Brewer: Obama out to punish Ariz. for hard-line immigration stance

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday doubled down on statements that President Barack Obama released hundreds of potentially dangerous illegal immigrants as a way to get back at Arizona.

"I think it's pretty clear, (they're) not looking upon Arizona favorably because of the actions we have taken here," Brewer said.

"They're releasing what we believe to be criminals, illegal aliens out of jail and into our society not knowing who they are or what they are doing, so yeah, I do believe this is payback."

Brewer gave Fox News a similar quote last week when she was asked about the federal government's decision to release immigration detainees ahead of a deep budget cuts known as sequestration.

"It could be to punish Arizona, to make them squirm," Brewer told Fox on Friday. "They're pushing back on what we're pushing on because we want our border secure and we're strong about it."

There's at least one prominent Republican politician who has a hard time buying into the governor's theory.

Recently retired Sen. Jon Kyl said Arizona wasn't the only state where detainees were let out of jail.

"So it would be hard to make the case Arizona was specifically singled out," Kyl said Sunday afternoon on 3TV's weekly show, Politics Unplugged.

Kyl left office in January after serving 18 years in the Senate. At the time of his retirement, Kyl held the second most powerful position in the upper chamber.

According to the latest reports, the Homeland Security Department released more than 2,000 inmates in Arizona, California, Georgia and Texas.

Department officials said it was done as a cost-saving measure. However, the controversial move has already led the resignation of the person in charge of the program.

Brewer's latest jab at the United States Commander and Chief comes has she has once again amped up the rhetoric on immigration.

Last month, Brewer took an aerial tour of the Tucson sector of the border, where she claimed seeing drug cartels poised on the other side, preparing to cross at night.

Afterwards, she said the border was not secure. Because of that, the governor says she can't back a proposed immigration overhaul now in Congress.

The tour took place several hours before the president's nationally televised State of the Union Address, where he supported many of the provisions in the immigration proposal.