Though they continue to differ on illegal immigration issues, including comprehensive reform and border security, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the White House described the meeting as cordial.
The White House, in a written statement, called it a “good meeting.” Governor Brewer called it “very, very cordial,” and said, “I am encouraged that there’s going to be much better dialogue between the federal government and the state of Arizona.”
The president-governor summit was the culmination of weeks of negative rhetoric coming from both sides, following Brewer’s decision in April to sign tough legislation aimed at curtailing illegal immigration. Under the law, police must check the residency status of someone who is being investigated for another possible legal infraction and who also raises “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally.
The Obama administration has criticized the law, arguing it could result in racial profiling and spur the passage of laws in other states that result in an unworkable national patchwork of immigration policy. Brewer and her supporters have complained that administration officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, haven’t read the law and are playing politics with the increasingly powerful Hispanic vote.
But the tone improved after the Oval Office meeting. The two executives discussed President Obama’s previously announced plan to deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the US-Mexican border and to request an additional $500 million from Congress for border security.
Before the meeting, Brewer had expressed dismay over a lack of clarity from Washington as to how these resources would be distributed. After the meeting, she said the numbers still weren’t fixed, but that Obama “felt the majority of all the resources would probably be coming to Arizona.”