Homeland Security Secretary Testifies on FY 2018 Budget CSPAN May 25, 2017 4:21pm-6:18pm EDT
speeches. this weekend speakers include former california governor arnold schwarzenegger at the university of houston. former vice president joe biden at colby college in maine. girls who code founder at scripps college in california. arizona governor doug dews si at embry-riddle aeronaughtic university. santa fe mayor gonzalez, and michigan governor rick snider at adrian community college in michigan. saturday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span and c-span.org. >> on capitol hill today, homeland security secretary john kelly spoke about homegrown terrorism and his expectation of additional attempts similar to the recent bombing in manchester, england. other topics, funding for a wall on the southwest u.s. border, sanctuary cities, and combating opioid and heroin abuse.
and it's the subcommittee's first hearing to review the fiscal year 2018 budget request which was
submitted to congress earlier this week. mr. boozman: i want to begin by thanking secretary of homeland security, the honorable john kelly, for being with us today. we know that you're very, very busy and we appreciate you being here today. secretary kelly we do understand the demands on your schedule. your testimony is your first appearance before our subcommittee in your new role. i would also like to welcome our subcommittee's ranking member, the distinguished senator and friend from montana, senator tester. i'm also pleased that senator leahy, vice chairman of the full committee has gin joined us. the department of homeland security plays a pittal role in keeping americans safe by working to combat terrorism, manage our air, land, and sea borders, administrate migration laws, administer
cyberassets. the event in manchester, england, yerl -- earlier this week remind us why we must focus
on the serious challenge of securing our homeland. mr. secretary, you've dedicated your career to serving our national security interest and in just a few months you've proven your ability to lead the department in a very challenging time. this subcommittee will work to support you and the men and women of the department who are working every day to keep us safe. the department is being called on by this president to refocus its resources on certain national security risks and redouble efforts to enforce our immigration laws. we look forward to learning more about how the department proposes to address these needs while ensuring we do not neglect the other critical missions of the department. this budget request gets many things right. we've seen over the past few
months, border security and immigration enforcement are closely related as the new administration is demonstrating, there are consequences for those entering and staying in the cuventry illegally, with illegal border crossings dropping to us his -- to historic lows. the budget proposes increased fundings for customs and border protection and immigration and customs enforce for both manpower and infrastructure to continue to reduce border crossings. in order to better understand these requirements and make the right choices, the subcommittee must get a more comprehensive plan from the department that detail house we can be smart about investing in border security and interior enforcement. another key component to securing our borders is the united states coast guard which this budget generally supports. in fiscal year 2017 this subcommittee delivered significant investments to enhance the capabilities of the coast guard.
we identified funding to continue the modernization of the surface and air fleets and partnered with our defense subcommittee to begin an acquisition of a new polar ice breaker. we'll have to work again to provide the resources necessary to enable the coast guard to continue protecting our borders, interdicting illegal migrants and drugs, conducting search and rescue missions, ensuring the safe na gation of our water ways and maintaining our defense readiness. this budget proposal appropriately acknowledges that the federal government cyber network is under constant attack. i'm pleased to see that the request has prioritized funding for all four phases of the continuous diagnostics and mitigation program. other federal agencies must move past the initial c.d.m. kick start provided by the department and begin properly budgeting for their own investment and utilization of the system.
in order to realize its full benefit. you've rightly noted in your testimony and through this budget proposal that the department's work force is its most valuable resource and that taking care of the people that work to keep us safe each day is a top priority. i hope we will work together to ensure that the department can improve work force recruitment, development, and retention. we're aware of the unique stresses caused by the intense 2016 presidential election campaign, additional duties increase -- duties, increased travel, ongoing investigative work, and inherent requirements of presidential protection has stretched the secret service work force thin. these are the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect top leaders and prevent interference with our most critical institutions. we're optimistic that the additional resources provided in the recently enacted appropriations bill will make a real difference for the men and women of the secret service.
the work force challenge expand the department, we need to hire and retain more customs officers, more border patrol agents, more acquisition experts and more cyber professionals. we want to help you make the department of homeland security the best place to work in the entire federal government. while this budget proposal makes some smart choices, there are parts of it that are unworkable, whether we're talking about a hardworking arkansas family or one of the largest departments in the federal government, when it come time to develop a budget, tough choices have to be made. i have no doubt that many tough decisions were made in preparing the requests but many of the choices reflect in this budget put this subcommittee in a difficult position. for instance, it assumes statutory changes to programs that congress would almost certainly be unable to enact before the fiscal year. from the proposed increase to airline passenger fees to the significant reductions to
assistance for state and local partners to the failure to invest adequately in research and development, this budget fails to take into consideration many practical realities. we ask for your cooperation as we consult with you and your staff to make the necessary adjustments to allow this budget to work despite the significant challenges. we will likely face a tough appropriations cycle. we will certainly be urged to restore many of the significant reductions propose by this budget. and absent some significant change to the availability of resources, we're not going to be able to fund all the priorities it outlines. congress would have to make these decisions based on shared priorities and with an eye toward risk-based distribution of limited resources. we know we can count on your partnership and guidance throughout this process. again, mr. secretary, we appreciate your testimony and
willingness to answer questions from members of the subcommittee. i'll now turn to our distinguished ranking member, senator tester, and to our full committee chairman, senator cochran, and then to full committee vice chairman senator leahy, for opening marks they -- remarks they may have before asking secretary kelly to proceed. theen each member will have seven minutes for questions or statements they may have. senator tester: good morning, . . secretary, and thank you the importance of the budget is shown in the fact that we have the chairman and ranking member of the full committee. i would be remiss if i didn't first say that our thoughts are with those in manchester, u.k. and those affected by the senseless violence on monday.
$1.5 billion s by in part to help pay for the proposed walen the southern border. mr. secretary, your department is one of the few nondefense discretionary agencies that receive an increase in the president's fiscal year 2018 request. in total, the request includes $44.1 billion,en -- an increase of $1.7 billion over the fiscal year 2017 act which we passed a $1.4 eks ago, which was billion over the previous year. the department you lead has a multitude of diverse missions, border security, immigration security, protecting computer networks from cyber attacks, making sure air travel is secure, helping reprepare for and respond to natural or
manmade disasters, monitoring our coastlines and waterways to save lives, intercept illegal drugs and preventing bad actors from invading our ports. the lion's share of the increase is dedicated to border enforcement coming on the heels f the $1.5 billion in the f.y. 2017 omnibus. support efforts to secure our border but it has to be done in the right way. i'm concerned about what's missing in other priorities, like aviation security, maritime security, cyber security. preparing our communities for natural disasters and the possibility of a terrorist attack. first of all, though, the threat to aviation is very high. in fact, classified briefings on -- we've had classified briefings on this, in fact. but we also see budget cuts to several security programs. second, the budget relies on the faulty assumption that an
unauthorized increase of aviation security fees will be enacted to offset $530 million in budget authority. third this budget slashes fema preparedness grants by 0% and state and local train big 40% while threats are more diverse than ever. fourth, and equally troubling, is reserge and development is cut by 21% of the time when we need to be developing leap ahead technologies to stay ahead of our adversaries. i don't think there's a briefing i go to, whether it's this or military, that don't talk about the fact that our adversaries are advancing quicker than we are. to cut this budget does not make any sense to me at all. finally, on border security, we've all heard from the president, the wall, the wall, the wall. frankly, i think we need a better strategy. one that is more cost effective, one that focuses on proven technology. one that includes metric and one
that respects private property rights. i haven't seen such a plan but i guarantee you i'm going to continue to press for one. we can't spend billions of dollars on a wall at the expense of local law enforcement, firefighters, or airport security and i'm not convinced the president's budget makes the investments needed to make america safe. it is critical that the appropriations committee take the time to work diligently and pass a budget that strengthens our national security. i know the chairman has a commitment to that. when i voted for your confirmation, mr. speaker, and i would do it again today, i said, you're one of the adults in the room that i'm dependent on to make good decisions for this country's security. i still believe that. thank you for being here and i ook forward to this hearing. senator boodsman: thank you. senator cochran.
