tv White House Panel on ICE and CBP CSPAN August 24, 2018 11:57am-1:04pm EDT
dinner in downtown columbus. p.m..l start at 6 director testifies before the senate health community at the nih. saturday at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span. live coverage of the democratic national committee summer meeting in chicago to decide on changes to the parties presidential nomination process, watch live saturday at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> the commissioner of u.s. satoms and border detection down at the white house with elected officials earlier this
week for a conversation on the priority of their agencies. this is about one hour. >> many of you have traveled from across the country to join us on this very special event, here to honor and salute our law enforcement, to honor and salute our ice and cbp agents, who are here joining us. well as with commissioner mcaleenan, i have been able to see them focusing on the
success, working in ice. they are humble, public servants and they put their heads down, get to work, and ensure not only that our borders are secure, but as well as dealing with very broad issues such as dealing with counternarcotics, as well as dealing with the increasing gang situations that we've seen that has plagued so many of our communities. so with that i first want to say thank you to both of you as well as to those local law enforcement officials that we have joining us as well. and are partnering with our governors and senators, to ensure that we have a holistic approach in dealing with this issue of not only securing the board but as well as enforcing our immigration laws and dealing with ways to prevent terrorism. so to get started i would like to go ahead and introduce our
panelists, and we have a very strong group here with us today. commissioner kevin -- joining us. thank you so much for being here. he's our commissioner for u.s. customs border control agents. i want to say we're thrilled you're here. he's served three presidents so it's a wonderful opportunity for you to be here. with us as well is our governor from arizona. >> he's strong and critical when they talk about abolishing ice, how that's an reckless statement to be made. thank you for joining us. we have our senator from georgia, david perdue, and steve
marshall. with that, we would like to start with just some general questions. first of all it's important to understand what our ice and cpd mission is. people assume that it's just immigration enforcement as we know. it's much broader than that, and with that, i would like, kevin, if you can start, to talk about what we're doing, what do you work on every day in terms of helping to ensure that we're protecting our homeland security in particular, when it comes to preventing terrorism? >> thanks, mercedes, and thanks for this opportunity to be here, to help our agents and officers who have had notable successes, to be honored and families of our fallen agents, it's appreciated, that recognition and support. thank you for asking that question about our counterterrorism mission. counterterrorism is the primary mission. it's the reason why we were created after 9/11, and we've
built a tremendous capability at our national targeting center to support interagency efforts and international efforts to identify and prevent terrorists from moving across the borders. we do that, a number of times each day, even before they can enter the system, to head to the united states. if they apply for a visa or they try to enter through visa entering program. with the support of the white house and the national vetting center we'll be able to take that to the next level, as well as bringing the data from the intelligence community into that process to get the best possible information we can to our men an women in the field to make good decisions on potential threats. >> i think secretary has mentioned, that they prevent the entry of about 10 known or suspected terrorists per day. >> usually that's very early in the cycle when they are applying for permission to travel to the u.s., and it's a core aspect of our commission. >> governor ducey, you're right
on the border. walk us through in terms of what you're seeing, in terms of terrorist it's there and this issue on the border. >> thank you, thanks for having me, i also want to say to president donald trump and to secretary of homeland security, nielsen, it's our honor to be here and to give special spotlight to the men and women who are in cbp and ice. these are men and women, american men and women on the front lines. the drug cartel the human trafficking, the child sex trafficking that's happened in our state, we've gone out of our way to make sure we shine a spotlight on law enforcement, that they not only have the support that's necessary, but when they're doing things of interdicting the dangerous drugs, the illegal ammunition coming across the border that they're getting credit for that and i want to thank this administration because we have a
partner now in the federal government and what we're trying to do back in the state of arizona and i think this idea, this cultural idea that we should be grateful and thanking all men and women in law enforcement, whether it be c.b.p. or i.c.e. or -- we just recently lost a state trooper, 24-year-old state trooper, who was also a veteran, was needlessly killed in the line of duty. so we've den a number of things in arizona, like the arizona medal of valor, this is for unusual heroism or bravery in the line of duty. and we put together a border streak force which is led by our department of public safety in partnership with our county sheriffs. we've got county sheriff mark daniels who is here today, these are men who work with us at the state level. this administration has been working with us at the national level. we've been getting results not
only in stopping gang members and dangerous drug bus arresting criminals at the border and have a cooperative federal government in the pursuit. mercedes: ron, talk to us about the counterterrorism task force and what i.c.e. is doing with that. >> thank you for this opportunity, i'm grate to feel share this moment with good friends and people i care a lot about. i.c.e. was created in the aftermath of 9/11 to prevent the lessons learned in that event. so one of the single biggest investments i.c.e. makes in the interagency, in the fight against terrorism surgery with the jtcf, the department does this along with us but c.b.p. and i.c.e. are probably the two biggest contributors to the joint terrorism task force. you've heard the open source media about how the f.b.i. is almost overwhelmed with the number of cases they see across
the country where they're tracking down people who are determined to be a threat to the country. but there are no other way no, actual charges to remove them from the country or take them into custody for the threat of terrorism. these task forces roll on all these cases, help the f.b.i. do their surveillance. when cases are made, we help with the investigations, using our specific investigative authorities as it relates to border search, as it relates to expertise in h.s.i. on the dark web to see how these people communicate. they think they're communicating in a surreptitious way but we have people in our organization that can look at those communications and use that information. and the end-all, be-all, if we can't make a case against someone who is a suspected terrorism but they're in the country on a visa or lied to obtain a visa, we can remove them. mercedes: just want to jump to senator perdue. you represent in the state of
