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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 29, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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go -- to strip out the house bill, which has $6.4 billion worth of pension smoothing, a total gimmick -- everyone knows it's not a pay-for. it loses money. loses money. and the senate finance committee bill is going to be -- the first vote is to replace the house bill with the senate finance committee bill. by the way, which was done under regular order, done the way bills are supposed to be done. now, unfortunately it also is a short-term fix. i've never voted for a short-term fix for the highway trust fund because i -- i can't believe -- it's so simple for us to resolve. onlthe only issue is we haven't been willing to address itment there'it.so i'm going to vote ae short-term extension but we have
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an amendment to improve it. what it does is take owl all the pension smoothing that is unfortunately in the finance committee bill -- i thank them for doing their work -- but it has $2.9 billion worth of pension smoothing, which again is a gimmick. in other words, it moves revenues up. it weakens, by the way, our pension system in our country. you-all know all that. it weakens our pension system. it moves money into this decade but from then on it loses even more money. it's absolute -- no offense to those who put it in place -- it's generational theft. so what this amendment does is to take pension smoothing out of the senate finance bill and leave everything else in placement now, the secondary benefit to that is that it means that the highway trust fund will lose -- will not have funding except to make it through this year. and what that means is that this body in 2014 will have the opportunity to actually deal
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with this issue. i have to tell you seriously, i'm embarrassed. i've been here 7 1/2 years in the united states senate, 7 1/2 years and we have yet -- yet -- to deal with one of our long-term issues. i can't remember a single issue that this body has come together on to deal with one of our long-term structural issues. it's an embarrassment. there really aren't new ideas around here. there's just been a lack of willingness to deal with it. so i want to thank the senator from california, the senator from delaware and others who will join in on this amendment. and all we're doing is one thing -- we're taking a gimmick out of the senate finance bill and forcing this body to act responsibly before year end. that's all. so i would just urge my colleagues to come to the floor and say, look, it's been a long time, 11 reauthorizations short
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term. by the way, think about the economic issues that come with this. we do these reauthorizations and d.o.t.'s around the country have no idea -- departments of transportation -- whether there's going to be funding in place. what do the contractors do? they don't hire people long term, they don't buy equipment. and yet we come do this 11 times since 2008. five times, again, transferring money out of our general fund. the greatest generational theft that can occur -- taking money out of the general fund, spending it over a five- or six-month months, paying for it for 10 years -- my republican friends who railed over the president because of the health care bill because he was using six years' worth of costs -- by the way, i was one of those railers -- six years worth of costs, 10 years worth of revenues. we don't get off of it because it was so irresponsible. and yet in this bill -- in this
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bill we're going to spend the money over six or seven months and pay for it over 10 years. it's an order of magnitude worse. and so i know that a lot of people have worked and they've said, no, we -- there's no way we can come up with a solution by year end. you have got to be kidding me? how could we not come up with a solution to such a simple issue, a trust fund, that's been funded by user fees, how could we not figure out some way in five days -- the senate finance committee has some of the smartest people in the senate on it. they know there are no new real options. the chairman's floated some ideas as to how to get there and i applaud him for it. and, by the way, i know that the senate finance committee is only doing its job today. in other words, you've got to come up with a short-term solution. i got it. i can't support it. i can't support it. i can't support another kicking the can down the road on one of the simplest issues we have to
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deal with in the united states senate because elections are coming up. let's face it. and every time -- it's the election, we can't deal with this issue. so what we've said is, okay, we got it. we realize that during an election, people don't really to want show their cards, apparently. so we're saying hey, let's strip out the gimmick that's in this bill, the pension smoothing that we all know is not a pay-for, it's a gimmick, let's strip that out and let's force the congress this year before, the end of this year, to actually deal with an issue that's very important to our nation. so i hope that people will support it. i hope -- i've heard people say, well, i'm just -- i just don't see how we can figure out a solution to this. you've got to be kidding me? i mean, how many new ideas are there relative to this? so, look, i -- i thank my colleagues for joining in this amendment.
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i hope that we'll have support. again, we're going to be putting in place a short -- this amendment puts -- lessens the kicking the can down the road, it takes out a gimmick, it forces us to deal with a long-term solution, which we should have done a long time a ago. and i thank all of those senators who support this amendment. i hope others will consider before they come down to the floor. and i hope that this senate will have the opportunity, and the house, before year end to actually deal with this issue. again, let me say this. the kick-it-can-down-the-road that's occurring takes us into next may and june. think about it. so we're going to have a presidential race underway. so then people are going to say, oh, we can't deal with this issue. we don't want our nominees to have to deal with this issue. remember the primaries this year are early so our republicans will say, well, we don't want to deal with this issue in may or june because the presidential race is coming up. and the democrats will say the same thing, we don't want our candidate to have to talk about
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this issue. and so again and again and again we'll can the can down the road -- kick the can down the road, we'll engage in generational theft, we'll weaken our economy, we won't do the things we should be doing with on our infrastructure. it's the wrong thing to do. please support this amendment. with that, i yield the floor. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, i want to thank senator corker before he leaves the floor, because i'll tell you, i've been here awhile and i haven't her a more honest speech in my life on the senate floor, frankly. i haven't heard a more passionate speech and a speech in which you just spoke from the heart and from your brain, which is quite confiden competent. i just thank you for it. because, you know, there are some times when you do feel like shouting. i guess there was a movie "i can't take it any more and i want everyone to know." it is ridiculous that we are where we are. we knew this for two years, that
