Washington (EFEUSA) – Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Wednesday that the first immigration orders signed by President Donald Trump have served to dissuade undocumented migrants from entering the US illegally, and he called for the construction of a “barrier” along the US-Mexican border, albeit admitting that it will not be a wall that runs from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico.
“It is unlikely that we will build a wall, a physical barrier, from sea to shining sea,” said the retired general in his appearance before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, paraphrasing the lyrics of “America the Beautiful.”
In the face of insistence by Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who said that in the Senate nobody believes that Trump’s wall will be built along the lines the president has set forth, Kelly acknowledged that a cement wall along the more than 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) of border with Mexico is undoable.
“The President knows that I’m looking at variations on the theme, and I have no doubt that when I go back to him and say, ‘Wall makes sense here, high-tech fencing makes sense over here, technology makes sense over here,’ I have no doubt he’ll tell me to go do it,” said Kelly.
The DHS chief said that each border sector will have to submit a request regarding the length of the wall or fencing it needs, and at the same time he acknowledged that there are places where the construction cannot be accomplished due to the topography or because the zones are specially administered, such as Indian reservations.
McCaskill said that the debate about the construction of the wall, which the DHS has estimated will cost more than $20 billion, is “embarrassing” because nobody in Congress, whether Republican or Democrat, believes that it will ultimately be built along the entire border.
Nevertheless, the DHS chief admitted in the hearing the dissuasive effect of Trump’s ascension to the presidency, given that his election campaign focused on anti-immigrant issues, his promise to end the arrival of undocumented migrants and to deport those residing in the US.
Since Trump came into office and after signing several executive orders allocating more resources to border security and deportation, the arrival of undocumented migrants via the southern border has been reduced to record lows.
According to Border Patrol figures, in March there were 17,000 detentions of undocumented migrants, a record low and the fifth consecutive month of reductions, significantly below the 58,748 undocumented migrants apprehended in December 2016.
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