georgia one of the busiest airports in the world. tell us what do you make of the work that i.c.e. and c.b.p. do every day in term os preventing terrorism. >> it's like anybody else. if you do your job, nobody notices. but the first time you make a mistake, we all notice, right? atlanta airport is a great blessing for us in our infrastructure in georgia. it's a great asset for our country. first of all, i want to thank president trump and secretary neilsen for setting today up. the men and women of i.c.e. and c.b.p. have had a rough road over the last month or six weeks. i think this is totally appropriate, it's a high privilege for me to be part of this, mercedes, so i want to everybody to know in those two organizations how highly thought of they are by most in the u.s. senate. what we have now is an asset we take for granted. when president trump was elected, national security was an issue. the world is more dangerous now than any time in my lifetime. there are only six reasons why
13 colonies got together in the first place. one was to provide for the national defense. if you have open borders, how can you assure you have national defense? president trump called this a top priority. what we have to do to protect our airports and our ports. c.b.p. has a million opportunities today, a million people a day cross our borders and they have to make sure they're ok. and this is not like we're finding innocent people out there that are not intending to do us harm. these people put their lives in jeopardy every day and i'm delighted to be a senator from my home state, with the airport that we have, but i have to tell you it's bigger than that. it's every port, every airport. 600,000 people come into our country every year by land. and that kind of tells you the perspective. if a million are coming in,
2/3's are coming in by land. so i'm very delighted to be here and i want the men and women of i.c.e. and c.b.p. to understand how highly they're cherished by most of us. mercedes: thank you. i think one of the greatest threats c.b.p. is facing and i.c.e. as well and local law enforcement is the threat of ms-13 gang members, obviously in so many communities, especial will in places with a lot of hispanics and minorities as well. i'd like to ask you, sheriff, to talk us through what you have seen in your state when it comes to having to deal with ms-13 gang members and the impact it's having on community safety? >> thank you, first of all, on behalf of the over 3,000 sheriffs in this country, it's a true honor to be silting here. you know, i look back in my 34 years working in border communities, the first time i've seen my fellow sheriffs out here today in the audience. sheriff napier, sheriff lam from my home state, that we're
united. the only way we're going to solve this is when we have leaders like president trump, secretary neilsen, governor ducey from my state, and you all. you all sitting here today in a unified force, unified message that is all about community and public safety. that's what this is about today. this is what we need to go. i can look back after 34 years and say it's not been that way in the past. i can say today they have that support from president trump, not political, there's -- policing doesn't have politics involved, we have -- we police for people. today is an honor to be sitting in front of you all to speak. in my 34 years we've seen some serious violent actions on our border. we talk about open borders, i'm 100% opposed to that and the fact that if you look at the folks in this front row, god bless you all for your strength an courage to be here today. i've seen citizens in my county that have changed the way they live because of gang members
that come across our border, breaking in their homes where they're afraid to leave them. citizens killed in my county. i'll give you an example a recent example, we had a 60-year-old female working for our national pork service, cleaning bathrooms at one of our parks. unarmed. getting some supplies out of the back of her truck. a smuggler who just dropped a load off that that had served time in two of our state prisons under different aliases left his group, going back south, took a rock and bashed her head in. left her for dead, he beat her a second time, he stole our car, went to our local community, went back across the border, to be picked up 24 hours later coming back in across the border. he was arrested and now sentenced to 76 years in prison. anyone who thinks open borders is good for communities is 100% wrong.
i believe in a multibadge, unified message, one mission approach. the gangs, it's no secret you see it on the east coast, some of the sheriff here's from the east coast, they're coming to your communities, to our community well, need to stand united and collaborate at all levels to make that difference. mercedes: attorney general, we just saw philadelphia, the mayor, celebrate the status of being a sanctuary city. what message is that sending out to the rest -- to constituents and as well as to other communities? across the country? >> thank you. thank you for the privilege of being able to be here today. first of all i'm grateful for an administration that's willing to look at law enforcement that's here to be able to say thank you because you don't hear that very often. many times law enforcement bands together in tragedy. but you don't necessarily have people come up and be able to say thank you. as somebody who is the chief law enforcement officer of a state in which a 13-year-old girl with autism was beheaded as a result
of a cartel wanting to make a statement through somebody here illegally or a woman killed in a car accident with person that was here twice deported and then ran from law enforcement, or a young child recently molested as a result of somebody who crossed the border illegally. you need to know that those stories would be far more frequent were you not doing your job and doing it well, and we're so grateful for that. the sanctuary city issue is critical for us. the rule of law matters in this country. to the extent that congress sets policy, that we have an obligation to be able to enforce that law fairly and impartially and to the extent that cities say that we're going to avoid the law that we're going to ignore valid warrants that we're not going to allow for law enforcement to be able to do their jobs, what we have done is create safe havens for those who would do things criminally to know they've got a place where they can do it without law enforcement becoming engaged an
we don't believe that's right. we will stand together as attorneys general across the country who believe strongly in this issue to say not only do we support this administration saying we should be able to withhold funds from those cities who want to avoid their obligations under state and federal law, but we're going to band together to say those cities are making the rest of us unsafe. grateful for the fact that this administration recognizes this that issue. that we've seen the department of justice as well as the executive branch through president trump to say that won't be tolerated. the good thing is we get to stand with you. i'm grateful to general wilson and his leadership for us and other republican a.g.'s who want to stand together and say the rule of law is important in this country, it is that line between order and chaos and we're going to continue to do our job to enforce it fairly. mercedes: commissioner, walk us through when it comes to the mentality of ms-13, what are the men and women of c.b.p. seeing
