POSTED: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 11:11pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 11:18am
President Obama wants to give the US immigration system a facelift. And last week, he announced a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform that would legalize a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
But opponents argue he needs to strengthen border security first. US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano disagrees.
"That argument not only ignores the unprecedented gains we've made in border security, it suffers from a fundamental flaw. And that fundamental flaw is that it somehow says that border security is unrelated to what we do with interior enforcements."
Napolitano made a stop in El Paso Tuesday afternoon to inspect border security, after visiting San Diego for the same purpose on Monday. She concluded the border has never been safer and now, the government should turn its attention to fixing an outdated immigration system.
"Despite the progress we've made, however, I think we all recognize that our immigration system as a whole is badly in need of reform. President Obama's plan for comprehensive immigration reform would continue the border security work we've invested in over the past four years."
Secretary Napolitano insists the Department of Homeland Security has spent more money than ever to protect the border. She says El Paso has seen a 93% reduction in illegal immigration since 1996.
But some Republicans remain wary of the Obama initiative.
“What we cannot become is a nation where the laws are enforced selectively or not at all.”
House speaker John Boehner seemed open to tackling the system's problems.
“It's about trying to get right of behalf of the American people and of those who are suffering under an immigration system that doesn't work very well for anyone.”