Even as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) remains hard at work to find the wrong solution for a mythical problem, she seems to have time to spread information and make statements so ludicrous that calling them falsehoods seems too lenient. At a Republican gubernatorial primary debate last week, Brewer criticized her opponent’s statement that many undocumented immigrants “are just trying to feed their family…they just want to work,” by calling majority of undocumented immigrants “drug mules.”
During the debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer stated:
We are a nation of laws. And they are coming across our border illegally. And the majority of them in my opinion and I think in the opinion of law enforcement is that they are not coming here to work. They are coming here and they’re bringing drugs. And they’re doing drop houses and they’re extorting people and they’re terrorizing the families. That is the truth, Matt. That is the truth…
To be clear, Brewer stated that the majority of immigrants are coming here to bring drugs, extort people, and terrorize families. The statement was so absurd and patently false that she attempted to walk it back in a later press release, but then proceeded to make it worse. Brewer released a press statement which lacked a single apologetic word, choosing to simply re-word her previous statement. Even noted border-hawk Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) disagreed with her statement (while supporting her actions in general). Brewer’s lack of remorse is almost as troubling as her penchant for ignoring reality.
E.J. Montini of the Arizona Republic had a more level-headed response: go talk to the Phoenix police department about what should be done.
Brewer correctly points out that Arizona has a problem with drug smuggling, drop houses, kidnapping and extortion. There is a special unit within the Phoenix Police Department fighting those crimes. For a column a while back I asked a Phoenix police spokesman what living in the world’s so-called “kidnapping capital” means for the average Phoenix resident.
He said, “We’re talking about drop houses where people who have used coyotes to get into the country may be held for ransom. And we’re talking about the kidnapping of smugglers and associates. I have no fear that my kids or grandkids will be victims. Or that E.J. Montini will be a victim.”
Even T.J. Bonner of the National Border Patrol Council commented that Brewer’s claims were “clearly not the case.” According to CNN:
Bonner said that some undocumented immigrants caught by border patrol agents have drugs on them, and that they sometimes blame pressure from the drug cartels. But, he said, those claims have little credibility because drug smugglers are typically transporting much larger quantities of drugs. And besides, he said, if what Brewer said were true, there would be many more prosecutions for drug smuggling. Brewer’s comments, Bonner said, don’t “comport with reality — that’s the nicest way to put it.”
Despite Brewer’s ignorant comments, the facts show that not only do immigrants commit fewer crimes than citizens, but that crime rates have been falling in Arizona for years. It is sad, but perhaps unsurprising, that Brewer would make these comments in the wake of signing SB 1070, Arizona’s harsh new immigration law. It’s bad enough that Brewer ignored these facts when signing SB 1070 into law, but it’s worse that she continues to do so.