Homeland Security Chief Backtracks on Splitting Families

Friday, 07 Apr, 2017

Roughly 12,000 people were detained or halted while attempting the enter the USA from Mexico in March, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in written testimony to a Senate subcommittee, citing Customs and Border Protection statistics.

A wall on the 2,000-mile border between the U.S.and Mexico was a signature campaign promise for Trump as part of his pledge to cut down on illegal immigration.

Building a "real wall" was a central promise of President Donald Trump's campaign ― and one that nearly certainly won't happen in the way he said it would.

Parents and children caught crossing the Mexican border into the United States illegally generally can remain together, the Homeland Security chief said Wednesday, in a partial reversal of previous comments. "[Congress] is not going to sign a blank check for a wall that we know is never going to be built". The president and his surrogates have been laying the groundwork for this retreat for months, saying the "wall" wouldn't need to span the entire border, could be technological, and could supplement existing fencing, even though the president has criticized that fencing and publicly claimed a new wall was necessary.

The ideas range from the relatively practical, like covering the wall with solar panels to power Border Patrol stations and crossing infrastructure, to more fanciful ideas.

While there's been snickering from the more-left-of-center media that Trump abandoned his own voters to build his "big lovely wall", the NBC-DFW map seems to show the Texas counties most impacted are comprised of a large bloc of Democrats.

"March marks the fifth straight month of decline and is estimated to be approximately 71 per cent lower than the December 2016 total - 58,478".

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"I'm not going to build one prototype".

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asked Kelly to clarify "interpretations" of the wall. "That is a result of what we are starting to do at the border".

Construction companies submitted bids for the prototypes of a concrete border wall on Tuesday, April 6, and portions of wall from the winning bid will be built to get construction started. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, the ranking Democrat on the committee, who said it's "embarrassing" that Mr. Trump does not realize the wall could be that long.

Kelly said that the success at the border is due to the "huge amount of cooperation" from Mexicans and local Mexican authorities on both sides of the border, despite the widespread corruption due to trafficking fueled by US drug consumption. "Physical barriers do work if they're put in the right place".

Kelly said separations would only happen "if the mother is sick or addicted to drugs or whatever".

The agency, responding to questions from companies on a website for government contractors, said the Border Patrol would respond as needed if there is a hostile attack, but companies were responsible for security.