on the border, specifically when it comes to criminal activity and ms-13 gang members? >> there's been a focus on people who cross the border who don't present an obvious threat but alongside that there are transnational organizations violating our laws by bringing people and contraband across the border. they are violent, as you heard from the sheriff, there's individual examples across the country of communities that are facing challenges based on the flow coming through. so our agents are out there on their own, often with state and local partners, trying to address this challenge. and they're confronting it every day and doing a tremendous job wit. mercedes: ron, i want to ask you a similar question in terms of ms-13 gang member what your agents are dealing with in terms of confronting this issue in these communities and what impact we're having? >> there's not a day that goes
by that we don't encounter at least a few ms-13 whether turned over by c.b.p. and illegally crossing the border, attempting to answer our own informations culminating in the arrests or removal operations, bringing people back to el salvador. s that ruthless gang that is coming to this country only to ply their trade. to sell drugs on the retail market and to -- and they enforce their code of conduct, if you will, whatever you want to call it, but they are a ruthless group. you've all seen the headlines what they do to people. there are many men and women in i.c.e., c.b.p., the department, our partners represented here, who are dedicated to making sure they are not in the country any second longer than they need to be. it'll be the work of i.c.e. and the department to make sure that we give our men and women on the frontline the tools to combat this vicious organization. mercedes: senator perdue, obviously we're yearning for congress to take action on these issues. so what policy options do we have to get cities to protect these criminal ail general os to
cooperate with federal law enforcement? >> we have to break through the gridlock. this is how president trump got elected, he talked about this is not just a national security issue, there's a large growing tie between terrorism and drug tasking. half those in prison today are international drug traffickers. we have had bill after bill in the last year and a half that would move toward the solution of. this sanctuary city would be addressed. kate's law would have addressed a problem. merit-based immigration would help dramatically. president trump offered a path to citizenship to 1 ppt 8 million daca recipients. we have to take the politics out of it and recognize the severe dimension of national security at risk here. unfortunately, we've got two parties up here and the minority
party right now, this is a historic level of obstructionism. some 341, i think, last count, nominees waiting to be confirmed, struggling to get the government fund by september 30. that's why i'm here today, the senate is in session in the month of august trying to get this done. we'll see between now and november if we can break through to get only bipartisan bills done. there's hope. the dodd-frank bill passed early this year was a bipartisan effort that will help small town banks and i believe the same level of bipartisanship is absolutely needed to get legislation done to solve some of these problems for these men and women who put their lives on the line every day. mercedes: thank you. we've talked about preventing terrorism. we've talked about the gang and ms-13 scenarios, the criminal aliens. one other issue, the mission is so broad, it's counternarcotics. commissioner, can you walk out through what a counterdrug mission looks like at c.b.p.? >> sure.
we've all seen the crisis in our communities, the opioid crisis but also in many state, the methamphetamine crisis. we have seen huge increases in our seizures on the border, three vectors. through our ports of entry, lawful crossings, hidden among the hundreds of millions of vehicles that come through every year. the fedex and u.p.s. and international mail. coming direct among e-commerce shipments, we're all buying online and those packages have grown five-fold in five years. 600 million packages a year with small shipments of narcotics. third we've seen an increase in narcotics coming between our ports of entry. 25% last year being interdicted by border patrol. the numbers are staggering. 70,000 pounds of meth already this year. 30,000 pounds in 2015. we know the impact on our communities. we need to do better. to interdict those drugs. the investments that the administration and congress are
making, this allows us to put cars through x-rays and find shipments hidden in axles and quarter panels. training our canine to detect fentanyl. and working with the post office to get better information on packages coming from china. we're tracking that across the federal government with h.s.i. every time they make a drug seizure locally we want to know how it got there we want to take action to prevent it next time. mercedes: governor what are you seing in terms of the counternarcotics, in terms of shombs drugs crossing the border, what impact is it having on your state? >> as a border governor in a border state, these are things we deal with every day. we have long seen it as public safety. and to hear the president talk about it as border security being national security is something that has broad support in the state of arizona and i believe even when you get out of
the state of arizona. when -- this is not a partisan issue inside our state. so when we talk about stopping methamphetamine and we all know about the opioid addiction epidemic we have inside our country and we've lost over 900 arizonans to that in the last year. but that has also brought a spike in heroin and it has brought a spike in fentanyl and synthetic drugs. there's much of what's going on in arizona that i'm proud ofism i'm not proud that these dangerous drugs are coming across the southern border not only to be distributed in the state of arizona but across the country. and i think so much of this talk of abolishing i.c.e. or talking about these brave men and women in our federal agencies or in law enforcement that wear a badge, deserve our gratitude and support. we talked about a surge of badges to the border, that was when we deployed the national guard. that's happened in new mexico, texas, and california as well. there has been a spike in us
actually interdicting dangerous drugs at the port because the border agents can be forward-facing and on offense rather than on defense. so we're hoping to see those numbers going in the right direction. this is something that should concern every local law enforcement person and every citizen across the country. mercedes: thank you. ron, can you walk us through the counterdrug mission in terms of what it looks like in the interior, obviously, kvetch addressed the border. from a border perspective. what does it look like from the interior? >> i sit in a homeland security investigation group inside of i.c.e. dedicated to longer term investigations to attack these cartels. how they're financed. how their business models work. where they're resident overseas. what kinds of things they bring to the country. they use investigative skills and undercover operations, title iii investigations, working as part of task forces in state, local and other federal
departments but also maintaining task forces and border environment as well as the interior. and using our specific skill set to work inside the dark web to see how these folks are communicating with each other and how they report things that the commissioner mentioned cross-border traffic, trying to figure out when seizures are made and how we can contribute, how these investigations can be led and fed by something that may occur in the interior but we can trace it back to its origin. we also have a significant footprint overseas, having attache offices that can work with local governments to vet and employ task forces in the overseas environment to understand the criminal networks as they exist overseas. >> i just want to jump in and thank governor ducey on the national guard support. over 450 arizona national guard members helping us on the border. 1,600 border-wide. we've made 15,000 arrests
