Phoenix, AZ – At a late afternoon press conference, the governor spent much of
her time railing against the federal government -- and the Obama
administration in particular -- for failing to do its job.
(Make no mistake: The responsibility to ensure that we have an
orderly, secure border, not some imaginary line in the dirt or a
rickety fence, belongs to the federal government. And they have
failed. And we in Arizona have far too long paid the price of
Her plan includes asking the president to fund an additional 250
National Guard troops along the border to help support law
enforcement there. She also wants the administration to provide
additional surveillance, pilots and helicopters for the state
guard. She isn't optimistic.
(The Obama administration and his directors, they have simply
turned a blind eye to the issues that Arizona is being overrun by
illegal immigration, terrorizing the state of Arizona.)
With little sign of help from Washington, the governor said the
state is going to have to step up.
(No matter the cost, no matter the sacrifice, we cannot shirk
government's principal responsibilities to the citizens we serve
to provide safety and security,)
But Brewer, citing the condition of the budget, said there
actually is only so much the state can do on its own. One change
will move around how the state uses federal funding it already
gets for its Joint Counter Narco-Terrorism Task Force. Hugo
Salazar, the adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard, said
shifting those dollars from existing duties would allow for
soldiers to spend more time doing surveillance. But Salazar said
they won't be out chasing down illegal immigrants.
(The one thing I need to emphasize is that military uniformed
personnel are not law enforcement officers. Our mission according
to our JCNTF regulation and the federal funding we receive.)
The governor also asked Salazar to have Guard units conduct more
of their required annual training in Southern Arizona. That,
however, may not occur. Salazar said there are some -- quote --
legal aspects -- unquote -- that need to be worked out. The other
part of her plan sets aside $10 million in federal stimulus
dollars to provide grants to local and tribal police agencies to
propose ways they can assist border security efforts. She also
directed the state Department of Public Safety to come up with
plans to help border counties if they seek assistance. Brewer's
announcement comes as she is weighing whether to sign legislation
aimed at giving police more power to stop and arrest illegal
immigrants. One provision requires police officers, when
practical, to ask people they contact whether they are in this
country legally. Brewer deflected a question of whether the
legislation would promote racial profiling.
(You know, I think we all should be concerned about racial
profiling. It's illegal.)
There have been daily demonstrations at the Capitol since Brewer
got the measure early this week. There also have been a series of
press conference by various groups urging the governor to veto
the measure, including one Thursday by some ministers, priests
and a rabbi. Brewer told Arizona Public Radio it's possible they
just don't understand what's in the legislation.
(I think that there's been a lot of misrepresentation a bit on
some of the issues. You listen to one media outlet and you listen
to another. It's conflicting, you know. So it's difficult to
understand. That's why we're going over it with a very fine tooth
and do what is right for the people of Arizona.)
But Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson said that's not the case.
(I think we have reviewed this bill in all of its modifications.
Certainly, helpful modifications have been put into the bill. But
the bill, as a whole, still today, it is on her desk, is not a
bill that is going to benefit Arizona.)
The governor must act today or tomorrow on the measure. For
Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.