DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in WH Meeting: ‘We Need the Wall… System’

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Washington, D.C.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Tuesday in discussions with lawmakers and President Trump that the United States needs “the wall system” along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration.

Nielsen, who previously said that the U.S. did not need “a wall from sea to shining sea,” told Trump and lawmakers in a White House meeting on amnesty for the nearly 800,000 illegal aliens shielded from deportation by the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that a “wall system” is what is necessary on the southern border.

Nielsen said:

The reason that border security is so important to have as part of this discussion is that it doesn’t solve the problem if we can apprehend people but we can’t remove them. So we need the wall system. Which is some physical infrastructure, as the president described, personnel, technology, but we have to close those legal loopholes because the effect of that is this incredible pull up from Central America that just continues to exacerbate the problem. So border security has to be part of this or we will be here again in three, four, five years again, maybe unfortunately sooner. [Emphasis added]

The other point I would just make, is the president asked DHS, we asked the men and women of DHS ‘What do you need to do your job? Congress and the American people have entrusted to you the security of our country. What is that you need?’ The list that we have provided is what we need to do our mission that you asked us to do. It’s not less than, it’s not more than. It’s what we need to close those loopholes to be able to protect our country.

So I would just encourage everyone, much more eloquently than I can, described all the reasons why we’re all I think here are committed to helping the DACA population, but to truly solve the problem, it’s got to be in conjunction with border security. [Emphasis added]

Trump campaigned on the promise of a border wall, a widespread physical barrier, to be constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border, but last week, DHS described in their border security report that they only plan on constructing a wall for 700 miles of the roughly 2,000-mile southern border.

The president has now backed up Nielsen’s assessment, saying in the meeting, “We don’t need a 2,000-mile wall … where you have rivers and mountains, and everything else protecting, but we need a wall for a fairly good portion.”

Trump also shot down Nielsen’s DHS report which claimed it would need seven to ten years to build the border wall, as Breitbart News reported.

“There’s no reason for seven years, also.” Trump said as he looked and motioned at Nielsen. “I heard the other day, please don’t do that to me. Seven years to build a wall?! We can build the wall in one year.”

“Yes sir,” Nielsen responded.

“And we can build it for less much money than what they’re talking about,” Trump said as he leaned in to tell Nielsen.

“There is no reason to ever mention seven years again, please,” Trump told Nielsen.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.