Gov. Brewer: Obama Shows 'Utter Disregard' for Arizona in Canceling Immigration Enforcement Program

Susan Jones | June 26, 2012 | 6:52am EDT
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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer points at President Barack Obama after he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. Brewer greeted Obama and what she got was a book critique. Of her book. The two leaders engaged in an intense conversation at the base of Air Force One’s steps. Both could be seen smiling, but speaking at the same time. Asked moments later what the conversation was about, Brewer, a Republican, said: "He was a little disturbed about my book." Brewer recently published a book, "Scorpions for Breakfast," something of a memoir that describes her years growing up and defends her signing of Arizona’s controversial law cracking down on illegal immigrants, which Obama opposes. Brewer also handed Obama an envelope with a handwritten invitation for Obama to return to Arizona to meet her for lunch and to join her for a visit to the border. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

( - Hours after the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of Arizona's immigration law, President Obama "demonstrated anew his utter disregard for the safety and security of the Arizona people," Gov. Jan Brewer announced on Monday.

"Within the last two hours, I have been notified the Obama administration has revoked the 287(g) agreement," which allows Arizona police to partner with the federal government in enforcing immigration law.

It's no coincidence, Brewer said, noting that while 68 law enforcement bodies in 24 states have 287(g) agreements with the federal government, the only agreement eliminated on Monday was the one with Arizona -- "the state that happens to be on the front lines of America's fight against illegal immigration," she said.

"We are on our own, apparently," Brewer said in the statement posted on her website.

“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised," she continued. "The Obama administration has fought the people of Arizona at every turn -- downplaying the threat that a porous border poses to our citizens, filing suit in order to block our State from protecting itself, unilaterally granting immunity to tens of thousands of illegal aliens living in our midst, and now this. Still, the disarmament of Arizona’s 287(g) agreements is a new low, even for this administration."

According to the Associated Press, if federal agents decline to pick up illegal aliens, there is no way for Arizona to force federal authorities to detain them. Local police will have to let them go unless they're suspected of committing a crime (other than being in the country illegally) that would require them to be arrested and jailed, Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor who specializes in immigration law, told the Associated Press.

Brewer noted that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security credits the 287(g) program with identifying nearly 300,000 potentially-removable aliens nationwide since 2006. Moreover, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has trained and certified more than 1,500 state and local officers to assist in the enforcement of immigration law, including many in Arizona.

“The President’s action should be of concern to all Americans," Brewer said. "This fight is not over. President Obama may disregard Congress. He may target individual states like Arizona. He may generally act with impunity. But he is not above judgment – and the American people will have theirs very soon.”

The Homeland Security Department describes the 287(g) program as a "force multiplier," which allows trained officers from local jurisdictions to carry out "smart, effective immigration enforcement efforts aligned with ICE priorities."

"Coordinating with our state and local partners is important to smart and effective enforcement of our immigration laws," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in an October 2009 news release. "These new agreements promote public safety by prioritizing the identification and removal of dangerous criminal aliens and ensure consistency and stronger federal oversight of state and local immigration law enforcement efforts across the nation."

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 2(B) of Arizona’s immigration law (SB 1070) -- the part requiring police officers to check the immigration status of all individuals detained for other crimes -- is constitutional. However, the court said that provision -- never enforced until now -- may be challenged anew in court.
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