Rep. Charles Gonzalez and Gov. Jan Brewer on Immigration

Rep. Charles Gonzalez and Gov. Jan Brewer on Immigration

By John King, USA - June 25, 2012

KING: Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, she calls the Supreme Court decision -- quote -- "a victory." But is this just the beginning of more legal action against her state's controversial law? Governor Brewer joins us live now from Phoenix.

Governor, you called this a victory. The provision where the police can ask somebody if they have reasonable reason to believe they're in this country illegally remains in effect. Your state has a large and growing Latino population. As you know, many of them are afraid. They believe they will be profiled. How can you assure them they will not be?

BREWER: Well, first and foremost, let me begin by saying that it was a victory today. The court unanimously upheld the portion of that section, and that is a victory. It's a victory for the rule of law and it is a victory for the people of Arizona and for America and for the 10th Amendment. And I can assure you that we will uphold the law in every manner that we are mandated by.

We know that racial profiling is against the law. And we put that specifically into the rule and into the law. And we have instructed our law enforcement by training through AZ Post what it means, and that the people would have the right to sue those people if racial profiling is happening out there.

You know, our officers, our law enforcement officers uphold the law every day. And they have always been there to investigate when people commit crimes. And they don't profile. So it has nothing to do with racial profiling. It's about the rule of law.

KING: As you know, Governor, your relationship with the Obama administration has not been very good and I'm putting it mildly there. I want to read a little bit from what the president said today.

In a statement, the president said this: "No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans."

It's clear the president -- forgive me -- has some trust issues with your state. And just tonight, I think you just heard Jessica Yellin say the Justice Department says it is setting up a hot line. So if anyone in Arizona thinks their civil rights are being violated, thinks they are being racially profiled, they can call Washington and complain. I suspect you think your battle with the administration is just entering a new round?

BREWER: I do. I think this is another assault on the state of Arizona. It began with them downplaying our border problem and them not securing it. And then you know, suing the State of Arizona for trying to protect the people of Arizona and of America. Then doing backdoor amnesty. And now rescinding only Arizona's ability to use the 287G. Outrageous.

KING: Let me explain to people what --


KING: Forgive me for interrupting, Governor. I want to explain what 287G is. That is an agreement. Washington re-enters into agreements with state and local police departments and essentially says you can help us enforce federal immigration laws.

And the Justice Department today, after this decision, rescinded that agreement with your state. Again, their position, Governor, would be that they don't trust your state, that they see this law as somehow nefarious and that they believe they have to uphold the civil rights because they don't think you will.

How can you assure them that's not the case?

BREWER: Well, the bottom line is, is they took an oath. The president took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States of America and unanimously the Supreme Court ruled that Senate Bill 1070, the portion that deals with I.D., was upheld.

And immediately, three hours after the decision was made, then they arbitrarily single out Arizona and sent a bomb, if you will, across our bow and made Arizona once again a target. The people of America ought to be outraged. This is absolutely an assault.

KING: As you know, Governor, the court did not say -- the court did not say we like this section. What the court said is we don't know enough about this section. This is allowing the police to ask for documentation if they've stopped somebody for a traffic violation, stopped somebody for some offense and then have reason to believe the person might be illegally in the country.

What the court essentially said is go ahead and implement it and there may be other challenges that we can't judge it until we see it happen in practice. So I assume you know full well as you go forward implementing this, starting today, that the eyes of the country, the eyes of the courts and perhaps even the eyes of the world will still be on your state.

BREWER: We knew that this wasn't the end of our journey but we certainly didn't think it was going to end with the rescinding of the 287G program. And to single out Arizona by themselves is just simply an assault, because they know that they haven't done their job and we need our border secured. And you know, as far as I'm concerned, this is all politically motivated and it's unfortunate because if you can do this by fiat, what else can he do? It's out of control.

KING: You're declaring victory because that one enforcement provision was left in place. But three other contested parts were left out and the court essentially said, Governor, that there are lines and that in those three cases, the court said, you were crossing the line into what is the federal government's purview.

Do you accept that decision from the court now even though I suspect you disagree with it?

BREWER: We have always worked with the federal government in enforcing federal law. But the heart of the law the court upheld. And then the federal government, the president and Homeland Security, three hours after a unanimous vote, they selected to make Arizona a target and rescinded 287. You know, the people of America ought to be alarmed.

KING: Can you appeal that, Governor? Or are you essentially on your own now?

BREWER: Well, I guess what he's telling us is that Arizona, you're on your own. Take it or leave it. You know? I guess he doesn't think we're part of the country anymore.