senator cochran: thank you, we welcome the secretary and wish you the best. we want to know what priorities are for funding. we don't have enough money to do everything for everybody who have requests to make of funding levels in this committee. thank you for being here. we're anxious to hear your comments about appropriate levels of funding and the priorities we need to consider in the writing of this appropriations bill. senator boozman: thank you. vice chairman leahy? senator leahy: thank you for the opportunity. secretary kelly, thank you for being here today. there are many issues to discuss, not the least of which is the topic of today's hearing, the budget -- the president's budget proposal. which is just delivered to us on tuesday, including his plans for
the department of homeland ecurity. secretary kelly, i've known you a long time, been an admirer of yours. i knew you when you were in the marine corps. so i have -- marines are expected to speak frankly. i think this budget proposal can be summed up pretty quickly. abysmal. i'm not surprised that the budget before us proposed billions of taxpayers' dollars to build a misguided wall on the southern border to fund the president's deportation force. executive orders mandating these things were among the first things president trump did when e took office. neither is going to do much to enhance the national security,
homeland security or efforts to address concerns about the immigration system. instead of focusing on real threats, the administration has sought to demonize immigrants, demonize those of certain religions, drive them into the shadows. isolate our country. alienate our trading partners to the north and south, and throw taxpayer money at a problem that requires a serious and meaningful and real itselfic practical solution. i'm sure you came here today prepared to talk about the southern border. hope you're prepared to talk about needs along the northern border as well. vermont's a border state. i live an hour's drive from canada. our largest trading partner is canada. get -- our 's
community gets economic infusion from canadians who come to see the great lakes and there are numerous jobs in vermont. but the economy in vermont has taken hits because of the president's actions. fewer people want to come visit and spend money in our state. i hear story after story of problems crossing our border, which is only an hour from my home. the kind of delays they're hag -- they're having, delays they cannot understand. for all of us, we're not more secure. meanwhile the trump budget cuts billions of dollars from food and nutrition assistance, medical research, affordable housing program, heating assistance, victim support program, legal services, education programs, slashing foreign assistance, assistance that defense secretary mattis has said is crit -- critical to our national security. the president may claim that
this budget advances these security -- the security of the american people, in reality it makes millions of americans less secure in their daily lives. as i said, i've known you a long time, supported your nomination. but this budget, this budget is really a disservice to the american people. as vice chairman of the committee, i'm going to work with republicans and democrats to put together a budget that puts americans, puts americans first. mr. chairman, i thank you for the opportunity. senator boozman: let's go to our questioning phase. while it may be too early to declare victory, it's worth noting that the posture you have taken at the department has resulted in the lowest rate of illegal border crossings we have ever seen. he change has been remarkable.
i'm sorry. we need your testimony first. let's go to the testimony. as you can see, we're anxious to get out of the blocks. we've got lots of questions. but again we need to hear from you first. thank you. mr. kelly: yes, senator. chairman boozman, ranking member tester, all members of the committee and subcommittee, it's a pleasure to be here to answer questions and most importantly in my mind to represent the men and women of the department of homeland security. i believe, as i know you do, that the role of government, first and foremost, is to secure its people. securing the homeland is -- legal trade and travel adds to our economy. secure trade is a life of freedom where people can go about their lives without fears,
and a sekeer homeland is one of laws where we keep our people safe. it is a pleasure to appear before you to talk about the department of homeland security. on a sad note, and one that makes the point tragically, just last night, we lost one of our c.b.p. officers down in texas, in el paso, stabbed repeatedly in the face by a cartel member that he identified himself to and he lost his life. the president's fiscal year 2018 budget request for the department of homeland security is never enough. but i think is sufficient to allow me and the men and women to do our jobs. we know that the threats are out there. we know that our aviation transportation system in particular is a top prize in the eyes of terrorist organizations. we know that transnational criminal organizations are bringing drugs across the
borders in massive amounts by land and see and air. we know our nation's cybersystems are under constant attack. we know natural disasters devastate american hometowns. we also know that d.h.s. is up to the job of protecting the united states against all these threats and many, many more. last week, the coast guard cutter hamilton offload more than 18 tons of cocaine they have seized in international waters off the pacific ocean. that's roughly the wait of -- the weight of nine cars and is rough an estimated half a billion dollars. the week before that, may 8 through may 14, t.s.a. discovered 76 firearms in passengers' seeking to brd aircraft, loaded firearms. in six weeks, i.c.e. arrested more than 1,300 gang members in nationwide gang enforcement operation. we're making a difference. we're making our nation more secure. we need to fully fund a budget that match ours mission without continuing resolutions and i
think this budget approaches that. the president's f.y. 2018 budget request for $44.1 billion in net discretionary funding for the department of homeland security also requests $7.4 billion to finance the cost of americans -- of emergencies an major disasters in fema's disaster relief fund. when you're talking about numbers like that, it's easy to lose sight of what's behind each and every dollar. when you get right down to it, behind each and every dollar are hardworking men and women who have dedicated their careers to protecting the american people. they're taking dangerous criminal off our street, they're keeping terrorists out of our country, and drugs off our streets. they're investing -- investigating crimes with international implications. they are making sure passengers get to their destination safely. they're responding to devastated communities in the wake of natural disasters. they're patrolling and maintaining our nation's waterways, waterways that support $4.5 trillion in economic activity every year.
every dollar invested in the men and women of d.h.s. and every dollar invested in the tools, infrastructure, equipment and training they need to get the job done is an investment in prosperity, freedom and the rule of law. it is an investment in the security of the american people. there's no greater responsibility as i mentioned in a time of no greater need. i would be remiss if i did not mention the terrorist attack in manchester as you did. our friends in the u.k. suffered a terrible loss. their enemy is our menmy. u.s. government continues to work furiously with the british, the f.b.i., the intelligence community, d.h.s. and others to assist their investigation in any way we can. for my part, i immediately called the home secretary, offered our nation's condolences and asked if there was any help that they were in the getting from the united states. i want to assure you that as this enemy is evolving, become manager reprehensible, even targeting children, d.h.s. is
working every day to meet the threats. i appreciate the opportunity to appear here before you today. i thank you for your continued support. i remain committed to working with congress and protecting the american people. and i stand by to answer any questions. senator boozman: thank you, mr. secretary, we appreciate your testimony very, very much. while it may be early, too early, to declare victory it's worth noting that the posture you have taken at the department along with the hard work of the men and women that -- of the agency has resulted in the lowest rate of illegal border crossings we have ever seen. the change has been remarkable. your budget request increases funds for customs and border proo text to secure the southwest land border. but your entire department is tasked with keeping bad people and bad things out of the united states. the question i have, is it correct to think of what's being referred to as the wall as an
entire border security that includes people, technology, and physical barriers intinded to control who and what comes into the united states? mr. kelly: i missed part of the question, i'm sorry. senator boozman: the wall that we hear referred to, is it correct that this security system is part of the entire apparatus, that includes people, technology, physical barriers, to control who and what comes in the united states. mr. kelly: yes, sir. as i'm sure the senator know, ecommittee knows, right now we have about 650 miles of the border covered with some type of physical barrier. where there is physical barrier, where it makes sense, it really does work. the first thing i did, and i continue to do, on this topic and many others is to talk to the people that actually execute the policy down on the border.
so immediately after taking office, i visited the texas border, the arizona border, been back down a couple of times to visit additional border sites, spoken to mayors, big city mayors, mayors along the border, police officers, local law enforcement, as well as my people, c.b.p., customs and border protection, they all believe that physical barriers in certain places would really enhance the security mission that they do every day. so we have 650 miles of some type of barrier there now. we want to improve on that. i'm already asking the c.b.p. professionals where do you want wall right away? in some cases they say the part of the border that i pal pa troll we don't see much need for a wall in this region. in other places, they'll -- they're very precise. we need 13 more miles of wall, or 26 more miles of wall.
