Obama, Arizona Gov. Brewer face off over illegal immigration
At a White House meeting Thursday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to urge Obama to boost the federal role in attacking illegal immigration. The president has already made clear his objection to her state's tough new law to root out illegal immigrants.
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Governor Brewer, who in April signed a tough new law that allows Arizona law enforcement personnel to check the immigration status of people reasonably suspected to be in the country illegally, found out Wednesday that she would be seeing the president. The governor is in town for a meeting of the Council of Governors, a 10-person panel Mr. Obama appointed her to in January that advises the president on homeland security.
Brewer says she looks forward to seeing the president face-to-face and making her case for beefed-up federal involvement in Arizona’s difficult border situation, where kidnapping, drug trafficking, and continuing illegal immigration have heightened a sense of crisis in the state.
“I think it's important to not only the state of Arizona but to all of America that we are able to tell him exactly what is taking place down there in Arizona and that we need to have our borders secured,” Brewer told Fox News Wednesday night. “And we need to have the federal government do their job.”
Brewer indicated that she would bring several aides with her to the meeting, including outside legal counsel – not the attorney general of Arizona, who does not support the law. Critics, including Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder, have said that Arizona's law – which goes into effect July 29 – will lead to racial profiling and could in fact lead to an increase in crime as people fear cooperating with police lest they face problems over their immigration status.
Brewer expressed chagrin that Attorney General Holder has not reached out to her since she signed the law in late April. She also seemed unperturbed at the prospect of legal challenges, either from the American Civil Liberties Union or the Obama administration. The Justice Department is considering a lawsuit, but has yet to announce action.
“We are prepared to defend [the law] all the way to the Supreme Court,” Brewer said.