Napolitano urges care in border rhetoric | Homeland Security chief calls for lawmakers to visit region’s communities

Gary Martin|San Antonio Express

Napolitano is essentially accusing Republicans of making things worse by continued efforts to secure the US-Mexico border.

WASHINGTON — Responding to Republican criticism about border security, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is asking congressional leaders to temper their comments intended for political gain and take a tour of communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The situation on the border continues to be mischaracterized, and I am concerned that this is hurting the morale of our law enforcement personnel and the local economies of border towns,” Napolitano said in documents that were obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

Napolitano sent invitations to GOP and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate saying it was important to “forge a constructive dialogue” on border security.

During Perry visit

Her invitation comes as Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, was in Washington and continued his critique of the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama administration on border security.

“To be sure, challenges remain, and it is my hope that we can work together on a nonpartisan basis to address remaining challenges,” Napolitano said.

She said a bipartisan, bicameral tour of the border this spring could be the catalyst for legislative efforts to improve security and facilitate trade.

Perry, as well as the state’s two Republican senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, have complained that the Obama administration has failed to shore up security with additional federal law enforcement and technology.

“The response from the Homeland Security agency has been appalling. They are nonresponsive,” Perry told Texas reporters following a breakfast Friday with the Texas State Society at the Capitol Hill Club.

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