Interview with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

Interview with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

By On the Record - April 28, 2010

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, in her first national television interview since all hell broke loose, Arizona Governor Brewer is here to go "On the Record."

But first, pay very close attention to this!


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-NY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to toughen border security. We're going to do everything we can to make sure that we have strong border controls because it's not only a question about illegal immigration, it's a question about our security. We have to know who's coming in and out of our country.

RUDY GIULIANI, R-NY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people are angry that the federal government has failed to protect and secure our borders. And they're telling us, Get it done! And we will!

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, R-CALIF.: ... secure our borders, while at the same time recognize the economic and social reality by providing guest worker programs and giving everyone citizenship who is already in the country and meet a certain criteria.

MITT ROMNEY, R-MASS., FORMER GOVERNOR/PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course we need to secure the border. We need to have an employment verification system with a card to identify who's here legally and not legally.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL., THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I will make it a top priority in my first year as president not only because we have an obligation to secure our borders and get control of who comes in and out our country, not only because we have to crack down on employers who are abusing undocumented immigrants instead of hiring citizens, but because we have to finally bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.


VAN SUSTEREN: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joins us right now. Governor, I don't know if you heard the mayor and the governor, the secretary of state when she was running for office, I think that was, and President Obama when he was running. Does Arizona feel abandoned by the sort of national leaders on this issue of immigration?

GOV. JAN BREWER, R - ARIZ.: Well, we do, Greta. You know, we have been fighting this issue, this problem that's facing Arizona probably for the last 15 years. And now, since I've been governor since last January, I have written numerous letters to the administration in regards to securing our borders with absolutely no response.

So we have been facing this crisis, and it's devastating the people of Arizona. And I feel as governor I have a responsibility to protect the citizens. We've been inundated with criminal activity. It's just -- it's been outrageous.

VAN SUSTEREN: Last night, we played a sound bite going back to President Clinton, and also -- we didn't play a sound bite from President Reagan, but even President Reagan talked about strengthening the borders, and it still hasn't been done. They haven't been secured. Why do you think everybody talks about it but it hasn't been done?

BREWER: Well, I have no idea. It's very, very frustrating. And Arizona is, of course, catching the brunt of it all. It is unfortunate because it is illegal. It is their federal responsibility to secure our borders. And you know, it's not just illegal immigration. Terrorists can come across. They're devastating our ranchers down in southern Arizona -- drop houses, kidnapping, automobile accidents, extortion, drugs, the spill-over with the drug cartels. We're facing all of it.

And we're not going to put up with it any longer. And I hope that now we've got Senate bill 1070 signed and ready to go into law that we'll get somebody's attention. But it is the federal government's responsibility to secure our borders. Our states cannot sustain it.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I don't know whether a court will declare a portion or all of your statute unconstitutional (INAUDIBLE) you know, there's one particular part of the statute that has certainly caught many people's eyes. But the PPresident of the United States, President Obama, has described it as "misguided." What's your reaction to the president's description?

BREWER: Well, you know, he has a right to say whatever he wants to say. But "misguided" -- I think he's wrong. We have a responsibility -- I have a responsibility to the people of Arizona. And I'm sure he's concerned because of the brouhaha and over-dramatic comments about racial profiling. I made perfectly clear when I signed the bill that we would not tolerate racial profiling. It's illegal.

And in an effort to alleviate everybody's concerns about that, I put out an executive order that AZ POST (ph), the Police Officer Standards and Training Commission, would set the standards of what the designations in the law would mean. You know, so we're not going to have racial profiling. We're going to mirror the federal government's law. That's all that we have done. And our law is exactly like the federal law. And if the feds won't come in and protect us, then we will come forward and protect ourselves.

We have no other choice. We have -- we have -- we have a right, Greta, to feel free in our state and to feel safe. And with what's going on, we have many, many people that feel that they are not safe.

VAN SUSTEREN: What -- what -- it's sort of an odd twist of fate, the former governor of Arizona is now our Homeland Security cabinet officer, Janet Napolitano. Have you picked up the phone to her and said, Hey, remember this problem? What can you do to help us down here in Arizona?

BREWER: No, I have not picked up the telephone. I have written her a letter, of course, and I've seen -- I saw her at a meeting. But she obviously is turning a blind eye to Arizona. She understands what the situation is. She wrote numerous letters when she was governor to the administration, looking for help and some relief.

