Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf to speak to press
Ladies, and gentlemen. Please, be seated. The program, will begin, shortly. Please, silence, all electronic. Devices. Thank. You. That's right. Together. Is. Okay. Please, at this time, silence, all electronic. Devices. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand, and welcome, the acting, secretary. And senior official, performing, the duties of the deputy, secretary. The honorable, chad wolf, and ken. Cuccinelli. Please, remain, standing, for the presentation. Of the colors, by the dhs. Joint color guard. Performance, of the national anthem by cynthia, wilson, from u.s, customs. And border protection. And the invocation. By the united, states coast guard chaplain. Commander, david. Stroud. Oh. Um. Oh. Oh. Say. Can, you see. By, the dawn's. Early. Twilight's. Last. Gleaming. Who's brought stripes. And bright. Stars. Through the. Perilous. Fight. All the. Ramparts. We. Watch. Were. And the rockets. Regulate. The, bombs. Bursting. In. Air. That our flag. Was. Still there. Oh, say. Does. That, star. Oh, the. Land. Of, the, free. And, the. Home. Of the. Brave. Come. On. One. Let us pray. Holy god. We thank you for blessing, us with the gift of waking up this morning, in a free nation. One that was conceived, in liberty. And dedicated, to the proposition, that all men and women, are created, equal. We thank you for the blessings, that you have poured out on the united states throughout its history. And for the long list of individuals. Who have served this nation. Especially, those who have served, and are serving, to secure, our homeland. We thank you for each one, who comes each day. To make our nation, safe. Secure. And resilient. This morning we ask that you continue, to pour out your blessings, on acting secretary, wolf. And all those who join with him to protect, our nation. And our way of life. Please give us your presence for these proceedings. That all that we say and do might honor you and your provision, for us. We pray it all in your name. Amen. Ladies and gentlemen, please be. Seated. Please welcome, to the podium. The senior official, performing, the duties, of the deputy, secretary. Ken. Cuccinelli. Well good morning and welcome everyone it's an honor to be here. With all of you as we assess. The state of our cherished, homeland. We're here today because the threats, that we face, as a nation. Require. Us to be more vigilant, than ever. In protecting, the people and values. We care so deeply about. After decades, of putting, global interests, ahead of the safety. And the prosperity. Of our citizens. This administration. Has boldly, put america, first. Our president, has taken decisive. Action to revamp, our approach. To homeland, security. We've seen the dhs. More dynamic, than at any time in the department's, history. We have seen. A dhs. Unafraid, to disrupt. The status, quo. And deliver, results, that provide, security. For the american, people. Today acting secretary, wolf, will articulate, the various ways in which dhs. Continues. To innovate, and fulfill, the president's, vision. Of a more secure, and prosperous. America. Through our various, components, at dhs. We are unified, as a department. And understand. The gravity. Of the work we do, every single day. Throughout, america. Enacting, secretary. Wolf the department, has a leader committed to facing the emerging, threats. Of tomorrow. It's been remarkable, to witness the president and dhs. Overcome, the vast array of challenges, that we've faced over the course of the last almost four years. Dhs, has adapted. To the unique threats. Of our time and will continue to succeed. And adapt. To whatever, obstacles. The future, may hold for us. Two days from now. Will mark the 19th, anniversary. Of 9 11. A day, that none of us will ever forget. A day our nation was attacked, by terrorists seeking to destroy. The bond of our people. But instead, we grew stronger. We came together. And as we discussed, the current challenges. Faced by the department. And the future of homeland, security. We do so, with reverence. To those lost, on 9 11. And the heroic, first responders. And armed forces, who have put their lives, on the line, since that day. In the same. Fight. Out of the ashes of tragedy, our nation. Arose. Stronger. Than ever before, and dhs. Now, plays. A vital, role in that ascension. We'll hear more about that, today.
