Brewer stands firm for Arizona, Obama blinks
By Robert M. Engstrom
President Barack Obama’s last minute flip flop to agree to meet with Arizona Gov. Janet Brewer resulted in a 30-minute discussion in which Brewer refused to back down from implementing the state’s new illegal immigration law. While Brewer stood firm, the president conceded that the “majority” of the 1,200 National Guard troops he decided to send to the border will go to Arizona.
Obama asked for Brewer’s support for federal immigration reform and declined to discuss the lawsuits. Following the meeting both sides talked with reporters outside the White House where the only agreement reached was that neither side conceded. Obama did promise to send an official to Arizona to talk with Brewer sometime next month.
“The meeting ended exactly the way we all knew it would,” said Tucsonan Bob Barr. “Nothing was accomplished—it was all show and no substance.”
Obama was disappointed if he hoped the experience of a White House audience would distract an awestruck Brewer from the border issues. She’s “been to that rodeo” during the Reagan and both Bush administrations. Her political career began while Obama was smoking dope and snorting cocaine.
Brewer said Wednesday, after learning of Obama’s change of mind, that despite all the press reports about federal legal challenges and officials criticizing a law they admit failing to have read, her office has yet to be contacted directly by the Department of Justice or Attorney General Eric Holder.
Obama brought legal advisors from the DOJ to the meeting. Brewer’s entourage included her outside council, attorney John Bouma. The chairman of the law firm Snell & Wilmer will represent her in federal lawsuits challenging Arizona’s immigration laws.
Brewer, as authorized by the state legislature, hired outside attorneys to represent her and the state’s interests in five lawsuits filed against SB-1070 because of a lack of confidence in Democratic Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. Goddard has stated he does not support his state’s immigration enforcement policies. He is the sole Democratic candidate for governor running against Brewer in the November elections.
“Due to Attorney General Goddard’s curious coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice today, and his consistent opposition to Arizona’s new immigration laws,” Brewer said prior to leaving for Washington, D.C. “I will direct my legal team to defend me and the State of Arizona rather than the Attorney General in the lawsuits challenging Arizona’s immigration laws.”
After DOJ representatives talked with Goddard last week, Arizona’s AG held a press conference that did not include a representative from Brewer’s office. She released a statement saying, “The Department attorneys were advised that I believe the federal government should use its legal resources to fight illegal immigration, not the State of Arizona. They were further advised that on behalf of the State of Arizona, I will ensure the immigration laws we passed are vigorously defended all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary.
“This level of coordination between the Attorney General and the Obama Administration is disturbingly similar to the coordination with Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords earlier this week on President Obama’s still unclear plan to deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.”
Following a contentious meeting between Obama and Senate Republicans, the president abruptly decided to send troops and funds to the border DHS Director Napolitano insists is secure, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, (D-Tucson), claimed credit for the president’s change of mind, but ran into a buzz saw of criticism from Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl. They suggested Giffords familiarize herself with their 10-point plan and support it instead.
In a June 3rd letter to Brewer, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, (D-NY), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security said he opposes SB-1070 because it is “wrong-hearted,” “likely unconstitutional,” and will not reduce illegal immigration.
Schumer’s plan calls for “comprehensive immigration reform” including a biometric social security card AKA, a national ID, guest worker visas and amnesty for the illegals already here. Somehow, border security and resolving Arizona’s issues is not mentioned—only that Schumer’s plan will put more unspecified “resources” forward than the McCain/Kyl 10-Point Border Security Plan.
Schumer asked Brewer to delay implementation of SB-1070 and pressure Arizona’s senators to work with him on comprehensive reform. In a 40-page response to Schumer, Arizona’s governor told the New York senator to take a hike. Her letter of response includes copies of the ignored correspondence Brewer sent asking for help from Obama, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano and a host of Washington’s top power brokers.
Brewer, as do the majority of Arizonans, wants a secure border before addressing a guest worker program and the dilemma faced by the 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants already in the country facing criminal charges and deportation. Though the law does not go into effect until July 29, an increasing number of illegals have already departed, or are preparing to leave the state.
Brewer questioned the constitutionality of Obama’s healthcare program and noted that its predicted cost will be “devastating” to the state’s ability to resolve the present $3.2 billion deficit. Brewer said that as many Americans oppose the health care program as do support tougher illegal immigration enforcement.
At a time when the state and the federal government are struggling with unsustainable spending and deficits, it is Obama who is misguided, not Arizona. As the pro-immigrant forces and protestors call demand that the president carry through a campaign promise for comprehensive immigration reform, the majority of Americans who support Arizona’s new law want Obama to uphold his oath of office.