New Homeland Security Secretary Tours Arizona Border

February 10, 2017
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly met with Arizona’s four border sheriffs and the governor in his first trip to the state as secretary.

While the secretary has said he was coming to Arizona to talk about a proposed border wall, the sheriffs used the face time with the new secretary to discuss their own concerns along the Arizona-Mexico line.

John Kelly has taken a quieter tack at announcing his planned strategies for the U.S.-Mexico border than President Donald Trump has. Some of that came during his visit to Arizona Thursday morning,  where he was was greeted by Gov. Doug Ducey.

They traveled by convoy along the border, then to each of Nogales’ three ports of entry into Mexico. Secretary Kelly took no questions but he did ask the sheriff’s of Arizona’s four border counties what they need along their share of Arizona border.

"We were pushing for the fact that they need to reinstitute Operation Streamline," said Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot. "They need to provide the resources needed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office – not only for prosecutors but also for district judges to handle those cases."

The zero tolerance criminal prosecution program was pulled back some in the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector in 2014.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said Trump's proposed wall was a focus of some of the discussion.

"He talked very briefly about the wall but he’s going to be consulting with the experts at Border Patrol and everybody else to find out exactly where it’s practical to have a wall and where it isn’t. So he has a mindset right now where he wants to listen and he wants to be as helpful as he can," Estrada said.

Kelly is scheduled to tour the border area in San Ysidro on Friday.