Governor meets with president on border security

President Barack Obama meets with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in the Oval Office, June 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in the Oval Office, June 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gov. Jan Brewer said President Obama told her today that a "majority' of the 1,200 National Guard soldiers he plans to deploy to the Southwest border likely will end up in Arizona.

But Brewer, who met with the president for about a half hour, said his administration won't provide her with details until later this month.

The governor also said she specifically told the president the federal government needs to build more fencing along the international border.

"I was not successful,' Brewer said.

Despite that, the governor was pleased with the outcome.

"I feel it was a successful meeting,' she said.

Much of that, Brewer said, is based on that commitment from Obama to keep her in the loop about his plans for the border. That includes the details about the 1,200 soldiers and how he plans to use the extra $500 million he wants Congress to approve for border security.

"We assume that in two weeks we will know exactly how many will be deployed to Arizona,' she said.

"The numbers are not fixed from what I understood today,' Brewer continued.

"But he felt the majority of all the resources will probably be coming to Arizona,' Brewer said. "So for that, we are grateful.'

The governor said the president was conciliatory in other ways.

"He did concede that they did not respond to my letters in an appropriate manner,' the governor said of messages sent not only to him but also to various federal agencies. Brewer said the president said "they should have responded earlier and didn't, and that would not happen again in the future.'

And to back that up, Brewer said the president gave her and her aides the names and phone numbers of staffers who can be contacted directly.

Brewer said, though, the president declined to discuss the possibility the federal government may file its own lawsuit challenging SB 1070.

Obama has said he has concerns that measure, set to take effect at the end of July, could lead to racial profiling. But Brewer said she came away with the impression he would not be making any decision on litigation personally.

"He indicated that he was leaving that up to the Department of Justice and did not want to discuss that in any kind of detail today,' she said.

The governor has previously said critics of the law either have not read it or do not understand that. But she would not speculate whether either of those apply to Obama.

"He's a well-learned man and a lawyer,' she said. "If he has read the law, I'm sure he understands it.'

The White House said that Obama has read the law, which includes requirements when police have to check immigration status of those they stop and makes being in this country illegally a violation of state law.

Brewer said the president discussed his desire for "comprehensive immigration reform.' The governor said she told him that needs to wait.

"I told him we needed our border secured and then we could address some of those other issues,' Brewer said. But she expressed some skepticism about any federal plan billed as immigration reform "hasn't proved successful.'

"Amnesty was bestowed upon people but we never secured the border,' she said.

Brewer said she was referring to the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act which included a provision that allowed those who had been in this country for a certain period of time to seek legal residency. The Center for Immigration Studies says about 2.7 million illegal immigrants got their "green cards.'

"We thought that was going to be the end of it, that the borders were going to be secured and we wouldn't have any more of this illegal immigration,' Brewer said.

"And it didn't work,' the governor said. "So the people are very gunshy' of new calls for immigration reform.

"The people of Arizona and the people of America want our borders secured,' Brewer said. "And they're not going to deal, in my opinion, with anything other than border security: the fence, the troops, the additional resources that we need to make sure our borders are secured and that illegal trespassing into the state of Arizona and into America is stopped.'

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