As We approach the 19th, anniversary. Of 9 11. We're reminded, that on that day 19, hijackers. Exploited. The very gaps in our immigration. System. In our enforcement. And our national security, systems. Because that's what they are. The dhs. Was ultimately, created, to remedy. The president, understands, we live in a nation. That must defend, its borders. And we must know, who is entering. Our beloved, country. It's our solemn, duty to never. To never, allow the entry of individuals. Hostile. To america. And our founding, principles. Into, the united, states, of america. And that is one of the many goals. We pursue, every day. At dhs, we've taken common, sense, measures. To raise the baseline, of security, screening, and to restore. The integrity. Of our immigration. System. We will not allow. We will not allow threats. To breach, our homeland, via a dysfunctional. And negligent, immigration, process. Every day we protect, the homeland, and support our fellow citizens. So they can live. In a prosperous. And free country. With safe, neighborhoods. And communities. We're honored, to do so. And honored to host you here today at our headquarters. In washington. Thank you very. Much. The rest of the world, hears you. And the. People. The homeland security act of 2002. Takes the next critical, steps. In defending, our country. Continuing, threat of terrorism. The threat of mass murder on our own soil. Will be met with a unified. Effective, response, dozens of agencies charged with homeland, security. Will now be located, within one cabinet department. With the mandate. And legal authority. To protect our people. That's gonna be hard to get on. Oh don't do. Funko. I serve to promote homeland security, and public safety, i serve to provide career-long, training to law enforcement, professionals, i serve to a minister. The, mason, law for, immigration. To, serve to enable, effective, and secure, operations. Across, all homeland, security, missions, i serve to defend against today's threats, and build. More secure, and resilient, infrastructure, for the future i serve to prevent an attack against the united states using a weapon of mass destruction. Through timely and responsive, support to our operational, components, i serve to protect the nation's, transportation. Systems. To ensure, freedom of movement. For people, and commerce. I serve to safeguard, america's, borders. And enhance the nation's global economic. Competitiveness. I stand ready to ride, i stand, ready to rise, i stand ready to rise i stand ready to rise, and face the next challenge, that threatens our. Homeland. Please welcome to the podium, the acting, secretary, of homeland, security, the honorable. Chad. Wolfe. The department of homeland security, is bound by one mission. One creed. Answering, the call, often in the times. Of the most arduous, environments. And difficult, of circumstances. To safeguard, the american people. Our homeland. And our values. From all threats. All the time, both today. Tomorrow. And in the months and years to come. We are one team, we are one mission. We are one dhs. And we stand ready, to rise, and ready to face the next challenge that threatens our homeland. Our mission is anything but easy. It is one that is increasingly, complex. And expansive. One that transcends, borders, mission sets and threat streams. While much has changed since the department was created, after 9 11. One thing remains, constant. The dedicated, men and women of dhs, who rise to meet. Every threat. With unwavering, professionalism. Precision. And passion. It was a privilege to join your ranks at the department's, founding. It's the honor of a lifetime, to lead this team. To each of you here, and across america today. Serving alongside, you as your acting secretary, is an honor that no words can capture. But let me try by saying this. I know your strength, and i know your commitment. Nothing can intimidate, you. Not cyber attacks. Transnational. Criminal activity. Not a global pandemic. Or the pains of civil unrest. Not mother nature storms. And not those of malign, actors. Seeking to bring storms of their own to our shores. To the department's, leadership here today. Your job is not easy. It's not glamorous. You get no write-ups and glossy magazines. Instead. You get many words written about you or shouted, at you. Here are two that you hear too, too solemn. Seldom. Thank you. Thank you for showing up every day and working hard for the american people. They know. I know. On and on their behalf. I say thank you for your work. As we recognize, and celebrate the work today, we also acknowledge the contributions, of past leaders. Who forged and helped, establish, our department. I'd like to recognize, a few of them here. That are with us today. Kirsten nielsen, former secretary.
Admiral Jim loy, former united states, coast guard commandant, tsa administrator, and deputy secretary. Elaine duke, former secretary, of management, and deputy secretary. And acting secretary. Claire grady former undersecretary, of management, and acting deputy secretary. And tom homan, former acting director of ice. Thank you for being here. On behalf of a grateful nation, and a grateful department. Thank you for dedicating, your time and service. As one, dhs, team today we gather to survey, the state of the homeland. And with a steady voice. We will state the threats we face, in absolute, confidence. We will share how we will meet and defeat them. How we would show. Show how we will strengthen, the resilience, of our borders, our infrastructure, and our way of life. And let me say at the outset. Thanks to the resolve. The ingenuity, and the technical, prowess. Of the men and women of dhs. And the unwavering, support, of president trump. America, is more prepared. And more equipped. To tackle the threats of the homeland than ever before. The mission sets the comp the, components. That compromise, dhs. From the uscis. To secret service. Are distinct and important. They are diverse. But our dedication, of our workforce, is uniformly, strong. As we prepare today for tomorrow's, dangers. I'm confident, that the state of our homeland, is secure. In the steady hands of the men and women of dhs. We cannot gather, as a family in september, and fail to remember, the day 19 years ago, the smoke has long since disappeared. Over new york shanksville. And the pentagon. Right across the potomac, from where we gather today. But for us the skies of september are never clear. We rose from the ashes of that day with one purpose. To protect