DHS Secretary John Kelly testified before a Senate subcommittee Wednesday about border security. He said there had been an “amazing drop” in border apprehensions since Trump’s inauguration, but added that decrease would not last unless it was followed by physical border security.
“We’ve seen an absolutely amazing drop in the number of migrants coming out of Central America that are taking that terribly dangerous route from Central America into the Untied States,” Kelly said. He continued,” In particular we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the number families and the number of children that are in that pipeline. It won’t last. It won’t last unless we do something again to secure the border.
“The wall, a physical barrier, something to secure our border. You all know that we’re looking at that…What it will look like, how tall it will be, how thick it will be, what color it will be is yet to be determined. All we know is that physical barriers do work if they’re put in the right places.
“And of course I’ve already pulsed the men and women that work the border, CBP, they know exactly where they want wall and they know exactly how long the wall should be in their sector. They are also quick to point out that if they can’t have a wall from sea to shining sea then at least give them the wall, the physical barrier, the technology that will do the job for them in the locations where they’ve identified to me and we’ll do that.”
There was an interesting exchange when Senator Kamala Harris questioned Secretary Kelly in a rapid-fire, borderline-hectoring style. Sen. Harris raised the issue of an “extensive morale issue” at DHS. Kelly replied, “That was certainly the case under the Obama administration, but we’re changing that already.”
Under additional questioning about morale, Sec. Kelly added, “One of the issues most focused on by the workforce over the last 8 years, that affected their morale, was an inability to do their jobs.” Sen. Harris cut off the next part of Kelly’s answer but pressed him again on what he planned to do to address morale. “Under the Obama administration, the morale suffered terribly,” Sec. Kelly said. “So what plans have you put in place, sir?” Sen. Harris asked. Sec. Kelly replied, “My leadership.”
The exchange on morale starts about 7 minutes into this clip: