As the Senate moves to consider the “Gang of 8” immigration reform bill, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is calling on the federal government to do more to secure her state’s border, which she refers to as “the gateway for the criminal element."
Brewer says the federal government has given increased security resources, ranging from electronic surveillance to fencing, to other border states, while ignoring such requests for Arizona.
“We don't understand why the federal government will do that for other states, but they refuse to do it in Arizona,” Brewer says in an interview with ABC's Senior National Correspondent Jim Avila. “I am not going to sit back and be the governor of the state of Arizona and not make a position for Arizona to the federal government that our border needs to be secured. It's as simple as that.”
The "Gang of 8" bill now before the Senate promises to provide more resources for border security, if passed, but Brewer says she won't be supportive of the legislation, which also provides a path to citizenship for the estimated 10-12 million people currently living in the United States illegally, until she and ranchers living along the border are convinced the border is secure.
“They had a good relationship with immigrants coming across working on their ranches and going back and um very comfortable…and things have changed,” Brewer says of the ranchers along the border. “They don't feel safe, they feel very insecure. They don't believe that the border is secured, their wives, their children, they're very, very guarded.”
When asked how she would reply if a one of the “Gang of 8” senators were to call her, Brewer replies: “If they were to call me today, I would say our border is not secure, and I would not be in a position to support their measure.”
To hear more of the interview with the governor of Arizona, including her explanation on why she believes those people who came to the United States should be labeled as “illegal immigrants,” check out this episode of Power Players.
ABC's Serena Marshall and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.