america. Here, liberty and the rule of law, live together, and sustain one another. Dhs, stands against all enemies seeking to weaken, or destroy, them. For more than 17 years after department was founded our resolve. To safeguard, the homeland. Has never been stronger. But the threats we have but the threats have changed. They're more complex, and they're more sophisticated. We were established, in 2003. Well before iphones, existed that, could be used to control drones. Before terrorists use cryptocurrency. To fund their evil plots. Before nation states used twitter to proliferate. Their disinformation. Campaigns. Our challenges, today, are unimaginably. Different than those of our past. Threats shift and so must the department. Through the trials, obstacles, and successes, of nearly two decades. We have learned many lessons and honed our abilities. To accomplish, our singular, mission of protecting the homeland. This ongoing, process of growth and improvement. Has prepared the department, to address the threats of today. Dhs, was created with adaptability. In mind, to ensure our government's, efforts to defend the nation were. In the words of president bush. Comprehensive. And united. Crafted, to analyze, threats. To guard our borders, our airports, protect our critical infrastructure. And to coordinate, the response, of our nation, to future emergencies. In 2020. Where threats are dynamic, this need for operational, flexibility. Is paramount. And thanks to the support of congress, the innovation of dhs, employees. And the support of the american people, we are better prepared than ever before. Than to meet the dangers of our time. Though we still have much to do. Dh has been able to leverage, coordinate, and surge the department's, resources, at a moment's notice. From the u.s coast guard medical teams deploying to the border. To ice and cbp, butcherseen, the federal protective, services defense of federal property. And to fema marshaling, the response, efforts of cisa. Cbp. Tsa. Coast guard. And the secret service in the wake of hurricanes, and covet 19.. This agility, is precisely, what dhs, was designed to accomplish. The american people do not want a department, that shies away from challenges. Just because they are controversial. Or difficult. The varied objectives, of dhf. Have placed us at the center of nearly every major challenge in crisis. And thanks to the leadership, of president trump over the last four years. We've addressed, obstacle. After obstacle, head-on.
Overcoming, The vast array of threats, facing our nation. Amidst this, shifting, series of challenges, a vocal, and ill-informed, minority. Has clamored, to paint, recent dhs, actions as examples, of mission drift. Or portalization. They could not be more wrong. Rising to meet the evolving, threats, means that our tactics, our actions. And our strategies. May change, but our mission never does. Dhs. Must not and under this administration. Will not, permit, baseless, sensationalism. To deter our commitment. To secure america. I can confidently, say that if the department did not exist, every effort. Every response, and every action to secure our homeland. Would have been slower. Inefficient. And less effective. Within the last year alone we have faced both as a nation and as a department, new and unprecedented, threats. Dhs, was established, for years just like this. We're using authorities, previously, granted by congress but never before used, as we have faced evolving, and novel threats. Let's remember. What the department has been able to achieve in the last year alone. We continue to lead the federal government's response to a global pandemic. We're protecting federal buildings and federal law enforcement, officers. From an emerging, threat of violent rioters. We are committed, combating, crisis at the southern border such as human trafficking, drug smuggling. And unprecedented. Illegal migration, flows. We are fortifying, our economic, security, by tightening our immigration, system. Preserving, free and fair trade. And thwarting, the growing threats posed by china now, and in the future. We are identifying, and preventing. Malign foreign actors and nation-states. From interfering, in our elections, and protecting, our election infrastructure. Against each of these challenges, the department. Has marshaled, our resources, tapped our authorities. Has unified, our efforts to safeguard, the american people, in our way of life. Yet we will not rest on yesterday's, successes. Our eyes are on the horizon. And on the future. As we look ahead terrorism. Criminal actions threatening public safety. And natural disasters. And pandemics. Will remain threats to the homeland. They always will. But today we're also seeing nation states. Launching new aggressive, tactics here in the homeland. Through cyber and economic means. And rest assured the trump administration, is taking the necessary, actions. To ensure they do not succeed. Of all the threats dhs, has confronted, in the last year the covet 19 pandemic. Has posed one of the most formidable. Rapidly, evolving, and uniquely, challenging, for the department. Due to what we now know was china's irresponsible. Response, coven 19 was permitted to become the worst, global pandemic. In more than 100 years. Along with the world health organizations, their actions were inept, and their response, was too slow. In stark contrast, president trump's decisive. And rapid action led to our federal government. To pursue a whole of america response. Which continues, to deliver results. Through a locally executed, state managed, and federally supported, strategy. And when the federal government needed expertise, in incident management. They turned to fema. Utilizing, their experience. Fema quickly got to work prioritizing. Tasks. Putting structure to a growing crisis. And working with our interagency, partners to make certain. The full weight and breadth of the u.s federal government, was being brought to the fight. Fema's tireless, efforts implementing, critical initiatives. Those saving lives, replenishing, lost wages, deserve, our highest. Condemnation. Commendation. Fema. Process, the first ever nationwide, emergency, declaration, under the stafford, act. This was in addition to the simultaneous. Major disaster, decorations, granted to all 50 states, five territories, in the district of columbia. Putting this effort in perspective, fema was essentially responding, to a category, 5 hurricane, in every state. Every territory, in the district of columbia.
