Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly (left) with Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Luis Videgaray Caso. DHS Photo/Jetta Disco
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly (left) with Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Luis Videgaray Caso on Wednesday. DHS Photo/Jetta Disco

New Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly is scheduled to tour the San Ysidro Port of Entry Friday, continuing a tour of the international border in the southwestern U.S.

The visit to San Diego comes as a leaked report estimated the cost of a border wall at nearly $22 billion and recommended that the San Diego section be one of the top priorities.

Kelly is scheduled to meet with department employees and state and local officials, tour security operations and discuss the administration’s efforts to improve border security.

The 40-year veteran, who served three tours in Iraq, said during his confirmation hearing that a simple barrier — like the wall that President Donald Trump wants to build — won’t be enough to stop the flow of drugs and migrants.

His nomination was confirmed Jan. 20 in an 88-11 Senate vote.

Last week, the retired Marine Corps general visited Rio Grande Valley in Texas. On Thursday, he met with state and local law enforcement officials at the border crossing at Nogales, Arizona, and with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.

He spoke with law enforcement officials from Arizona’s four border counties about the proposed border wall, a hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaign, and sought input on border security, according to the Arizona Republic.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said law enforcement leaders finally had “a receptive ear.”

“We talked about the value of technology in some areas and physical structures in others, but there’s a lot to be vetted out in that,” Napier said. There’s a whole lot of distance between an executive action and some political rhetoric and actual policy implementation at the local level.”

Pima County’s 125-mile-long international border is well known for drug and human trafficking, the Arizona Republic reported.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said that a lot was still up in the air regarding the wall, according to the Arizona Republic.

“I think that’s still an open question, being that we’re unique all along the border from San Diego to Brownsville,” Estrada said. “It requires different approaches. In some places, you may not even need a wall.”

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.