- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

HIDALGO, Texas (AP) - The new head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says she hopes construction on a border wall will begin soon.

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made the remarks Wednesday while standing in front of the existing border fence north of the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. She said she didn’t know when the government could start building. Border wall prototypes are being tested in San Diego.

A $1.6 billion proposal to fund 60 miles (97 kilometers) in Texas has stalled in Congress.

Nielsen says the U.S. immigration system faces a “national crisis” that also requires changes to reduce the number of asylum claims made by people entering the country and to speed up deportations.

Nielsen spoke Tuesday in Austin, where she criticized so-called sanctuary cities and credited Texas officials for working with immigration authorities.

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