May 7th, 2010
05:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Arizona governor bucks senator's request over immigration law

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer requesting that hold off on implementing that state's controversial immigration bill."]Washington (CNN) - Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is rejecting a request from a top Senate Democrat to hold the state's controversial immigration bill for one year to give Congress time to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

In a letter dated Thursday and obtained by CNN, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, made the request to Brewer, a Republican.

Schumer, the Democrats' point man for immigration reform in the Senate, called Arizona's concerns about illegal immigration "legitimate security interests" and said he appreciates that Brewer "felt duty-bound to take action to address the security concerns in your state."

"But I simply do not believe the remedy Arizona has enacted will succeed in resolving the problem it is designed to address," Schumer wrote. He called the law, "wrong-hearted" and "likely unconstitutional." He also asked Brewer to call on Arizona's two GOP senators - John McCain and Jon Kyl - to "immediately begin discussions with me to enact" immigration reform.

On Friday, Brewer's office informed CNN of the governor's response.

"The governor is certainly grateful that Sen. Schumer has focused some attention on Arizona's border security plight," said Paul Senseman, Brewer's Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. But, Senseman continued, Brewer "is waiting for action on border security."

Attempting to highlight federal inaction on the matter, Senseman referred to a letter sent from border state governors, including Brewer, to Congressional leaders in April 2009. It called for more National Guard personnel to help local law enforcement agencies combat violence, crime and illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The governor has been waiting over a year," Senseman told CNN in reaction to Schumer's letter.

Critics have said the Arizona law, signed by Brewer last month, will lead to racial profiling. Supporters argue it will crack down on illegal immigration.

As originally passed, the bill would have allowed police to ask anyone for proof of legal U.S. residency, based solely on a police officer's suspicion. Brewer signed a bill to amend the law so that officers could check a person's status only if the person had been detained or arrested for another reason.

Brewer said the changes should ease concerns about racial profiling but opponents say the changes are not sufficient.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Jan Brewer
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    REG in AZ do you see the pattern here? Started with the king of the cons, ronald reagan, his policies have atributed directly to the "bubble economies" we no suffer through. There were no bubble economies before reaga, or at least not as bad.

    May 7, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. WOW

    Everyone here in AZ should see 9500Liberty, regarding this very same issue already done in Prince William County Virgina, a part of Northern Virginia and one of the highest-income counties in the United States. With the racial makeup in 2005 of 54.2% whites and 18.0% of Latinos. Again, everyone should see why this Virginia county repealed the same police mandate Arizona just passed. It is quite evident that the legislation did not see the big picture here nor had to the common sense to see the effect on the State as a whole. Since the only border Arizona borders is Mexico it is quite evident that "racial profiling" is certain, since me as American born Latino, now has to carry my passport to throw the trash. I hope Gov Brewer has her papers in order and that she would be subject to the same "reasonable suspicion" as possible legal hispanics.

    to end go see this very well make documentary, lastly to qoute John Grisham (author) "9500Liberty makes it clear that when we, as a nation of immigrantes, debate the immigration issue, we are defining our very identiy as Americans."

    May 7, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. Donnatella

    I think Schumer was out of line making a request like this, he does not live in Arizona, he has no idea what they are going thru, the governor down there had no choice, she did the right thing.

    May 7, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. No Incumbents 2010

    We are already spending billions of dollars on immigration enforcement. Our country is bankrupt. We cannot just throw money at the problem and blame all immigrants for drug smuggling which is caused by US citizens who consume drugs. Schumer is right that we need comprehensive reform with temporary work visas that require immigrants to return to their home countries and pay a fine.

    May 7, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. DorisV

    It is good to know that the bill has been ammended so that police officers don't have to stop "anyone who appears to be illegal". Live in NM, also a border state. Sure we have problems here but so does every state of the union. We need immigration reform. It needs to be done the same for all states. AZ is a mess for many reasons. Illegals are only one of the problems. Have a daughter and her family who live in Tucson, AZ. Her husband is a Tucson police officer.

