Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer talked with HUMAN EVENTS Editors Thomas Winter, Jason Mattera and John Gizzi in a telephone interview on June 14 Here are excerpts from the interview:
Human Events: It’s our understanding that Atty. Gen. [Terry] Goddard has said he disagrees on the [new Arizona immigration] law. So you hired your own attorney to answer the legal case on this and deal with it. Is that true?
GOV. BREWER: That is true. He actually had spoken out publicly that he opposed the bill and stated that he thought it was unconstitutional and therefore the legislature gave me specific instructions in the legislation to go outside and hire my own council, which you know, obviously makes good sense. One would like to think that their lawyer was on their side.
HE: Did he tell you not to sign it?
BREWER: No, he did not tell me not to sign it. Well, I guess in essence, if I wanted to read in the newspaper, in the media that he told me—I mean he didn’t call me directly.
HE: You had the bill there for four days. Were you always in favor of it? Why the delay in signing?
BREWER: We had worked with the legislature and certainly with the sponsors to make sure everything was crafted correctly and properly. We knew that it was in probably good form but we wanted to continue to make sure that it didn’t turn out to be something that we could not live with or that would kind of take the emphasis off of what we were trying to accomplish.… We were very, very cautious and then certainly moved forward to address some of the issues in regard to racial-profiling in an additional bill. So, I was always going to sign the bill. I followed the bill, we added our expertise to the bill and it wouldn’t have made any difference when I signed it.… I guess somebody had made the comment that why did she wait for four days. Well, the law doesn’t go into effect until 90 days, so it had nothing to do with timing. It wasn’t a matter of signing it on day one or day eight.
HE: What is Eric Holder doing himself to pressure you into overturning the Arizona law?
BREWER: I have just heard from Mr. Holder by mail, and then of course again in the media, that he is not in support of the bill. I hope he’s read it by now so that he knows what it exactly says. He’s been in contact with us and we have hired our attorneys and now they are working on that. I would say to you that when I spoke with the President, he indicated that he wasn’t going to make much comment about the law when he was meeting with me. He was going to leave it up to the DOJ to determine whether they were going to file suit or not. It’s an interesting way of stating, ‘You know, I don’t want to get my fingers too deep in that because I know the public supports it.’
HE: Do you expect Holder to file suit eventually?
BREWER: Well, there are five suits. We are asking today to have one of them dismissed. Everything constitutional that, in fact, they could ever talk about is in those other suits so it’s our inclination to file them collectively together. I would much prefer for them not to file suit given the fact that they could take the money and help me build a fence on my border.
HE: What important Democrats are encouraging the boycott of your state?
BREWER: Congressman Grijalva from Southern Arizona has pronounced a boycott against the state of Arizona.
Q: Well, are there ones behind the scenes that maybe don’t want their fingerprints on stating it publically but are encouraging it?
Brewer aide: [Phoenix] Mayor Gordan is the closest to sort of skirt that whole discussion. Most Democrats have opposed it.
HE: Anyone in the Obama Administration privately supportive of the boycott?
Brewer aide: Disappointingly, they have not publicly opposed the boycott. When President Calderon came into town, the President [Obama] was asked specifically about it and instead of defending the state of Arizona with this foreign leader, he basically decided not to take a position at all on the boycott.
HE: How much internal pressure is being put on Commissioner Bud Selig to pull the 2011 All Star game from Phoenix?
BREWER: You know, I think it’s minimal. I believe that we will get that worked out. But I feel that it is very minimal.
HE: I understand you’ve recently allocated $250,000 to rebrand the state’s image.
BREWER: We’re not rebranding. What were going to do is we have established a commission of different organizations and stuff to get our message out to tell the truth about what the bill says. The media have not been very accurate in their presentation of the facts so we have joined together and have put money in and they have contributed money—the hotel industry, the tourism industry, along with our Office of Tourism and Department of Commerce and we are going to move forward to get our own message out there. We have a wonderful state, a beautiful state and we want people to come. We love people and we’ve got things that no other state has. We are proud of our wonderful state. We really do not need to rebrand it.
HE: What do you expect to do?
BREWER: They have just presented as of today all of their ideas and their suggestions about which method would work best and they are still working on that and I have yet to approve it. But they have been nose down, pencil sharp and did a presentation today and I will look that over in the next couple of days and decide where were going to go. Certainly, we all want to put our best face forward and explain the law but I think that if we can reach out certainly to the tourism industry and then to their clients from throughout the country—and they suggested this—then target the cities where people do travel and visit in Arizona then by word of mouth and emails and putting a landing page on the webpage so that people can just go directly to it, so they can see exactly what the law says. The President’s comment about if you come to Arizona and you’re buying an ice cream and you’re walking down the street and you can get arrested is absolutely outrageous. He thought it was funny and of course we know that what the citizens of Arizona are living through is no laughing matter.
HE: Has there been an economic impact because of the President and boycott?
BREWER: I think that it is probably too early to be able to really be able to justify that kind of impact. Certainly we know that there have been a few conventions that have determined maybe that they are not going to come here but we don’t have solid data on that at this point in time.
HE: What are the other governors saying, if anything?
BREWER: I haven’t actually heard very much from my colleagues at all. I certainly have spoken with [Texas] Gov. Perry and [New Mexico] Gov. Richardson and [California] Gov. Schwarzenegger in regards to it. They, of course, aren’t facing the problem that Arizona is because we now have been left as the gateway for all illegal immigration, drug cartels and gangs coming into the Americas. Arnold [Schwarzenegger] has stated publicly that he didn’t support it. He is much different than I am in regards to that. We are a nation of laws and it’s illegal and that didn’t change his mind.
HE: When you said that to Schwarzenegger that it’s illegal, what did he say?
BREWER: He figured that what he read in the paper was exactly what the bill said and we kind of left it at that.
HE: So he had it wrong on what was in the bill?
BREWER: I believe so. Yes, well, I know so. People that imply that its racial profiling, they are absolutely incorrect. Racial profiling has always been illegal in America in the United States and racial profiling has always been illegal in the state of Arizona and I made absolutely sure in the trailer bill to 1070 that it was clearly specifically written out in regards to racial profiling so that’s not going to happen. And our law enforcement officers are always trained, I mean previously before this bill, do not racial profile and anybody who is questioned about their immigration status, of course it will be a secondary offense. They will have to have committed a primary offense before they are even addressed about their citizenship and then only under reasonable suspicion.…
HE: I have a question on the political fallout on this. You have a contested primary with two opponents I believe.
BREWER: First and foremost I have three opponents in the primary election. I don’t believe there is going to be any [fallout] at all. You know, 73% of the population of Arizona agrees with me, so the people that understand the situation in Arizona agree—both Republican and Democrat—I believe. So I don’t believe there’s going to be any political fallout for me particularly and I certainly hope that there’s no political fallout for those others that have supported SB 1070.