All At the same time. It's truly an unprecedented, level of emergency, thought, and response, needed across america. Under president trump's direction, we utilized the defense production act, to procure more than 220, million respirators, from 3m. Saving american lives. By taking historic, action to better. Collaborate. With the private sector. We have helped deliver and allocate, billions. Of pieces, of scarce, ppe, to our front line health care workers, and first responders. But it doesn't stop there most recently fema has played a leading role. In easing the economic burden kova 19 is placed on millions of americans. In august. In the absence of congressional, action president trump authorized, fema. To use 44, billion from the disaster, relief fund to alleviate, the effects of lost wages. Allowing states to make supplemental, payments to those receiving unemployment, insurance. Fema, acted in short order and as of september 8. Fema has already provided more than 29 billion. To 47, states for lost wages assistance, a truly phenomenal, feat. From the very beginning of this pandemic, to the very to this very moment fema continues to marshal the power of the federal government. To assist our people in their time of need. However the department's response to covet 19, is not exclusively, to fema. From the outset, this administration, proactively, stemmed the spread of the pandemic. President, trump working through dhs. Placed travel restrictions, on china. And work to implement further, restrictions. On an additional 30 countries, to help slow the spread. And working with our neighbors to the north and south cbp. Has successfully, protected, countless americans. Through travel restrictions, at our land ports of entry. While simultaneously. Facilitating. The trade we need to support our economy. Our other dhs, components have also worked diligently, in this environment. To serve americans, in various ways. Cisa supporting, our private sector partners. Removed, obstacles, as they worked to keep supply chains fully operational. And issued essential worker guidance, on how to keep frontline, employees, healthy, and at work. Our science and technology, director curated, the latest research and data on covet 19. Keeping policy makers and decision makers abreast of the latest scientific, information.
Ice, Hsi, launched operation, stolen promise. Leveraging, this expertise, in global trade and criminal analysis. To investigate, financial fraud schemes. The importation, of prohibited, pharmaceuticals. And medical supplies. Cyber fraud, and other illicit activity. Associated, with the virus. And cbp, has proactively, combated the criminals, exploiting, this pandemic, for profit. By seizing over 12 million counterfeit, face masks. Thousands of fda prohibited, covet 19 test kits. And thousands, more unimproved, medications. That could pose harm. To the american public. Dhs, will remain vigilant in supporting the public health and economic, well-being of the american people. Responding, to covet, is not the only mission that would been hard to predict, at the beginning of the year. Today the department, is resisting, the civil unrest that is gripping certain cities across the country. Let me be clear. Those who seek to undermine, our democratic, institutions. Indiscriminately. Destroy, our businesses, and attack our law enforcement, officers, and fellow citizens. Are a threat to the homeland. I want to be clear on that point. The department. Has experienced, this firsthand, in portland oregon. Where violent opportunities. Repeatedly, targeted, an attempt to burn down a federal courthouse. The seat of justice, in downtown, portland. Federal, law. In this area is unequivocal. And compels, action. Secretary, of homeland security, shall. Protect the buildings, grounds and property. That are owned occupied, and secured by the federal government, and the people on that property. I have made it clear time and again that we will never advocate, this moral, and legal duty. Our federal protective service protects nearly 9 000 federal properties around the country, in almost every one of those areas we receive assistance. From local officials. When federal buildings, are targeted, and attacked. Unfortunately, this cooperation, did not occur in portland. This is a city where local leadership, played partisan politics. With public safety. Allowing attempts of arson and violence against federal law enforcement, officers. And the destruction, of federal property to occur. With impunity. For nearly two months. While defending the federal courthouse, our federal, officers were assaulted. With sledgehammers. Commercial-grade. Fireworks, rocks, metal pipes, ieds. And more. As portland officials, refused to cooperate, with dhs. Our law enforcement, officers, suffered over. 240. Separate, injuries. And after 60 days of this violence the governor of oregon finally offered assistance, of state law enforcement. But to be clear that offer should have occurred, on day one. Not day 60.. Some politicians, and media figures, brazenly, characterize, the extreme violence in portland, and other cities around the country. Is mostly peaceful. Our constitution. Protects the natural right, to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. Department, supports the exercise, of everyone's first amendment rights. There is, however, no constitutional. Right to loot. To burn. Or to assault law enforcement, officers, or your fellow. Citizens. Let me repeat, there is no constitutional. Right to burn cities to the ground, and assault the men and women of law enforcement. I'm proud of the work that we're doing in portland, and around the country. Dhs, working with the department of