    May 7, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Senator Schumer, she denied your request today but give it a year and ask her again. When the boycott bite her in the backside and AZ start losing a lot of revenue then she will come back and approve your request.

    May 7, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. lilian

    i am not american but african and i think you guys have to stand for the rule of law. illegal is illegal and i am surprised its a big deal. you shouldnt alllow other people who choose to live in the united states change your way of life, they have to obey your rules.
    it is also surprising that the politicians in washington are scare to enforce the law because of the latino votes....what about the other americans....dont their votes matter.

    May 7, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. ehwilson429

    who cares what senators want.

    the thing missing in their lives in an honest days work.
    SCHUMER attended Harvard for 7 years.
    went into elective office at age 23 and been there everyday.
    365/24/7 ever since. time for him to go away.

    use that law degree that you took up space for.

    May 7, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. Gerry NH

    Schumer didn't read teh 2409 page health care bill how in the world does anyone expect him or anyone else in congress to read the gigantic 18 page immigration bill the was written in Arizona. If he did read it he would find it simular the the federal immigration bill that congress will not enforce. He needs to replaced just like any other poitician with more than 12 years of dis-service to our country.

    May 7, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    It would be better if Schumer read the law first. Arizona is simply enforcing a federal law. Schumer is concerned about "proving citizenship: but is apparently fully on board with "proving health insurance".

    What a fool.

    May 7, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Rose

    I guess Schumer doesn't care that more Ranchers and border patrol agents may get killed during the year he was Gov. Brewer to wait. One dead U.S. citizen is one too many. I would invite Schumer to come and walk the streets alone on the border and see how he likes it. As an Arizona resident, I am pleased that Gov. Brewer told him "NO'

    May 7, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. Artie

    Schumer doesn't give a hoot about Arizona and its quandry! He just wants all those Latino votes! ( Pandering) And to the latinos ; If you think he cares about you I've got some ocean front property in Arizona for sale!

    May 7, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. valwayne

    Sen Schumer is a joke. The Federal Government has known this problem has been growing for a decade. We also know that if it was up to Obama and Sen Schumer over 10 million illegal aliens would be given citizenship tomorrow with another 20 million pouring in right behind them. The Democrats think their ticket to winning the next election in 2012 is buying votes by bribing illegals with citizenship. Arizona's law shows how silly, incompetent, and dishonest Obama and the Democrats in Congress have been and are being on this subject!!!

    May 7, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    The Unabomber was a white guy ...
    Timothy McVie was a white guy ...
    Joseph Stack (flew his plane into a Texas IRS building) was a white guy ...
    The members of the Hutaree Militia group (the supposed-Christians from Michigan who planned terrorist attacks against our country) are all white ...

    If we're looking for people who want to harm our country, shouldn't we be profiling white guys?!?

    May 7, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    If people weren't willing to break the law and undercut the American worker by hiring cheap, illegal labor, illegal aliens wouldn't come to our country.

    May 7, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. thomas

    Why are there more Maverick want to be crazy s in Arizona ?

    Cowboys and Retirees !
    Guns and Gulf clubs !

    This is a Foreign policy , Labor , Economic , law Enforcement issue !
    Until the USA and Mexico work together to bring stability and Law first.
    The Corruption and denial on both sides of the border will spread like cancer to all hard working honest people , American and Mexican.

    In the mean time , could the Pope please teach us how to use a condom !

    May 7, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |

    There's no sense in wasting time talking with any member of the GOP about anything, the answer is always the same, no. It's strictly politics with them.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    May 7, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. panchitovillajr

    I live a few hundred feet from the Mexican border. A vast majority of Arizonans want something done about illegal immigration. The problem is this law was driven by political motives and nothing else.
    The bill, as originally drafted, was nothing more than racial profiling disguised as immigration reform. A move designed to push Arizona back to the pre-civil rights days. It was a slap in the face to legal Hispanics, a punch that the Governor felt they would take quietly and sitting down. She was wrong on both counts.

