JUNE 26, 2013

Statement from Governor Jan Brewer on the 'Gang of Eight' immigration reform bill

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“Since Arizona is the main recipient of the problems of illegal immigration, let me be clear. My citizens demand a secure border and I demand a secure border. It's as simple as that. 

“I understand there is anticipation for me to take a position either endorsing or opposing the 'Gang of Eight' immigration reform bill. I have not endorsed or opposed the bill because I know it remains a work in progress. I have faith that House Republicans will improve the bill by making securing our border the top priority.

“Recent additions to the Senate plan are encouraging. For example, I have long advocated for additional Border Patrol agents, completion of the border fence and further use of unmanned aircraft and other technology, as well as workplace enforcement.  However, supporting these provisions does not equate to an endorsement of the overall legislation. There are still too many unknowns. Specifically, Congress must require that the border-security provisions are mandated on the front end rather than forgotten on the back end.  

“Our nation's immigration system is broken and has been for decades. Congress must get it right this time. America cannot again repeat the failure of the 1986 immigration reform. The federal government must begin keeping its promises when it comes to border security.

“We've been down this path before, and the federal government has failed to keep its promises – whether in 1986 or as recently as 2006, when the federal government promised to build a border fence and then failed to fund it.  We need assurances of a secured border that is fully funded. Also, the federal government needs to do its job and allow States to work in partnership – through the existing 287g program – to address illegal immigration.

“I know there is skepticism regarding this latest attempt by Congress to fix our immigration system. The federal government has a multi-decade record of failure on immigration and has passed along the costs to states like Arizona. The Obama administration, especially, does not instill faith among conservatives like myself. However, conservatives must remain in the conversation to ensure that the security provisions are as strong as possible. We cannot address our priorities if we walk away from the debate.

“I respect the leading role that Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have played in the Senate legislation up to this point, and I look forward to the rest of our delegation - and Republicans from across the House - adding their voices and perspective to this process. Only then will we really know whether the final legislation is truly worthy of the American people we all represent.”

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