Homeland Security chief backtracks on splitting families

During a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on April. 5, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly spoke about President Donald Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico, and said it's "unlikely that we will build a wall, a physical barrier, from sea to shining sea".

For instance, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported a decline in apprehensions along the southwest border since the beginning of 2017 with 17,000 in March, marking the fifth straight month of decline and estimated to be approximately 71 percent lower than the December 2016 total of 58,478 apprehensions, Kelly said.

Kelly said after his Ottawa meetings on March 10 that the Trump White House wants "as thin a border as we can create" and that he was "very comfortable with the level of security on the border". Securing the border, he said, is a prerequisite for granting a path to citizenship to millions in the US illegally.

"I don't need to do that, I've done it verbally", Kelly said.


"In my view, the wall is all of that", said Kelly. President Trump said he would cover more than half the distance with the rest being taken care by natural obstacles. The decline in arrests is a sign that fewer people are trying to cross the border illegally.

"It's unlikely that we will build a wall or physical barrier from sea to shining sea".

Bidding for the border wall closed on Tuesday with numerous largest engineering and construction firms declining to submit proposals, CNN reported, possibly forcing the administration to rely on smaller firms, which may not have the necessary resources to complete the massive project as efficiently.

Last month, his administration sought $1.5 billion to begin the project, but congressional Republicans indicated that it is unlikely to remain in the budget. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggested a wall could be defined several ways, such as having drones, towers, fences and technology to detect tunnels. "We're looking very hard at ports of entry which is not part of 'the wall, '" he said. Congress could enact another continuing resolution to fund the government through September, but defense-minded members and the military are urging a permanent deal. A lot of us hoped there would be a lot less money would be put into border security.


In response to a question from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told Kelly about his realistic vision of the wall.

Kelly said Border Patrol agents could separate parents and children if the mother is sick or addicted to drugs.

Senator McCaskill continued her questions under the assumption communities with existing border fences have high crime rates, "has the fencing that has been installed in Brownsville, [it] is right on the southern tip of Texas, it must be obviously a risky place because it's so close to the Mexican border, what is the security situation like in Brownsville?"



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