justice, and other federal law enforcement. Will make sure that those choosing to break the law, in any city, will be held accountable. The vast majority of reasonable, americans, are also proud of the work of law enforcement. We cannot, and must not fall victim, to the delusion, of a fringe minority, of americans, who are opposed. To the honorable, men and women who wear the badge. And swear to protect our communities. Americans, see the violence against our officers, and are not falling for this false narrative. To our law enforcement, colleagues watching today. It could not be more prouder of your sacrifice. And professionalism. It has been disappointing, to see so-called experts. Criticize, our response, in portland without understanding, the facts on the ground. It's unsettling, that these self-appointed, experts, rush to criticize, the uniformed men and women of dhs. Working to save lives and to defend federal property. Even before they condemn the violent behavior, of a rioting mob. Scoring cheap political points by abandoning, those that risk their lives. To preserve, law and order should never be the way that our homeland security, community operates. As president theodore roosevelt rightly observed, in 1910. It's not the critic who counts. It's not the man who points out how strong the man stumbles. Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
Credit Belongs, to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust, and sweat and blood. Every day. Dhs, professionals, are in that arena. While others sit on the sidelines, and criticize. They have that right. In dhs, law enforcement, proudly helps ensure they exercise, they can exercise that right safely. But make no mistake there's more work to be done as we see groups right here at home. Seeking to tear down our government institutions, in our way of life. I'm proud to say that dhs, has taken unprecedented. Actions to address all forms of violent extremism. To specifically, include threats posed by loan offenders. And small cells of individuals. Last year the department released a comprehensive, strategy, that contextualizes. The threats. From violent extremists, and lays out the dhs, mission in preventing such violence. We secured with the help of congress. And additional funding in fy 2020, for those initiatives. And the president requested a 300. Increase in funding for dhs, wide efforts in this area in his fy21. Budget. Just this week we're releasing, an implementation, plan that outlines, dozens of separate actions. Across the dhs, enterprise, designed to combat, domestic, terrorism. And soon we will announce our terrorism prevention grant recipients. Let me be clear. Dh. Dhs, stands in absolute, opposition, to any form of violent extremism. Whether by white supremacist. Extremist. Or. The extremists. We will continue. Our daily, efforts. To combat, all forms of domestic, terror. The work dhs, is. The work of dhs, is diverse, as it is important. Whether in cyberspace, or at the border dhs, is unflinching. In its resolve to secure america's territorial. Sovereignty. Through strong border security, and bringing integrity, back to our immigration, system. These are difficult issues that require difficult decisions. Many administrations, republican, and democrat, alike. Have chosen to make improvements, around the edges. Only weighing in when a crisis occurs. And almost never making the hard decisions. Homeland security, does not come easy. It does not come without debate. From the early days of this administration, president trump articulated, what most americans, intuitively. Knew. We need strong border security. And we needed to put an end to the long-standing, fraud, and abuse in our immigration, system. So we got to work. We started with the premise, that is better to stop criminal activity, before it gets to america. Specifically, we began, by pushing our borders out and keeping americans, safe. Through a layered approach, that includes. More effective, screening. Of those who are seeking to enter our country. Securing, unprecedented. International, cooperation. Fully applying the law to all those who break it. Reforming, our immigration, system, and last but certainly not least. Building an effective, border wall system. One of the most fundamental, responsibilities. Of any sovereign nations, is to know exactly, who. Is entering their country and for what purpose. The us is the world's most generous and welcoming, country. But unfortunately, there are evil people who seek to travel to the u.s with the intent of harming, and killing americans. Despite the progress we've made since 9 11. We remain heavily dependent on the paperwork, and documentation. Of a prospective, traveler. That is why the department along with our interagency, partners developed a process, for evaluating. The information, sharing cooperation. Identity, management. Practices, and travel. Related, risks associated, with each country in the world. We identified, the lowest performing, countries. Put them on notice and for those unwilling, or unwill, or unable to meet our standards. We issued common sense travel restrictions. Because of this process, we've seen multiple countries begin sharing information, with us, that they have never done before, done so before. Proud of the work the department has done to raise the security of the baseline. Around the world. We are working closely with our partners in central america, providing them the resources. And capacity, to address the illegal flow of migration. And allowing their foreign nationals, to seek protection, closer to home. Over the last 18 months, we've signed and implemented. Security, and asylum, cooperative, agreements, with our partners.
