PHOENIX — A call Thursday by President Obama on the Republican-controlled House to approve immigration reform this year is getting a decidedly cool reception from Gov. Jan Brewer.
In remarks at the White House, the president said dealing with the issue is good for both the economy and national security.
“It's good for our people and we should do it this year,” he said.
Obama has thrown support behind the plan approved earlier this year by the U.S. Senate. It contains a variety of provisions ranging from bringing in more temporary workers and requirements for employers to verify the status of those they hire to a path to legal status for those already in the country illegally.
There also are requirements for more border security.
But Brewer said Thursday that's hardly enough. And she said the rest of it does not matter because Obama — and she blames him specifically — has not yet secured the border.
“The American people, the public, the citizens, the people that are certainly affected on a daily basis by it, understand that we have an issue that we need to find a solution to,” she said.
“But it's not going to be found until he realizes that our borders have got to be secured,” the governor continued. “He needs to do it. It's his job.”
Brewer was undeterred by the fact that Arizona's two Republican senators not only voted for the measure, but cosponsored it as well.
“I was glad that there was some movement and something that came to the forefront with the hopes that border security would be on the front end of that,” the governor said of the legislation with the names of John McCain and Jeff Flake. she said that, in the end, “border security was not on the front end of that.”
Brewer questioned whether those who supported the measure actually understand what their constituents want.
“We can shout it from the rooftops, we can shout it from the valleys,” she said.
“But somebody better listen,” Brewer continued. “Because I don't believe that anything's going to be accomplished until our borders are secured.”
The governor has repeatedly said her security-first stance is based on watching what happened in 1986, when Congress and President Ronald Reagan’s administration approved what was billed at the time as a comprehensive solution to the issue of illegal immigration. That legislation entitled about 3 million to gain U.S. citizenship at the time.
But Brewer said the border never was secured, with the result that millions have crossed illegally since or have overstayed their visas.