President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Gen. John Kelly to run the Department of Homeland Security.
The decision to choose Kelly marks the third time Trump has chosen a former military general to lead a major part of his cabinet. Kelly will join Gen. James Mattis, the pick for secretary of defense and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the pick for national security advisor, according to CBS News.
Kelly, 66, had a 40-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps and has led troops in Iraq.
In 2010 his son, Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, was killed after stepping on a mine in Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.
The incident gave Kelly the unfortunate distinction of being the highest-ranking military officer to lose a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan.
According to CNN, Kelly would be pivotal in Trump's proposed border wall and testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, 2015 about "the relative ease with which human smugglers moved tens of thousands of people to our nation's doorstep" and warned that "these smuggling routes are a potential vulnerability to our homeland."
"As I stated last year, terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States," Kelly said. "Addressing the root causes of insecurity and instability is not just in the region's interests, but ours as well, which is why I support President Obama's commitment to increase assistance to Central America."
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration reform group, told the New York Times that such a claim was “a little over the top,” but were otherwise understandable coming from Kelly.
“One positive thing is that he understands the problem of root causes of immigration,” said Sharry, referring to how Kelly has also spoken about the need to stem violence in some Central American countries, such as Honduras, which is a primary reason many people flee to seek refuge in the U.S.