when i say wall, physical barrier. so they know what they want and i want to support them. in south texas is an example. southern rio grande valley a wall, wall, concrete structure, makes sense. actually there's wall there now and it reinforces the levee system in that region. there's other parts of the border where we already have what's called fencing, picture a fence, fence, picket the members of c.b.p. generally speaking want to be able to see through this structure, whatever it is. two reasons, they see people congress regating on the other side or movement on the other side. by the same token, people on the other side can see them and they're detered from trying to get into the country. so we're looking at it, i think the committee knows that we have -- we're working with construction proposals right now
to decide what works best. as i said, in some places it may be a concrete structure , in other places metal barriers, fencing type structure, we're looking at that. and then through all of that, of course, we need the professional, c.b.p., working the border, whether there's a wall there, a structure there or not. and then technology plays in this as well. so the whole structure, or the whole issue of border protection n my view does in fact require a physical barrier when it makes sense, certainly technology where we can employ it and finally, backed up by the patrol -- patrolled by the great men and women of c.b.p. and the rest of d.h.s. senator boozman: the recently enacted appropriations bill requires that you provide a comprehensive plan to congress that details exactly how we intend to secure the southwest land border and you talked about
it a little bit then. do you anticipate this plan will call for different solutions in different places? so as you mentioned, at some point, i guess what we'd like to know is when we will receive that plan. we're very interested in actually seing that on paper. i understand the concept. i think, you know, what you said the committee would agree with. we've got all these things, really including the personnel, whether it's research, cyber, all these things that have to do with securing the border. but at what point will we be able to actually see the plan? >> as soon as i can complete it. 'm not making -- it's -- mr. kelly: there are places where we need either technology, more people, or physical barrier. there's places there that c.b.p. tell me, sir, we need it right away. there's other places that we
don't need it for, you know, a year or two or three. so as we put that plan together we'll come up, brief it, i think you'll be impressed. senator boozman: i think that's an excellent answer. again, the fact that one size doesn't fit all as you look at the challenge. the federal government's computer networks are under constant attack. we have worked with the department to ensure the continued deployment of capabilities like continued -- continuous diagnostics and mitigation, but remain frustrated by the department's inability to maintain a predictable schedule and to urge other agencies to chip in and adopt the technology. are we making progress toward meeting phase three and embarking on phase four of the c.b.m. program? and what is the department doing to encourage other departments and agencies to assume more responsible for the funding of c.b.m. beyond the initial phases? mr. kelly: it's not moving fast
enough. 120 days in the job, it's a priority for the president, one of the things, not that i needed to help, but there is a new team, fresh team in place that recognize the issue, the threats of, when i say a new team in place, everyone from, all the department heads, my fellow cabinet members, throughout the government. so they understand the threat they understand the need for it. he president put out a cyber executive order. but we're pressing forward on that. and i know you're frustrated. it's one of those things that we're working very hard to change. in fact i would just mention, to try to change the -- we are changing the attitude within my department toward this institution, that is the united states congress. the one thing that was constant during my period of office calls and what not in my confirmation process was my department, our
department, was the worst for responding to congressional inquiries, letters, things like that. hired the best congressional type liaison that i knew, that i know, they're in place now. we're leaning forward. and i promise you that our response will be much better than it has been in the past. that's not to say my predecessor was anything other than a great professional but we do have a new attitude toward not thobal congress but the press, and we're trying to respond. anecdotely, i've talked to a full senators a few congressmen about it, they say, you've gotten much better. much better is nice to hear but it's not enough. senator boozman: on behalf of the entire committee, that's encouraging, and we appreciate you doing the best you can to get back in a timely manner. senator leahy. enator leahy: secretary kelly,
i won't start off discussions about building the wall asking if the check is in the mail from mexico. you can keep watching the mail, i don't think it's being seventh by express mail. now on the campaign trail, president trump promised his supporters a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. he's taken office -- since taking office he's twice tried to block individuals from six muslim majority countries from trying to enter our country. the practical effect of that, it actually has an effect on verm's economy. we border canada. one vermonter recently wrote to me about the toronto school district's ban on student trips to the united states because of what's been said about muslims. this vermonter writes, vermont relies heavily on student
destination trips as a driver of e more than $3 billion the tourism sector generates within the state. this is a state of only 625,000 people so the $3 billion is a big factor. other vermonters, inkeepers, shop owners have contacted me about the cancellations they've received from canada. the president claims this blanket travel ban is necessary for national security because individuals from certain countries pose too great a risk of terrorism. i have never felt terrorized hen i've gone to canada. even with my limited french in the province of quebec, my wife's relatives treat me with some respect. but it is -- but is citizenship alone without any adegreesal
evidence a reliable indicator of the terrorist threat? mr. kelly: citizenship alone, no, sir. mr. kelly: i asked then-director comey the same question, he gave me the same answer. your department from the office of intelligence and analysis said that citizenship is unlikely to be a predictor of terrorist activity any more than it was in probably one of the biggest terrorist attack in the united states, the oklahoma city bombing. now i also mentioned earlier about our border crossing. hardly a week gos by, sometimes not a day goes by, without a vermonter or vermont business letting me know about long delays at vermont's highgate port of entry and the wait times are impacted not just -- impacting not just tourism but
business very substantially. i know that since 2009, c.b.p. in vermont has lost 25% of its staff at ports of entry. i know many of the people who work there. they're fine men and women. that makes it harder to do their job. and then if they have long lines on top of that, with travelers who are so used to going back and forth between vermont and canada or upstate new york and canada, they can get pretty angry that doesn't help with the whole thing. so i have been asking since the beginning of april, i've been asking c.b.p. to brief my staff about how they plan to improve the situation at highgate. i haven't been able to get a response. finally this week, i figure they knew i might ask this question while you're here they scheduled briefing in june.