    To compound matters, our US Senators hibernate for years at a time, only emerging from their sleep in time to get re-elected. As a result we have nothing to show for 20 years of loyalty to them. I think it's time for new blood. We need real reform not just more talk at election time.

    This law does nothing to curb drug cartel violence at the border. It doesn't provide money for drug enforcement or additional jail expenses for border counties. It doesn't provide more national guardsmen to support the Border Patrol.

    Arizona Senator Pearce says people who boycott Arizona are on the wrong side of the law, then promptly says he'll boycott Los Suns and their owner for siding against this anti-Hispanic law.

    Governor Brewer also lashed out at the Suns owner, claiming he's had four months to debate the bill. But if the law enacted was so perfect, why did they have to go back in so quickly and repeal the most damaging verbiage? Why are other states and cities also denouncing this law and boycotting Arizona, instead of siding with the aristocrats in the legislature?

    Today, Mother Nature announced she too will boycott Arizona by adding a little E-coli to Romaine lettuce grown in Arizona. Please do not eat Arizona grown produce.

    Dear Governor Brewer, please call the Governors of California, New Mexico and Texas and get a consensus on how to combat the escalating problem we're facing along the border. Send your plan to Washington with instructions to implement the detailed plan or else.

    We need help down here, but passing laws that effectively give life to apartheid in Arizona, just won't cut it. We need intelligent leadership in Arizona and luckily we have an election coming up in November that will allow us to bring some in.

    May 7, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    You have two families: "Joe Legal" and "Jose Illegal".

    Both families have two parents, two children and live in California . Joe Legal works in construction, has a Social Security Number and makes $25.00 per hour with taxes deducted. Jose Illegal also works in construction, has NO Social Security Number, And gets paid $15.00 cash "under the table".

    READY ?

    Now pay attention... Joe Legal: $25.00 per hour x 40 hours = $1000.00 per week, or $52,000.00 Per year. Now take 30% away for state and federal tax; Joe Legal now has $31,231.00.

    Jose Illegal: $15.00 per hour x 40 hours = $600.00 per week, or $31,200..00 per year. Jose Illegal pays no taxes. Jose Illegal now has $31,200.00.

    Joe Legal pays medical and dental insurance with limited coverage for His family at $600.00 per month, or $7,200.00 per year. Joe Legal now Has $24,031.00.

    jose Illegal has full medical and dental coverage through the state and Local clinics at a cost of $0.00 per year. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.00.

    Joe Legal makes too much money and is not eligible for food stamps or Welfare. Joe Legal pays $500.00 per month for food, or $6,000.00 per year. Joe Legal now has $18,031.00.

    Jose Illegal has no documented income and is eligible for food stamps and welfare. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.00.

    Joe Legal pays rent of $1,200.00 per month, or $14,400.00 per year. Joe Legal now has $9,631.00.

    Jose Illegal receives a $500.00 per month federal rent subsidy. Jose Illegal pays out that $500.00 per month, or $6,000.00 per year. Jose Illegal still has $ 31,200.00.

    Joe Legal pays $200.00 per month, or $2,400.00 for insurance. Joe Legal Now has $7,231.00.

    Jose Illegal says, "We don't need no stinkin' insurance!" and still has $31,200.00.

    Joe Legal has to make his $7,231.00 stretch to pay utilities, gasoline, etc.

    Jose Illegal has to make his $31,200.00 stretch to pay utilities, Gasoline, and what he sends out of the country every month.

    Joe Legal now works overtime on Saturdays or gets a part time job after work. Jose Illegal has nights and weekends off to enjoy with his family.

    Joe Legal's and Jose Illegal's children both attend the same school. Joe Legal pays for his children's lunches while Jose Illegal's children get a government sponsored lunch.. Jose Illegal's children have an after School ESL program.

    Joe Legal's children go home.

