President Obama Talked Immigration Reform While Jan Brewer Got Stale at the Border
President Obama got some heavy applause during his bits on immigration reform during yesterday's State of the Union address, as he delivered points that were almost echoed in Republican Senator Marco Rubio's response.
Then, we read what seem to be some unintentionally hilarious accounts of Governor Jan Brewer's apparent response to Obama's speech, which she did in the form of a tour of the border.
As for Obama, he didn't seem to piss off too many people last night with his points on immigration.
"Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made -- putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years," Obama said. "Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship -- a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.
Without getting too specific, Obama was basically reiterating the immigration-reform proposals that are being tossed around by some members of both parties in Washington.
Then there was Brewer's tour of the border, which Brewer's office invited the media to attend.
As expected, Brewer said just about the only thing she ever seems to say: secure the border.
Specifically, the Arizona Republic's account of this trip was hilarious, although we're not completely sure if that was intentional.
Here's the first line from the Republic that got us (the emphasis is ours): "From the air, Brewer said she witnessed groups of people staging in Mexico, 'getting ready to come across tonight,' outside authorized ports of entry."
After Brewer made several more references about securing the border, it seems that Brewer was asked what the hell she means by secure border.
"Brewer said the best way to understand what a secure border would look like would be to talk to the people living along it, as she did Tuesday when she met with border-area ranchers," the Republic reports. "She once again invited Obama to visit the border. 'I would say, Mr. President, please come down and talk to the ranchers and talk to some of the people working down here that are on the ground. They would tell you differently,' she said."
Although federal officials swear up and down that the border's more secure than ever before, there are "ranchers" in southern Arizona who know better, apparently.
Brewer did mention that "we need more boots on the ground," according to multiple reports. The Republic cited a meeting of these so-called "ranchers," who claimed they didn't want more border agents, while the Los Angeles Times asked a Border Patrol higher-up stationed in Arizona about that claim. He told the Times that staffing is "right-sized."
The Times notes that it also failed to get Brewer's definition of what securing the border actually means to her.
The Arizona Daily Star also seemed to struggle to get a definition of secure border from Brewer, but got a definitive answer from Brewer that the border was not secure. Coincidentally, another Daily Star article that went online at roughly the same time quotes former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry Goddard, noting Brewer's lack of a definition of "secured border."
Of course, Brewer's said she can only even think about immigration reform once the border is secure, so who knows. The apparent lowest number of border-crossings in 19 years certainly doesn't qualify as having a secure border in Brewer's mind, though.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.