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President Obama Confronts Governor Brewer (Sort Of)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

A conversation between Barack Obama, president of the United States, and Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona, might go like this....


Good morning, governor. This is your president calling. I wanted to inform you personally -- before you hear it from a third party -- that the federal government is suing you and Arizona over your state's irresponsible new law on immigration.

What's irresponsible, Mr. President, is federal inability -- or refusal -- to deal with an illegal immigration problem that has cost Arizonans billions of dollars and now is costing some of them their lives.

Madam Governor, the law you signed denies the civil rights of immigrants and encourages -- maybe requires -- police to engage in racial profiling. Repeal the law and we'll drop the suit. Simple as that.

On the contrary, our law does neither of those things. Besides, what are the abridged civil rights of individuals now in this civil society illegally? For decades Arizona has begged the federales to enforce federal immigration laws -- to no avail. So we acted because the federal government has failed. Yet now you are filing suits against the law-abiding and siding with illegals. Sir, what aspects of idiocy do you not understand?

I understand that immigration is a federal issue, not a state one. As one of the most brilliant presidents ever, I easily understand as well that with the irresponsible enactment of SB 1070, Arizona "crossed a constitutional line" -- an audacious step it cannot be allowed to get away with.

Mr. President, please. And permit me to shine some light on some facts you may have missed. (1) We are hoarse from begging federal bureaucrats for more troops to police our border with Mexico --

I have authorized an additional 1,200 personnel to patrol the border. We have more troops on the ground than at any time in our history.

(2) The murderers of one of our citizens, Robert Krentz, escaped to an area set aside for the protection of pronghorn antelope -- and declared off-limits to the U.S. border patrol by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (the guy who is doing such a great job on the Macondo undersea oil gusher). From there, Krentz' killers likely made their way to Mexico. (3) Phoenix is bedeviled by kidnapping -- standing second only to Mexico City as the world's kidnapping capital. At least 70 percent of Phoenix-area kidnapping cases submitted for prosecution involve illegal immigrants.

You seem awfully cocksure of your statistics.

(4) Illegals account for 9 percent of Arizona's population, but 22 percent of the state's felonies. And (5) SB 1070 mimics existing federal law in almost every way, specifically including the provision requiring the commission of a crime before authorities can ask questions about immigration status. Your own federal enforcers work under a similar stipulation; ditto enforcers in with-it states such as California. If that comprises "racial profiling" in Arizona, does it equally comprise "racial profiling" in California and at the federal level?

Look. You and your fellow Republicans are playing politics with the immigration issue. Republicans keep talking about securing the border. As I said the other day to Arizona's Republican Senator John Kyl, "If we secure the border, then you (Republicans) won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform."

"If," sir -- "if"? Are you suggesting that you won't secure the border, or that it shouldn't be secured? The dustbin of history is full of the names of one-time countries with insecure borders.

Well, it never hurts to be kind to our neighbors, and Mexico is peeved about Arizona's law. My good friend Felipe Calderon, my counterpart as president in Mexico, spoke repeatedly during his recent American visit against what Arizona has done. And Mexico has joined the federal suit against Arizona's new law.

Let me see if I've got this straight: Mexico's politicians are as angered as its citizens who have come here illegally -- all 11 million of them. Why am I not surprised? Mr. President, I dare say you're the one playing politics -- challenging a state law on ostensibly constitutional grounds to brand Republicans as hostile to all immigration and rustle up Hispanic votes in the coming midterm elections. Our law polls well nationally, and about 20 states are weighing whether to enact all or parts of it. Contrarily, your suit is playing with fire that might singe Democratic political ambitions.

The law is what it is.

Exactly. And ours is practically identical to yours (and Mexico's!). What's more, federal authorities -- notably my predecessor as Arizona's governor, and your current homeland security secretary (Janet Napolitano), has commended state and local actions under federal oversight to "promote public safety by prioritizing the identification and removal of dangerous criminal aliens and ensure consistency and stronger federal oversight of state and local immigration law enforcement efforts across the nation."

I can't believe she said that.

She did indeed, sir. And now you're suing me and my state for doing precisely what you and your friendly federal Legrees have told us, urged us, encouraged us to do. Instead of giving us a medal, you're hauling us into court. Beyond politics, it makes no sense.

Madam Governor, repeal your law and we'll drop our suit. Simple as that. Oh, and have a nice day.

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