President Obama is sending a top-level official and delegation to Arizona on Monday to tell Gov. Jan Brewer and others what his administration is doing to secure the border.
John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, will lead the meeting with the governor, White House spokes-man Adam Abrams said Friday. He said Brennan and others will hold other meetings during their visit, both in Phoenix and Tucson, "to brief key state officials about the unprecedented resources and efforts devoted by this administration to secure our Southwest border."
But it's unlikely Brewer will get something she added recently to her list of requests: an answer to the question of whether the administration intends to sue the state over SB 1070. And she may not even be told anything she does not already know.
Brewer got Obama to commit to the briefing during her June 3 face-to-face visit with him in the Oval Office.
The governor went to Washington to complain about what she said is the failure of the federal government to secure the border. The White House, after the meeting, released a statement acknowledging the "understandable frustration that all Americans share about the broken immigration system."
What Brewer said she was promised are details about how many of the 1,200 National Guard soldiers the president has promised to deploy to the Southwest border will end up in Arizona. The governor said the president told her a "majority" of the troops will be based in the state, though there has been no official announcement.
Brewer also wanted details of the president's plans to spend an extra $500 million he wants from Congress for border security. That information was made public earlier this week with the administration's request for 1,000 new Border Patrol officers along with additional people from other related federal agencies.
But the governor added a new wrinkle Friday.
Taping a Phoenix TV interview to air Sunday morning, Brewer said Friday she hopes the delegation also will give her a firm answer on whether the administration intends to challenge the state's tough new law aimed at illegal immigrants.
She has been told the team will include someone from the U.S. Department of Justice, the agency charged by Obama with determining whether the law illegally infringes on the right of the federal government to set immigration policy, she said.
Brewer reacted angrily last week to a TV interview Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton conducted in Ecuador, where she said the decision already has been made to challenge the law, with only the details to be worked out.
"I would like to hear it personally from them," Brewer said Friday. "If they are (intending to sue), they should notify my office."
But nothing that came out of the June 3 meeting, from either Brewer or Obama, suggested the briefing the president promised the governor would touch on the subject of the possible lawsuit. The White House responded to inquiries on Friday only with information on how Brennan and his team will provide Brewer with specifics on border-security efforts.
Aside from possible details on Guard deployments, Brennan and his team are expected to tell Brewer what already is being done. But anything they say is unlikely to satisfy the governor who, according to press aide Paul Senseman, wants more.
"We hope it will be a significantly larger commitment, since efforts to date, accordingly to both Republican and Democratic elected officials in Arizona, have failed," Senseman said.