WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Discussion over the infamous border wall is reignited this week. The new Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly made a trip to Capitol Hill to discuss the administration’s immigration plans. Following the secretary’s testimony, there are mixed feelings regarding how the administration will proceed.
Secretary John Kelly says they wont be able to build the wall everywhere at once.
"This talk about the wall is really a way to kind of demonize the immigrant community, to kind of stoke fear in people's minds," said Lizet Ocampo, director of Latinos Vote! at People for the American Way.
During his testimony, Secretary Kelly said it wont be possible to build the wall everywhere all at once.
"What we’ve seen is that Donald Trump has picked people on his cabinet that do what he says," said Ocampo. "And when they don’t, he gets rid of them."
She says President Trump’s ambitions for the wall are hurting immigrants searching for a better life in the states.
"(The administration is) just trying to spread divisive rhetoric," said Ocampo. "They’re continually trying to criminalize immigrants when immigrants are like my family, my community."
Border lawmakers say they’re hopeful Secretary Kelly can act independently of the White House. Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) says the secretary understands the border issue, but needs to push back when necessary.
"Trump has to understand that he can’t bully a country of 122 million people," said Cuellar. "This is not a boardroom where he can just fire and hire people. We got to treat our friends like Mexico with respect."
Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) says Secretary Kelly is the right man for the job when it comes to constructing the wall in a way that makes sense.
"I am looking forward to working with him because he’s a thoughtful individual," said Hurd. "He’s someone that understands intelligence and he’s committed to doing the right thing."
Both Congressmen say that no matter the administration’s plans for a wall, final approval must come from Congress.