14rk,000 pounds of narcotics seized you put hundreds of agents back on the line. i want to thank you personally for this tremendous support and the administration's support in letting us have that operation. >> thank you. arizona is honored to do it and there have been many other governors across the country involved and offered their support as well. not a partisan issue a public safety issue an issue of border security. >> including alabama. mercedes: we are facing a crisis in terms of the drug trade and sheriff, what is your experience in working with c.b.p., working with the federal officials to ensure that you're tackling this drug trade in arizona? >> after three decades of watching the border evolve from the good, the bad, and the ugly, and the ugly again, it's nice to finally see that, and this is going to be a success story. when it comes to what's going on on the border. that's based on our collaborative trust with our governor, with our local law
enforcement, fellow sheriffs, our troopers in arizona, and our federal partners all through the. we have stood up a task force down there supported by our governor, supported by the national guard, we have 10 national guard folks assigned to the sheriff's office on the border. we get about 4,000 picks a week in my county alone. not all drug related but there's a percentage that is. we have made a huge difference in cochise county. i think it needs to be heard and talked about. we have 100% conviction rate if you're smuggling in cochise county. on our virtual camry ra system alone, over 300 deployed in cochise county, to add on and complement with what the federal government has done, we have a 69% apprehension rate. if we see you, 70% chance we're going to get you. and then what the federal government chooses or can't prosecute, we prosecute them.
so that's a partnership that works. it's a partnership that's working not just for cochise county, not just for the state of arizona. but all of you in the room. there's not a -- there's not a sheriff or police chief in this room that doesn't have a drug epidemic going on. i have to say this too, on the question about sanctuary cities our attorney general spoke about. when these -- i'm going to be kind of blunt and probably be spoke about later in the media. these failed leaders from state and local communities that say, it's ok to come to my community and break the law, the constitution is the back bone of what we do in this country to tell them to get through that front line, you're endangering the men and women from local, state, and federal law enforcement. they'll do whatever it takes to get through our front efforts to get to sanctuary cities. shame on the leaders who are doing that. thank you to a president, secretary neilsen and this administration and all the
sheriffs and police out there saying, this is wrong. mercedes: thank you. senator david perdue, what in your mind when you hear these critics basically talk about abolishing i.c.e. what message do you want to send to them? >> i just don't know how to respond to that. s the united states of america. that's like saying i want to get rid of the marines. i can't relate to that that somebody in an elected position would voice that as an intellectual position. i don't understand if anybody has read the constitution it's very plain about what our responsibility is. provide for national defense and that means security at the border. and i'd like to go back to what the sheriff just said and what we've seen happen in alabama. i think the cases that this attorney general has brought are fantastic in terms of standing up for the constitution. beyond that -- kate stain lee's father a couple of years ago, when you see a senseless murder that could have been prevented, any one of you in uniform can give us examples of that, when will we talk about the victims
of this senseless crime and drug commerce being perpetrated on the united states. this is when somebody fails their oath of office when they say they want to get rid of i.c.e. or c.b.p. i think it's unpatriotic and treasonable. mercedes: attorney general i'd like to ask you the same question. in terms of critics calling out to abolish i.c.e., what are your thoughts on that? >> can i just say amen to what the senate just said? i think it speaks to the perception of what these men and women do. we talked about the front end side of law enforcement where tons have been stopped at the border. but what you don't see is what happens on the back end. i've been a prosecutor for 0 years. at one point in time i did some statistics, i was in an area in alabama known as meth mountain. every 70% of our drug
traffickers were in the country illegally. that meant when they were arrested local law enforcement had the opportunity to contact i.c.e. to make sure those individuals would stay until we had the opportunity to send them to trial. the other thing it gave us the opportunity to do was work with additional federal partners to see if they could be prosecuted federally rather than at the state level. federal prosecutors typically don't have the opportunity to issue a complaint and their process takes longer. and many times we were able to capture those bad apples that were the worst of the worst for us to make sure that not only did we have a chance to fully prosecute them but also prosecute them in the venue in which we'd make the most difference. those that would criticize i.c.e., those who believe we should abolish one of the most effective law enforcement mechanisms out there don't
understand what you do, don't have an appreciation about the danger you placed yourselves in, so that i and others can be safe and we're grateful for that. mercedes: thank you. i want to move on to securing the border. obviously for president trump, that is top priority in ensuring that we're able to have border security and protecting our homeland as well. commissioner, i want to start with you. you're seing the everyday challenges at the border. give us your insight as to what the men and women are facing at the border when it comes to dealing with border security. >> sure, we've had a chance to talk a little bit about the flows between ports of entry illegally, the narcotics flows. we also have on that southwest border, as i think the senator alluded to, over 5,000 lawful travelers a day as well as $2 million in commerce. we've got to facilitate all that important commerce between the u.s. and mexico and really, abroad, while enforcing about 600 laws through 47 different
agencies. that's a huge challenge for us. really what's marked the last decade or so is a transnational criminal organization that used to be called drug cartels, growing in strength and power and diversifying. they used to focus on moving narcotics, mainly marijuana, some cocaine, as their cash now with the production of products. -- their cash products. now with the production of heroin in mexico, synthetic opioids coming from china, being pressed into pills and coming across, and capitalize on the movement of vulnerable people. our legal framework invites some of the most vulnerable people in our hemisphere to put themselves in the hands of these criminal organizations because they think they'll be successful in coming to the country and staying. that's a dangerous dynamic. to have violent folks with vulnerable people at the same time as drugs are coming across. that's what our agents and officers confront every day. it's a challenging mix.
