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Trump selects General John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security

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President-elect Donald Trump has nominated General John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security. General Kelly is a retired Marine Corps general and the former commander of the U.S. Southern Command, which handles U.S. military activity in the Caribbean and Latin America. While leading the U.S. Southern Command, General Kelly was in charge of overseeing Guantanamo Bay, being exposed to issues of immigration, drug trafficking and other cross-border matters. His experience led him to develop a tough stance on border security, expressing the risks of smuggling rings in Mexico and Central America that encourage tens of thousands of people, including unaccompanied children, to cross the border. In a congressional testimony, General Kelly stated that “terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States.” General Kelly’s blunt manner has led to conflicts with the Obama administration regarding issues such as closing Guantanamo Bay. According the General Kelly, the detainees are well-treated while criticisms from human rights groups are “foolishness”. He has worked closely with former defense secretaries Leon Panetta and Robert Gates and developed close ties with current secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson. In his announcement, Trump stated that “[General Kelly] is the right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration and securing our borders, streamlining TSA and improving coordination between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies.” He will be leading Trump’s proposed plans to build a wall and round up undocumented immigrants. In a public statement, General Kelly expressed his goal for heading the DHS: “the American people voted in this election to stop terrorism, take back sovereignty at our borders, and put a stop to political correctness that for too long has dictated our approach to national security. I will tackle those issues with a seriousness of purpose and a deep respect for our laws and Constitution.”

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