HOUSTON, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Tuesday touted improved security along the country's border and called Republican lawmakers' insistence that the border be secured before there is immigration reform a flawed argument.
At a stop to inspect border security in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday, Napolitano said the Republican lawmakers' argument ignored gains made in illegal immigrant captures as well as seizures of drugs, weapons and currency along the border, according to report by newspaper The Houston Chronicle.
The argument's fundamental flaw is contending that border security is unrelated to interior enforcement such as verification of legal residence of job applicants, she said.
Noting that the immigration "system as a whole is badly in need of reform," Napolitano said border security is inextricably linked with interior enforcement, visa reform and the process for legal migration.
Napolitano touted the current border safety, saying that the current administration has "deployed historic levels of personnel, technology and infrastructure to help secure the Southwest border."
In last year alone, the El Paso sector saw an increase of 71 percent in seizures of currency, 39 percent more drugs interdicted and a 139 percent of illegal weapons seized, according to Napolitano.
The U.S. Border Patrol made 356,873 arrests on the border with Mexico during the 2012 fiscal year, up 8.9 percent from the previous year.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection's budget nearly doubled to 11.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2012 from 6.3 billion in 2005, according to the report.
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