And for her to make the comment that she made that the borders are, what was it, that the borders just as secure -- are more secure than they have ever been -- well, they've never been secure. We are a gateway for every illegal immigration and criminal element into the United States.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think she believes that, or is that political, her statement? I mean, have things changed dramatically since she was governor (INAUDIBLE) Do you think she truly believes the borders have gotten stronger down in Arizona? Or why would she make that statement, in your opinion?

BREWER: Well, I think they don't want to address it, you know, probably politically. I believe that they want the multitudes (ph). We know politically that registration, voting numbers tend to lean towards a Democratic edge probably more than they do Republicans. And for whatever the reasons, they certainly do not address the issue in Arizona.

And it is very, very frustrating. It's interesting, you know, 70 percent of the people not only in Arizona, but 70 percent of the people throughout the United States agree that they have the responsibility to secure our borders. And you know, they've been saying it for years now that they're going to secure the borders, they're going to secure the borders, and no one secures the borders. And we live with it day in and day out, and we're not going to tolerate it anymore.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the calls for a boycotts? There have been some cities that have suggested there (ph) be (ph) a boycott. We're going to have a member of the Los Angeles City Council on in a moment who is going to seek a boycott of LA official business from your state. What do you say to the people on boycotts?

BREWER: Well, I think that's really unfortunate that they come forward and talk about boycotting the state of Arizona for wanting the law to be upheld. The bottom line is that when they call for boycotts, then they're hurting everybody here that is legal, the citizens of Arizona. So it's an unfortunate situation.

But I will tell you, people won't want to come to Arizona if we don't have a border security measure put into place because they want to travel through Arizona, they want to bring businesses to Arizona, they want to be safe.

And it's illegal. I mean, that's the whole question. It's illegal to cross the border without having papers. And we have over a thousand illegal immigrants coming across the border a day. And of those that are apprehended, 87 percent of them have criminal records. So they're using up our school dollars. They're using up our hospital dollars. They're using up our court dollars. And they're using up our incarceration dollars.

And the feds don't even respond with the SCAT (ph) dollars, which they're also again responsible to pay for the incarceration of these people. Arizona cannot afford to take care of these people. They're illegal. They -- you know, we need to secure the borders and then we need to address some kind of immigration reform. And I don't support amnesty, but we need to address the issue of how we're going to be able to keep the commerce open between Mexico. Mexico is our largest trade partner here in the state, and so we want to have a good commerce relation. But we can't sustain the illegal activity and the services that they demand.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you -- is it your -- let me ask you a situation. I'm trying to understand, you know, the breadth of your statute a little bit. I've read it, but I want to try to understand the interpretation. If someone is standing on a street corner, not doing anything sinister, anything suspicious, just standing there, under your statute, may a police officer come up and say, Produce proof that you have a green card or that you're a citizen? Can they just come up and demand that information?

BREWER: No, absolutely not. There has to be reasonable suspicion, you know, probable cause. It's very clear. The hysteria and the misinformation that has been put out has just been alarming, to say the least. Certainly, if there's reasonable suspicion, just like currently, they would ask for identification. And it is a federal law, of course, to -- if you're an immigrant, you're to carry your documentation with you. If you don't have it and if you are arrested, then you will have to prove that you are a citizen. And if you're not, you will be deported.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about -- any other governors call you up and say, you know, dumb idea, great idea? Any other governors standing by you? Or even opposing you?

BREWER: Well, you know, I spoke to Governor Schwarzenegger today, and I have a call in to Governor Perry. I spoke with Governor Richardson because we are the border governors.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did Richardson -- what did Richardson and Schwarzenegger have -- those governors have to say about it?

BREWER: Well, certainly, Governor Schwarzenegger understands the frustration that we have with the federal government. You know, it seems like they just never do the job that they're supposed to do. And all of us have been impacted with the illegal immigration and not having the borders secured and...

VAN SUSTEREN: And Governor Richardson?

BREWER: ... giving us the drug cartels -- Governor Richardson called and we had a nice conversation. I think he had a little bit of hesitation, but he understands the issue that we're facing, certainly.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does he support...

BREWER: I mean, anybody that would come to...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does he support...

BREWER: Anybody would...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does Governor Richardson support you in this?

BREWER: I don't know. You'd have to ask him.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, then, we will. And of course, this issue certainly is not going away. Governor, I hope you'll come back as we continue to follow this story. Thank you, Governor.

BREWER: Thank you, Greta.


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