PHOENIX — A call Thursday by President Obama for the Republican-controlled House to approve immigration reform this year is getting a decidedly cool reception from Gov. Jan Brewer.
In remarks at the White House, the president said dealing with the issue is good for both the economy and national security.
“It’s good for our people and we should do it this year,” he said.
Obama has thrown support behind the plan approved earlier this year by the U.S. Senate. It contains a variety of provisions ranging from bringing in more temporary workers and requirements for employers to verify the status of those they hire to a path to legal status for those already in the country illegally.
There are requirements for more border security.
But Brewer said Thursday that’s hardly enough. And she said the rest of it does not matter because Obama — and she blames him specifically — has not yet secured the border.
“The American people, the public, the citizens, the people that are certainly affected on a daily basis by it, understand that we have an issue that we need to find a solution to,” she said.
“But it’s not going to be found until he realizes that our borders have got to be secured,” the governor said. “He needs to do it. It’s his job.’’
Brewer was undeterred by the fact Arizona’s two Republican senators not only voted for the measure but were co-sponsors.
“I was glad that there was some movement and something that came to the forefront with the hopes that border security would be on the front end of that,” the governor said of the legislation backed by John McCain and Jeff Flake. But she said in the end, “border security was not on the front end of that.”
Brewer questioned whether those who supported the measure understand what their constituents want.
“We can shout it from the rooftops, we can shout it from the valleys,” she said.
“But somebody better listen,” Brewer continued. “Because I don’t believe that anything’s going to be accomplished until our borders are secured.”
The governor has repeatedly said her security-first stance is based on watching what happened in 1986 when Congress and the Reagan administration approved what was billed at the time as a comprehensive solution to the issue of illegal immigration. That legislation entitled about 3 million to gain U.S. citizenship at the time.
Brewer said the border never was secured, with the result that millions have crossed illegally since or have overstayed their visas.