Feb 19, 2013 8:24 PM by Lupita Murillo
NOGALES - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in Arizona Tuesday to give her take on the strength of the nation's border near Nogales.
It was closed to the news media, but News 4 Tucson was there when she arrived at the Nogales International Airport.
She was on the ground 15 minutes before boarding a Black Hawk helicopter to tour an area near Arivaca.
Also with Napolitano, were Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner David Aguilar, and Senate Homeland Security and governmental affairs chairman Tom Carper.
The aerial tour took over an hour. They toured an area that is notorious for smuggling.
Once they landed, the caravan traveled to the Mariposa Port of Entry. They met behind closed doors with about 30 people. Included in that meeting, Nogales Mayor, Arturo Garino, city manager, deputy city manager, and police chief. Also a member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. U.S. Congressman Ron Barber was also part of the meeting.
Mayor Garino told News 4, they discussed, ways to secure the border, and how to improve trade.
Raul Mendoza works near the border, he says "It's a good thing she's here, especially now with the talks of immigration reform coming. I think it's a good thing she's talking about securing the border."
Napolitano has also visited San Diego and El Paso in recent weeks where she made statements the border is more secure than ever. Her office released the following numbers, there were nearly 365,000 apprehensions last year. That's an all time low. She also says there are double the number of federal agents along the border, now roughly 21,000. That's compared to 10,000 nine years ago.
However, Mendoza disagrees the border is secure. "I don't think it's secure no .I work around here and see people running through there's random acts violence in this area."
Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada believes the visit was positive . "It Indicates she has tremendous interest in securing and providing whatever is necessary to make this border a lot safer and secure."