- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

President-Elect Donald Trump has reportedly named retired four-star Gen. John F. Kelly to be the secretary of homeland security, indicating Mr. Trump’s administration may be more focused on national security issues than immigration policy nuance.

The Department of Homeland Security’s priorities are to protect the nation from terror attacks, secure the borders, crack down on illegal immigration and help communities in disaster recoveries, whether it be through flooding, tornadoes or disease.

Gen. Kelly, 66, has led the U.S. Southern Command and told Congress last year he thought the southern border represented a security threat, as smugglers and drugs were easily able to cross. Throughout his 40-year-career in the Marine Corps, he’s also led troops in battle in Iraq.

He’s more of a national-security military-minded man, than one steeped in immigration policy nuances — indicating Mr. Trump’s focus may be to build a national security team of strength to combat terrorism, rather than one focused on deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in this country.

Gen. Kelly also knows the personal sacrifice of serving.

His son was killed after stepping on a mine while in Afghanistan in 2010, and The New York Times said that loss played a key role in Mr. Trump’s pick of Gen. Kelly.

“General Kelly has said little about that experience, but it played a role in his selection by Mr. Trump, according to people close to the Trump transition. Mr. Trump, his aides said, wanted people on his national security team who understood personally the hazards of sending Americans into combat,” The Times reported.

Gen. Kelly is the third general Mr. Trump has named to his list of top advisers. Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who previously ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, was selected as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, and retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis was picked as Defense Secretary.

Each man has extensive experience dealing in the Middle East, has spoken about the need to build up our military and knows the personal sacrifices of combat, thereby making them more judicial in actually recommending intervention.

It all adds up to what Mr. Trump has been talking about on the stump for many months.

“We build up or military not as an act of aggression but as an act of prevention,” Mr. Trump said in a speech Tuesday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina. “We pursue and build up arms not in order to seek conflict but in order to avoid conflict. We’re going to be strong. In short, we seek peace through strength.”

Perhaps those same sentiments will also apply to how Mr. Trump plans to deal with immigration — through intimidation, not actual deportation. Unless, of course, those individuals pose a threat to our national security.

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