San Diego

2 Top Officials Visit San Diego, Look to Improve Border Security

Congress still has to approve any potential funding for a new border wall and heightened border enforcement.

Two top Trump administration officials are set to visit San Diego on Friday as the administration looks at ways to better improve border security. 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly will visit the U.S.-Mexico border wall south of San Diego, looking into what types of enforcement works and what types of enforcement doesn't work along San Diego's southern border. 

The local president of the National Border Patrol Council, Terence Shigg, hopes the visit will lead to a new wall, and more enforcement. 

“Walls aren't the end all be,” said Shigg. “You’re always going to need the infrastructure, the lighting, camera, agents, boots on the ground. You're always going to need that. So we don't ever want to get to the conversation of we're going to build something that no one is ever going to breach, I don't think that's possible.”

Sessions and Kelly are coming from El Paso, Texas, where they stopped on Thursday to talk about the plan to crack down on illegal immigration. 

Over the last decade, the number of people illegally crossing into the U.S. along the southern border has consistently decreased. 

Despite the drop in numbers, Border Patrol agents say smuggling is still a serious problem that needs to be addressed. 

“You have criminal networks calling the shots,” said Shigg. “They all have a specific job. One person smuggles people, the other smuggles drugs, one is to cut fences, one is to guide through routs. Another person does the scouting.”

Border Patrol officials hope to get enough funding to hire 5,000 more agents along the U.S.-Mexico border. Currently, the San Diego region has about 2,300 agents. 

To help increase those numbers faster, authorities are considering removing a mandatory polygraph test used to weed out corruption. 

“Those who have already taken a polygraph for other agencies,” Shigg told NBC 7. “Those who already have a clearance from the military, they don't have to do that test, because obviously they've already passed one.”

Before Friday's high-profile meeting, local pro-immigrant activists say they will hold a protest at the border to speak out against plans to build a new wall. 

Congress still has to approve any potential funding for a new border wall and heightened border enforcement.

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