i want to know, will you look at this problem at our port of entry? and will you see if there's some way to address it so we don't have these delays which actually almost seem insulting to a friendly neighbor? mr. kelly: absolutely sir. i apologize for that, i'll have someone over here this afternoon to brief your staff on this topic. i know ben cassidy is texting someone over at c.b.p. to do just that. you'll have someone over here this afternoon. senator leahy: you know the amount of respect i have for colonel cassidy, i look forward to that. i think we need more help, we need more officers on our northern border,, we always address the southern border and i understand the reason for that. i'm not disparaging that. but the northern border, for example, canadiens use a camera system to process the nexus lane
as opposed to a staff booth. and we -- if we could even consider something like this on the inbound nexus lane using a camera system when we're shorthanded anyway rather than having it manned? mr. kelly: we're looking at -- there's a whole series of things we're looking at technology wise, facial recognition technology, that kind of thing. we're already working inside canada to preapprove vehicles, i mean, they're hitting it very, very hard. i was just -- i've been to canada since i have been in the job. i was on the border. the good news is, our border with canada is the, to use their term, is the thinnest in the world. it's about as open as it can be. it's not totally open, but the ports of entry trying very, very hard to improve. as i think the senator would agree. as over the years as commerce
has increased with canada, we're probably not far enough out in front on these kind of measures to speed up the passage. one of the things certainly the president one of the things the president told me when i took this job, a number of discussion points about the borders and what i should do and what i should perhaps not do but we have to not impede the normal legal human and things vehicle lar traffic through the border. if anything, we should speed it up. if we get a commissioner approved, that will be his number one task tore me to look at the ports of entry and do the best he can and we can to improve the efficiency and movement working with both canada and mexico. and i should say, my time's up,
but what i should say, my relationship -- my counterparts in canada and mexico, just couldn't be better and getting better every day. regardless of what you might here back and forth in the higher levels, we are working shoulder to shoulder with our canadians and mexicans as well, not only on the movement of commerce, immigration, but also just other aspects of border security. it is an amazing amount of collaboration. senator leahy: a number of countries that have to fear militarily and all countries on their borders, we are fortunate to have countries on both our borders where we have open commerce, families, everything else. i don't want to change that and i'll submit the rest of my questions for the record, but i also wanted to talk at some point about so-called sanctuary
cities. i don't want to cut law enforcement in these cities to make a political point because in the long run, we are going to suffer. secretary kelly: neither do i. senator cochran: mr. chairman, thank you. i join you in welcoming in and expressing our appreciation to the witness for his help in figuring out appropriate funding levels for activities under the jurisdiction of the u.s. army, engineer research and development center in vicks burg, mississippi. we've supported research requirements for the department over the years at that site and most notably there have been successes in new developments of technologies and critical infrastructure protection for our guards for all federal laboratories and research
centers that contribute to our knowledge of how to do a better job of assuring our safety and security. i want to ask you the response ou have about this in that the facility at vicks burg, which covers the entire nation in terms of producing solutions that face us in our ever changing threats to our national security. will these resources continue to be actively utilized? >> in our quest to stay out in front of the threats whether it's a government-run lab fin arnsed or the civilian industry whether it's defense industry or we're in a ndustry, never-ending quest to buy the
right kind of equipment or capability to protect the nation. i'm not familiar with the lab, but will get smart on that and get back to you with an answer in more detail. but again, we are -- every good idea in my mind -- every idea is a good idea until we prove it to not be useful. it is a constant quest. i have science and technology section that is world class and they are in contact with every conceivable lab industry and when we say we need something, we're looking for the kind of echnology in terms of aviation safety. and they are already beating the bushes worldwide to look for the technology. so we are very open to good ideas from any source. senator cochran: we appreciate very much your leadership in the research effort and we commend
you and those who work with you for helping me make sure that we have what we need in order to make our nation safe and secure. thank you. > thank you, mr. chairman. senator lankford. senator lankford: i would ask from our committee and from our family that you continue to express the condolences to agent morales and his family. that is a heartbreaking for all of us to see that kind of news and difficult for your entire team. it has reminded me this week as i have gone through the hearings this week how many times your department has been a lead player in a lot of the conversations and the conversations that i had this week on the hill, whether that be ms-13 gangs and the movement of those gangs from central merica to the united states,
fentanyl and trying to interdict it, cyber issues as china is engaging with cyber protection for all of our u.s. government systems or whether it be immigration. you have people on the front lines of just about major issue we are facing as a nation right now. i thank you for the work and the encouragement you can put on the men and women. i'm going to run through as many as i can. i mentioned the cyber issues. d.h.s. has government systems and computers. tell me what the conversation is right now in the planning for looking at supply chain, software, hardware and the planning for keeping all of our government systems safe. secretary kelly: senator, thanks for the condolence comment. it means a lot to the work force and you are right, they are heroes. relative to cyber, sir. the threat is constant and i
don't need to go into all of that. e need to up our game. he ran someware attack was impressive to me and you say that we play across the spectrum of threats and what was impressive to me in all of the high-level meetings as we watched that threat go across the world into asia, millions of fected systems, how almost every part of every conversation ended with d.h.s. is in the lead and n.s.a. and there are a lot of defensive organizations within our government, but on that particular point, the fact that millions, i believe, of systems were infected around the world and barely got into the united states. a handful of individual computers and that was a direct
result not just d.h.s. but to a large degree of d.h.s. and how it was detected and working with our partners outside the u.s. government as well as inside. as far as the u.s. government goes, we have to up our game. there is an e.o.o. from the president holding everybody accountable. i have not heard more discussion on anything else in cyber. senator lankford: we want to work with you on that. of the many things you are doing which is quite a bit, it is easy to get distracted and it is complex and expensive. but for someone who has the point on all of our systems across all of government, it is exceptionally important to us to stay on that supply chain and managing software and hardware. give me the status of the funding that has been given to your agency on the border wall. there is a request pending for a
larger segment but this past session, there was a request made for repairs on existing law, 650 miles of wall and new gates. what is the status of that and use of funds? secretary kelly: on the repair of the fence, 650 miles, it is fencing and it does work. and it is exactly where it needs to be. we want to repair that up and down that part of the border. nd the officers rely on that fencing. and other places it has been cut and repaired so many times. so we'll spend the initial money that we received now three weeks ago in doing that. as far as the request that's in this budget to start looking at putting in a limited number of miles, i think you will hear
from my comments, we've got a competition out there to decide exactly what we are looking for, solid fence. senator lankford: the future construction is depending on good maintenance. have to be able to maintain that 650 miles and expand out from there. i think that was congress' initial statement and working on details for the future, let's repair what we have and make sure it is in good working order. where are we in the hiring process? this is one of the problems that we well over 400 days for hiring in the process. what is the conversation? >> we reduced the number and astounding it would take 400. senator lankford: astounding to us. secretary kelly: we have it down by two-thirds. and looking at some of the issues. we are not going to lower the quality of the officer or the
individual that we take in whether it's ice, border patrol, secret service, doesn't matter. and we will not skimp on the training. we will grow the force as fast as we can grow it but not skimp on quality and training. but we have the hiring and i have to get back to you specifically, but it is down significantly. senator lankford: we just passed out of a different committee on the homeland security issue trying to get permission for d.h.s. to be able to hire individuals under those roles that have background checks coming out of the u.s. military or law enforcement that are in good standing to have an expedited process. you and i have spoken about the real i.d., which is clearly something you inherited from decades back, being able to watch the monitor and several states including mine that are waiting on information that is due to us before january 6. we have a temporary extension that expires at that point and
everyone leans forward as we are getting closer and closer to january . do you have any idea when notifications will come out for affected states? secretary kelly: there are only a small number of states -- senator lankford: i happen to be one. secretary kelly: that are lagging behind. we are in contact and i'm in personal contact with the mayors particularly those states that are frankly likely not going to be able to pull it off. in a couple of cases, i have offered to the governors to send out members of my team to help them evaluate where they are and where they need to go. so we've done that. where a state can get to the point where they accomplish the real i.d. requirement, extensions would come. senator lankford: our states is one of those states that legislation was completed in february and have not received our extension yet.
retrospectively and do not require importers to pay at the time it is imported into the united states. after importation, the importer can request a exact amount based on the level of dumping that occurred during a previous review period. in fact, we are the only major user of dumping countervailing trade that processes duty payments in this manner. most countries collect duties at the time of import. unfortunately, once the international trade commission and the department of commerce assesses the final duty and inform -- inform the importer, they will now have to pay back these duties. many of those importers simply disappear without paying. so the lack of collection because of our inadequate system, we don't know how much money we are losing and i don't know if that's been brought to your attention at this level.