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the highway trust fund was going to run out of money. we knew it for two years. that's why in may senator vitter and i, senator carper, senator barrasso and others, both sides of the aisle, passed the six-year bill. we knew it was coming. we wanted to wake up our colleagues. and we did wake them up. but, sadly, to a short-term fix instead of a multiyear fix, do a long-term bill. and my friend i, so agree with you. it is the political will that is lacking. there's always an excuse followed by an excuse followed by -- the next thing we know, they'll say, "the dog ate my homework." we've heard every excuse in the word." and you're so right, we're going to be in presidential races, then we'll start with more senate races and more congressional races and people won't want to take a tough vote again. you know, this is the greatest
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nation on earth but we have to reflect the greatness in our work here and we're not. and i would just say the one thing i disagree with my friend on, he said we're only doing one thing in this amendment. we're actually doing two things in this amendment. one is we're getting rid of that gimmick called pension smoothi smoothing, which i've kind of studied it over the last few weeks to really understand what we are doing, which is when you use this pension smoothing, you're saying to companies, don't put any money into your pension obligations. and through some smoke-and-mirrors, because then it means they get to pay a little more income taxes, by thy the way, some don't pay more income taxes -- it comes out a plus. the fact is, it's in essence telling companies they don't have to set aside money for their workers' pensions. that's not something that's go good, especially since the pension guaranty corporation is
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short $34 billion. i don't know if my friend knows this. the last time we used pension smoothing for a short-term fix, at least we had in the committee a comparable measure that ensured companies gave more to the pension guaranty corp. so although they had a chance not to give the money into the pensions, they did have to pay more into the pension guaranty corp. if the pension guaranty corporation is broke, the taxpayers have to pick up the tab. i'm looking at my friend in the chair, that great senator, elizabeth warren, who knows what happens when everybody is broke and the federal government says, oh, my god, that's too big to fail. so this attack that you make on the smoothing as a gimmick, it's worse an a gimmick. it is a gimmick, but it's worse because it has real-life impacts
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and those real-life impacts are that the companies aren't putting aside enough money. so we're saying let's think about what we're saying here. we're saying that the highway trust fund is going broke, so to fix it, we're going to endanger another fund, the pension funds of our workers. it's terrible. that's why i love the carper-corker-boxer amendment and i thank my friends for their leadership on the pay-for. it does two things, this good amendment. it says we're not going to use the smoothing, we're going to protect our pensions, and secondly, we are going to attack the long-term issues of the highway trust fund in december in the lame duck after the elections and everybody knows that's the best time to do it. so i stand proudly with my friends. i hope we pass this. i don't know what happens, what the house will do but you know what my dad used to say, you
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can only control what you can control. we can't control them, but we can control us. so i hope anyone listening to this debate, i'm going to support the wyden amendment because it does strip some of the pension smoothing out, i'm going to oppose the toomey amendment in the nature of a substitute, the lee amendment, i think they're dangerous, and i'm going to strongly support the carper amendment, the carper-corker-boxer amendment. i thank my colleagues for this and i know there is very important business >> the congressional progressive caucus had unaccompanied minors that enter the country illegally. anyhow judiciary committee oversight committee looking at the citizenship and immigration service. the server overseas petitions for immigration benefits like green cards, naturalization, and asylum.
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members of the congressional progressive caucus on tuesday heard from three unaccompanied minors who entered the u.s. illegally from central america. witnesses also included representatives of organizations that advocate for child safety. this is two hours. >> thank you very much for being here today. this is an ad hoc hearing from the progressive congressional caucus. before i introduce the conveners hearing, it comes at a very important time. we are waiting for leader polos he to make a statement. judy, one of the originators of the idea to have an ad hoc hearing. us.clark will be with those were the people that signe
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letter to put this together and invited other members. we have other members here as well today. they will have an opportunity to introduce themselves. today, given everything that is the refugee issue with the children in this country, what congress is going through to put together a package. we just heard about the latest example from our republican colleagues as to what their packages. in the house. we felt it is important not to do with the subject in a detached way. and washington dc get a direct look and a profound peopleng of the young
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that are with us today and their families. also, from a panel of we are talking about children. we are talking primarily about their fleeing violence and for their own safety and lives. we are missing the point that as a nation we are the embodiment of those values of that protect the weaker. the values that protect the people fleeing persecution and prosecution unjustly.
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today, we are going to hear from those young people that did just that. lawspeople come up with and try to do with the supplemental package, we hope they do that in the context of human beings and children. these migrant kids that are coming to this country are being blamed for everything right now dealing with the border, dealing with immigration reform and why we do not have it. they are to blame for the reason we need to get rid of it. they are to blame for having more troops on the border. they are blamed for every disease on the face of the earth. they are to blame for the division that is been racking this nation for two decades regarding the issue of immigration. i think that is a lot to put on their little shoulders.
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it is time the congress assumed the responsibility for this impasse we have an immigration reform. assume the responsibility that these laws are in place to protect people. quit demonizing and blaming children when sometimes it is important for all of us to look ourselves in the mirror and come to the conclusion that we are not doing our part as a congress. welcomed thet me young people and turn it over to ms. chu. she was instrumental -- she said we needed to have a hearing of this kind where we have real people talk about this issue. that me turn it over to her for any opening comments. ms. chu. >> thank you, mr. chair. to thenever forget going texas border station two weeks ago and seeing all the children sleepingtention cells on the cold, hard floor. that is what drove me to suggest this hearing.
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fornt to thank you arranging for this congressional progressive caucus to sponsor this. it is so important to hear first-hand from the children who are testifying here today. they are here about why they drove their homes and why they are seeking protection in our country. it is up to us to find a responsible and moral solution to address this two minutes. crisis and do what is best for each and every child coming to our border. our first priority needs to be protecting those with legitimate claims of persecution and preserving the protection our current laws provide. today, we remember that we are dealing with real people, young people who have witnessed unimaginable violence and tragedy. we cannot cover our ears. it is time to put politics aside and put these kids first.
