(NECN: Phoenix, Ariz.) – In launching a Web site aimed at educating the United States on Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, Governor Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) took umbrage with the president’s joke at the recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
The event is an opportunity for its speakers to make light of politics, and President Barack Obama did so with Arizona’s immigration law:
It was this joke which became the target of Gov. Brewer’s address regarding new steps the state government is taking to promote the law on a national level.
“It’s fair to ask whether he intends to be the Commander-in-Chief or the Comic-in-Chief,” Gov. Brewer said. “Since the president’s joke was so inappropriate, I suppose, if I wanted to join in the comedian game, I could suggest that he should not give up his day job.”
“Unfortunately, though, he isn’t doing very well at that one, either,” she added as her punchline. In the context of the Correspondents’ Dinner, Mr. Obama’s joke may not be seen by some as “so inappropriate.” Gov. Brewer does not see the issue of border security as a joking matter, regardless of context.
With the signing of its immigration bill into law, Arizona has taken matters into its own hands after what is seen by Gov. Brewer as a failure by the federal government to secure the state’s border with Mexico. Drug trafficking, violence and illegal immigration crossing into the United States from Mexico is a major concern for the state.
“While the president is making wisecracks and playing racial politics, some groups have suggested that Arizona be punished for enforcing laws that our federal government has failed to enforce — that is misguided at best,” Gov. Brewer said.
She suggested those that wish to boycott Arizona businesses — Boston, Los Angeles, etc. — visit the state to witness firsthand the conditions that produced the law.
“Our purpose today is to help the rest of the nation understand the crisis which confronts our state,” Gov. Brewer. “Our nation’s government is broken, our border is being erased and the president apparently considers it a wonderful opportunity to divide people along racial lines for his personal political convenience.”
“Secure the Border”
The governor announced the formation of a committee that will make recommendations designed to increase border security, based on border control statistics. A Web site aimed at “educating” the nation on the state immigration law is also being launched. SecureTheBorder.org‘s banner features photos of Brewer and Sarah Palin side-by-side.
The site lists under its “Support Arizona” section the organizations considering boycotting Arizona because of the law. Among the contacts listed is Boston Mayor Tom Menino.
Arizona’s immigration law requires law enforcement officials to question during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” people suspected of being in the country illegally. The bill, as it was originally signed into law, required officials to make a “reasonable attempt” during “lawful contact” at questioning people suspected of being in the country illegally. That phrasing led to fears of possible racial profiling by officers.
Gov. Brewer on April 30th signed into law HB 2162, which replaced “lawful contact” with “lawful stop, detention or arrest.” In a statement, she wrote that the changes to SB1070:
“Specifically answer legal questions raised by some who expressed fears that the original law would somehow allow or lead to racial profiling. These new amendments make it crystal clear and undeniable that racial profiling is illegal, and will not be tolerated in Arizona.”