Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) believes the federal government is neglecting her state’s needs for border security resources.
Brewer, a longtime border security hawk, said in an interview with ABC News released on Monday that states like Texas and California have more fencing, electronic surveillance and boots-on-the-ground than Arizona.
“We don’t understand why the federal government will do that for other states, but they refuse to do it in Arizona,” Brewer told Jim Avila of ABC News. “I am not going to sit back and be the governor of the state of Arizona and not make a position for Arizona to the federal government that our border needs to be secured. It’s as simple as that. And why don’t they do it?”
This is not the first time that Brewer — who famously wagged her finger at President Barack Obama on an airport tarmac last year — has expressed her discontent with the federal government over border security. In February, after touring the Arizona-Mexico border in a Black Hawk helicopter, Brewer said that Afghanistan’s borders were safer, according to the Associated Press.
Brewer’s recent comments come as the Senate prepares to debate a comprehensive immigration reform package. Leading the effort is the Senate’s so-called gang of eight, a bipartisan group that includes both senators from Arizona. Their proposed bill, released last week, pledges more resources for border security, but has raised eyebrows on the right.
“If they were to call me today, I would say our border is not secure, and I would not be in a position to support their measure,” Brewer said in her interview with ABC News.
When pressed to define a “secure border,” Brewer said it depended on the perception of border residents. “I think that we would be able to say that if we had a secure border, if the people that lived down there — the ranchers and their families — would tell us the border is secure.”
With a budget of $18 billion a year, the federal government already spends more money on border security than it does on all the other central law enforcement agencies combined.
The Template: California Proposition 187 (1994)
California’s Proposition 187 was submitted to the voters with the full support of then Republican governor Pete Wilson. It essentially blamed undocumented immigrants for the poor performance of the state economy in the early 1990s. The law called for cutting off benefits to undocumented immigrants: prohibiting their access to health care, public education, and other social services in California. It also required state authorities to report anyone who they suspected was undocumented.
strongStatus:/strong The law passed with the support of 55 percent of the voters in 1994 but declared unconstitutional 1997. The law was killed in 1999 when a new governor, Democrat Gray Davis, refused to appeal a judicial decision that struck down most of the law. Even though short-lived, the legislation paved the way for harsher immigration laws to come. On the other hand, the strong reaction from the Hispanic community and immigration advocates propelled a drive for naturalization of legal residents and created as many as one million new voters.
The Worst: Arizona SB 1070
The Arizona Act made it a misdemeanor for an undocumented immigrant to be within the state lines of Arizona without legal documents allowing their presence in the U.S. This law has been widely criticized as xenophobic and for encouraging racial profiling. It requires state authorities to inquire about an individual’s immigration status during an arrest when there is “reasonable suspicion” that the individual is undocumented. The law would allow police to detain anyone who they believe was in the country illegally.
strongStatus:/strong The law was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010. But it has generated a swirl of controversy and questions about its constitutionality. A federal judge issued a ruling that blocked what critics saw as some of the law’s harshest provisions.
House: 35-31 (4/12/2011)
Following Arizona’s Footsteps: Georgia HB 87
The controversy over Arizona’s immigration law was followed by heated debate over Georgia’s own law. HB 87 required government agencies and private companies to check the immigration status of applicants. This law also limited some government benefits to people who could prove their legal status.
strongStatus:/strong Although a federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the law considered too extreme, it went into effect on July 1st. 2011.
Verifying Authorized Workers: Pennsylvania HB 1502
This bill, which was approved in 2010, bans contractors and subcontractors employ undocumented workers from having state construction contracts. The bill also protects employees who report construction sites that hire illegal workers. To ensure that contractors hire legal workers, the law requires employers to use the identification verification system E-verify, based on a compilation of legally issued Social Security numbers.
strongStatus:/strong Approved on June 8th 2010.
House: 188-6 (07/08/2010)
a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/” target=”_hplink”Flickr photo by DonkeyHotey/a
A Spin Off of Arizona: Utah HB 497
Many states tried to emulate Arizona’s SB 1070 law. However, most state legislatures voted against the proposals. Utah’s legislature managed to approve an immigration law based on a different argument. Taking into consideration the criticism of racial profiling in Arizona, Utah required ID cards for “guest workers” and their families. In order to get such a card workers must pay a fee and have clean records. The fees go up to $2,500 for immigrants who entered the country illegally and $1,000 for immigrants who entered the country legally but were not complying with federal immigration law, a href=”http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/06/nation/la-na-illegal-immigration-20110306″ target=”_hplink”according to the LA Times./a
strongStatus: /strong Law went into effect on 03/15/2011
House: 59-15 (03/04/2011)
Senate: 22-5 (03/04/2011)
The Most Comprehensive: Florida HB-1C
Florida’s immigration law prohibits any restrictions on the enforcement of federal immigration law. It makes it unlawful for undocumented immigrants within the state to apply for work or work as an independent contractor. It forbids employers from hiring immigrants if they are aware of their illegal status and requires work applicants to go through the E-verify system in order to check their Social Security number.
strongStatus: /strongeffective since October 1st, 2010
The Hot Seat: Alabama HB 56
The new immigration law in Alabama is considered the toughest in the land, even harder than Arizona’s SB 1070.
It prohibits law enforcement officers from releasing an arrested person before his or her immigration status is determined. It does not allow undocumented immigrants to receive any state benefit, and prohibits them from enrolling in public colleges, applying for work or soliciting work in a public space. The law also prohibits landlords from renting property to undocumented immigrants, and employers from hiring them. It requires residents to prove they are citizens before they become eligible to vote. The law asked every school in the state to submit an annual report with the number of presumed undocumented students, but this part, along with others, were suspended by federal courts.
strongStatus:/strong Approved June 2nd, 2011
House: 73-28 (04/05/2011)
Senate: 23-11 (05/05/2011)
a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/longislandwins/” target=”_hplink”Flickr photo by longislandwins/a