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DHS Sec. John Kelly to tour Arizona-Mexico border on Thursday

(AP photos)

PHOENIX — The Department of Homeland Security secretary will visit Arizona Thursday afternoon to tour the state’s border with Mexico.

Sec. John Kelly will meet Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to tour the Arizona-Mexico border at Nogales, Ariz. for the first time since he was tapped to lead the department by President Donald Trump in December. He will then meet with state and local law enforcement officials.

In a tweet Wednesday night, Ducey said he was “honored” to welcome Kelly to Arizona, “especially on such an important issue.”

The former Marine general was tapped by Trump in part because of his views on immigration enforcement.

The duo believe in closed borders and stricter vetting for refugees, a belief that was emphasized after Trump signed an executive order to construct a border wall last month.

In January, Kelly said he believes a border wall will tighten border security, but additional measures must be taken.

“A physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job,” Kelly said at the time “Certainly it has to be a layered approach.”

The department will be challenged with beefing up the screening of immigrants allowed to come into the U.S., and finding additional resources to track down and deport people living in America illegally. It will also need to find a place to house these immigrants while they’re waiting for deportation.

The department has struggled with its identity, trying to balance its ties with the military and maintain its role as a civilian law enforcement agency. Customs and Border Protection — which includes the Border Patrol — and the Coast Guard routinely partners with Southern Command to coordinate drug smuggling investigations in the Caribbean.

Scraping for federal funds and equipment to battle such problems will not be a new challenge for Kelly. As the head of Southern Command, he was often blunt about his need for more resources to fight the drug trade that sweeps into the U.S. from South America.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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