Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly spoke about the Texas-Mexico border wall this week during his first televised interview as DHS Secretary. “I really hope to have it done within the next two years,” he told Fox News.
The interview took place in Texas, where Kelly visited the border to experience the challenges our border patrol agents are facing. Kelly says key areas will be built first, with other sections filled in later. “The protection of our southwest border involves discussion clearly of physical barriers but also of technological sensors…it’s a layered approach.”
Kelly’s strategy includes sending more resources south to speed up the processing of illegal immigrants. “If we could surge the court proceedings, that alone would act as a huge deterrent for people who are considering making the trip up.”
Kelly also wants to work with Mexico and other countries to disrupt drug smuggling operations.
“We have such an insatiable appetite for drugs in our country,” said Kelly. “The profits that come out of the United States are massive, and they are available to pay off just about anyone – even buy governments. We’ve got to help those countries.”
Funding the wall will be the biggest challenge, but Kelly is optimistic that the money “will come relatively quickly.”
President Trump jumpstarted the funding process last week when he signed a set of immigration-related executive orders. The new policies sparked protests in DC and throughout the nation, but Kelly insists the media has blown the situation out of proportion.
Kelly says that reports of mistreatment are unverified. DHS employees “did a great job out on the front lines, in this case mostly at the airports,” he said. “People were treated with dignity and respect.”
“Mr. Trump is not loved by everyone in America, and I think this very rapid succession of decisions, I don’t think the American public is really all that used to people making decisions. I really don’t think they’re used to people that say things on the campaign trail actually turning them into action.”
Kelly is a retired 4-star Marine general with 45 years of military service under his belt. He wasn’t looking for work when he received a cold call from the Trump transition team, but he said it took him about “15 seconds” to accept the job.