July 27th, 2010
09:27 PM ET
11 years ago

Brewer to Obama: 'Everything's off the table' til borders secure

(CNN) – On the eve of an expected court ruling on the federal government’s challenge to her state’s controversial immigration law, the governor of Arizona is continuing her confrontational stance toward the Obama administration.

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."

Related: We'll see you in court, Brewer tells Obama

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.”

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • issues • Jan Brewer • JKUSA • John King USA • President Obama
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. anthony

    The president does not need her help on immigration reform. The Constitution gives Congress complete authority on immigration, and only Congress can enact immigration laws. Unless she works in Congress, she has no votes. If Republicans in Congress want the border secure, they should tell us how it can be done. Propose a legislation. Do we hire hundreds of thousands of border patrol agents? We have 17,000 border patrol agents on the U.S.-Mexico border, which is already an all-time high. Do we increase the size of our armed forces, and put them on the border, since many of our troops are tied up abroad? Do we construct our own "Berlin Wall"?

    July 28, 2010 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  2. Andy

    Governor Brewer, I am with you!
    Thanks for protect American land!

    July 28, 2010 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  3. Fed Up

    Amen! She needs to run for President so we can have someone strong on defense. This President is so worried about the voters that come across the border, that he is ineffective. Good excuse anyway.

    July 28, 2010 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  4. GI Joe

    She says it's been this way for years and years and years . . . .

    Then why the big fuss when it's time for HER election? Maybe she should do her job and fine and arrest the employers that are luring them to Arizona. Maybe she's a failed governor before the election even takes place. She sure is an arrogant ugly old bitc.......

    July 28, 2010 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  5. vwrtb

    Go after the businesses hiring them! Idiots!

    July 28, 2010 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  6. Gymo

    Gov. Brewer is about to have a big problem with the Arizona business community as they are losing their Hispanic purchasing base, there is a mass migration from Arizona now, ahead of the law's implementation.

    The good Governor is about to have a huge erosion of her State tax base, thus tax increase/job cuts will follow.

    July 28, 2010 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  7. Fernando

    She must stop spreading hatred and Congress should start working on a humane and comprehensive immigration reform. May God deliver us from treating his children like criminals,

    July 28, 2010 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  8. Grover Liese

    Stop hiring them, and they will not come.

    July 28, 2010 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  9. AZ is right on this

    Sad to see the president and his staff attacking Arizona. It's good to see that AZ is fighting back against their nonsense. Breaking the law is breaking the law.

    Anyone that thinks that the law is racist, hasn't read the law and is ignorant of what it is like living abroad. I had my ID checked while living in Europe several times. No biggie because I was obeying the law.

    July 28, 2010 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  10. Dixon

    This is all politics and has nothing to do with securing our borders.

    July 28, 2010 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  11. sb

    It would be interesting to know Brewer's definition of a secure border, a wall that no one can climb?? They'd tunnel under it. The Russians were never able to totally secure their border between East and West Germany even with the Berlin Wall and all the barbed wire and soldiers stationed along it. There were always people who risked their lives and found ways to escape into the western sector. To us they were heroes. It depends on your perspective, and I don't think we want a border like the Berlin Wall. I crossed that border several times to visit E. Berlin always with a certain amount of fear. This is America. Is that the kind of nation we want to become???

    July 28, 2010 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  12. George of the jungle

    now that the blow hard has said all this crap to ensure her votes how about we try and work togeather for comprehensive reform ?

    July 28, 2010 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  13. Robert Blair

    I will apologize in advamce, for it is possible that i lack the full education required to make valid statements on this matter. Even so i believe this to be a rather simple matter. an illegal immigrant has obviously broken the law of the united states of america. Empowering local law enforcement to enforce the laws of the united states(federal or otherwise) sounds very reasonable to me and many others. Yes, maybe there will have to be adjustments later on to reduce state to state confusion, but for now i believe that the federal government is hindering Arizonas ability to defend itself. The federal government was formed to address issues that the states could not address themselves. I am saddened by the apparent shift in structure.

    July 28, 2010 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  14. Don Wuerl

    This job of securing the border is one thing that needs to be done; however, thanks to Obama's predecessor, we are fighting two wars. I do remember President Obama authorizing you to send National Guard troops; are you going to send them?
    Honestly, I don't see how AZ law enforcement officials can possibly do their job enforcing SB1070 without violating someone's civil rights. Here's an idea: treat people with respect and dignity as required of being a human being!

    July 28, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
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