but i would sure hope you would look into this sir, because there is an awful lot of revenue left on the table. secretary kelly: i'll look into it right away. match match $2.6 billion in uncollected antidumping duties. we all look at that fund and use it from time to time. which i know doesn't make your agencies real happy. but we like to make sure you have enough to do your job, too. i just wanted to bring that to your attention. and we would be happy to tell you what we found and work with you very closely. border security, everyone is talking about the wall. i would like to know your assessment and evaluation because of your former position, if mexico was able to build a southern wall on their southern border, their southern border, the threat of all the gangs that come up through, all the dumping
and drug trade and all the other trade, if we were able to stop it and mexico was able to build their wall and have tighter border controls on the southern border, would that be effective? how helpful would that be? secretary kelly: it would be effective. and i have to really give a shoutout to mexico and i can't emphasize the relationship that my department has generally and i have personally with the military and ministers within the government of mexico to include some time with the president of mexico. i can't give enough credit to the men and women we work with and hard hard they work. in the southern command working with their military under the radar quietly, we helped them look if their southern border is very narrow. couple hundreds of miles across. match match it would fulfill
some promises made here. secretary kelly: last year, they stopped 160,000 migrants and turned them back, processed them and turned them back. they have much different immigration laws. they k now, i think now are looking even harder at the southern border. the other thing we have done is working with the governments, particularly the northern tier countries whom i have a great relationship encouraging people not to come and what mexico is doing, illegal crossings are down 70% than what they were 120 days ago. match match that is the key. if they do their job and want to do it well -- secretary kelly: drugs are a different story. the amount of drugs -- drug money that is generated because of our demand in the united
states is virtually unlimited, unlimited to the agree that there is so much money available to either pay off officials in every country to include our own, to pay off officials or have them murdered or kids murdered. it's amazing. so there is a collection problem or intimidation problem. it is directly due to our drug consumption and we need to get our arms around that. match match if we shut the southern border down in mexico that between the united states and mexican government, we could have a better chance of controlling the drugs that come out of mexico. secretary kelly: demand is very important. match match that's a shame. where senator lankford was going, we had an open session on the intelligence committee and i asked a question during our worldwide threats evaluation. e had f.b.i., d.n.i. and
c.i.a., all of your major colleagues and we asked the question about the labs. and it's an open source. do you know if you have the labs' software in your system? secretary kelly: i believe we do. match match do you know -- i would like to get a report on this from you all. we have great concerns -- as you noted, and go one step further. could you find out if any of our contractors that you relied on is using the software? secretary kelly: absolutely. match match i have one other one. e jitc in west virginia, i think you know what we do there and you have been there in your former command. it's a tremendous chance for us
to be able to train tragic events in manchester, national guard training is something we rely on as a former governor, that's our first line of defense. and we would hope you look at homeland security for that type of facility. the training is there cost effective and very close to the nation's capital. we want you to know we are willing, able to help. secretary kelly: we'll take a look at it. > thank you, senator mampin. senator kennedy. keb senator kennedy: mr. secretary, thank you for being with us and for your service. i wanted to talk to you for a second about sanctuary cities if
i refuse to be a part of trump's deportation force. this is america. you can believe what you want. but you can't choose with federal laws you want to comply with. what are we doing about the sanctuary city issue? secretary kelly: pretty contentious to say the least. i would start off by saying in the 120 days or so i have been in the job, every time i travel, boston, new york, chicago, san diego, every time i travel, i will always meet with the mayor of the big city and senior police officials and that includes when i go to smaller cities as well. i interacted with organizations here in washington, national
sheriffs' association and big city police chiefs' association, they all to a man and a woman, want to cooperate with the federal government in terms of removing criminals from their municipalities. the best way to do this is for us to have access to their jails and prisons so when when an individual who is an illegal immigrant and ready to be released, we take them off their hands. it seems inconceivable why a public official wouldn't want to do this. we for free take them off their hands and send them away. yet the sanctuary cities are not doing this and the police officials to a man or a woman, they don't want -- senator kennedy: is law enforcement cooperating with you? secretary kelly: yes. in a way that they have managed to work out a relationship with
homeland security. so it's still going on -- senator kennedy: i don't understand what that means. secretary kelly: they'll call us and give us a notification when someone is about to be released. there is a limit how long they can hold people. but yes, we are working with them. what is not happening in places like that is when it is not happening, when we don't have access to jails, then we have to go into the communities to focus our attention on illegal aliens which is dangerous for my officers and local communities. the best way to do this is in the jails and sanctuary cities don't allow us to set up shop. if they don't want to let us in the jail, we will train their officers so when someone comes in, they can get the paperwork. i don't understand why these so-called sanctuary cities want
to do it. in many cases, the mayors are playing to their citizenry to it. and not doing it. i will talk to mayors and say, look, this is what i want to continue doing with you, are you good with that? but then they'll talk about the sanctuary cities thing. i don't know what it means. i don't think anyone out there knows what it means. but in my case, i do not want to cut the tremendous relationship my department has with law enforcement. so we'll do it quietly and publicly, any way they want. it's insane to me why any public official would not want to cooperate with us to take criminals off the streets. senator kennedy: i want to ask you, mr. secretary, the jones act, which i know you are familiar with. it's pretty simple.
it's a statute passed by congress. it says that if you are a ship or owner of a ship and you want to move goods from point a to point b in america, that ship's got to be built in the united states, got to be u.s.-flagged and u.s.-crewed. and the way i read the statute and the case law is, there's no discretion. i mean that's the test. and the ship either passes the test or doesn't. i would like to get your thoughts about the jones act. secretary kelly: probably the first thing i was briefed on was the jones act when i took this job, sokol that three months ago. the way it was briefed to me in short was the issue of supporting the oil and gas
industry and whether it was u.s.-flagged or not u.s.-flagged. the way it was briefed to me by lawyers, it's not clear -- we are working on this -- it's not clear what the law says. it is a 1920 law. and the way i was briefed, we could either use foreign flag or any flag or just american flag or he we really and i wasn't going to kick this thing down the road. but what we want to do is study this thing and come up with a comprehensive solution. and my question as it always is, what's good for america. i don't care about the industry. what's good for america. we don't know what's good for america. let us study this. this came up on my hearing in the house side yesterday. it was briefed to me it was clearer than what it was.
i went back to my folks yesterday afternoon and i said get me some definitive understanding of this. go back to the drawing boards. if we are in violation of the law, obviously we will change that, but we do want to study this and come out with the right answer for america. i guess in short, i'm on it, senator and i appreciate you raising it. senator kennedy: i appreciate your careful approach. just don't let your folks study it forever. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator contendy, senator shaheen. senator shaheen: thank you, secretary kelly, for your service and let me begin by expressing my condolences to everyone at the department particularly at c.b.p. on the agent who was killed. and protecting our borders like other law enforcement in this country is a dangerous job.
you know, i know like the rest of america and the world, we have watched with horror at the events that happened in manchester, england, earlier this week and as someone said yesterday in a hearing, it raises terrorism to a new level when they deliberately target young people. given those events, given what we know, terrorist groups have said about the taking the fight from the caliphate in the middle east out to the rest of the world, i'm very concerned about what i see in this budget that would dramatically cut preparedness grants for states and local communities. i was governor on 9/11. i can tell you that the support that we got from the federal government to help us be better
prepared to fight terrorist attacks was absolutely significant and we could not have replaced that in any other way. i was also very disappointed to see what appears to be a zeroing out of the violent counterterrorism section of your budget. i know that was just getting started. and i had heard some reports that it was becoming more effective as it tried to address what is happening in terms of radicalization of americans, some young americans. so i just want to express my concerns about both of those items in the budget because i do think that's a significant challenge for us as we try and address potential terrorist attacks and other terrorist threats in the united states. i do want to ask you about the hernan opioid epidemic that we are experiencing. and in new hampshire we have the second highest death rate in the
country. we are ground zero when it comes to this epidemic. and while i know there are a lot of aspects of it and working hard on treatment, recovery, prevention, interdiction, this is an area where c.b.p. has been very important and i wonder if you could talk a little bit what c.b.p. and the coast guard is doing to help us address the epidemic we are experiencing throughout the country.
and comprehensive program where the president leaves it and the congress is behind it and national football league is behind it and sports figures and hollywood likely we have for tobacco reduction and mothers against drunk driving. first issue. second, of course, those who did get addicted, we need to help them in terms of rehabilitation, which the rehabilitation industry will tell you, the best way to get totally cleaned from drugs is never start. that is one aspect of it. the specific question, if we are trying to keep drugs out of our country on the southwest border, we have already lost.
i mentioned before, i don't think you were here, that coast guard cutter that completed its run in the western pacific took off 18 tons of cocaine. that's the place to get it. my view of southwest border begins in terms of security, begins 1,500 miles south and with the relationships we have with all of those countries with the exception of venezuela. and not a bad relationship with nicaraugua but to stop illegal migration and movement of people for whatever purposes in our country. the amazing efforts that countries like alcohol yeah put behind producing cocaine improves right along with them. the relationships we have with countries that are working shoulder to shoulder and i have i.c.e. people and homeland security and c.b.p. people in
almost every capital in the world. we are working well south of the texas-mexican border. all of the heroin that we consume comes from mexico. it's grown there primarily in mexico. the mexican government is after that. but they are overwhelmed by the problem and working with them on it. and identify the fields and tell them where to go. so my point is, the real issue is to get at this problem where it's produced, the number one issue is the demand -- is to get at it where it is produced. on the high seas, the coast guard will pick up no less than a ton at a time. the colombians got 450 tons last year before it left clom yeah. once it gets to the southwest border, we are lucky, 10 kilos.
