Acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan to visit McAllen

In this Wednesday, March 6, 2019, file photo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan speaks during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on oversight of Customs and Border Protection's response to the smuggling of persons at the southern border, in Washington. President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday, April 7, 2019, that McAleenan will become the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, after he accepted the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. (Alex Brandon | The Associated Press)

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan will be in McAllen late this evening for a tour of the border and to visit the immigrant respite center in town, according to a DHS news release.

McAleenan will meet with local officials and law enforcement during this visit, as well as U.S. Border Patrol agents for what’s been described as “a midnight shift tour of the U.S.-Mexico border.” According to DHS, this will consist of the acting secretary visiting “key crossing points and staging areas central to human smuggling.”

Dubbed as an opportunity for McAleenan to understand the “humanitarian emergency” at the border, where immigrant families and unaccompanied children continue arriving in large numbers and overwhelming federal holding facilities, the visit will afford McAleenan a chance to “assess the strategic and operational challenges faced by law enforcement operations in the region.”

McAleenan will also tour the respite center in McAllen, which is operated by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and is currently in search of a new home after residents living in the vicinity of the 209 W. Hackberry Ave. facility lodged complaints in January.

A roundtable discussion with local mayors is expected to follow before the acting secretary meets with officers and agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.