what we're trying to do is apply the best set of resources we can against it. we've got tremendous support for investing in additional wall, investing in technology, investing in technology for the ports of entry to be able to put more vehicles through systems where we can identify threats and also our most valuable , resource, our men and women. we're hiring additional officers and border patrol agents, trying to find some top mission inspired people in the world, we've got low unemployment to join us. it is really an outstanding career. so that support for all of our investments across the board is what we're going to need to continue to enhance security alongside our international and very much our federal, state, and local partnerships. mercedes: you talked about the wall. what impact would it have to build the wall? i know we're building the wall along the southern border but what would the impact of the wall be on border security? >> we've submitted a comprehensive plan to congress
called the border security improvement plan. one of the key elements is additional wall system to impede and deny access to criminal elements crossing our border. think about the area of our border with a dense population environment on both sides of the border. we only have a short window of time to try to interdict someone crossing illegally or bringing a drug load across. if we can bolster our barriers and this includes replacing very old scrap metal barriers with modern wall system, with cameras, with sensor, we'll be in a much better position. we're already seeing that. we have four active construction zones across the border, el sent centro san diego, el , paso. that's moving traffic away from areas where we have a short time to areas where we have a better tactical advantage. that's going to continue with the investments in the f.y. 2018 bill from congress and hopefully in fiscal year 2019 we continue to see positive support. so really it's making an impact already. mercedes: thank you. governor ducey, secretary neilsen announced the deployment of national guard. what successes have you seen so far in arizona and what challenges have you experienced?
so the majority , of successes we have seen with the national guard to the border has been the advancement of additional personnel. i would say the best news has been the interdicting of illegal drugs that we've seen at our ports of entry which is where the majority of these dangerous products come over. but i was just in cochise county last week with a rancher, warner glen kimbro and his granddaughter mckenzie. they've been ranching the land for six generations. they along with john ladd and scott arena and sue kreuntz are grateful to the administration for what they've seen as what they describe as a trump bump in terms of reduction of illegal activity since 2016. we know there was a surge in february and march of this year and secretary neilsen acted with the national guard being deployed down there.
i know there was an outcry about this but i don't think people should have been surprised. this has been done in previous administrations. it has just been done later in previous administrations. the other thing i would say that i hear from ranchers in the border counties, that this thought of abolishing i.c.e. would be reckless, it would be wrong, it would be irresponsible and it would be a threat to the state of arizona. mercedes: thank you. ron, we've seen a web of court orders, broken policies, dictating our current immigration system. which policy do you believe is hindering the ability to secure our borders and keep america safe? well, we have already talked at length about the sanctuary cities thing and it's our opinion that there should be no jurisdiction that refuses command of federal law to take people in the country who have crossed the border illegally and committed other crimes to come into custody of i.c.e. that that wouldn't be honored is not how we do business in the united states. it is against the interest of public safety in those
communities and it drives more traffic to the border. what we do on the border and what we do worldwide is we react to the arrests that c.b.p. makes. and we have to take into custody all the people they arrest that come into the country illegally. the system has to work. so when we are talking about loopholes and changes, we need to have a system in this country that allow people to have due process rights when they're arrested. but then they are eventually removed from the united states if they don't have a right to be here. right now that system is not , working for us. effectively if you come to a border as a member of a family you're released into society and you are set up for a due process ride and you're under daca control, you're waiting for a court date that may in some cases in city like phoenix, may , be years away before you can have that due process right. we have to shore up the system so when people come here illegally they have a right to their due process but are eventually removed from the country. if we could get one thing, not just one thing, you have to do all the things we talked about to shore up the system but that would make a huge difference.
mercedes: talking about loopholes, senator perdue, obviously a key is wanting to work with congress to make sure we're able to get significant immigration reform, close the loopholes we need for department of homeland security. where do you see this playing out in congress in the next few months? governor perdue -- senator perdue: let me talk about the immigration part of that you've got -- security is one issue. immigration issue is another. three times in the last 11 years, congress has tried and failed, these are well-meaning women and men, trying to solve this issue, and they have failed because they try to take a comprehensive approach. president trump comes in and says let's break it into a legal problem, a temporary work visa problem, and the illegal problem. he helped put a bill out that we thought would have gone a long way to solve that on the legal side, that was the secure act. we bring in 1.1 million green card recipients a year. only 70,000 is related to work. 70,000 is immediate family, wife and family.