by the time it gets to the southwest border, we might get it, 10 kilos at a time. but they are doing tremendous things. we are looking at ways to search as an example more vehicles coming through the border. that's a balance, though, because the more vehicles you search, the longer the lines. but it's a very comprehensive problem as far as d.h.s. is concerned. we are hitting it pretty hard with relationships, with inter dick shon well south of the border. and ports of entry where most of the hard drugs come through and of course internal enforcement by our law enforcement, state and local law enforcement. it is a comprehensive thing and no one person, no one solution to it. i'll go back to the demand. senator shaheen: thank you, mr.
chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator hoeven is chair of the subcommittee, you are recognized. senator hoeven: mr. secretary, thanks for being here and all the work you are doing. in the budget, there is 1.6 billion for 32 miles of wall construction along the southern border. i'm wondering why 32 miles? secretary kelly: it's a start. as we go through the process right now, senator, of deciding what that physical barrier will look like, wall, fencing, whatever and there is a competition, so i don't know how much a mile of the barrier will cost. the fencing -- there are disadvantages to that and disadvantages to that to put a wall in. for the money that we -- it's a start. i'm not being funny.
and as we talk to our professionals down there on the board and ask the c.b.p. folks, how much wall would you need. if you could give me 12 miles here, 12 miles there, we don't need a wall. there's not much movement in terms of people. but it's as much as we could afford coming out of the gates. senator hoeven: you have described the wall concept about physical barrier, technology and people. all of that is necessary to have security, which is what we are after in terms of a wall. talk a little bit if you would about use of unmanned systems on the southern and northern border. and you have agreed to come up to grand forks for u.a.s. and in fact, c.b.p. is covering
900 miles of the northern border all the way from the -- from lake superior all the way through most of montana. just talk about your plans in terms of utilizing u.a.s. secretary kelly: i think the advantages of course of those aircraft, they are relatively inexpensive and fly for a long time. if you put the right thing on them, you can see during the day and at night and don't get tired essentially. and they are quiet lookers. one of the problems we have, if we use things like helicopters, helicopters are great for a lot of things, but they can be seen and all. i would like to think, looking hard at expanding the use of u.a.v.'s. but again, that's some time off. expanding use of u.a.v.'s, particularly on parts of the
border the southern border and northern border, there is no one there. very little movement, where it's an economy of force mission. put your people and assets where most of the movement is and it's a great place to use u.a.v.'s and other types of sensors. senator hoeven: you create pressure in other areas and that's where the u.s. can help you to cover areas where you don't have as much infrastructure or people and it is a day and night solution with frared and we have a large conference in the fall which might be a good time for you to come up, because we bring into grand forks all things u.a.s. it cuts across military, civilian, all applications. we have people all over the
country. to it's a great time for you come. we had a hearing yesterday in homeland security on ms-13. and one of the things that came up from some of the law enforcement personnel that are testifying, they would like to have some way to know when unaccompanied alien children are coming in. there needs to be some way for law enforcement to know where those individuals are going in the country. because the average age in ms-13 s about 18 years old and the recruiting effort is 14 and younger in some cases. if they come into the community and don't have a support network, they are vulnerable to be coerced to join the gang or coerced to join the gang. is there something you can do to
coordinate with law enforcement to get at this gang issue -- gang violence problem? secretary kelly: first time i have heard of this issue. i'll specifically take it on. but on the unaccompanied minors, i think the senator knows this, when they come into our possession, c.b.p., if they're young, below -- if they're not adults, then we have to turn them over to the department of health and human services within 72 hours. usually it's done faster than that. and by the way, this is a huge scam. most of them know what they are doing. they come across and identify themselves and the people that traffic them up there, their families are involved in human trafficking and send them up and turn them over to h.h.s. and they have the name, phone number and address of their mom or uncle who is already here and
h.h.s. will do some initial vetting of the family. but if it is a mom or relative or something, they will be at our expense turned over to them whether it is fairfax or north dakota. and most of them don't get involved in crime, but many of them. most don't, but some do. and they are perfect for gangs.ing into the ms-13 but that's the obvious one. if we don't alert law enforcement, we certainly can and will. senator hoeven: they are turned over to h.h.s. but these were detectives, police chiefs, police commissioners that we talked to and they were saying h.h.s. has notification and talked to social services, but law enforcement is not getting involved. that's the piece. secretary kelly: i'll take that on. it is an h.h.s. something.
senator hoeven: i understand you work with them. but giving the growing numbers with these gangs and this is a recruitment -- part of the recruitment process and they were looking for some help. secretary kelly: in the last 120 days, the number of illegal immigrants or migrants coming across the border is 70%. the good number is the number of families and unaccompanied minors is down to tiny levels. we have almost stemmed the tide. senator kennedy: it relates to your immigration courts and tracking people versus releasing them. they may have a name. and that individual may not be -- i know these things are. this is where local law enforcement can work with you. senator hoeven: final question quickly, in the terrible,
senator baldwin: a border wall. i would note something that congress in its omnibus considerations rejected just a few weeks ago and hundreds of millions of dollars more for i.c.e., including 850 new officers and 66% expansion of the umh of immigration. i share your commitment to securing the border, but i question whether these significant increases are the most effective way to allocate limited resources to combat the threats that we face. for example, president trump's budget reduces t.s.a.'s funding by $200 million compared to the omnibus, including cutting that has gotten attention, the 23 visible intermodal prevention and response teams. these teams in my mind are critical to the safety of our
airports and transportation systems. the president's budget cuts critical support to our state's local law enforcement and cutting $118 million from the state homeland security grant program and $156 million from the urban area security initiative. and given the continued threat, i have to wonder why is the president cutting funding that keeps our communities safe from terrorist attacks when there is an increase in the departmental budget. with the nearly $3 billion increase that you are working with, why did d.h.s. cut these particular programs and what do you assess the impact to be on america's security? how much risk are we taking with these cuts, the ones that i singled out? secretary kelly: taking a look
since i have been the secretary and have been briefed on, all of the grant programs, taking a long hard look at their if he cantiveness, there are many that clearly are effective and we are looking at all the grant programs across homeland security. in terms of some of the grants that you mentioned, in many cases from a terrorism point of view, it was clear on 9/11 that -- i mean, we were shocked into an understanding that we didn't take -- we thought terrorism was over there. and we learned on 9/11 tragically that it can come here very easily. and it was clear as i understand it, of course i wasn't here at the time, but the people in homeland security long enough, way back then, have beening forming me that many of these grants were poured into state
and local communities because to give them an opportunity to buy equipment that they didn't even form they needed before or special units or get specialized training that they didn't think they needed before because of the terrorism threat. that was 14, 15 years ago. i would very proudly say that the police departments, state, local and our country today, it's in their d.n.a. to think about this topic unfortunately. and every time there is an orlando or san bernardino or chattanooga, it's obvious to them. the idea is that they are up and running now and the sense is in terms of the department and certainly in the administration that those monies now are not needed as much. they are nice to have and i would take more money if someone offered it to me, but we were
looking to save money, this is an area that the sense was that these 15, 14 years on, these municipalities now, i would argue second to none in the world in dealing with whether it's whom-grown terrorism, active shooter or terrorists coming in from outside. that is one part of it at least. i go back to the grant thing. i have told my people, i want you to look at every grant and come and brief me, is it working? then we will keep it. if it is not working so well. tell me how to adjust it and make it better, because we don't want to waste the money. senator baldwin: let me follow on this topic, speaking of the urban area security initiative, i believe that the program and its risk formula is due for an update and regardless of the cut
