‘Cordial’ meeting with Obama leaves Arizona governor ‘encouraged’

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) promised that her state will improve its relations with the federal government following what she said was a “cordial” meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday. 

Obama met with Brewer over her state’s controversial new immigration law, which requires state law enforcement officials to check the identification of people they suspect are in the country illegally, as long as they are stopped for other reasons. 

After the meeting, Brewer said Obama promised officials would
travel to Arizona in the next two weeks to monitor the situation and
determine how new federal resources for border security should be
divvied up.

According to the official White House readout of the meeting, Obama
relayed his concern with the Arizona law and said that his
administration has been successful in reducing violence and drug trade
along the border.

The president also urged Brewer to work with him in pushing
comprehensive immigration reform legislation because “security measures
alone won’t fix the broken borders.” 

Obama had called the law “misguided,” worrying it could lead to racial profiling of Latinos. The Justice Department is exploring a lawsuit against the state. 

Obama late last month
said he would send 1,200 National Guard troops to the southern border, and requested $500 million in additional funding to beef up border

“I am encouraged that there is going to be much better dialogue
between the federal government and the state of Arizona,” said Brewer, who signed the law in April because she thinks the federal government has not secured the border. 

The governor said she did not discuss the potential lawsuit
against her state with the president. She said Obama “indicated that he
was leaving that up to the Department of Justice” and that the issue was not
discussed in detail.

“That was brushed over,” she added.

The law has sparked a heated debate among lawmakers and activist groups over the possibility of racial profiling and the need for comprehensive immigration reform. 

A group of protesters organized by the labor union SEIU picketed Brewer outside the White House during her meeting. 

The law came after an uptick in violence and drug cartel activity in Mexico that has been spilling over into border states such as Arizona. 

Brewer said she was not sure how much federal funding and how many troops will go to Arizona, but she said she is “confident that the majority of resources will be deployed to Arizona.” She added that the federal representatives would also explain the new resources to state officials. 

Brewer said she stood by Arizona’s immigration law.

“I feel very confident about what we have done in the past was the right thing to do,” she said. “I think we are protecting the people of Arizona … and the people of America.”

This post was updated at 3:42 p.m.

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