and about are asylum and refugee 150,000 seekers. and that leaves 800,000 people coming into the country every year linked to past recipients. 800,000. now, nobody knows, i don't and nobody in congress knows what that level should be but , somebody should determine what that level should be in terms of how many workers we need and let's work toward a merit immigration system that the president started talking about last year, and like most countries have moved toward to some degree. the temporary work visa is a big problem. if you are going to grow the economy 3.5% like we're doing now you have to deal with this. and the illegal problem has to be dealt with for all the reasons we said today. i think the senate right now is developing an appetite, if we can get past this election, to finally break this into its components and get a bipartisan solution once and for all on this immigration side to help these guys dramatically. mercedes: is the president going
to get his border wall? >> i think he is. i think it's in d.h.s. bill this year. you know, this is not a debate between zero and $25 billion , which is where it's been over the last year. it's between $2 billion and $5 billion, a very reasonable accommodation by president trump in my mind. so i'm hopeful when we get the d.h.s. bill, and that's why we're here in august to get these bills done, we'll have defense and h.h.s. next week , which is by far the largest dollar amount we're doing, and right after that we'll have d.h.s. and that is where the debate will be. i'm optimistic we'll get it done. mercedes: sheriff, talk through about why border security is so important in arizona. >> border security is very important for every community we represent in this room today. it's all about public safety, that quality of life we strive for as sheriffs, police chiefs and those who wear the badge. it is truly what it is all about having that peace of mind. , and let's not forget the fact that the united states constitution says we need to
have a secure border. that's something we overlook in many conversations. it's so true. you know watching this evolution , of the border, one thing i can say is this administration this -- is this administration, this president, and the many leaders in this room would agree it is a fact, we have the will. that's something that's been lacking for many, many years. a lot of rhetoric talk. yeah, we're going to secure the border. we can go back in time and see that. we're going to secure the border. we're going to secure the border. it's the best it's ever been. and the reason it's best, it starts with the president of the united states. it starts with the president that shares a mission, supported by the constitution, to share that border. i also want to add a program by the federal government that supports local law enforcement called stone garden. the program is a program filtered from our federal partners to sheriffs on the border. our 31 border sheriffs. on the southern border. that that money, and that also goes to our northern border and
east coast, so throughout the country on our national borders . speaking on the southern border that money is allocated to local , law enforcement in my county -- enforcement. and in my county alone we had 7,000 traffic stops, tons of marijuana seized. other synthetic drugs. meth, you name it. 700 arrests. these were all based on the fact that money that went to local law enforcement we normally wouldn't be able to do. so again, this is the best it has been. and the reason is whenever you , see something that's working or not working, look at the leader first. and in this case, i can say it's working because we have people in the right positions throughout local, state, and federal government, to include our president. mercedes: ron, can you address the visa overstay situation. i think that senator perdue has been talking about the fact that we do have individuals coming across the border but a lot of staying in theup united states.
we worked a lot in the last couple of years with our partners in c.b.p. and the state department to understand the number of people who come into the country and c.b.p. has a robust program. i'll let the commissioner talk about that. verifying people's exits and when they get permission from the government to come into the united states, we can verify that they departed. that is a big problem on the interior side as it relates to i.c.e.'s duties. if you overstay your visa and you're found in the united states you can be deported, but it's not a federal crime like crossing the border. that's among the reforms we have been urging congress to adopt. the 9/11 commission told the government, told all of us, that they wanted an immigration system that had integrity. so that people got permission to come in and when they left we knew about it. that's part and parcel, that's one of the loopholes we'd like to see closed. mercedes: commissioner, in terms of if we want congress to pass , legislation tomorrow, what are the fixes we want to see? i know that they always talk about -- they go through the
different components, but explain what we want to see in terms of legislation. >> sure, if i can comment on overstays and entry-exit, i think it's a positive story. overstays are down 10% in our report this year from the prior year. i think that's a testament to good visa issuance by our friends at department of state. c.b.p. is able to now count every visa category, who is in and who is leaving the country and the air and sea environment, getting better in land. and we are implementing biometric processes to bolster this. so i think that is a tightening of our security through the ports of entry in partnership with i.c.e. and state and it's something we should pause and highlight. for us in terms of border security, the issues that affect us at the border the most are just what director batello highlighted. the ability to have due process, transparent, efficient process for those who are trying to seek protection and access to the country.
