Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the Senate immigration bill a “victory for Arizona” on Fox News this weekend, offering support for the bill following an agreement from Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) that would increase border security enforcement. “I think that what we’re seeing taking place in the Senate is a victory for Arizona,” Brewer said on Sunday. “I’m glad that they finally decided to talk about the ‘border surge’ that we’ve called out for since 2010, asking them to take control of our border, operational control.”
Brewer’s initial endorsement undermined the remaining resistance to the bill from her own party, since Arizona is home to one of the most notorious immigration laws in the country. But, perhaps realizing that her support for the bill would impact her fellow party members’ opposition, Brewer backtracked just one day later. “For the record, I have not endorsed the Gang of 8” bill, she tweeted Monday afternoon.
From the start, Brewer’s criticism of the bill’s path to citizenship has ignored that border security has reached most of the targets Republicans called for in 2007. The Corker-Hoeven amendment adds tens of billions of dollars for immigration enforcement, would double the number of Border Patrol by 20,000 agents, and add 18 drones and 700 miles of fencing. Yet Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) promise to withhold support when the amendment meets the border security targets they’ve demanded.
Even the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board has called out their opposition as “a ruse to kill reform. “The border could be defended by the 10th Mountain Division and Claymore antipersonnel mines and it wouldn’t be secure enough,” WSJ wrote, noting that “the U.S.-Mexico border is more secure today than it has been in decades.” Gang of Eight member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) likewise slammed his colleagues, saying “If there’s anyone who still will argue that the border’s not secure after this, then border security is not their reason for opposing a path to citizenship.”
While the Corker-Hoeven amendment apparently appeals to Brewer’s concerns, immigration advocates like America’s Voice have been critical it is “terrible public policy” since “[a]dditional spending from Corker and Hoeven’s amendment is on top of existing border enforcement pillars. We already spend unprecedented sums, devote unprecedented resources, and have made unprecedented progress at the border.” But America’s Voice Director Frank Sharry notes this is the “high price” for Republican support.