strip or other kinds of invasive searches on detainees as a standard procedure during the time they were processed into the facility. All but 3 reported using strip or invasive searches for security-related reasons during the detainees' subsequent confinement.
Virtually all of the facilities reported using physical restraints. For example, the Tri-County Jail in Ullin, Illinois, used handcuffs, belly chains, and leg shackles when detainees left the facility.
Only a few of the facilities provided the detainees with access to private, individual toilets. In only slightly more of the facilities were detainees able to shower privately. The overwhelming majority of the facilities required detainees to wear uniforms.
It is unconscionable that we are treating asylum seekers this way. They have not been sentenced to incarceration as convicted criminals. Why are they being treated as if they were convicted criminals? This is especially distressing in view of the fact that some of them have come to the United States seeking refuge from torture and other forms of extreme abuse.
The failure to provide adequate detention facilities does not just result in inappropriate incarceration of asylum seekers. It also results in the release of aliens who might be a threat to our national security. Although a large number of aliens cross the border between Mexico and the United States illegally, the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) catches many of them and returns them to Mexico. The Mexican government, however, usually does not accept aliens from other countries. These aliens are referred to as ''Other than Mexican'' or ''OTMs.'' Due to a shortage of detention beds, USBP cannot detain all of them. According to information from the Congressional Research Service, USBP released 35,000 OTMs last year on their own recognizance.
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Most of the OTMs are ordinary people who have come to the United States to seek a better life for themselves and their families. There is concern, however, that terrorists will use this weakness in our border security as an easy way to enter the country. Also, we have a growing number of Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) gangs in our major cities, and members of these bloody, violent Central American gangs are entering the United States as OTMs.
If we fix our broken immigration system and provide adequate, lawful access to the United States, the population of undocumented aliens and the number of aliens coming here illegally will be reduced greatly. Then, it will be easier to deal with enforcement problems, and we will not need as many detention beds. In the meantime, however, we need additional ICE investigators and more detention beds. We also need to stop the inhumane practice of housing asylum seekers in penal settings where they are treated as incarcerated criminals.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE LINDA SÁNCHEZ
I want to thank Chairman Hostettler and Ranking Member Jackson Lee for holding this important oversight hearing on our nation's Interior Immigration Enforcement Resources.
Like all Americans, I know that our immigration system is broken. Without a doubt we need to fix it and we need the Bush Administration to provide the necessary funding to secure our borders.
However, let's not forget in all of our discussions about enforcement, that the U.S. has always been a beacon of hope and we must continue to guard the light of liberty for those who are oppressed or displaced, or are coming here to seek new opportunities for their families.
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The Committee's last two immigration hearings have focused on attacking immigrants and not the Republican Administration's failure to meet its promise to secure our borders.
Providing funding for only 210 CBP agents when 2,000 agents were authorized. And funding only 137 new ICE investigators, which is 17% of the 800 additional investigators, this just doesn't cut it!
Not only is this frustrating, but it undermines the term, ''Homeland Security.''
There is no excuse for this! Time and time again, the Bush Administration guts funding to secure our borders and ports. Instead of providing resources, they use immigrants as a smoke-screen for our security and immigration problems.
Attacking immigrants alone is not going to resolve the issue, since the majority of immigrants come to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their families.
Let's remember who these immigrants arethey are my parents, they are people who do the jobs that Americans don't want, and they are those seeking refuge from blood-thirsty regimes.
If we fix our broken immigration system and provide adequate, lawful access to the United States through an earned legalization and guestworker program, the population of undocumented immigrants will greatly decrease.
This would also make it easier for us to deal with enforcement problems.
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I'd ask that we all remember our humanity as we discuss ways to improve our immigration system. These are real peoplenot just statisticstrying to achieve the American Dream.
I look forward to hearing from the witnesses who are trying to protect our borders and ports everyday.
I thank both the Ranking Member and Chairman for convening this hearing.
I yield back.
(Footnote 1 return)
The EOIR, a DOJ component, is responsible for adjudicating immigration cases at the trial and appellate levels.
(Footnote 2 return)
See U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, Immigration and Naturalization Service's Deportation of Aliens After Final Orders Have Been Issued (Report No. I9603), March 1996, and The Immigration and Naturalization Service's Removal of Aliens Issued Final Orders (Report No. I2003004), February 2003.
(Footnote 3 return)
The Interagency Border Inspections System is an interagency effort by the INS, U.S. Customs Service (now part of ICE), Department of State, and Department of Agriculture to improve border enforcement and controls and to facilitate the inspections of applicants for admission to the United States.
(Footnote 4 return)
The DOJ's FY 01 Performance Report/FY 02 Revised Final Performance Plan/FY 03 Performance Plan.
(Footnote 5 return)
In 1990, Congress provided the Attorney General authority to grant Temporary Protected Status to aliens from certain countries if the aliens' lives would be threatened by natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions. As of July 2002, the Attorney General had granted or extended Temporary Protected Status to nationals from Angola, Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Sudan.