in funding, which would i like to see restored. i support the need to allocate resources in proportion to risk. but i represent wisconsin. we have the city of milwaukee, the biggest city in the state and it has been excluded from eligibility to receive urban area security initiative funding since 2011, despite the need for federal terrorism prevention funding to close the gap that simply can't be closed or filled by the state homeland security grant program. and you listed some of the things that we're vulnerable to in communities across the country. i think of the tragic 2012 shooting at a temple in oak creek right outside the city of milwaukee, in which six people were killed and four wounded. last year, the f.b.i. thwarted a
terrorist plot in milwaukee. a man had planned a mass shooting of at least 30 people at a masonic temple. the local fusion center helped prevent that attack. and yet it is not eligible for urban area security initiative funding and needs more assistance. and finally, like many communities across the country, milwaukee's jewish community center received multiple bomb threats in recent months but wasn't eligible for the urban area security initiative nonprofit program. so secretary kelly, in light of repeated calls by terror organizations for their adherence to attack, more vulnerable targets in large and small communities alike, i wonder if you agree it makes
sense to increase the department's flexibility and allow funding to follow the threat and regardless of location. secretary kelly: as you point out, senator, you are right. this terrorist threat, particularly the home-grown, is not limited to new york city or las vegas or chicago. in fact, every community, small village, town in america is vulnerable. every city is vulnerable. there is a formula as the senator knows, my organization works with state and local and the formula is risk-based and ought to establish the risk and i'm not entirely familiar with the formula but worked every year down to the most specific threats and any city that doesn't receive money, it's
simply because in that formula working, the threat is not considered to be high enough. now i say that, i'm not so sure at this point, with the exception of the most obvious targets, washington, d.c., and -- new york, i'm not so sure just not enough money. every city and every village deserves money. could terrorism happen there snr everywhere. and that's the nature of this threat that we're dealing with. so there isn't enough money in the til because we needed an unlimited amount of money so homeland security and fema work with this to plug in the numbers and there are 33 cities, munepalts that receive money. i think be added two cities to
that this year. but in order to do that, we had to take money away from other municipalities on that list to give them money once we released that list and we kind of held the pay from those people who lost money. but this is terrorist threat is so insidious and so decentralized. i worry about the home-grown threat all the time. we are doing very, very good. the department of defense and the coalition overseas is reducing this threat. the end results of reducing that threat. the terrorists that are fighting, syria and iraq, they are not going home to live normal lives and they are being encouraged not to be killed. go back to where you came from and create manchester-type fights. if you were in the europe, i'll
use their approximation, citizens are now fighting in the caliphate. these are kids mostly, men and women that were born and raised in france, germany. they have legal passports. they have left to go fight in the caliphate. many cases, their countries don't know they left and then they come back and the countries don't know they were gone. nd now they are hardened warriors that will do things like manchester. as horrible as manchester was, we are going to see a lot more of that attack. indonesia, suicide bombers. the good news when they decided to pull terrain in the caliphate in iraq and syria, they were holding it. now they are leaving. north africa. it's a growing problem.
but back to your point, every municipality is at risk and we do our best to determine who are the most at risk and we use that formula and it's fair. and mp has a chance for input and not an unlimited amount of money. >> senator murkowski. senator murkowski: thank you for being here and your commitment to service. want to ask about two issues today, first is the visas and talk about the arctic and the resources we have up there and also the northern border. i understand you have been talking about the southern border. the visas and seafood industry in my state is one of the strongest parts of our economy. over 78,000 jobs, 5.8 billion estimated in revenue annually,
whether it's our crab, our pollock, crystal bay salmon. we have the healthiest fisheries. but we have a problem with seasonal labor. we just can't get the men and women out to these very, very, very remote communities to meet the demand of the work force. we cannot get them in the state. we cannot get them in the united states. and so we have traditionally relied on the opportunities for h-2-b-visas. the president signed authority to you and in consultation to approve additional visas processing for the remainder of the fiscal year to help these businesses and industries that
have been unable to find sufficient employees for this upcoming. there is a timing here because the harvest is later in the year because other industries basically gobble up that quota and we are left hanging. this short-term fix is in my view urgently needed for the large employers that are seeking the necessary staff as we prepare for this early summer salmon harvest. we are just a few weeks out here. so our food processors are operating in real-time facing work force decisions that will have significant economic impact. for most of these communities and most of these regions. if there is no one to process the seafood when it comes in, there is no place for the boats to deliver.
there is no economy to that community at all. there is no other source of economy. us is is very serious for as we look to address this seasonal worker shortfall so we can process our seafood within these remote communities. we recognize the last-minute action is not ideal but after we resolve these issues, i'm committed to work with you to find a longer term solution so we don't revisit this problem year after year. to d immediate help petition acceptance of new visas so we can get these food processing employees in the state. whether or not you do plan to visas processing
this year so this important economic opportunity for us in alaska with our seafood processors can go work. secretary kelly: this is one of those things i wish i didn't have any discretion. . members of my staff are coordinating with the department of labor on this. one of the things, and i have my working class root background that keeps reminding me that some of these individuals, not necessarily alaska, but many of these individuals are victimized when they come up here in terms of what they're paid and all the rest of it. so we're working with labor, department of labor, to come up with an answer to this. we really do need a long-term
solution. so we'll work with the senate, with the congress, with industry this year. again, i'll have my staff, when they return from labor, and we get some protocols in place, we'll likely increase the numbers for this year. perhaps not by the entire number i'm authorized but we really do need -- i really look forward to working with you, ma'am, senator, in the -- and the whole congress to get a longer term solution to this. >> we need one. i've had this same discussion with secretary costa and recognize the imperative of this. and i'm with you. we want to make sure that every american who wants a job has it. wande welcome anyone in this room to come up, i'll sign you up, i'll sign up your kids as long as they're 18 years old. but the ability to get u.s. workers, again, out to these extraordinarily remote places
has been very, very, very difficult. i would just ask that you work with us and appreciate the timeliness of this issue that we're dealing with right now. because salmon don't care when the permits are issued. they don't care whether or not we've got processors in place. i appreciate your attention to this. i had an opportunity yesterday o ask admiral richardson the same question. and i recognize the efforts of the coast guard in partnership with navy to accelerate the design and the construction of polar icebreakers, as we're dealing with a very aging fleet. ms. murkowski: the coast guard's budget has $19 million for an icebreaker program. we all know that that doesn't build us an icebreaker but it's getting us moving. navy has not requested any funding. i would ask you, as we're developing this f.y. 2018 budget, what funding is needed
to keep the program on its accelerated path? i think it's important that we ook to the savings that can be gained by block buying, but we need to have a program in place. we need to have a vision for how we're going to respond as antarctic nation with the infrastructure that we need. -- an arctic nation with the infrastructure that we need. jerry kelly i agree. we clearly -- mr. kelly: i agree. we clearly need those. i'll get back on how the coast guard intends to lay out a comprehensive program to get six icebreakers, three and three. let me get back to you on that. i'm with you 100% on the fact that we need to have a program that gets us from where we are now, which is pretty humble, to at least full on capability.