but being able to remove those that do not have the right to stay in the united states. and that applies to family units. it applies to unaccompanied children. it applies to asylum seekers. the system works well for people trying to come into the country who we are able to apprehend in terms of single adults. what it's not working for is the other three groups. so from a border security perspective we can work with , congress to close those loopholes, keep people out of the hands of dangerous criminals , we would be in a better position, and then we could focus on drug smugglers and the risk crossing our borders. mercedes: what actions can we see state and local governments do as well to deal with improving the immigration system? >> in addition to being supportive of the border wall or if you want to call it a physical barrier, in the state barrier, in the state of arizona two thirds of our border today already has a physical barrier up there. when you talk to the ranchers,
sometimes they'll talk about the normandy fencing or the post and rail fencing. whatever you need to stop but , you also need surveillance on that wall. it's a technological wall if you would. and that can be through satellites, of course border agents out on the ground, or new technologies that are there. this is something that has widespread support with our border agents. and i think to separate like senator perdue do did, to separate these issues out, to talk about border security, to talk about immigration, to talk about public safety. and one thing we have talked about in arizona, because this is our neighbor, is the relationship we have with mexico. this is our largest trading partner, times four. and we have a very good relationship with the governor of sonora. and we have had multiple visits to mexico city. and vice versa. so we build the relationship through trade transit and , tourism but when it comes to public safety and law enforcement, we're talking about drug cartels and human
traffickers. and that is going to be dealt with differently. that's how i'd like to see our congress attack this. rather than trying to put it all together. because i think if you start with the idea of border security, this is something that has broad support across arizona and i believe across the country. it's not a partisan issue. mercedes: thank you. attorney general, give us your perspective in terms of what actions the state and local governments can do. you've been involved in a lawsuit in terms of sanctuary cities, if you want to give us insight on that . >> one of the words you've heard every speaker talk about is cooperation. i can tell you i've been doing this a long time. i have never seen a greater collaborative effort between our federal partners, state and local officials than we're seeing right now. one thing we dealt with historically in law enforcement, that is sometimes we live in silos, we don't share information effectively, don't work together in ways that matter. i don't think that's the case now. i attribute a lot of that to the fact that this administration
has enabled and empowered federal law enforcement to work with us. it's not as if there wasn't a desire in the past, but we are now doing it more effectively. it's not just those crossing the border illegally, it's also what i would describe as illegal e-commerce, or commerce, when we're talking about human bodies for trafficking as well as illegal drugs. when i think about the fact that this weekend i was in a larger city in north alabama with over 1000 people talking about ending the plague of heroin. what that group doesn't recognize is, it would be worse if it wasn't for many of the people in this room and the leadership on this stage right now. it is that through the efforts of i.c.e. and through those who are patroling our borders, we are stopping fentanyl, stopping heroin coming across, so then we talk about the less of life in this country, although it is a staggering number we have to deal with more effectively, it would be worse but for what's going on now. and so i think that number one, what we're doing right now is being more effective, but yet we
continue to have to be able to push that ball forward. and then what we hope is, from this administration and through our partners in congress that we , find something legislatively to deal with what we're seing with sanctuary cities. the sheriff said it remarkably well. the constitution matters. for those of us who work on the law enforcement side, we embrace that fact. in fact it's what we pledged to , uphold. when we have public officials and those who refuse to abide by their constitutional duty, it's something we have to do something about. we have the ability to be able to do some positive things through our legislation and through particularly our litigation. but yet i think we're looking to , congress as well as the department of justice to be able to help us there as well. mercedes: we know securing our nation is dangerous work. we've seen border agents being assaulted, i.c.e. officers being threatened. tell us about the dangers that our men and women are facing on the frontlines. >> for me, seing our fallen
families with us here today, i'm reminded of the 39 officers we have last in the line of duty since we were created in 2003. and the sacrifice of those families in protecting other americans is tremendous. and we just try to live up to that example every day. and the gift they've given us of their family member's service. so what we are trying to do is put our men and women in the best position to deal with the face, to have the right training, the right tools, the right support. across the technology side we discussed, but the use of force capabilities and training. that's what we need to equip them with. and they're facing a very challenging environment. 125 degrees in the west desert in arizona, minus 70 in the north dakota plains in the winter. very rugged terrain. we're asking a lot of them and we're very proud of them. mercedes: governor, explain to us, you deal with law enforcement every day. what are the resources they need? >> of course they need resources
in terms of finances but i also , think our law enforcement officers need resources in terms of support. i mean it's quite common to see , someone in a military uniform and say thank you for your service. i'd like to say thank you for the service of the people inside c.b.p. and i.c.e., and we talked about the most recent officer in arizona, tyler ednoff who lost his life at the age of 24. i think this is something these , are the people in our local communities, all law enforcement being local, that are on the front lines risking their lives with no routine stop every kay day to protect americans. very brave men and women. i think the idea of resources , not only financially but , backup from the people inside our communities that we have , their back against the bad guy , the drug cartels and the human traffickers who play by very different rules. it's important that all of them know and that's what i want to convey today as well.
mercedes: ron, you had a career as a border patrol agent and now you're on the other side of this in i.c.e. what have you found to be the most surprising difference between the two organizations? sometimes i think you and kevin are the same. so it is good to clarify the difference. i am like who am i talking to? , ron or kevin? >> he knows a lot about it. mercedes: one has more hair than the other but that's a different story. [laughter] >> yeah, so, what we know about this, it's less of a surprise and more of a confirmation. these men and women go out there each and every day with the idea of doing the best that they can to protect this country. and sometimes that means they confront some of the most sophisticated threats out there . and so what i've seen in this work force is their enthusiasm to do more. them supporting each other. because they recognize that when they go out to work every day they leave loved ones behind. and so they recognize that the better they do, the more care that they give each other, the better off the whole organization is going to be.
they're out there each and every day like the folks here in uniform. they just want to do the right thing. they want to help people. sometimes that means resources, as the governor said. sometimes it means helping a buddy out. sometimes it means making sure you understand what train, what cash training -- training what , tactics, what techniques you have. i found in i.c.e. they are super dedicated to those same ideals, to protech each other all the while making the mission work. mercedes: sheriff, how can we support our men and women on the front lines? >> when you break it down, a little over every two days, a law enforcement hero is killed in this country at the hands of evil. so as the governor said, as ron said, they need our support. when president trump came over, was elected, the first thing he came out and stated, i support law enforcement at all levels. there's no bigger fear a sheriff has or a police chief has or anybody in these administrative law enforcement folks here, than to lose one of our men and women on the streets at the hands of
evil. whether it be a violent drug dealer, burglar, whatever it may be. we police a society of instability when it comes to folks looking to harm those in our communities. the most important thing i see is having the community support. having our top leader in this country's support. we went through two or three of some of the deadliest times for law enforcement in this country and we turned that around. you have to ask the question, why? we turned it around, not that it's any less dangerous out there, we know it is. these transnational organizations they work off , fear. they work off violence. they work off greed. they don't care about you and i. what they care about is getting their product into our communities and eroding our family values. so for those that are driven by passion, not a paycheck, to have the support of our president, to have the support of our governors, of the law enforcement leaders is most important. that's what we need. thank you. mercedes: thank you.
