Arizona Governor and Obama to Huddle
Updated: 3:38 p.m
President Barack Obama is set to meet with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) on Thursday — the first time that the two will meet face to face since she signed a controversial immigration measure into law that sparked outcry from all corners of the country.
Obama’s meeting with Brewer comes a week after he announced plans to send 1,200 more National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border and invest an additional $500 million to back up the effort.
“This administration has dedicated unprecedented resources over the past 16 months to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility to secure the Southwest border,” a White House aide said. “The president looks forward to discussing those efforts and other matters of mutual interest with Gov. Brewer.”
On Tuesday, Brewer exuded confidence that a potential legal challenge from the administration over her state’s immigration law would not hold up. Attorney General Eric Holder has been examining the law for potential civil rights violations but has yet to announce a challenge.
“We’ll meet you in court,” Brewer said on CNN, when asked how she would respond to a Justice Department challenge. “I have a pretty good record of winning in court.”
The Thursday meeting will be their first since the new measure was enacted April 23; it requires that individuals carry documentation proving their immigration status and that law enforcement officers question people they suspect may be in the country illegally.
The administration has been clear about its opposition to the measure: Obama has called it “misguided” and Holder has warned that it promotes racial profiling.
The law has also set off a wave protests around the country that have included rallies in various cities and dozens of local officials getting arrested for civil disobedience — along with one Member, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). Last weekend, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Phoenix and called on the president to move on comprehensive immigration reform as a solution. Protesters are also planning to gather at the White House on Thursday to protest Brewer’s visit.
Arizona Democrats who have railed against their state’s new law praised Obama for sitting down with their governor.
“I’m pleased that President Obama will meet with Gov. Brewer, and I hope he repeats his opinion that Arizona’s new law is misguided and divisive. Those of us who oppose the law would also appreciate the opportunity to meet the president and repeat our insistence that the Justice Department challenge the law’s legality and constitutionality,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said.