When Does Border-First Become Border-Only?

Yesterday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer met with President Obama to discuss immigration and border security. Gov. Brewer described the meeting as “cordial,” but neither the President nor the Governor discussed the Justice Department’s plan to move forward with a lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law—a law which President Obama has publicly criticized as “misguided.” They did, however, discuss specifics of the most recent round of border-first strategies (the President assured Brewer that he would send White House staff to Arizona in two weeks to further discuss beefing up the border). Although the President asked Gov. Brewer for help “in creating a bipartisan solution” to our immigration problems, Gov. Brewer was unwilling to play ball, which makes one wonder how far the President is willing to go on the border-first strategy without any promise of GOP support for comprehensive reform?

As he has in the past, the President advocated for a border security plan within the context of a larger immigration overhaul during his meeting yesterday. According to a White House press statement following the meeting:

As he did at the recent meeting with Senate Republicans, the President underscored that security measures alone won’t fix the broken borders, there needs to be comprehensive immigration reform that includes: lasting and dedicated resources by which to secure our borders and make our communities safer; holding unscrupulous employers accountable who hire workers illegally and exploit them and providing clear guidance for the many employers who want to play by the rules; and requiring those who have come here illegally to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English, and get right with the law.

The President also asked for Gov. Brewer’s help in garnering GOP support (i.e. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl) for a comprehensive overhaul, but to no avail. Much like a wind-up toy, Gov. Brewer was unable to say anything other than “borders-first.”

When Brewer was asked whether she committed to building GOP support for a comprehensive overhaul, she replied, “No.”

While President Obama and Gov. Brewer agreed that “federal inaction on a comprehensive immigration overhaul is unacceptable,” she has done nothing to substantiate that notion. Meanwhile, Gov. Brewer admits that crime is down in Arizona (as well as other border towns), even though she has repeatedly claimed that her state is “under siege” from border crime. As the L.A. Times subtly points out, Gov. Brewer is a “Republican who is up for reelection.”

But the question remains, how much longer is President Obama willing to placate the supporters of a border-first strategy? Offering up more and more to the border-firsters, and gaining nothing in return for comprehensive immigration reform, may leave the President—and the country—with a border-only policy. Although border-first is what Gov. Brewer, Senator McCain, and Senator Kyl want, it isn’t what the public wants. According to a recent poll, “opinion research shows that rather than a newfound wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, most Americans support Arizona’s law as well as national comprehensive immigration reform,” which “is driven by a desire for action by Washington on a problem that has been left unattended for too long.” If President Obama is really worried about a “patchwork of different state immigration regulations around the country” instead of an immigration overhaul, why pour more money and resources into a border-only solution?

Photo by EdmondMeinfelder.

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  • Benito

    I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. All of us ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated, but this is not the case.

    I know the proponents of this law say that the majority approves of this law, but the majority is not always right. Would women or non-whites have the vote if we listen to the majority of the day, would the non-whites have equal rights (and equal access to churches, housing, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, schools, colleges and yes water fountains) if we listen to the majority of the day? We all know the answer, a resounding, NO!

    Today we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics and do what is right, not what is just popular with the majority. Some men comprehend discrimination by never have experiencing it in their lives, but the majority will only understand after it happens to them.

  • Philip

    Benito says it all very well. Too bad more people aren’t as rational. And, he is so right….”the majority will only understand after it happens to them”.

  • chip

    People working illegally shouldn’t have to pay the back taxes. The companies that hired them should have to pay the back taxes for them as a punishment for trying to save a buck and exploit immigrants. This would certainly make other companies think twice about hiring practices used.

  • Tino Reyes, Sr.

    I feel that US born and legal residents Latinos should become more informed of these laws and propose ant-immigrate laws. Most of them still don’t understand that these local and state immigration laws affect all of us Latinos regardless of our legal status. Latinos should become more united not allow ouselves to become divided by others who only want to divide us.

    Celestino Reyes, Sr.

  • James Shuford

    I have no problem with anyone who wants to come to the U.S. and live here. I want a social and economic commitment from everyone who enjoys the benefit’s of American society.

  • Jerry

    It is soooo refreshing to see rational comments on this subject. It seems people these days are not using intellect to see that this subject needs weel thought-out processes to come to an equitable solution. We really don’t needs the “politics of exception” to intervene in the process. It is good to know there are still rational people out there.

  • Benito

    “All Men are created equal”! The founders had it right, when attempting to form a perfect union and they also knew that they were not there yet but knew we one day would get there. Lincoln moved us forward as did JFK and LBJ. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

    It is my contention that this AZ law is not constitutional and will fail when challenged (unless, of course, they keep adding more amendments), pretty funny for this so called perfect law, that many internet blogs claim it was copied “Word for Word” from the Federal law, which I frankly do not believe, if it was then no amendments would have been made, right?, of course.

    As for the undocumented workers, as was attributed to Ronald Reagan “It’s the Economy, Stupid”. When the economy is good we say let’s all celebrate “Cinco de Mayo, my brothers” but when the economy is down “it’s all your fault, you damn immigrant”. This too will pass. The real problem is the narcos, arms and people smuggler that’s what the focus should be on.

    Don’t you find it funny that no one ever voted for Brewer for Governor, it’s all about politics and getting elected, do not be fooled. Busy Brewer has passed S.B. 1070, no permit conceal weapons law, the famous Birthers law, banning Ethic studies law, (could she be behind the Mural in Prescott, Arizona) and if history is a lesson she should look up Arizona’s House Bill 2779 from two years ago (which failed when legally challenged) and the craziest one the boycotted Martin Luther King Day, not wanting another holiday, how crazy is that. I believe there is an undercurrent to their enactment of new laws, they real love following a distinct pattern. Poor Brewer, last week, she first she said her Dad had died in Germany fighting the Nazi in World War II (war ended 1945) and we find out her father never was in Germany and died in California in 1955 (watch the spin doctors go into overdrive) and then she went to Washington and came back empty as always, poor dear.

  • Dogmeat

    It is odd that there has been this big spike in right wing idiocy coming out of Arizona though. Texas has a higher background level of crazy and right now Arizona is like a supernova taking the attention. I wonder how long it will last.

    Actually it isn’t that strange. Arizona has been moving gradually towards the middle over the last twenty years. The population has doubled in that time and a big part of that spike wasn’t old retirees who tended to be conservative, but a lot of younger families moving from blue states, etc. In 2008 McCain only received 53.4% of the vote here in Arizona, his sixth lowest vote total among the states he won. Now think about that, his home state was one of his least supportive states. Had McCain been from Texas, Florida, etc., he likely would have lost Arizona.

    This state has a long history of very conservative, often racist politics and the supporters of those policies aren’t happy that they are consistently losing ground to moderates and liberals (simply termed as liberals in their tirades). Because of how the state legislature is set up conservatives still have a major majority in both houses but, when Napolitano was governor, she vetoed a lot of their stupidity. In fact she set the record for vetoes in the history of the state. You take her away, bring in Brewer who is a wing-nut’s wing-nut, and you see incredibly stupid legislation that was shut down by a reasonable governor make it out of the state house. At the same time you see an increase in non-conservative population as well as an increase in non-white population and the far white err, right is freaking out.