our i.c.e. officials, officers, our border patrol agents, are being scrutinized all the time. how are they able to execute their mission and what support can congress give them? >> mercedes, i've been part of some large private organizations before getting into this job and i always learned it's about the tone at the top. president trump, if nothing else, he is here fighting for ordinary americans. and that means he's got to fight for the men and women in uniform, our military service, our local law enforcement, as well as other agencies. this president takes seriously, heard him say it privately, his job is to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states. he takes it very seriously. he does that through an emotional effort to support the men and women in uniform and law enforcement in the united states. i think that goes as far as anything to change the focus and the priority setting of of people like me and people you see on this stage. the attorney general mentioned that it's working better.
it is. in a year and a half. i can tell you from my perspective, because of the tone at the top and i give the president credit for that. mercedes: attorney general, in terms of fixing the system what do you think -- what recommendations would you give? >> i think it's with congress. much of what law enforcement is criticized for right now is for enforcing laws that exist. that's our mission, that's our role, that's what we're going to continue to do as long as we have the opportunity to wear that bad and be able -- badge and say we're going to protect and serve. i think we are looking to congress. if we had senators like senator perdue we'd be better off. i think he has the vision for how this ought to be done. but yet we need congress to accept the role that we have, to develop the laws and policies of this country and allow the executive branch to be able to execute it. but what we also need congress to do is not criticize the good men and women in this room for doing their jobs. for having tens of thousands of violent offenders taken off the streets. tons of illegal substances
stopped from crossing our borders. we need to stand behind them, not criticize them. mercedes: before we wrap up, i want to give you all about 30 seconds each. i don't know if senator perdue can keep it under 30 seconds, but we will try. [laughter] i am kidding you know. , just what message do you want to share with the american public about making sure that we support our i.c.e. officers, our border patrol agents? what is the final message? how can we help best educate, explain, the importance of these organizations and what they're doing to secure or border? we'll start with the attorney general. >> i guess, i know we have family members here who have lost loved ones. let me tell you, they're heroes. and the fact that we are here today to be able to stand before you and say that the work of this organization is so important know that their lives were not given in vain and that they continue to be remembered. and the best thing we can do to be able to honor them is to do
our jobs and do it well and we're grateful for the fact that they were willing to do that. mercedes: senator. >> 30 seconds or less? if there's one message i can tell everybody here who are viewing this meeting today, that is this, you are appreciated. you are appreciated. we hope in any job we have that whatever you do, you leave the place better than you saw it when you got there. and you guys are doing that. men and women who put their lives on the line every day. you are appreciated. >> this great nation was formed based on our constitution but also based on the rules of the land. laws of our land. that they're enforced and there's consequences for certain actions. and all actions, if you break our laws. the recipe of success comes in three layers, state, local, and federal. and god bless them all for putting their lives on the line. god bless our families that support us every day, who wear the badge, and together we'll make our communities better.
>> i'm grateful that the survivors are here joining us today. i would say on behalf of the work force, the men and women of i.c.e., i'm going to do my best to remind the american people, as has been said here, we all took an oath to the constitution. and to protect and defend that the first amendment, the number one in the bill of rights, we all know about freedom of speech, freedom of religion. you have the right to petition your government. that's part of the first amendment, but that does not give you the right to harass our employees trying to do their job. we're going to stand with them. we're going to remind the american people that i.c.e. does so much more to protect this country than folks know or care to think about. i think they selectively ignore it for their own purpose. but what folks need to know is if i.c.e. is out there each and every day protecting the communities they serve in and contributing to the homeland security enterprise in a way that is largely unseen, but people in this room, the people that i care about, care about them and want them to do better.
>> these are the men and women that keep us safe. thankfor one want to say you. i want you to know how much we appreciate it and how grateful we are as a state and a country. my dad was a police officer. and i believe we owe this respect to everyone who wears the badge inside law enforcement. when arizona has its own story, from tyler edenhofer to brian terry. i would like to say i'm grateful for the service and the sacrifice. and i'm grateful that we have an administration here in washington, d.c. with president trump and secretary kelly and now secretary neilsen that are backing it up. it is felt inside our border counties in arizona and it's making a difference for the better across the country. >> i'll just close by saying, when you strip away the politic, strip away the media attention. c.b.p. is 60,000 men and women,
40,000 plus sworn that chose a , life centered on a life protecting others. they're the best of us and that's the most honorable thing i can think of. mercedes: let's help me in thanking our wonderful panelists here today. [cheers and applause] thank you. i just want to say, i know we're waiting for the -- for president trump to come in and speak shortly. and he is one that i know understands and that all of the i.c.e. officers are, border patrol agents, the work that you all do. you all are the unsung heroes. you all keep us safe. you protect our homeland. and we thank you so much and i know the president appreciates all the great work that the men and women do for our country every single day to keep our community safe. and with that, i think we're going to take a break and thank you so much all for being here with us and we'll see you shortly.
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