Ariz. Gov. Brewer, Obama meet to discuss immigration enforcement
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said Thursday that President Obama assured her that he would send White House staff members to her state to talk with officials about efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
The governor said her meeting with Obama in the Oval Office was cordial, despite their disagreement over the widely criticized state law she signed in April, which gave police greater powers to enforce federal immigration laws.
She said Obama declined to discuss whether the Justice Department plans to file a lawsuit to block the law before it takes effect next month.
The White House said in a statement that the meeting went well but that Obama reiterated his concerns about the law, including that a patchwork of state immigration regulations would complicate the federal government's role in setting and enforcing immigration policy. The White House said Obama would like Brewer to work with him to help pass comprehensive changes to the immigration system that would provide a path to citizenship for those already in the country illegally.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that, in particular, the president hoped Brewer would help persuade Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to support broad immigration legislation, as he did several times earlier this decade. "I doubt we are going to get comprehensive immigration reform if we don't have John McCain doing what he did during those years," Gibbs said.
But as she was leaving the White House, Brewer said that she thinks the border must "be secured" first.