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the answer cannot be legislative existing protections and risk putting them back into deadly violence. we need an effective response that put their interests first and we need it now. i want to thank our very brave witnesses to up come forward to share their personal stories today. >> thank you very much, representative chu. i want to would knowledge -- acknowledge the members that are here today. lee is with us. direction, mr. o'rourke. ms. newton. ms. jackson lee. mr. lowenthal. thesenyers and
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individuals have taken time and are here with us today. we are very appreciative. -- as people arrive, we will turn to them for them to -- if they have any questions for the witnesses or reaction to the testimony. with that, let me welcome you. brave, these three fine, courageous young people that are here with us today. dulce.begin with she is 15 years old and from one of allah -- from guatemala. she lives with her younger sisters, her mom, and stepdad. she groped without her parents. her father died when she was two years old and her mother traveled to the united states
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when she was young because she cannot support her two daughters as a single mom in guatemala. almost sexually abused by a man working on her uncle's house. when she was told what happened, she immediately left the u.s. to bring her daughters the safety. dulce also witnessed attempted murder of a woman who sold food door to door in her street. she was shot by a man right outside of her home. she saw the woman was badly hurt and fled into her house so she could not also be harmed. residentw a permanent of the united states because of the family court judge in new not ino declared it was her best interest to be sent to guatemala and she could not be reunified with her father under new york state law. here to joine is us today. that me turn it over to her and her representative to begin
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discussion. spanish]
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dulce, if you would start please. you need to push -- can you push the button? yeah. >> hello. my name is dulce. i am 15 years old and i am from guatemala. i am in the 10th grade in long island, new york. i live with my mom, stepdad, and two little sisters who are five and 10 years old. i have had a green card since november of last year because a judge in new york said i was a special immigrant. i am grateful for the chance to speak to you today to tell you my story. i hope my story can make you see why it is so important to help
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protect the many children who are running away from home like i did in their home countries of central america. in 2009 when i was 10, i fled guatemala with my sister to get away from the person who tried to army. harm me. it was difficult living there because i grew up without my mother who left when i was five years old to give us a better life. my father died when i was just two years old. my mom could not support us by herself. i grew up in one of mama with my aunts and uncles. it was difficult living there because there was lots of violence. i had to walk 30 minutes to get to school. on the way to school, i saw people fighting a lot. school.ngs anin i was scared to walk to school everyday.
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the worst thing that happened to me was before i came to united states. cousin and i woke up in the morning inserted working -- walking to school. one of my uncles was building a house. we had to cross through the construction site. when we were walking through the house, a worker asked us to come help him with something. when we got close to him, he forces inside the room and closed the door. we asked him what he wanted and he said nothing and try to take our clothes off. we were able to run away from them. i was in shock. we ran outside of the room that we were in and told our aunt and uncle what happened. they did not believe me. they asked the man would happen and the man told them that my cousin and i were lying. i was scared. i told my mom to tell her what happened and she became really
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upset and fainted because she decided after i told her this, she came to guatemala to protect me. and my mom was scared that i would be harmed and decided to quickly bring me to the united states. i thought about going to the police but it took me two hours just to walk to the station. auntad of helping me, my and uncle punished us. they hit us with a belt and sent us to our room. i do not think the police would have helped me because they are very corrupt. the couple of months ago before woman who sold food door to door in the neighborhood who got shot in the chest. i heard three gunshots and saw the blood from her wound. i ran inside of my house. i learned later that no one was
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arrested from the attempted murder of the woman. i do not want to go back to one because-- to guatemala i'm afraid there is no one to protect me. i am scared i will be attacked again from that man or someone else. i am afraid of gangs. when i arrived in the united states, my mom told me i was undocumented. i was scared i could be sent back and be separated from my mom and he put in a dangerous place again. when i received my green card, i was happy because i knew i would not be deported and then i can go to any college i wanted. i want to go to sunnybrook university to become a doctor because it is a good school. i want to be a pediatrician because i love kids and i want to take care of them. i would like to tell the government to give all the kids at the border an opportunity to
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stay here because violence, sexual assault, trafficking, kidnapping, and murder are the main reasons why children are trying to escape. if the government decided to send all the kids back to their home countries, they would be alone with nobody to support them and in a conflict zone every day. i ask you to put them -- put yourself in their shoes and ask how you would want to be treated. would you want to be sent back to a place where someone try to army of? -- tried to harm you? thank you for listening. >> thank you very much. a 12-year-old from honduras. she wants to be a doctor or lawyer. she fled honduras with her little sister after witnes
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sing homicides. men tried to kidnap her and her sisters. momextended family told her that they could no longer take care of her. fromrossed the rio grande mexico into the united states in july of 2013. attained were in the freezing cells without any beds or blankets. about herry concerned little sister's health because she was shivering the whole time. it was so cold her lips when blue. -- went blue. she was given only two sandwiches per day. she is still angry about how she in her little sister were treated by the united states government. turn to her tome speak to us.
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[speaking spanish] >> good afternoon. inm 12 years old and i live long island, new york, with my mother and younger sister. thank you for inviting me to speak with you today. spanish]ing >> when i was eight years old, my mother had to leave for the united states so we can have a
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better life. when she left, i cried every day for her because i missed her so much. >> [speaking spanish] >> one of the reasons why i left my country was because of the violence and also because my little sister suffered from an a epileptic attack.
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>> [speaking spanish] >> i saw somebody kill another person twice and it was very ugly to see the blood running on the ground. spanish]king >> i was scared that i would be killed like those men were killed. i would miss my mom a lot if i had to go back to my country. to bed be very scared hurt by the violence if i had to go back. panish]aking s
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>> my trip to united states was a big adventure. the whole way here was well. the food was good and we were treated like people. i felt very good. spanish]ing >> when i suffered a lot was after we crossed the river and the police took us into freezing cold police stations. spanish]ing >> people could not sleep. we had to sleep on the floor and
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they only gave us a thin nylon blanket. there was not enough food. they only gave us two sandwiches a day. spanish]ing >> it was very cold in there and my little sisters lives even turned blue. we were shivering the whole time. it was very hard to sleep because the police were always calling our names. we were there for four very cold days. spanish]ing
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>> please help protect children like me and my little sister. our country back to because they are very dangerous and very poor. for the first time, i am happy living here. my mom is not sad all the time and i love to go to school. i have the best grades in my class. eventually, i want to be a doctor or a lawyer. spanish]king
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>> i am happy to know that i can now stay in the united states. i hope the united states continues to help children like me who need a lot of help. >> [speaking spanish] >> i would also like to say that i wish, i hope these children are not returned to their countries because their mothers have to struggle a lot to be able to bring them here. thank you very much for listening to me today. >> thank you. we all appreciate it. that me introduce -- let me introduce a 15-year-old from el salvador.