KING: Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, we appreciate --

BREWER: Pretty outrageous.

KING: We appreciate your time tonight, Governor. I suspect this battle will continue. And as you know, as you implement this law, the federal government pretty much serving notice tonight it's going to keep an eye on your state. We appreciate your time on this important day. We'll see you soon, Governor. Thanks so much.

You have heard both sides claim victory in Arizona's immigration fight.

Up next, I will ask the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who he thinks won and what it means for our nation's immigrants.

Plus, Syria takes down one Turkish jet and reportedly takes aim at another. Now Turkey is asking NATO to do something about it.


KING: Well, who won the Supreme Court battle over Arizona's immigration law? Well, it in part depends on who you ask. Three key provisions were tossed out by the high court, but the justices did uphold the show-me-your-papers provision.

You just heard from the Republican governor of the state, Jan Brewer. Let's get the Democratic and Latino viewpoint from Congressman Charles Gonzalez. He is from Texas and chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Congressman, they did leave in place the show-me-your-papers provision. That is what was viewed as most controversial by most Latino activists. What is your sense of what that means going forward, not just in Arizona, but in other states that have similar provisions?

REP. CHARLES GONZALEZ (D), TEXAS: Well, if you think of who the winner was, I say it was the rule of law, the supreme law of the United States and that's the Constitution of the United States.

And it said no state is going to be above the Constitution. And I know the governor said people are thinking that Arizona is not part of this country. I think they were reminded today that they are, in fact, part of this country, that the Constitution does in fact apply to the state of Arizona, as well as other states that may want to venture where Arizona has been.

KING: But the court did say, sir -- the court threw out three provisions in which the court essentially said Arizona was trying to take steps through enforcement that belongs as a federal purview.

But in allowing this show-me-your-papers provision to go forward, they did say, let's see. They didn't say we're sure it's a great thing. They said we don't know enough about it. It has to be implemented. We have to watch to see whether it can be done in a way that doesn't violate the civil rights.

You heard the governor say there will not be racial profiling in my state.

Do you believe her?

GONZALEZ: Can't do it.

And the reason for that is that you know based on the color of the skin of the person that is stopped -- and it may be a pretext stop -- they're going to make some sort of reasonable suspicion here that this person is not here legally. What does that mean?

It probably means that person is going to be an Hispanic because that's the whole target of this particular law. It's going to be ethnic profiling on a grand scale. And Justice Roberts at the outset of oral argument in this case indicated -- he said this is not about profiling. That's for another day.

And that's what we're all going to end up. And my prediction is that the other shoe will drop and that this fourth provision will be ruled unconstitutional.

KING: I assume you mean there will be other legal challenges. And we will watch those as they play out. Governor Romney says this is all the president's fault and he says the president had two years with a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate. He could have had national immigration reform and he says this -- quote -- "because he didn't act, states and localities have tried to act and now the court is trying to get into it and sort things out and it's a muddle. It's a muddle because he failed to do what he said he would do."

Does the president share responsibility for this muddle, as Governor Romney says?

GONZALEZ: Governor Romney knows better.

And I think if you look at the history of comprehensive immigration reform, both under the George W. Bush administration and President Obama', sit has not been the Democrats in Congress that have pushed back. It has been the Republicans. So, I would think that if Governor Romney wishes to approach this issue in good faith, he would talk to members of his own party. Obviously, he's not doing that.

And to assign blame on this president when everything that has been stonewalled has been basically from the Republican opposition is ludicrous.

KING: What is your guess on the potential turnout, motivation impact? There were some people who thought if the law was upheld completely, it would greatly motivate the Latino community. Now that you have more of a mixed decision, what's your sense on the political impact?

GONZALEZ: And I apologize with the earpiece.

But the way I look at it is, of course it's going to energize the Latino communities. What people don't understand is they're saying why is immigration so important to Latinos? It impacts all Latinos. Not all Latinos are undocumented, obviously. Some were here before the founding of this nation. But we're all impacted by it.

How else do you explain in high school stadiums where you have students chanting Arizona, Arizona, or USA, USA, when a basketball team takes the court and it happened to be Latino students, American citizens from across the city?

This has a poisonous effect in our society. Yes, that generates interest and enthusiasm. Why wouldn't it if you're Latino?

KING: Congressman Gonzalez, appreciate your insights tonight, sir. We will stay in touch as this one plays out. Appreciate your joining us on this important day.

GONZALEZ: Thank you. Appreciate it.

KING: Thank you, sir. 

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