Governors Brown and Brewer Spar on Meet the Press

The National Governors Association has its Washington meeting this weekend, so there are plenty of warm bodies available to fill the Sunday political chatter shows.

NBC’s Meet the Press paired up California’s Jerry Brown and Arizona Gov Jan Brewer for a discussion of immigration, with the expected clash of views, albeit in a polite manner.

Gov Brown defended signing the California DREAM Act into law, which allows illegal alien students to attend state universities at the taxpayer-subsidized in-state rate. He didn’t mention California’s terrible budget shortages which have led to Brown’s closing dozens of state parks. But there is money for taxpayer financial aid for illegal alien college students — that’s the Democrat priority, not preserving our beautiful parks for California citizens. And of course, any college slot taken by an illegal alien is one not available for an American kid.

Brown also believes we should “invest in Mexico” even though our southerly neighbor is not poor by a long shot. With a GDP ranking of #14 in the world, Mexico certainly has the resources to invest in its own education, healthcare and infrastructure.

For her part, Gov Brewer talked about important public safety issues, although she could have been more focused. The message should alway include the fact that enforcement works, particularly at the state level: crime goes down and citizen employment goes up when illegal aliens are convinced to self-deport.

Following is the immigration section of the transcript:

MR. GREGORY:  Let me, let me move to a really important issue in Arizona and in this fall campaign and that’s the issue of immigration.  As I mentioned, Governor Brown, 34 years ago to the day, you were on MEET THE PRESS and we couldn’t actually find the tape for it, but we have something that you said about immigration which I want to put up on the screen.  You said, “I do believe that the Mexican-American has been too invisible in California and throughout the Southwest.  It is imperative that we in this country, and particularly in the Southwest, open our hearts and our minds to this culture and that we try to accelerate the melting pot and the assimilation process so that we can live together in harmony.” Here’s Time magazine this week and on the cover it is “yo decidito”–”yo decido,” which is that I’m going to decide. Hispanic-Americans are going to decide who the next president is if you look at the percentage that they occupy the voting bloc.  And they are certainly not very happy with the Republican Party.  Do you believe even more strongly today what you said 34 years ago?

GOV. BROWN:  Very much so.  And I was willing–I think–I may be the only governor, but I know I’m the one who signed the Dream, Dream Act in California…

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

GOV. BROWN:  …that will enable undocumented students who do well in high school to go to college, pay in-state tuition and even get a scholarship.  So I know there’s a lot of controversy in that, but you can’t round up 12 million people and ship them back across the border.  That’s a disaster.  We have to certainly secure the border, but we need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  And I think Obama would–supports that and I certainly do.

MR. GREGORY:  Governor Brewer, the view within the Republican Party is that demographically, these candidates don’t get the fact that what they say about immigration and also the policy positions toward immigration, where your state is really the flash point of it because of your very tough immigration law, is a big part of the problem.

GOV. BREWER:  Well, let me remind you, David, that you’re talk about Arizona’s very tough immigration law.  It mirrors federal law.  And we, of course, all know that we are a nation of laws and we believe in rule of law. And Arizona…

MR. GREGORY:  But there was a federal injunction into a portion of the law which allowed reasonable–a question of whether there was reasonable suspicion that somebody was illegal and they could ask for their papers.  Supreme Court’s got to decide that piece of it.

GOV. BREWER:  Absolutely and that’ll be decided in April.

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

GOV. BREWER:  And we’re looking forward to that, that determination because–but the bottom line is we do need our border secured because we understand that Mexico is in terrible unrest and they’re–that the whole state of Mexico is being controlled by drug cartels and all of that crime is coming across our border and Arizona is the gateway.  Texas has done a very good job of securing their borders with the help of the federal government.  California has done a good job.  But we are the gateway and we are the recipients of our citizens being threatened by the drug cartels, living in fear, having to protect their property and their families, drop houses being in normally stable neighborhoods, prostitution, and the extortion of those illegal people that are coming that maybe possibly are coming to work, their families are being extorted.

MR. GREGORY:  But you talk about…

GOV. BREWER:  And they’re being tortured.  Why we can secure borders, David, everywhere, why can’t we secure our border?

MR. GREGORY:  But how do you deal–you talk about securing the border, is this is an area where you think the president has fallen down, Governor?

GOV. BROWN:  No.  Every president has tried to secure the border.  The fact is these drugs generate billions of dollars in profit, guns from America go down to Mexico, the dope comes up, the billions of dollars go down.  It takes a collaborative work, Mexico and the U.S., we’ve got to invest in Mexico, we’ve got to give them all the tools that we can and work together to get rid of the cartels but build up Mexico so the employment can be there instead of forcing people across the border.

MR. GREGORY:  Why not–but Governor, why not testify on Capitol Hill? Senator Schumer’s committee asked you to testify about the…(unintelligible). You decided against it.

GOV. BREWER:  You took me in a different direction, there.  Well, I think that it’s ridiculous that he would invite me to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The bottom line is is why didn’t he ask me two years ago when all of this was on the forefront?  Wait until the day before…

MR. GREGORY:  You don’t think its on the forefront now?

GOV. BREWER:  Well, but I mean, the day before that it’s heard by the Supreme Court?  I mean, they are ultimately going to make that decision, whether Senate Bill 1070 is going to be upheld or not.  I believe that it will be. But let me tell you when we talk about the Obama administration and securing our borders.  No, they don’t want to secure our borders or they would secure our borders.  They secure borders everywhere else, they could secure them on the Arizona border.  And instead what do they do?  They send guns, fast and furious, they’re sending guns down there to the cartel and then they don’t track them.  And then noble people like border patrol agent Brian Terry gets murdered.  People–47,000 Mexican citizens have been killed south of the border and we just ignore that?  Mexico is Arizona’s largest trading partner. Why doesn’t the administration step up and do something to help Mexico?  We help all these other countries.  They do nothing.  They don’t secure our borders, they send guns down there, they sue the state of Arizona and me personally for doing the job that they should do.  It’s frustrating, David.

MR. GREGORY:  I want you–and the frustration has obviously bubbled over in your interactions with President Obama, too.  This picture now well known during his last visit to Arizona when you met him on the tarmac and appeared to have a confrontation with him over some things that were in your book that he didn’t quite like.  You’ve been invited, as part of the National Governors Conference, to have a dinner at the White House.  You’ve declined to go.

GOV. BREWER:  I have.

MR. GREGORY:  Are you showing disrespect for the office of the president?

GOV. BREWER:  Well, I, I hope that it isn’t disrespect.  I would not disrespect the president of the United States.  I have other commitments and I’m going to be at the White House on Monday morning.  I said that, you know, this event was a social thing.  You know, I am a governor, I’ve got priorities and I will be there Monday when we all meet and, and discuss policy.

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