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he will start school in new york this september. he lives with his mother and four sisters. he recently crossed into the united states unaccompanied. he fled el salvador in april of 2013. he was a witness of a homicide that occurred right in front of his house. he heard gunshots and rushed to see what happened. a man he knew apparently was dying from a gunshot wound in the street. members of a game threatened to kill him if they ever -- if he ever wrote his bicycle into their territory again. he was always worried the day would come that he would be forced to join one of the gangs. in el salvador, once someone is asked to join, the penalty for refusing to join his death. he suffered significantly in the custody of the u.s. border patrol. a holdingained in cell without a blanket or enough
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food. he described his time there as the worst experience of his life. h] [speaking spanis >> good afternoon. i am 15 years old and from el salvador. i live in new york with my mother and four sisters. thank you for the invitation to speak with you today. i want to tell you why i came here and also about the horrible experience that i suffered in immigration detention. >> [speaking spanish]
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>> i came to the united states because i was afraid of the violence in el salvador and i do not want to have to go back to face this. man diears ago, i saw a after being shot many times on my street. one day, i was sitting inside my house and i heard gunshots. i saw a man was wounded by bullets and i found an empty cartridge. there was a lot of blood. spanish]ing
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>> a year ago, i was threatened by gang members. i was riding my bicycle and that was three members of the gang who said if they saw me there again, they would kill me in all i was doing was delivering tamales. spanish]king
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school, there are always gang members and everyone knew who they were. we were always afraid they would try to force us to join the gangs. sawrandmother told me if i a lot of gang members together, i should try to avoid them because then i would be forced to join a gang. everybody knows if you refuse to join a gang, they will kill you. >> [speaking spanish] >> my mother fled from allsop adore many years ago because of the violence. i do not know all the details but i know i do not want to go back to my country because i do not want to die and i am afraid of facing the violence. >> [speaking spanish]
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>> in the united states, i feel safer. i am with my mother and i don't have to be afraid of the gang members. bicycle here and i don't have to worry about encountering gang members. spanish]king >> i crossed the border from mexico into the united states of april of this year and was immediately caught while we were crossing the rio grande. i was caught by u.s. immigration agents at about 1:00 in the morning. anish]eaking sp
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>> i walked 30 minutes to the immigration station where i was placed in a big room with 200 children. they were aged 10 and up. the room was very cold. there were not any beds. they gave us nylon which barely even kept us warm and they gave us a cold sandwich twice a day. i was very hungry because it was not enough food. spanish]ing
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>> when some of the children did not behave well, the officials punish them. they handcuffed the children outside of the room and the children outside were worse off because they could not use their body heat from keep from being so cold. >> [speaking spanish] >> after this room, i was taken to another big room with 200 people. it was very cold and i shivered a lot. and there was only one bathroom for 200 people and it was very ugly because all the children could see when i was going to the bathroom. we used the nylon to have a
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little more privacy. >> [speaking spanish] >> the whole time i was there children were crying. >> [speaking spanish] >> i felt very mistreated. my time in the ice boxes was the worst experience of my life. i hardly slept for six day. s. they did not allow us to sleep because they came in every two hours to count the children. aking spanish] >> i felt very weak after six days in the ice boxes. >> [speaking spanish]
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>> please do not mistreat children the way your government has mistreated me. spanish]ing >> finally, i want to ask you not to deport children like me because it is very possible you would deport them to violence and to their deaths. thank you for listening to my testimony. >> thanks to all of you. [speaking spanish]
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let me say it takes a lot of guts. all of us really respect what you said in front of all these people. that youateful presented your personal stories so the rest of the country can put a face on the reality we are dealing with here. i want to thank you for that tremendous contribution in this whole debate about what we are doing next. i will introduce my colleague and cochair of the progressive son, so that hei can make a comment and do the ms. nancyntroducing pelosi. >> thank you. i simply want to thank all of you. for coming here.
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it is very courageous, brave for you to tell your story. i know it is not easy. as, you are helping us members of the congress get fact s and information that will allow us to make good decisions about how to handle unaccompanied children who come to the border. i want to let you know that we are very proud of you. i know that you are going to be a doctor, a pediatrician, a lawyer, whatever you want to be, you can do it. with the guts and determination you have already showed, we are very sure your future is very bright. we take everything you said very seriously. are herenderstand you
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not just for yourself, but for all the other kids that you saw in the icebox. thank you very much. i would like to turn the microphone over to democratic leader nancy pelosi who has been so compassionate around this issue and many others. >> thank you very much, my colleague. cochair of the progressive caucus. i thank you for bringing us together today to pay our respects to these young people for their courage for sharing their experience. to them i say thank you. thank you for being here, thank you for honoring us with your presence. i want you to know how important you are to us. this is quite a distinguished array of members of congress who thehere representing progressive caucus, but also the
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hispanic caucus, the black caucus. the leaders of the congress on the subject of immigration and all supporters of comprehensive immigration reform. the argument that some make that because of what is happening on the border we should not pass comprehensive immigration reform is upside down. because of what is happening on the border, we should more quickly passed immigration reform. have a heart, let us follow that message. the people who talk about the baby jesus this gaping violence as an infant. sending children back into the circumstances. he described it as turning children back into a burning building. is about having a soul. to soul of the country is respecting the dignity of every person.
