Napolitano had this to say after taking a helicopter tour of San Diego’s two major border crossings, and meeting with federal, state and local law enforcement officials.
“I believe the border is secure. I believe it is a safe border.”
Napolitano cited federal figures showing apprehensions of illegal border crossers are down 50 percent since 2008. Meanwhile, confiscations of bulk cash, illegal drugs and weapons along the Southwest border shot up over the last three years.
The visit came a week after a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators outlined a proposal for overhauling the nation's immigration system. The proposal calls for securing the border first.
Napolitano said the border could never be 100 percent secure and her administration would continue to put every resource possible into border security.
“But we need immigration reform to go along with this,” Napolitano said.
She said enforcing the nation’s immigration laws was "intrinsically and inextricably related to a legal immigration system," and the current system is broken.
Napolitano expressed support for the so-called "Gang of Eight" U.S. senators working to craft an immigration overhaul bill.