Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly told lawmakers he expects construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall to be “well underway” within two years. The wall will be built in sections with priority given to areas were current gaps exist.
Speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee for the first time as secretary, Kelly said, “We’re not going to be able to build a wall everywhere all at once,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Kelly indicated he is listening to Border Patrol agents about where resources should be prioritized and how the wall or fencing should be deployed.
The Homeland Security Secretary also said he supports a variety of technologies to secure the border. Those technologies include ground sensors, surveillance blimps and any other resources to help detect the smuggling of drugs, migrants and possible terrorists into the country.
The government lives in a “world of infinite time [and] resources,” Kelly added.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX) is on record supporting building the wall. In a December op-ed penned by the chairman and published on Fox News, McCaul stated, “We are going to build the wall. Period. In the process, I pledge to stand side-by-side with the Trump administration to throw out Obama’s reckless immigration policies and start enforcing our nation’s laws.”
However, during the committee’s hearing with Secretary Kelly on Tuesday, McCaul said the wall was “actually symbolic,” indicating he didn’t take the President’s signature campaign promise literally, The Washington Times reported.
Secretary Kelly responded, “I would argue that we should look at the entire border and where it makes sense,” he said. “Maybe there are some places that are too rugged to put a wall, and we cover that with the patrolling and technology.”
One technology cut back by the Obama Administration in its closing months was the aerial surveillance provided by the National Guard through Operation Phalanx. Breitbart Texas reached out to the DHS to find out when these flight hours will be resumed. A response from the department was not immediately available.
Secretary Kelly also expressed the frustration of Border Patrol agents at policies put in place by the previous administration. “I think their morale has suffered because of the job they were hired to do, and then in their sense, they’re kind of hobbled or, you know, hands tied behind their back, that kind of thing,” Kelly expressed. “And now they feel more positive about things. I bet if you watch the morale issue, you’ll be surprised going forward.”