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givingcountry is about every person access rights you are in our country. i was just telling the a mutualen about friend who said we cannot have deportation without representation. of want to thank the groups were here who advocate for proper representation. unfortunately, the bill that has come to us which we may be adequate does not have resources for re-presentation, especially of the children who needed even more. they do not have sufficient judges to deal with the immigration cases before them. knowing that putting the spotlight on this challenge, your firsthand experience is very valuable and important to us. raul describe the situation that
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was terrible. i saw it myself. the leaderresswoman, of immigration, complained about what we saw. i think already we have seen some improvement in the situation. but, we need to do so very much more. to our country and colleagues to have a heart when it comes to people coming into our country. some seeking amnesty and asylum to escape violence in central america or wherever they come from. have on the not yet floor the proper opportunity to address those concerns. your testimony today takes us closer to a place where we can have a heart and recognize the
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soul of our country. that is about respecting the dignity and rights of every single person. thank you. dulce.ou, thank you, mayela. thank you for being here with us today. thank you to those organizations whose advocacy is so important for helping us have a heart and honoring our soul. i yield back. >> thank you, madam leader. very important that you joined us. we thank you very much. i want to open up the opportunity for members who have any questions for the young representatives that are here. some of the people that signed the invitation letter, let me --
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let me begin with them. question tomment or the representative. do you have any comments or questions? >> i just want to thank our powerful witnesses for being here today. shelterk, i went to a for unaccompanied children from the border in my district. one of the things i do not understand is why was it so cold? why was it so cold? it does not need to be so cold. i was told that one of the guards said to a child -- and this is where you wanted to come. maybe you made a mistake making this trip.
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i hope by now -- i have heard by now that the situation is better. there is real blankets for the children. i apologize to you for the conditions that you met. i heard from other children as well that the worst part for them was when they got to the united states. -- i think she said it was ok. or you, dulce. got here.you i also talked to a girl even a who told memayel that when she was seven years old she was in the house with 13 andther who is now some gang members came inside.
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they asked for rent. security money and they could not pay its. . every adult was shot and killed in the house. she finally made it to the united states where her father is. we hope she will be united. and of you should have to go back. none of you, now that you are here, should be treated with anything other than great respect. today, with great gratitude, for your coming here and telling us your story. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> why was it so cold? helpedher member that -- let meis hearing ask in this order. ms. barbara lee, representative
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lee. comment or question? ms. lee? >> thank you very much. ellison, leader pelosi. just associate myself with all of the remarks that have been made and say to you that first of all, we appreciate and seeing the united states of america as a refuge from fleeing such terrible conditions. secondly, listening to your ashamed., i felt are youy colleagues --
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talking about america? where you fled and treated as you were. youo want to just say to is a countryntry that stands for liberty and justice for all. as our statue of liberty says, give me your tired, your poor, your old masses yearning to be free. presencefor words and and testimony today really have reminded us of what we stand for and who we are as a country. i look forward to working with and tomy colleagues here you a way forward so that
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and all of the children will and safe and secure reunited with your families. just know that we as americans once again appreciate your voices and communicating with us the tragic realities of what is taking place in your country. thank you, again. >> thank you. any comments or questions to the children? >> i would like to associate myself with the comments my colleagues have already made. i certainly want to thank my ellison,s, congressman for their leadership on this issue. and to thank the children that are here.
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and took a lot of courage to come to this country and it is taking a lot of courage to be here today to tell your personal stories. i want to thank you for that. i think your stories and what you have described as the what happened to you when you got here is exactly why it is absolutely critical that our acceptsan leadership the president's request for clean supplementalbring up a rel that would provide resources law enforcement needs, both order and others to prevent the worsening. they are telling us they are going to run out of money very soon. as you mentioned, you did not have enough food. there were not enough linkage.
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-- blankets. we will be taking steps towards. made, you proposals will hear, what about treating all children the same. we want to treat them in a way that protect them. my republican colleagues are saying you are treating them the same by taking away the right to due process the central american children have today. i think it's important we recognize the tremendous courage and violence i which people are fleeing.
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this is a test of our american values. this is a test to the world as to whether we are going and theup to our values children who are suffering and send a message to the world that we live by the values we espouse to others. >> inc. you. arrived, theys handed me a list. don't be mad at me. opportunityfer the for the members who tried to be here. we have another panel after this. hold questions and comments until after this and allow young people to be
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excused. sequence, if you have any comments or questions? >> i do. thank you very much for hosting this. leader pelosi, thanks for your presence. i want to thank the three of you for having the courage to come here and give us your testimony. i have a couple of granddaughters. one is 11. the other is 10. remind me of one of my granddaughters. when you were crying my heart was raking. i wanted to hug you. i cannot imagine my own granddaughters being alone and cold without enough food or blankets. that an even imagine
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area. i am also sorry for the condition you found yourself in. i wish you the best. my questionto dress to you. in august i am going to be i amling to guatemala. planning on speaking about the problem we are having. going to meetre with other children who have either gone through what you have gone through or are contemplating doing what you have done. advice would you give to other young people in guatemala who are feeling fearful and unsure of their situation? you can tell us how can we make
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this better. how can we make our system better for those children who feel their only hope is to come to the united dates? -- states? >> i am a little nervous. .> i am, too >> my advice is one i came to the united dates everything was all right with me. >> what it eyes would you give that aref your friends still in guatemala? ask i do have friends. i am reallyuld be
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happy i am getting a good education, more advanced than i used to get. i am pretty sure if they have a strong reason to come to this -- iry because of violence and they the research are actually helping me. words todo have describe what it writes i would do them. -- advice i would give them. >> how could you make it better?
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>>[speaking spanish] gracias. peopleuld like to tell in my country not to give up, that there is a better future here and you will continue studying and not have the same kind of problems we have.
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before we call the , another person arrived, if there are any comments or questions you might have leave. but i want to thank our cochairs.
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say is welcometo to the united states. it does seem to me that is the first thing that should he said. see that theildren leader of the party along with members of congress, that would you experience that the border is not typical of the people of the united states. your testimony has an compelling, but it has been shocking. call for an should investigation of what happened. people grieving children at the border. these are the first children we have an opportunity of hearing him.
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we have no testimony. did you speak english when you came to this country? how long have you been in this country? years. >> do you hear this virtually perfect english? i hope those who have not canorted immigration reform hear what this young immigrant has learned in that short time and will understand just how important it is to have young people like you in our country and how much you are bound to contribute to our country.
