In an exclusive interview Tuesday on CNN’s John King, USA, Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Arizona, said until the borders are secure, she has no interest in working with President Obama on passing a comprehensive federal immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country.
“I would tell him: Secure our borders,” Brewer told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King after King asked how the Arizona Republican would respond if Obama asked for her help with an immigration bill after this November’s midterm elections. “You know, everything's off the table, I believe, in Arizona until we get our borders secure. That's our number one priority. It's unfortunate it has to be that way. But the people of Arizona, the people of America, have been promised that our borders would be secured for years and years and years, with it not happening.”
When it comes to immigration, Brewer added that she thought the public – in Arizona and throughout the country – was not interested in discussing anything other than securing the borders.
“Let's take care of this issue of illegal immigration [by securing the borders]. Then we can sit down and be open and have good dialogue to discuss what it is that [Obama] would like to accomplish,” Brewer also told King.
In a prior appearance nearly two months ago on CNN’s John King, USA, Brewer defiantly said she would see Obama’s Justice Department in court when asked about the possibility that the federal government might challenge her state’s immigration law.
"We'll meet you in court," Brewer said at the time. "I have a pretty good record of winning in court."
Since then, Attorney General Eric Holder decided to challenge the law primarily on the grounds that it interferes with the federal government’s authority under the Constitution to control the borders and set foreign policy. The law is set to take effect Thursday and a federal court is expected to rule before then on requests that enforcement of the law be enjoined, a move that would effectively prevent the law from taking effect.
On the eve of the court’s highly anticipated decision, Brewer said the law was not discriminatory.
“[R]acial discrimination is illegal,” Brewer told King in her exclusive interview Tuesday. “It's illegal in the United States. It's illegal in Arizona. It has been and it will continue to be.”
She added, “I hope that it doesn't happen.”
While Brewer said Arizona’s law enforcement officers “are so well trained, they understand what America's all about,” she also said that anyone who engaged in discrimination while enforcing the new law “w[ould] be punished. And the people that are feeling that they're being racially discriminated against can, you know, pursue a legal relief through the courts.”