Ariz. governor won't appear in hearing on immigration law

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) plans to turn down Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) request to testify on Arizona's controversial immigration law before Congress, her spokesman said Friday.

The spokesman, Matthew Benson, told The Hill that the timing of the hearing gave it “every mark of a publicity stunt.”

Benson blamed congressional inaction for the necessity of the Arizona law. He said he doubted the merits of the planned hearing and that Brewer has better things to do because the Supreme Court will hear the case that same week.

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Schumer sent Brewer a letter on Thursday requesting that she defend her state’s law at a hearing in April that would examine “whether it is both constitutional and sound public policy for states to enact broad laws,” like the Arizona immigration bill.

The law would allow the state's police to verify the citizenship of individuals if they have "reasonable suspicion" about their status. The Obama administration filed a lawsuit against the 2010 law and the Supreme Court will hear the case the same week that Schumer has scheduled the hearing before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.

Schumer’s letter indicated his opposition to the law and argued that the federal government has addressed border security and the need for more border patrol agents, with “dramatic” results, as recently as 2010.

"As you frequently ask the President to visit the southern border to discuss border security, we expect that you will be eager to engage in a productive dialogue with the Congressional Committee responsible for acting upon any border security recommendations you provide," he wrote.

Brewer is a witness for the defense and so does plan to be in Washington, D.C., the week of the hearing at the Supreme Court.

“It doesn’t look like the most productive use of the governor’s time to attend the Senator’s hearing,” Benson said. “Congress has had time to deal with this issue and hasn’t dealt with [it].”

He also said that the governor would send a formal response to Schumer's request in the near future.

“There’s always a chance she will change her mind,” he said. “But at this point it looks unlikely.”

Schumer fought back publicly in response to Brewer's imminent refusal.

“Gov. Brewer has long said border security is one of the nation’s most pressing issues, so it is odd that she is unwilling to even come to Congress to defend her views," Schumer responded in a statement to news that Brewer would turn down the hearing. "It makes you wonder whether there is genuine interest in finding real solutions to our broken immigration system. We hope the governor will reconsider.”

--This post was updated at 3:29 p.m.