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district that the have to learn from central america -- children from central my district of columbia is one of them. many of them are from el salvador. there are almost 200 children in my district right now from the countries of the children who have open here. i would like to ask the children who came whether they were given us is in by lawyers or others when asked questions about how they got here.
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and by those who make decisions on whether or not take should stay here. who helped you? is this someone who wants to be? >> the question is whether they have given legal assistance. >> they have to answer questions. they are now in this question. i take it they can they hear. hear -- they can stay here.
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>>[ speaking spanish] >> nobody helped me to know what to say. it was just me and my her. the only one who knew what to say to the police because i am the older of the two. >> [speaking spanish] >> nobody helped me. they just asked me a lot of
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questions. a lot of what you would expect. my name, what country i came from. they just collected my information and took my fingerprints. >> these were bright and savvy children that were able to respond. i think even adults would have a .ifficult time responding i have written a letter to the district of columbia bar association asking for pro bono lawyers to be of assistance not only in the district of columbia to the almost 200 children already here but to go to the border. i just inc. after the treatment that was received, and i know there were nonprofit at the me all it does seem to
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the help we can get. there will be those that can make their way to the border. >> i invite annexed panel. if you have any comments you might have. math the children, let me thank you and thank our leader for theirs there it. -- for i hope my fellow members will place it on their lapel. i am going to move it close to my heart. we are here because we we want our. republican friends to listen to
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the stories you have just given. i want to emphasize there is no reason to change the law. law that gives you rights. i believe after we hear your stories we deserve those right. to a court. did you have a lawyer? that was your lawyer? two children have a lawyer. could that lawyer asked lane to you what was going on? ?- explain did that make you feel better? feel secure.
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>> the judge was able to ask ?hat you have been through >> yes. some childking for to have a lawyer to express what your rights are. you want to be a. her? -- a doctor. do you think you have an a good girl? and your sister has done a good girl? -- been a good girl? >> yes. and might question understand this though we have -- this bill we have is to understand it. i want to thank my colleagues for this hearing. not bemperative this when we have lawyers
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they can know their rights and the court can be made that there better.that are -- bille we can get to a good and the passage of a full supplemental. >> inc. you very much. words theut into admiration all of us have for you and the motivation you provide for this congress to do and inht thing for kids this instance.
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[speaking spanish] thank you so much. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> she is pretty impressive. i am going toes go down the roads of those who have not had an opportunity to -- speak.tion or the.
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as soon as this part of transition is done. is he done? why we are transferring over, then it panel could have a seat. time to thank them for their work in putting this together. from our office and the and theirion folks work. it's a job well done.
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thank you very much. there it is. the second panel and thank you very much. organizations that have been helpful in the we provideking sure what these children deserve. three of those are here with us. with jessica jones.
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let me turn it over to you. thank you to the members of the congressional congress. i would also like to thank them for their long his or he in introducing legislation -- history introducing legislation. migrants,tory serving they have 30 years of the aryan -- experience helping to reset the children. we have been working with a national network of partners to address needs of these children and youth. these recognize there've on our abilities.
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focus on prohibitions and bipartisan legislation, the reauthorization act of 2008. i will focus on key areas of service they provide to the kids. they fell upon these protections and created the definition of unaccompanied alien child. despite the important provisions, the framework theined incomplete until uacpa by senator feinstein and later by representative wu. it is important to highlight it as many provisions eventually made it in.
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while some key provisions were left out. most notably provisions for an appointment of a guardian and attorney at no asked and of the thernment -- expense of government never made it in. nevertheless, congress's intent could not be clearer. a recognize many migrant children who are afraid to come forward or may not understand they are victimized and need retentive services. children are often unaware of the abuse. intent was to better identify child trafficking survivors and prevent their future trafficking. they accomplish this by putting the onus on the u.s. government to ensure children are screened for potential trafficking.
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commitmentssured the to the child for all children in the u.s. legalare ensuring the obligation to not return or expel a person where their life or freedom was threatened, restrict during the time in border control custody. custody that is in the child rest interest and ensuring safe release, providing repatriation services and access to legal organization programs. with regards to cut the in the child's best interest, they required the following. all potential sponsors must have verification. currently they conduct fingerprinting of all non-parent sponsors. for vulnerable children, safe release requires
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homestudy and follow-up services. it are myths but does not require post-release butices -- it also permit does not require post-release services. services have proven invaluable child abuse and trafficking. these have been critical in orienting and conducting them to the community support systems. children have higher risk of appearance in court and integrate better. finally, it is the position that preventof amending to the reception and protection of children seeking refuge we urge congress to focus on filling the protection cap -- gaps.
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if they are addressed the current situation will be will and myi testimony here. i am happy to answer any questions you may have. >> welcome. >> think you. good afternoon. i would like to begin by banking the members of congress for coming together during this time of uncertainty. the center for legal services has been serving honorable populations of refugees and the sons of torture -- victims of 1986. it is is at these times we get to figure out what it represents to all the people around the world. i am honored to have and given the time to share with you what
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we have learned in the past few months. our mission is to protect refugees. unaccompanied children to better understand rights and responsibilities in the process. june 9, 2014, we have been providing confidential legal screenings to 1200 unaccompanied children in custody at the air force the in san antonio, texas. peer-reviewed the intake of children so far, and our assessment is 63% are likely to for release byle an immigration judge. staff havere accepted for representation using this screening process
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ultimately have a success rate of over 58%. supportedinations are by hundreds of adjudication. the children we serve are fleeing unspeakable violence. the vast majority are from and quad el salvador, a mullah. many of these are victims of sexual assault, trafficking, -- domesticbuse, abuse, and torture. staff and volunteers have met with girls as young as 12 years gangso fled criminal attempting to force them into sexual exploitation. this can be described as a war targetdren were boys
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boys and girls as young as eight and forcing them to participate in normalized activity that is rampant and widespread. the children and families who have faced this have made a conscious decision to seek refuge in the united states because they fear their lives are at eight. -- at stake. i would like to share the story of a young man i met. i will not use his name. he left honduras four months ago with his sister. five years ago their father was remarriedtheir mother with a man who was involved with criminal violence that has taken over honduras. a young age the stepfather
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began to recruit and prepare the young boy to be part of the criminal network he served. because the young boy failed to follow instructions of his himer -- stepfather he beat so badly he broke his arm. he resigned himself he would be part of this criminal network because he could no longer do any other work that his crooked arm. hise grew older and as young sister grew older she began to be recruited. to be exploited sexually by the criminal network. this was when the boy could take no more. without telling his mother or stepfather they left. group of children traveling alone on top of a stain they call the easbea
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because children are mangled. they had to pay bribes to to be allowedman to go further. on one occasion the children did not have enough money, so the police turn them over. money.gan to extort they did not have that family. they let him go. he spent eight days. reporting of as many as 12 before he got to a facility where he was able to begin the process of picking suffered. hea he waits every day thinking his sister is going to show up. we know she won't.
