Apr 12, 2013 8:33 PM by Lorraine Rivera
TUCSON - Local 2544, the border patrol union is criticizing Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano for comments made during her visit to the Arizona border last week.
Art Del Cueto, the union's spokesman, said Napolitano didn't get the "ground truth" as she said she did during her trip to the Douglas area, "I think with any job if your leader wants to know how the job is done. You go to the ground troops. In the case of Ms. Napolitano she's never been a border patrol agent so she doesn't know what the job consists of."
He said the former Arizona governor has never accepted an invitation to meet with the union. Napolitano described her visit to Douglas, "trying to get ground truth because you can get numbers and reports and things but what you want to see is what's happening on the ground and talk to people who live in these communities."
Napolitano did not describe the border as secure but said it depends on which stats you look at,"illegal immigration you look at apprehensions. If you're interested in overall border health you might look at property values. So it kind of depends on what your perspective is and what you're looking for. She went on to say, "when you line up the stats for the Arizona/Mexico border what you see is that they all have trended and in some respects significantly trended in the right direction."
Del Cueto said her comments are not accurate, "the border is still not secure. The violence has gone up. When we catch groups the violence has gone up. There's been more smuggling that we've detected."
According to Del Cueto, the border continues to be a hot spot, "there are instances lately here when we've seen groups of up to 300 staging on the south side of the border and later on when we drive back through there those groups are no longer there. I don't think those groups changed their mind and decided to go back south."