Gov. Brewer sits down with 3TV to talk about SB 1070

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on April 30, 2010 at 8:08 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 30 at 10:15 AM

PHOENIX -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer stopped by the 3TV studios Friday morning for her first sit-down discussion of Senate Bill 1070, the state's controversial new immigration law that has people all over the country -- all over the world -- talking.

"I think there's a lot of hysteria out there that is unfounded," Brewer told 3TV's Tara Hitchcock when asked about the protests and calls for boycotting the state. "They need to read the bill and understate what the bill does. The fact is that our bill mirrors federal law. ... If it mirrors the federal law, then why all of a sudden is it harassment and racial profiling? It just doesn't make any sense.

"And the boycotting issue is outrageous. I really think it's outrageous that Congressman Grijalva would call for a boycott in his own state. He's hurting the legal resident of the state of Arizona."

One question that came up during the interview is the purpose of Arizona's benefit if all it does it mirror federal immigration law.

"The federal government isn't enforcing their law so we gave the authority to local law enforcement to enforce it," Brewer explained. "The bottom line is that we need to secure our border. That's the whole issue. Arizona's border is so porous that anybody can come across."

Brewer said she has repeatedly reached out to the Obama Administration for help. "They have turned a blind eye," she said. "They just don't respond. And the people of Arizona are tired; I am tired of pushing back. We are receiving the brunt of all the negative aspects of what takes place with illegal immigration."

The governor pointed out that while border security is the central issue when it comes to illegal immigration, that's not what Senate Bill 1070 is about.

"The bill doesn't have anything to do with border security," she said. "What it does is it has implemented the federal law so that we can take into account if you're legally here or you're not legally here."

Brewer talked briefly about her proposed executive order to set aside $10 million. Law enforcement agencies working along the border can apply for grants so they hire additional staff or pay overtime. The idea is to get more aerial support where it can do the most good.

"Arizona cannot sustain it," Brewer said. "There is no other way we’re going to get our border secure unless the federal government steps up and secures our border."

Arizona's fiscal crisis had made dealing with the issue even more difficult.

"I think the people of Arizona and the Legislature agree that we needed to get something done so we have done the best that we can at this point in time," she said. "And we're still going to demand from the federal government to come forward and secure the borders. The people of Arizona are pushing back. We're not going to sit back and continue to be abused and frustrated like this. People in Arizona deserve to feel safe."

Hitchcock asked Brewer about President Obama's categorization of Arizona's new law as "misguided."

"I think it was a poor choice of words," she said. "It is the federal government's responsibility to secure our borders and they haven't done it."

One of the biggest concerns opponents of SB 1070 cite is racial profiling. Brewer says that absolutely will not happen.

"Racial profiling is against the law," she said. "It's not going to happen in Arizona. We're not going to do that. This whole things has been so hyped up and misrepresented. It's really unfortunate."

Brewer went on to explain that with SB 1070, an officer who is already talking to subject suspected of committing a crime must ask that person for identification if there's reasonable suspicion that he or she is in the country illegally.

"Anybody who enters the state of Arizona has to have documentation. That’s federal law. You have to have it on your body or it's a crime. That is the law, and it hasn't been enforced."

Late Thursday night, lawmakers approved some modifications to 1070. The proposed new wording, which changes the original "lawful contact" to "lawful stop, detention or arrest" clarifies that an officer is not required to question a crime victim or witness about his or her immigration status.

Other changes make it clear that neither race nor ethnicity is basis for an officer to request identification from a person.

In a move that's troubling to 1070 opponents, the trailer bill also indicates that police who come ito contact with people over possible violations of local civil ordinances -- for example, playing music too loud -- may ask about immigration status if they believe it's warranted.

While Brewer said the "hysteria" spawned by SB 1070 is "unfounded," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard called the protests "understandable."

"I think the national reaction is very sad for Arizona because it gives us a black eye, and it also is going to cost us dearly economically," he said. "The bottom line is we have a serious problem on the border. We need to focus on that, and this bill does not make us safer and I think that's a tragic misdirection."

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