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how we respond to the humanitarian crisis in which children are in need of reduction speaks to the character of our nation. the decisions we have have the power to ulster are human rights .ctivity services to legal unaccompanied children for two decades. i could not be more proud of the difficult and often thankless work my staff has performed. we know the opportunity to be represented and seek fair consultation could well be the difference between life and death. we urge you to prioritize the protection of these children and ensure they receive to process. thank you.
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ask megan mckenna, the communications director. >> thank you, congressman, and other members of the caucus. my organization has matched unaccompanied children with pro bono attorneys since 2009. lawave hard-earned with firms, corporations, and law schools, which agreed to represent the children referred to as. trained pro bono attorneys and have referred over -- thousand 300 children 6300 children and we opened our doors. kind is greatly concerned about the treatment of these uniquely vulnerable children who are coming to the u.s. in record embers -- numbers to seek
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protection in their home countries of which they are as pacific targets. many of these children are fleeing forced recruitment by gangs, which are supported by criminal cartels. refusal to join the ranks results in terrifying threat, while in, and even that. the situation is similar to child fulcher's all over the world. the refugee agency found it he ate percent of unaccompanied children coming to the u.s. are potentially protection. u.s. they could be refugees. united dates wishes to gratify the protocol and has incorporated a number of intoions -- pro-visions u.s. law
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--gress showed it tension intention to follow obligations. the united date has an obligation to insure those coming to our borders to seek asylum have a full chance to claims. our obligations could not be clearer. we must ensure these children by anare heard immigration judge and that children are given adequate time to find counsel and present their case. traumatizede are andneed time to recover share difficult experiences. we all of these children will be able to stay in the united dates but without a
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fair process -- united states but without a fair process there is no question we will be sending children to harm. to turn them away without due process would send a disastrous message to the rest of the world .egarding our obligation how can we demand countries neighboring syria take in refugees but turn our backs on our own neighbors. current laws are designed to make these determinations for unaccompanied children. act whichorization recognizes the unique vulnerabilities of these children includes necessary flexibility to address this without undermining vital protections for unaccompanied children the law provides.
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it insures their appropriate care in the interim. borderg to allow protection to screen all children in the flawed way they currently screen children from mexico soon after their arrival violates to process and fundamental fairness. imagine being an 11-year-old arriving at the border, traumatized, confused, and unable to speak english and having to explain to a government official within days why you are afraid to go home, oregon girl who has been date raped having -- or a young girl dateas been deep raped -- raped having to explain. the response is multifaceted but doable. the u.s. must increase funding to the court system to ensure timely and adjudication of these children's cases.
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backlog predates this and is the result of years of underfunding. component could be .eparture programs this would allow children to have their claims heard in their own country by u.s. officials or be evacuated to as safe location for processing. a best interest determination or equivalent process could be established to identify those at reduced risk of persecution or for whom going to the united states would be the best outcome. such programs were established with an increase in haitians. an orderly departure process must reinforce protection and
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not undermine the right to seek asylum and other forms of protection within the united states. children who reach our borders not fill the process and sent back to their country. solutions must include addressing the root causes and services.integration in conclusion the u.s. can address this historic migration in a way that ensures their aotection while supporting fair and orderly response that uphold moral obligations to the most vulnerable. for the opportunity to represent. i welcome questions. >> the senior associate. >> goodis yours.
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afternoon, representatives. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. i coordinate a program. we have worked to promote comprehensive reforms to address and causes of violence ensure effective and accountable police and judicial them. -- system. it is important to understand the violence these children will face again if they are sent back. two factors stand out. violence in their home communities and lack of opportunities. they are not just coming to the united states. mexico,g to figures, belize nicaragua, and
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saw an increase in the number of request from individuals from el salvador, honduras, and guatemala. these are among the most violent countries. globallyranks first with the homicide rate of 90 per 100 inhabitants. andalvador is fourth guatemala is fit with the rank of 40. youth are disproportionately affected. in honduras data revealed that between january and june, 409 children were murdered. so far the murder rate of children under 17 has increased i-77% from a year ago. men and girls are increasingly victims of violence. in honduras murders of women have increased 216%.
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the number of unaccompanied girls under 18 intercepted at the border rose by 77% this fiscal year. drug trafficking is part of the problem. some of the to violence. while the drug trade is a fact or, cartels are more interested in the king a low profile -- seeking a low profile. the violence in central america is i merrily community level including domestic violence and child abuse. aspectgangs impact every of life and are responsible for a significant amount of the violence. kidnapping, human trafficking, and extortion of local businesses. gangs sometimes have join or die
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recruitment. victims of extortion, sexual abuse, and death threats frequently find no protection from the authorities. many fear the police as much as the criminals. is weak and corrupted. majority of police forces are sometimes complicit in criminal activity. compounding the problems is lack of opportunity, particularly for young people. there is no solution. these are profoundly difficult problems that will require a short and long-term responses. we must recognize unless the fact or's that drove these children to flee are addressed, many of them are likely to return to the united states. more funding for border security
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will not solve the problem. children are turning themselves in. there is urgent need to protect the children fleeing violence. congress should not leave town without addressing the immediate need and ensuring cases are evaluated individually. children should not be deported back to situations that threaten their lives and safety. necessarysupport is to reintegrate children, teenagers, and families. congress should begin to face the long-term problem. they should address widespread community violence and poverty endemic to these countries. the problem is not complete a question of resources. evidence it ints continuing invest initiatives that involve local
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community groups, churches, police, can make a real difference in reducing youth violence. these need to be paired with programs to help those build .ffective police forces today u.s. assist and has placed too much emphasis on equipment, infrastructure, and training that barely touched the surface of the problem. . component ofmust strategy. greater invest and is needed to support job training programs focused on urban youth. this includes funding to protect children and families and invest in civil society organizations that can hold groups accountable. this is the direction u.s. wallace he should move toward in the future.