And We are slowly restoring, functionality, to our broken immigration, system. 2019. Under president trump's leadership, mexico. Has also stepped up. Its efforts. Along known migration, routes. We continue to work with mexico. To this day on partnerships, to reduce illegal, crossings. These historic, agreements with our partners in the western hemisphere, have helped curb, illegal, migration. And make all of our countries, more safe, and more secure. For those who do attempt to illegally, enter at our southern border. We have made tremendous, progress on building a state-of-the-art. Border wall system. Having an effective border at our southern, had an effective barrier at our southern border was at one time. Considered, common sense, and bipartisan, approach to homeland security. Over 80 senators in the united states senate at the time voted for the secure fence act of 2006.. Many of those senators, are still in the u.s senate today. Some complaining, loudly now about president trump successfully. Implementing. What they themselves, voted for back in 2006.. Let's remember. We provide the very, best equipment to our military, troops fighting our adversaries, overseas. Every day. There's no reason not to provide the very best equipment, to the men and women of the u.s border patrol. So they can protect us here at, home. And while politics, may have changed, the facts, have not they cannot. Effective border barriers simply work. The new border wall system allows the us government to decide where border crossings, take place. Not the cartels. And not human traffickers. Where effective border wall systems have been constructed. The results, speak for themselves. Where wall goes up the number of illegal crossings. And crime goes down. And while our opponents, have used every conceivable, roadblock. From congress to the courts to stop our progress. We could not be more proud to stand alongside, president trump. And deliver the results that protect the american homeland.
Since January, of this year we have constructed, over 300 miles of new border wall system. I'm proud to report by the end of this calendar year we will reach over 450. Miles. The new border wall system is unlike anything that we've had before. It provides capabilities, to the men and women of the u.s border patrol. Who need it to protect america. This wall is a testament to a key promise, made. And kept, by president trump in this administration. As hundreds of new miles of border wall system are constructed. They push cartels. To traffic their goods at locations, precisely, where dhs. Is best equipped. At ports of entry. Here we have the infrastructure, the staffing, and technology, to better detect and interdict. Their deadly contraband. No longer are cartels, able to walk across the border unimpeded. We are hard at work on deploying non-intrusive. Inspection equipment at ports of entry. By 2023. We expect to expand, nii, screening of commercial, vehicles. From 15. Today, to 72, percent. And the screening of personal, vehicles, from one percent today. To 40 percent. Since president trump took office we've seized more than 4 million pounds of hard drugs. Like fentanyl. Cocaine, and methamphetamines. It means the trump administration, has annually seized roughly twice as many pounds of these hard drugs. As the previous, administration. Put another way. President trump's administration, is on track to seize roughly the same amount of drugs in his first term alone. As the amount of drugs seized in the entire eight years, of the previous, administration. These are narcotics, that will never enter, and devastate, our communities. And their seizure takes billions. Of dollars. From the pockets of cartels. We are also working to close many of the legal loopholes, that have been identified, and exploited, by those seeking entry. We have all but put an end to catch and release. Which served as a magnet. To those who wish to exploit our immigration, system time, and time again. What we inherited, was a situation, with loopholes, so large. That most illegal aliens who were caught could expect to be released within our borders. And then live, and work, for years without any consequences, for their actions. That was both indefensible. And on its own terms harmful, to illegal aliens themselves. Particularly, those who. With meritorious. Claims, and also deeply, corrosive. To the rule of law. Here in america. Under the migrant protection protocols, grounded in law passed by congress in 1996. Aliens seeking. Entering or seeking admission to the u.s from mexico. Illegally, and without proper documentation. Will be returned to mexico. Required to wait outside of the u.s for the duration of their immigration, proceedings. Mpp, helps promote a safer. A more orderly, process, along our southwest, border. Discourages. Individuals, from making meritless. Asylum, claims. And enables, expeditious. Immigration, results. America is a generous, nation. Thus it has also been a top priority, of this administration. To preserve, our asylum, system. For genuine, asylum. Seekers. Those seeking economic. Opportunity. By exploiting, our generous asylum, laws. Hamper. And delay, individuals, who truly qualify for asylum. And should be granted, this relief, as soon as, practicable.
