Friday, 04 June 2010

President Obama Meets with Arizona Governor

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On June 3, President Obama finally sat down with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to discuss the Arizona Immigration law and the issues on the border, at the request of the Governor. 

Obama, who has greeted virtually every move made by the Governor related to illegal immigration with contention, met privately with Brewer for a short 30-minute discussion. Brewer emerged from the meeting indicating that while the conversation was cordial enough, the President did not go into much detail on key issues like building the border fence or the possible federal lawsuit against Arizona’s immigration law. However, the President agreed to engage in “more direct dialogue” with Arizona’s governor. 

In the past, President Obama has asserted that the Arizona Immigration law, SB1070, was “misguided” and voiced concerns over potential “racial profiling” that would occur as a result of the law.  Despite the controversies that have been sparked over SB1070, the measure simply reinforces federal law, which requires immigrants to carry documents that verify their immigration status. The Arizona law requires police officers to question an individual’s immigration status only if they are engaged in a “lawful stop” and if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person may be in the country illegally. 

Likewise, the Arizona law is picking up the slack of federal authorities, which have simply dropped the ball on their constitutional obligations. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution states, “The United States shall protect each of the states against invasion.” Most Americans whould agree that the illegal entry of 12 to 20 million people into the United States meets this definition.

Not only is the process of entering the United States without follow proper procedures illegal, but costly as well. The price of educating, incarcerating, and providing medical care to the millions of illegals in the United States is in the realm of $36 billion annually. 

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the illegal immigrant population in Arizona is costing the state’s taxpayers $1.3 billion every year for education, medical care, and incarceration. Phoenix, Arizona, is the “kidnapping capital of the world.” Arizona needs help and Governor Brewer stepped up to the plate, only to face condemnation from the federal authorities. 

During the meeting, Brewer questioned the President on construction of a fence on the border, but received no answer. Likewise, Brewer inquired whether the President’s promise of sending 1,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border would be sufficient enough to help, to which the President explained that White House staff would be visiting Arizona in two weeks to discuss that concern with the state government. 

President Obama refused to answer any questions regarding a potential federal lawsuit on the Arizona Immigration law, placing that decision solely with the Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, a member of Obama's cabinet. However, Brewer has already asserted that she has no qualms about standing up to the DOJ in court. 

In a statement issued by the White House following the President’s meeting with Brewer, the White House indicated, “The President listened to Governor Brewer’s concerns, and noted the Administration’s ongoing border protection and security efforts have increased pressure on illegal trafficking organizations through record seizures of illegal weapons and bulk cash transiting from the United States to Mexico, resulted in significant seizures of illegal drugs headed into the United Sates, lowered the average violent crime statistics in states along the Southwest Border, and reduced illegal immigration into the United States.” 

Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words. The Obama administration has requested that the Supreme Court prohibit Arizona from enforcing a law signed by Janet Napolitano that would punish businesses for hiring illegal aliens. Likewise, Obama has previously claimed that SB1070 is both “unconstitutional” and “racist,” even though the law was adopted from federal statute. When Mexican President Felipe Calderon proceeded to insult the American people and singled out Arizona for its attempts to maintain control of a situation that is spiraling out of control, many Democrat Congressmen gave Calderon a standing ovation. 

Strained relations between the state of Arizona and the federal government have been vivid. In a White House correspondents dinner, Obama made a joke about the Arizona Immigration law: “And we all know what happens in Arizona when you don’t have ID. Adios, Amigos.” In response to the callous joke made by the President, Brewer released several television ads targeting Obama and members of the White House who have openly criticized the law without having read it. 

Brewer contends, “I think the people of Arizona, certainly throughout America, agree that it is the right thing to do.”

In fact, approximately 60 percent of Americans agree that it is the right thing to do. 

Photo: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, June 3, 2010, after a private meeting with President Barack Obama: AP Images