    Joe Legal and Jose Illegal both enjoy the same police and fire services, But Joe paid for them and Jose did not pay. Do you get it, now? If you vote for or support any politician that supports illegal aliens...You are part of the problem!

    May 7, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. Harvey Migdal

    A suggested letter from Governor Brewer responding to that of Senator Charles E. Schumer
    Chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees

    Dear Senator Schumer:

    Thank you for your kind letter of May 6 regarding the nation’s immigration reform ills. I am truly heartened by your interest in moving forward with this vital concern to so many Americans. It is clear that pressure to resolve this situation has been building for quite some time. I am sure that is why our President confirmed his intent to show results on that front in his first year of office. Certainly, the President’s plate was extremely full during that first year. Moreover, the way forward has been impeded with partisan rancor about not only this issue but other aspects of the his agenda.

    It was in that light that the people of my state felt the need to move forward. I am sure you must be familiar with the brutal drug trafficking related slaying of a well liked southern Arizona rancher as well as our moniker as the kidnap capital of the United States. You can understand this is not a situation our citizens are proud of. In that regard, they are disturbed that the border remains porous, with criminal elements crossing freely.

    As noted, it was under these circumstances that we acted. I would like nothing better than to advise my constituency that federal legislation, including border security, is on the horizon. However, given Washington’s record of inaction and with SB 1070 on the books to address this problem, I will have difficulty persuading the patriotic citizens of Arizona to forego enforcement. Particularly, with no more than your good faith commitment to work for the enactment of future federal legislation. I must note, in that regard, that the prior administration had proposed legislation, which I believe was similar to what you are proposing, which legislation failed.

    Unfortunately, we are not in a position to have that happen again without more than your committed effort. Arizonans, having been the brunt of vitriolic attacks on everything from their patriotism to their alleged xenophobism, have hunkered down. They will now expect some greater commitment to resolve this problem.

    May I suggest the administration begin the process by passing legislation immediately to designate funding for additional border security. May I respectfully suggest that funding potentially come from unspent Stimulus Act monies. What could be more current, immediate and stimulative than such expenditures. Under circumstances where Arizonans see real progress such as that suggested, I could in good faith ask the legislature for the enforcement delay which you are requesting.

    We would also ask for your support in pursuing some form of declaratory relief action in the federal courts to clarify the validity of SB 1070. This would further show our citizenry that we will be prepared to go forward with enforcement, should your legislative efforts fail to yield the desired results.


    Governor Jan Brewer

    May 7, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. Cynthia

    There are ways to deal with the immigration mess that was allowed under the BUSH administration. I live in the most Mexican populated town in Arkansas. Big business wanted CHEAP LABOR. That's what started this. We used to have border parol before Bush and we only had a few Hispanics. I never saw them once, and now our town is completely taken over. They are here now. They own homes, cars, have bank loans. These banks would fail if they were all "rounded up". I am sad that this country has become so mean-spirited. These are people looking for a better life. If the employers had of been fined from the start this never would have happened. I worked the census 10 years ago. We had a few Hispanic neighborhoods and I took those. Now there is NO neighborhood that isn't Hispanic. This didn't just happen overnight and it has to be fixed in a responsible manner.

    May 7, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. honestmistake

    Sounds like Schumer just want Brewer to trust him. He wasn't giving her anything. Why didn't he get Obama to commit to the troops she asked for on the border than ask her to wait on the law. Plus, getting border closed would make starting national reform possible.

    May 7, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. Colonelphoenix

    The person who signed on as "Lets expose the Limbaugh Staff" appears to suffer from the same malady as those who forgot how the 9/11 folks were able to enter the country. What the Governor has finally done is not only facilitate compliance with Federal Law but to demonstrate the Constitutional guarantees our predecessors sought when writing both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to define and limit the Big Brother Federal Government from taking every liberty and dollar away. In nice politically correct terms, "Lets expose the Limbaugh Staff" should seek medical attention at taxpayers expense at the nearest mental health facility. Self-admissions are quite easy.

    May 7, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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