Brewer wants Obama to detail administration's efforts to secure border - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Brewer wants Obama to detail administration's efforts to secure border

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Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 3:07 pm

Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday she will deliver a three-word answer Thursday when the president details all his administration is doing to secure the border: It's not working.

Brewer said she believes a "sit-down, face-to-face conversation about securing our border" with Obama will produce results.

"We haven't had that opportunity," the governor told Capitol Media Services ahead of today's scheduled meeting at the White House.

The governor said she specifically wants details from Obama about his latest plans for improving border security. That includes her questions about how many of the 1,200 National Guard soldiers he plans to deploy to the Southwest will be put in Arizona and how he plans to use an additional $500 million he wants Congress to approve.

But that's not all. She wants to know if Obama plans to complete fencing along the border and whether there will be additional aerial support.

"If not, then I want to give him my proposal," Brewer said. "And that includes all of those things."

The administration has responded to criticism of its border security efforts by providing a list of everything that has changed since Obama took office more than a year ago. That includes more Border Patrol agents, intelligence analysts and equipment.

And the White House said the president wants to provide those details to the governor.

"It isn't enough," Brewer said in response. "It's not working."

She said about 1,000 people cross into Arizona illegally from Mexico each day.

"We are paying the price for the illegal activity, we're paying the price for the incarceration, we're paying the price for the education, we're paying the price for the health care," the governor said. "People don't feel safe in their houses. We cannot continue down that path."

The Department of Homeland Security, asked for a response, said the statistics show there is less crime in border communities while the number of arrests and seizures of illegal drugs are up.

Brewer said she and state officials are willing to work with Obama to secure the border.

"But we need the federal government's help," she said. "It's their responsibility."

Brewer and Obama also are likely to discuss her decision to sign SB 1070 which creates new obligations on police to check for illegal immigrants and makes being in this country illegally a violation of state law.

Obama has been critical of Arizona enacting its own immigration laws. But he also has conceded that the federal government has failed in its responsibilities to secure the border - precisely the reason Brewer said she felt Arizona needed to act on its own.

But the governor said that she's not willing to make SB 1070 a negotiating chit with the president, or even to ask lawmakers to delay its implementation to give Obama time to show that he has an effective plan to secure the border.

"We have waited and we have looked for help and we have searched for help with no response, not only with this administration but with the prior administration," Brewer said.

Anyway, the governor said she sees SB 1070 as a move "to help the federal government do their job." She said the state laws on illegal immigration simply mirror what is in federal law.

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