ms. murkowski: i mentioned there was a lot of discussion about the several born -- southern border. nobody thinks about the exposure on the northern end. but the reality is that we're seeing arctic sea ice decrease. it's allowing for greater accessibility, which is all good and interesting. but it also presents some security challenges for the united states, as well as canada. we do not have border patrol. we don't have any security along that entire u.s. coast that is called alaska, some 33,000 miles of coast line that we've got up there. nd it's an open opportunity. i won't ask you to comment on this now, but know that one of the things that we're looking at is whether partnerships with canadian law enforcement and security agencies can come together to help facilitate
sharing of information as it relates to security threats in the north american arctic. whether or not we should consider establishing antarctic security -- an arctic security office in partnership with canada. these are things that have come about as part of the arctic council discussions. i think it's going to require a review you in an area that we just haven't been focused on at all. mr. kelly: greapt point. hadn't thought of it. i think you know this. our partnership information sharing, everything, is near perfect with canada. i had not thought of that point about perhaps even opening an office. we're on that. ms. murkowski: we'll look forward to discussing it with you. thank you, mr. chairman, and ranking member. >> thank you. mr. tester: thank you, mr. chairman. at this point in time this hearing's either been going on for too long or just started in your mind. i very much appreciate -- mr. kelly: i love this. mr. tester: good. very much appreciate it. it's real mental gymnastics
because of the size of this department, where you have to jump from issue to issue. i'm going to go back and touch base on the one that we talked about before this hearing very quickly. we're kind of in the same boat as oklahoma. i don't know if they've passed a law yet, but we have. to obtain a compliant license. i anticipate the governor will sign that law very soon. and so the question becomes, if we will get an extension, if we're moving fast enough as a state to get the d.h.s.'s support and that we're actually heading toward a real i.d.-compliant license. if you're willing to give an extension or at least give me some sort of idea where we're going to be heading here. mr. kelly: a couple points. the vast majority of the states have -- have either accomplished the tasks of the 2005 law or are really making
great progress and will be there very soon. as i mentioned before, in those states that are not nearly as close to completion yet, your state is an example. i've talked to the governor. a couple other states i've talked to as well that are in the same kind of place. offered to send my folks. we've done that, to work with the state, to say, ok, you're close or you'll never get there. the point is, in those states, senator, that -- and don't know where montana is right now, but in those states it simply can't get there from here. i would say that it would not make sense to give an extension. that said, we're absolutely committed to working with the states shoulder to shoulder on this to make it happen. but i would offer to every state that's not compliant as of yet, to really start talking to their citizens.
we've established a public affairs campaign on our own. focused on people to get alternate means of identification. mr. tester: back in 2005 we passed a law that said montana's not to comply with real i.d. with this bill that was passed this spring -- what this bill that was passed this past spring, this says it all. the bill directs the montana of justice to issue a montana driver's license or i.d. cards that comply with the real i.d. act of 2005. it strikes that law that was passed in 2005 and directs d.o.j. in montana to meet the standard. it's pretty clear. so, hopefully if you have any issues in this, let me know. because this needs to be solved. mr. kelly: you know me. i want to work it out. mr. tester: so, hopefully if you have ok, g eminent domain. one of the issues that were brought up is the rights of current landowners on the
southern border, if a wall was to be built. can you confirm that nothing in this recently passed d.h.s. appropriations act interferes or even facilitates the changes in landowner rights? mr. kelly: i can't confirm that. i'll get back to you, if that's all right. i can't confirm it. i'm hypersensitive to she issue of eminent domain and private property. as we look at places to put the physical barrier, called the wall, in some places perhaps it would require an mr. emmer: action -- an emmeant domain action. but -- an eminent domain action, but i'm eventstive to that as well. mr. tester: you're looking at the recently passed act, look at this too to make sure it doesn't facilitate or interfere. that's a very important issue for me too. mr. kelly: my staff tells me that from the -- what, 2008 action on the border, we're still in court on eminent domain issues.
mr. tester: look, that's one of the -- there's been a number of questions here today that's been asked by both sides of the aisle on the have a lessity. i know it's a term, the wall. but i'm seeing a concrete wall in my head when we talk about the wall. i think that as we look at potential reductions in local and, by the way, if there's money to be saved there, chairman and i are in with you, truthfully. but if this is an issue, this whole thing that we've been talking about all day is an issue, you and you know this better than i, you can't make a mistake. if you pull it away from local tanned does in fact -- and it does in fact create a problem, we haven't done the right thing. same thing with r&d. same thing with the fema stuff. and so that's why i think there's a concern here on, we're going to spend a ton of money on keeping the southern border secure, and are we really getting the biggest bang for the buck? if we're not, are we sacrificing these other
programs which actually can be just as problematic? you get my drift. mr. kelly: i do. mr. tester: ok. let's talk about the laptop ban . appreciate the heads up on it, by the way. by your people. do you think it should extend beyond the 10 airports that it already is in? mr. kelly: possibly. if i could elaborate a bit. what i have learned in the last 120 days, i was not nearly as aware about prior to that in the military, is this relentless attempt on the part of terrorists to blow up airplanes in flight. ideally big airplanes with a lot of people. ideally a u.s. carrier. ideally on the way to the united states. we are watching, can't get into it in this group, in this hearing, but we are watching a number of very, very sophisticated, advanced threats right now. i obviously -- it was my
decision to make -- i wouldn't have put 10 airports on the list in march. but as we look at the threat and how it's morphed, we are looking at perhaps other ways to reinforce the security procedures at every airport on -- in the world. it's possible that it would expand. mr. tester: ok. what are we doing to enhance existing screening technology to develop new systems? are we making investments in those? mr. kelly: we are. current technology that you typically see at the airports, for baggage as well as people, are just about at their limit. we're looking at advancing that. mr. tester: we're working on it. had how do you square that with a 21% cut in l&d? mr. kelly: as we look to the
technology after next, we're working with our international , we're working with the airlines. we want to share the cost of the r&d. it's in everyone's interest to do it. but ultimately we have to spend what we need to spend to find the technology to protect air travelers. mr. tester: you've had the lies sations with our a that are of similar mind and airline companies, they're willing to pitch in? mr. kelly: they're willing to do anything not to have me do some of the things that we're contemplating. mr. tester: money is one thing -- mr. kelly: that's my assumption. mr. tester: here's the deal as we go through this process and i appreciate you, mr. secretary, i do. as we go through this process, we can't cut r&d if it ain't going to be back filled somewhere. if it's going to be back filled somewhere, and god bless you for looking at it because i think it's good, but we need to know that.
speaking of t.s.a., when can we anticipate a nomination to lead the t.s.a.? mr. kelly: we're really close. tevt is that like the end of the -- mr. tester: is that like the end of the week? i would just say, look, i have ton of stuff and we'll put it in for the record, a ton of questions. they're all really good and they haven't been asked here before. but i just want to tell you, the overall heartburn i have with this budget is, is it a budget where we're getting the most bang for the buck? especially as it applies to the wall? i don't really care, to be honest with you. if it's a wall or if it's a drone or if it's man power. i just want to get the biggest bang for the buck to keep this country safe. i think you're on the same page there. mr. kelly: i am. mr. tester: it may require you telling somebody that this is a better direction to go. mr. kelly: wouldn't hesitate. mr. tester: thank you.
>> thank you, senator tester. in regard to r&d, the -- one of the huge problems we have is the toxicity of fentanyl. do we have the ability, are we working on acquiring or developing something that will detect it? mr. boozman: and make it such that our border patrol officers , the dogs that are out working these things, -- mr. kelly: we are, senator. but one of the ways, as you well know, fentanyl is so powerful. oh, by the way, there's a new thing that's more powerful by a factor, so-called elephant tranquilizer that's worse or more effective or more. ut we're working with china. our d.e.a. and others are working with china to try stop it. the point is the harder than anything else. because a tiny, tiny amount goes so far, so to speak. some of this stuff is coming in
by the mail. i visited one of our c.v.p. facilities recently in seattle, i think. where all the international mail goes through. and an amazing amount of things they find to include febt nell. -- fentanyl. mr. boozman: this concludes our hearing. thank you very much for being here. we appreciate your testimony. also in an effort to really get up to speed, i visited a number of homeland security facilities . you should be complimented in the sense that it seems to me like morale is up greatly. the agents of all of the different agencies that you represent appreciate the fact that they're able to do their job and i think have a great deal of confidence in you. so we thank you for that. mr. kelly: they're really good people. mr. boozman: good people. exactly. the hearing will remain open for two weeks from today. senators may submit written questions for the record.
we ask that the department respond to them within a reasonable amount of time. i want to thank my staff and senator tester's staff for their hard work in making the hearing possible. with that we're adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]