Illegal migration at US border at lowest point in 17 years: Kelly

"The noted issues will have to be taken into consideration, but it is important to note that there is nothing more destructive to environmentally sensitive land and communities than the uncontrolled illegal flow of people, vehicles, smugglers, and criminal organizations", Aguilar said, according to Fox News. The Department of Homeland Security is expected to select 20 finalists by June, who will then be invited to build prototypes in southern California. He did not address that group during his testimony Wednesday. "Border Patrol apprehensions for the last two months have decreased dramatically", he said.

"That just gives an example of what is necessary", Colburn told the panel. But he said separation would not be routine.

Kelly's comment to a Senate committee appears to reverse earlier statements that his agency was considering separation as a deterrent to would-be border crossers, mostly from Central America.

Kelly was also pressed on separating mothers from their children at the border, but said that they would only be separated "if the child's life is in danger" or if the mother is an addict. In a somewhat tense back and forth with Sen. He repeated Kelly's previous description of a "layered approach" comprised of a barrier, technology and boots on the ground.

The retired four-start Marine general said his subordinates know that his orders are to be followed even if they aren't written down.

"But ... I'm committed to putting it where the men and women say we should put it", he said, referring to the agents involved in immigration and border enforcement.

These actions don't calm the nervous fears of an electorate that when polled increasingly feel embarrassed to have Trump in the White House.

As CNN first reported Tuesday, the number of apprehensions at the Southwest border dropped by 35% in March from the month before, the second month in a row that apprehensions dropped substantially.

In his prepared remarks, Kelly said, "it is important to acknowledge the long-standing operational needs of the U.S. Border Patrol".

"It's unlikely we will build a wall or physical barrier from sea to shining sea", Mr. Kelly told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has been probing advances in border security and Mr. Trump's proposed wall.

Current government data shows illegal crossings were down 35% in February alone.

Immigrants who are still coming say many people in their home countries are staying home amid fears about President Donald Trump's immigration rhetoric, putting off coming to the USA until they see how his policies play out.

"It won't last. unless we do something, again, to secure the border", Kelly said.

The objective of the mock-up bids for Trump's wall is to get an idea of what it will take to build a barrier that can't be penetrated under, through or over. "Physical barriers do work if they're put in the right places".

The wall is proposed to cover about 3200km length of US-Mexico border, while the gaps will be filled in by sensors, drones and other technology, Kelly said.

Kelly, under questioning from Sen.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly said that Mexico would pay for the wall, but he has since requested that Congress approve billions of dollars in taxpayer money.

"The idea is to make the wall a piece of art", said Russ Baumgartner, CCI chief executive officer.

  • Salvatore Jensen