Strong Border security and immigration, enforcement, is a win for americans. A loss for organized, crime and a rebuke. To those who wish to dissolve, not just america's, borders, but the rule of law. The administration's, message is simple. If you are a human trafficker. A drug smuggler. Or any criminal seeking to break our laws and illegally, enter the united states. You will find no sanctuary, in this country. We still have more work to do, but looking back. We're here because this administration, did something uncommon, here in d.c. We did precisely, what we said we would do. Reforming, our immigration, system helps to secure the homeland. Both directly. By supporting, other vital efforts. As i said many times before. Economic, security, is homeland security. We directly support the economic security, every day here in the homeland. By commit. Keeping commercial airline, travel safe and secure. Facilitating. Commercial, trade through our ports of entry. Keeping our networks, free from economic, disruptions. And safeguarding, our ports and inland waterways, that process nearly 90 percent of all goods. Coming into our, country. While there's much to talk about in this arena let me just focus on how the lawful, flow of goods and services. Fuel economic, growth. Is responsible, for good american, jobs. And raises living standards. Our trade enforcement, protects american businesses, and consumers. And it ensures that we are globally, competitive. Cbp, enforces, our trade laws and implements special trade remedies. With quotas. And exclusions, to protect vital u.s, industries. That are especially, vulnerable, to unfair labor practices. We will not let illicit, actors threaten american, innovation. Our economy. Or our business competitiveness. And we will protect the livelihoods. Of american, workers. In the health and safety of consumers. Every day. As critical as trade is to our prosperity. It is also targeted, for exploitation. By terrorists and criminals. Our dedicated, law enforcement officers. Are able to disrupt, terrorist, financing. Target fraud and counterfeits. And ensure trade transparency. Addressing, threats at the earliest possible. Point. Is essential, to the strengthening. The security, of our country. And enables, us to improve the fleet. Free flow. Of legitimate, goods. Since 911, dhs, has significantly, expanded, its ability to track. And disrupt, terrorist and criminal financing. By taking action against. To combat, to, combat bulk. Cash smuggling. And to close, weaknesses, in our financial, trade and transportation. Sectors. We also counter a mass marketing fraud, investigating. Organized, retail crime rings. Inviting, human smuggling, and human trafficking. Organizations. Successful, trade facilitation. Is what makes the united states globally, competitive. Ensuring, that the supply chain is efficient. Cost effective, and safe. And while covet has highlighted many things over the last six months. Perhaps most importantly, it has reminded, us. That even the most, dominant, economy, is fragile. Surveying, emerging threats of the last year one menacing, actor continues, to evolve. China. Their relentless, barrage of attacks, aimed at undermining, american workers. American, economic, dominance. And the american way of life cannot be allowed to stand, and under this administration. They won't. China has leveraged, every aspect, of its country, including, its economy. Its military, and its diplomatic, power. Demonstrating. A rejection, of western, liberal democracy. And continuing, renewing its commitment to remake the world order in its own authoritarian. Image. Their tactics, are somewhat, sometimes, pernicious. But always harmful, to the worker the american worker. In the american economy. From intellectual, property theft and stealing trade secrets. That rob american, innovators. To harvesting, personal data to turn a profit, shattering the privacy, of americans, of all ages. To exporting, unjust business practices, in the form of state-backed, enterprises, that harm american, entrepreneurs. To hacking, attempts. To penetrate, and compromise, american organizations, conducting, coveted. Research. To abusing, student visas, to exploit, american academia. The actions of china may be unabating. But they are not unaffordable. Let me be clear, dhs, has and will continue to play a critical role. In the united states strategic, approach to china. We are blocking, visas for certain chinese graduate students and researchers. With ties to china's military, fusion strategy, to prevent them from stealing.
