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Former DHS Secretary Chertoff: No Changes in Refugee Policy Needed After Ohio State Attack

Chertoff continued, “So we need to start to think about how do we not only deal with the issue of failed states or weak states in Africa and the Middle East, but also how do we deal with it in our own continent.”

Trump has pledged to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Chertoff recalled building “about 600 miles of fence” during his time in charge of the Homeland Security department.

“I welded some of it myself. It took a long time to do and we did it in areas where you should do it, not in areas like a mountain range where it doesn’t make any sense. So I look at some of these things and I think it’s very unlikely that it will be carried out as … has been portrayed,” he said. “However, I do agree that the message has to be counteracted and I think the only way to do it is to have people write and speak and act in a way that sends a contrary message because, in the end, it’s all done at a micro level, at a community level.”

PJM asked Chertoff why the double-layered fence was not completed across the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border during his term.

“We estimated that somewhere between 650 and 700 miles made sense to fence. It only makes sense when the distance between the border and a road or a city is sufficiently close that without delaying people you can’t intercept them. In a mountain range, a fence is a complete waste of money and time. It doesn’t add anything,” he said. “The slow-up was you have to do things like acquire the property. Sometimes you wind up litigating issues about whether you can build in a certain place. There might be environmental issues.”

Chertoff added, “There’s no magic to it. It’s a useful tool. It is not an artifact to be worshiped.”