From the Arizona Daily Star:
PHOENIX – A fight is developing over the unilateral decision by Gov. Jan Brewer to cancel next month’s meeting of 10 border governors, which had been scheduled for Arizona.
The governors of two other U.S. states said they want the annual meeting to go on, but not in Arizona. Aides to both Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat Bill Richardson said the conferences are too important to be disrupted by political fallout from Arizona’s new law aimed at illegal immigrants.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said through a press aide that he would be willing to attend a relocated border governors conference.
The move left Brewer disappointed.
“I would have liked to believe that they would have shown support for the governor of Arizona and for the people of Arizona,” Brewer said, adding that she wasn’t sure if she would attend a relocated conference. “I’d have to look at my schedule,” she said.
Brewer pulled the plug last week after the six Mexican governors who are part of the 10-member organization refused to come to Arizona after state passage of the SB 1070 immigration law.
“SB 1070 is discriminatory, racist and violates the International Civil Rights Agreement established in 1976,” Chihuahua Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas wrote in one of the letters sent to Brewer.
Brewer, however, said she believes each did not make the decision on his own. She said they were “acting under the direction, I believe, of President (Felipe) Calderón that they ought not to participate.”
New Mexico’s Richardson made the first move by proposing that the conference be moved. He said Brewer has no authority to pull the plug on the meeting.
“She may not want to host it for political reasons,” said Richardson press coordinator Caitlin Kelleher.
“But that’s not a reason to sidestep the tough issues that border governors must address, including migration and border violence,” Kelleher continued.
Schwarzenegger said he felt Brewer made a bad move. “He definitely believes that the conference is a valuable forum,” said his spokesman, Francisco Castillo.
Brewer responded: “We were ready to host it; we were ready to go. And for them to determine at the last minute that they’re not going to come, I think, would not be fair.” And while she agreed the annual conference is important, Brewer is offering no apology for signing the legislation.
That stance has put her at odds with the other three border governors on the U.S. side.
Perry said he recognizes and supports a state’s right and obligation to protect its citizens, “but I have concerns with portions of the law,” including turning law enforcement officers into immigration officials, he said in a statement.
Richardson issued a statement after the law was signed calling it “a reprehensible law that’s going to lead to racial profiling.”
Castillo said Schwarzenegger, of California, does not support the Arizona law and believes the only real solution is a comprehensive federal immigration policy.