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Arizona Immigration Law Upsets Governor’s Meeting

July 7, 2010

Add one more to the growing pile of reasons why the Arizona immigration law is a disaster.

For nearly 30 years, the governors of the states that line both sides of the United States-Mexico border have gathered to celebrate border bonhomie. They issue proclamations and pledges to work together, air grievances and concerns behind closed doors and pose for the cameras in symbolic showings of cooperation.

But this year the 28th annual conference has collided headlong with Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration, inspiring bitter recriminations among Mexican governors and rancor among some American ones.

Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona has championed the new state law that gives local police officers broader authority to question people they stop about their immigration status. On Tuesday, the United States Justice Department filed suit to challenge the law.

Ms. Brewer happens by rotation to be the chairwoman and host of this year’s conference, scheduled for September at a resort in Phoenix. But after all six Mexican border governors wrote to her to say they intended to boycott the gathering to protest the new law, Ms. Brewer sent a letter of her own last week to the governors on both sides of the border saying she was canceling the whole conference.

“I am disappointed by your decision,” she said in a letter June 30. “I sincerely believe the gathering of the governors in Arizona would have presented a great platform to initiate dialogue about the legislation and other topics of great importance to the border region.”

The Mexican governors had written that they would not step foot in Arizona because they considered the law, which Ms. Brewer signed in April and continues to promote, to be “based on ethnic and cultural prejudice contrary to fundamental rights.”

Their position is in line with that of President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, who has denounced the law on several occasions as a recipe for singling out Mexican citizens, lawfully in the United States or not, for harassment. It also coincides with a boycott announced by major civil rights groups in the United States and several cities and towns.

Now, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico has stepped into the fray, pledging to salvage the conference by finding a site in another state.

“Governor Brewer doesn’t have the authority to cancel the Border Governors Conference,” Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for Mr. Richardson said. “She may not want to host it for political reasons, but that’s not a reason to sidestep the tough issues that border governors must address, including migration and border violence. Governor Richardson will look for alternative sites to host the conference, with or without Arizona’s participation.”

Mr. Richardson, a Democrat and the nation’s only Hispanic governor, had lobbied Ms. Brewer, a Republican, not to sign the law, and he has repeatedly condemned it.

A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, who took particular pride in hosting the conference in 2008, said he also supported moving it.

It remained unclear if Ms. Brewer would attend the conference if it ended up in another state.


  1. July 11, 2010 12:11 PM

    No, Phil, the reason is that 40 Arizona species are endangered or in the threatened status under federal law, which means they are close enough to extinction to warrant protection. Man has no right due to our ever desire for more land and resources of either helping or allowing a species to become extinct.

  2. Phil permalink
    July 11, 2010 11:33 AM

    From the associated press:
    Arizona (viewed by some as hard-hearted for its April law
    stepping up vigilance for illegal immigrants) showed a soft side
    recently, implementing a $1.25 million federal grant that it believes
    will save the lives of at least five squirrels a year. The state’s 250
    endangered Mount Graham red squirrels risk becoming roadkill on
    Route 366 near Pima, and the state is building a rope bridge for
    them to add to several existing tunnels. [ABC News, 6-17-10] —- I suppose the justification is that rodents wont take our jobs?

  3. GB Hero permalink
    July 9, 2010 5:52 AM

    Gov Brewer should not have canceled the event she should have held it without those who decided to boycott. It would just show them that once again a foreign country is not going to dictate how Americans run their country and they are going to learn that America supports Arizona. And with Oklahoma South Carolina and Utah set to pass the same law as Arizona and more states to follow the illegal invasion of America is going to slow greatly.

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