Homeland Security Nominee: No Full Wall at the Border

Kirstjen Nielsen, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head Homeland Security, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that maybe the nation doesn’t need a full wall along the Mexican border.

A full barricade along the U.S.-Mexico border was one of President Trump’s top promises, but as of late, there has been hedging.

President Trump himself has hedged, saying parts of the border barricade will not be a wall.

Federal officials have also talked up more personnel, technology and better use of natural barriers, such as rivers. Generally, however, Trump has said he wants most of the southern border to be barricaded by a wall to prevent illegal immigration and the flow of drugs into the United States through Mexico.

The first person to hedge in the Trump administration was John Kelly, Trump's first Homeland Security chief, who told Congress in April that he could not estimate the full cost of a wall, and that a full wall would likely not rise from "sea to shining sea."

Kelly left to be White House chief of staff in late July, and he recommended Nielsen, his Homeland Security chief of staff.

And on Wednesday, Nielsen, 45, told Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee what they wanted to hear: no full wall.

"The president has stated, as have my predecessors at DHS, certainly something that I share: There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea," she said. "Technology plays a key part, and we can't forget it. There's a lot that we can do with technology to secure our borders."

Nielsen also said she would work better with "local actors" on the ground to patrol the 1,933-mile border, which already has some 700 miles of fencing, according to CNN.

(photo credit, homepage image: U.S.-Mexico Border, CC BY-SA 2.0, byAnthony Albright; photo credit, article image: U.S.-Mexico Border in San Diego, CC BY 2.0, byBruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño)

Last Modified: November 9, 2017, 7:00 am

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