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there are no quick fixes for addressing these issues. the united states and central american government have an opportunity to act precisely. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. i have a quick question. rationales of the sponsor for changing the law? basically beginning the process of dismantling this protection? it's an interesting argument. he seems to think is a fairness issue why we need to change the law and eliminate central america from the protection of the law, saying we
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need to treat them just like execute -- mexicans. ironic. re-attitude that. i find that so confusing. spirit of equity, let's treat everyone badly. presumption a lot are being followed -- the laws are being followed. it is impossible based on the numbers of exit in children presenting themselves at the border and the few numbers making it to facilities provide services that those laws are presume it is. to being followed is the first error.
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our responsibilities toward children are greater than just rounding them up and shipping them home to be persecuted. i want to turn to mr. o'rourke if you don't mind. it's a loaded question i realized. a loaded response would be fine. >> this is an issue of child detection. that is first and foremost what we should be looking at. we need to go back to the basics. it's really very simple. add that if we do change the system and have central american kids treated the same way as other countries, you will be seeing kids setback who have a legitimate trafficking claims. you do not want to see that.
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add to whatike to my colleagues have said in terms of what are we bringing these kids back to, given the levels ?f violence and poverty >> that's my own confusion. i don't feel i have the intuitive powers some of my other colleagues who are promoting the idea of getting rid of the law, they intuitively know all of them are going to be fine. i don't have those intuitive powers. i think for members of congress to bear some sort of responsibility because they that is a piece of responsibility i don't want and i hope many of the members don't want. do you have any questions or comments?
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>> thank you for letting me sit in. thank you for your testimony. the only thing i can find is it is too rational. hair is not on fire. it's hard to get people to listen to these things that make so much common sense to us. the only thing i argue to the chair and everyone, i would argue we should not use the word chrisis. evil to acceptws extreme measures to respond. maybe you live in middle america. you hear humanitarian crisis and someone wants to send the national guard. it seems to make sense. i think we have this covered. resources.have the
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people apprehended our border last year. even with these kids from central america, this year we won't hit half a million. -- weear we have definitely have the capacity. every kid should have an attorney. we should treat everyone he will, which means we should have the same superior standard applied to mexican children as we are supposed to do with kids from central america and elsewhere. i am interested in this orderly departure process. i think it makes sense. if you accept the arguments people are putting forth with the humane act, they say they are doing it or they can dissuade these kids and families from making a dangerous journey north. i think if we addressed that refugeee sort of
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screening process and do it honestly and learn from our ms. , there isistakes something powerful to that. i don't know if i have any takeions. i would like to what you said and put it into law. i think we are perfectly capable of doing this. someone has shown if we were to provide every child with an attorney we would more than make s. for the cost we found the vast majority of these kids when they have an attorney actually show up. this would be my question. how you recommend -- to a degree you are talking to the choir. how we make a compelling --ument to our calling colleagues what you are doing it the right thing to do.
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this about the ship that was turned back with 1000 jews, a quarter of which terrorist in the holocaust. perished in the holocaust. there was a bill that failed in committee. there is not a member of congress who would not have voted for that. i feel we are going to be judged or a similarly. any thoughts about how we talk about this in a way that is justlling to more than those who live on the border or who get it? nerd, but am a lawyer i take ray pride in the fact
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that the law i practice is what has been left behind by what we called the greatest generation. we went to world war ii not just to protect our borders but to preserve our principles. chief among them that we don't stand idly by and allow people torture. victims of i think that happen when the nation was more freshly aware of genocide. that goes to our identity as a nation and the thing that makes us most proud of being americans. hope as we consider changing our law, changing our law to make it less protective of human rights in order to reduce due process.
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i cannot think of another if temple -- example where we decided to change our are just of vulnerableroup children from accessing justice we held so dear. a group ofde vulnerable children from accessing justice we held so dear. it is very much worth it. >> i want to thank you for the work your organization is doing as well as your important testimony. i wonder if you can answer the question. why was it so cold? cold has been used as torture in the past.
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it makes no sense that they --ld it seems the liberatory deliberately be held in really is itortable situations. improved? all the kids i talked to at the helter mention the cold. >> we use the same mentality in our prison system them. it is a way of sub doing. >> it was a deliberate strategy? >> yes, it is to liberate. berate. we have been hearing they are aboutg at these policies
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keeping the holding cell that cold. >> they are still that cold? >> they have been that cold for over five years or decades. >> it is a useful tax it. -- tactic. the reason i have heard is a do it to prevent the spread of disease. spread this idea these people are disease spreading. like almost treating them cattle. >> is there any science to keeping it at 72 or 74? haso home i have been in been that cold. >> the trip was pretty comfortable.
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how are these children coming? veryems that it significantly. -- varies significantly. if you can describe the options. >> there are a whole host of ways they come. sometimes they come without adults. .t is a foot, train, bus some of them are lucky in that they have a vent free journeys. free journeys. more often they are abused or someone in the group, particularly if you are a girl. the vast majority of girls are unsalted.--
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>> the majority? >> yes, over 50% of the girls , yet more girls are coming than ever before. that >> do many of them come with an adult? they grandparents, extended family member, cousin, older sibling. under the current law, those children -- those adult caregivers we separated because they are not parents. traffickers have used a statement saying that they are the

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