And Otherwise. Appropriating. Sensitive research. We are targeting illicit chinese manufacturers. Who've exploited the kovan 19 pandemic. By producing, fraudulent. Prohibited, ppe, and medical supplies. That are especially, endangering, our frontline workers. We are preventing goods produced from slave labor, from entering our markets. And demanding, that china respect, the inherent dignity, of each human being. At our borders and ports of entry. We are leveraging, technology, and innovation, to target and interdict deadly chinese-made, fentanyl. Before it can destroy american, communities, and take american lives. Dhs, is working. With our interagency, and industry, colleagues, to protect, our information, and communications, infrastructure, from intellectual, property theft. And nefarious, data collection by china. In response to the this massive undertaking, ahead. I've ordered the establishment, of the department's, own china working group. In order to uniformly, prioritize. And coordinate the department's, response. To these evolving threats. China's efforts to exploit, the covet 19. Pandemic. To sabotage. Free and fair trade. And abuse our immigration, system will be met with result. Resolute. Determination. Of a department. Committed to putting america first. Under this administration, dhs, has tackled difficult, issues. And made historic strides in better securing the homeland. Our newest component. The cyber security and infrastructure, security agency is at the forefront. Of guarding against nation state actors. Cyber-enabled. Espionage. And malicious, influence, activity, aimed at all levels of government and industry. As we approach the 2020, election we remain steadfast. In protecting, this essential, american, process. Cisa has doubled down both on their efforts. Across the federal government, and partnering. Partnering. With local election. Leaders across the country to make sure our elections are safe. And secure. Elections, are a bedrock, of our constitutional. Republic. And securing, them as paramount, to accurately, expressing, the will of the american people. To protect the integrity, of our representative, government. Our ultimate goal must be to ensure that american voters. Decide american, elections. In light of new levels of organized, efforts by russia in 2016. To disrupt, and deceive. The department, strengthened u.s efforts to rebuff. The aggressive, and meddlesome, behavior, of any nefarious, nation-state, actor. Signed into law by president trump, sisa has made extraordinary. And rapid strides, bolstering, the security. Of this most sacred democratic, process. Sisa has leveraged unique cyber security, technological. Technical, services. By funding the election infrastructure. Information, sharing and analysis, center. That deploys, and monitors, intrusion, detection systems on election infrastructure. Across all 50 states. The results were historic. 2018. Was the most secure election, in modern era. But not resting on its laurels. Sysa has only increased its protection, in scope and impact. As it pursues, the goal of an ever more secure, election, in 2020. They have dedicated, the tremendous, resources. And to protect 2020, project. Understanding, that american voters themselves, are key to bolstering, resilience. They're educating, citizens about the vital importance of being prepared. Participating. And being patient on election day. Beyond, our shores we face an ever-changing, threat landscape. As the governments, of china, iran, and russia. Target our election systems, each with their own separate, and nefarious, motives, and tactics. But we are ready. This administration, continues, to hold these nation-states, accountable for their actions. Assigning, attribution, where appropriate. And taking aggressive, punitive measures. Including sanctions against hostile intelligence, services, targeting election systems. Oligarchs, running troll farms. And others attempting to spread disinformation. The right to choose one's. Own leaders, is rare in the course of history. The department recognizes, this fact and will continue to uphold the integrity. Of this indispensable.
American Tradition. The men and women of dhs, are committed to defending, and securing, the american creed. Yes the wiles of our enemies will shift, and yes. Dhs, will adapt at every turn. But in one way we will keep constant. We won't, let up. We'll hold to what doesn't change. The fundamental, goodness of our people, our country. And the values that made us great. America, is worth, protecting. In the long march of history, nowhere else has the human heart. Had so good a chance to live. As we were created to live. Free. Safe. And the ability to use that liberty, to make the world better than we found it. Emerging, from the horror of 9 11. The burden of grief, and sorrow, taught us to prepare for any adversary. Adversity. Not because we fear what trials may come. But because, we know who we are as a people. Independent, and dedicated, to the proposition. That all people, are created, equal. I believe these american values called to the men and women of dhs. It's why you're here. You apply yourselves. To their defense daily. With integrity. Vigilance, and respect. You ensure every coming day is more secure than the one. Before. I am privileged, to work beside you and humbled. To lead among you. Every victory of this department, is yours. Thanks to you this department will safeguard, the american homeland, our people. And our way of life. We stand, ready to rise. And ready to face the next challenge, that threatens our homeland. Thank. You. Thank you acting secretary, wolf but most importantly. Thank you to all the men and women of the department of homeland, security. Who daily, accomplish. Such tremendous, results. For the american, people we began today with the national anthem. That itself, finishes. Reminding, us that we. Are the land of the free and the home of the brave. And it is an honor and i know this acting secretary, wolf agrees with me, to work on alongside. Every day. The brave. Referenced. In our own national, anthem here in the department, of homeland, security. This concludes, today's, program. We invite all of our guests to join us at the monroe building. Also known, as coast guard headquarters. There are shuttles, waiting outside. To, to take you over there if you would like to. Catch a ride. And we look forward to seeing you all in the ceremonial. Front hall, of the coast guard building the monroe building thank you again for joining us god bless you all and god bless. America. Here. You.