This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 1, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: Admit it! You want to know what Arizona Governor Jan Brewer thinks about President Obama's immigration speech today. Well, we all do! Well, guess what? We will! Governor Jan Brewer is right here to go "On the Record." But first, the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: States like Arizona have decided to take matters into their own hands. Now, given the levels of frustration across the country, this is understandable. But it is also ill-conceived. And it's not just that the law Arizona passed is divisive, although it has fanned the flames of an already contentious debate.
Laws like Arizona's put huge pressures on local law enforcement to enforce rules that ultimately are unenforceable. It puts pressure on already hard-strapped state and local budgets. It makes it difficult for people here illegally to report crimes, driving a wedge between communities and law enforcement, making our streets more dangerous and the jobs of our police officers more difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor Brewer joins us live from Phoenix. Good evening, Governor. And Governor, what did you think of the president's speech today?
GOV. JAN BREWER, R-ARIZ.: Well, after I had caught my breath, I was -- I felt like it was a helpless (ph) speech. He certainly did a good job of describing the fact that the federal government hasn't done their job. I think he made statements that inflamed an issue that he realizes is his responsibility. And I was disappointed.
VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you don't need to be told what the problem is. So when you say that he laid out the problem, that wasn't exactly what you were looking for.
BREWER: No, I was looking for action. You know, we continue to tell him what we are facing down here and remind him that he has a responsibility. And I believe the people of Arizona and the people of America are fed up with the federal government. The bottom line is, is that they need to secure our borders. And in regards to Senate bill 1070, what a disappointment! It hasn't been divisive, it has united Arizona! It has united America!
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, you mention SB1070. It was sort of interesting. He made those remarks about SB1070, but he did not say that he thought it was unconstitutional. He did not say it called for racial profiling. And he did not say that he was asking the Justice Department to file suit against you. So I thought that was interesting. Did you catch that? And did it have any relevance to you?
BREWER: I did. I -- and of course, I agree with all of the above, that in fact, it is -- it is not unconstitutional. And if, in fact, the federal government determines that they are going to sue us, we'll meet them in court.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that if SB1070 had not been passed and caused a big storm in the country of controversy that the president of the United States would have been giving a speech about immigration reform and at least begin talking about it?
BREWER: No, I don't. I believe that Senate bill 1070 lit America on fire. I think we've all realized exactly what the situation is. And the people of Arizona have lived with these porous borders and illegal immigration into our state and that people throughout America realizes that. Everybody understands the problem except the president of the United States. Fact of the matter is, is that we need our borders secured. Certainly, we realize that there's going to have to be some kind of immigration reform, but I don't believe any of that's going to move forward until our border is secured.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think the president -- why do you say that the president doesn't understand it, and everybody else does? What makes you say that? And how do you get him to understand it?
BREWER: I don't believe that he wants to understand it. I mean, he misrepresents what the bill does. He knows that the bill mirrors the federal law. It's simple. It's very, very simple. And why he doesn't want to understand it is beyond me. He wants, I believe, amnesty for everyone. I think he wants an open border.
Someone needs to talk to him in regards to why he portrays it the that way he does. It's very, very unfortunate. You know, we're a nation of laws. We are a nation of laws! Every law, not just some laws that we want to enforce. We need to obey all the laws. And he tends to believe that he has federal laws that he doesn't have to enforce, when it's his responsibility as the president of the United States. And if the president won't enforce those laws, then Arizona will! Arizona will!
VAN SUSTEREN: What's been the reaction -- may be a little bit too soon, but has there been some sort of reaction from journalists, opinion leaders, community people, citizens to the president's speech? What's been the reaction in Arizona?
BREWER: Well, you know, and I haven't had a lot of opportunity. I was up north this afternoon in Sedona, speaking to a group of people up there. Certainly, a lot of them feel that, you know, it's just -- again, it's just a whole lot of rhetoric, a whole lot of talk, a whole lot of talking about hope and when they want action.
You know, they find it very interesting and unfortunate that we have a crisis here in Arizona, and he doesn't even come to Arizona to look and see with his own eyes. I mean, that's just unbelievable to the people of Arizona! If there was a crisis going on maybe like -- like at the gulf, at least he went down there! He has not even come to Arizona to see! It's like just total disrespect for Arizona and the people!
VAN SUSTEREN: And to be a little bit flip on my part, you've even invited him for lunch. You said you'd take him to lunch if he did show up.
VAN SUSTEREN: But that's a little flip on my part.
BREWER: I -- what...
VAN SUSTEREN: Why -- why do you think he won't go to Arizona, that he -- you know, what would -- why would he not want to go down and see that firsthand? Because, you know, last -- he's -- he went to Racine, Wisconsin, yesterday on jobs. Last week, he went to Ohio. He was on the ground 58 minutes. I mean, why won't comb to Arizona? Because your state certainly has been, you know, raising a lot -- a lot of hell and -- with him.
BREWER: Well, he's aware that we're here and he knows that we're upset and he knows that we want some attention. I would think that he would come and visit with us and talk to the people along the border, talk to the citizens of Arizona, look and see what we see on a daily basis. But I get no response in regards to my invitations. Wasn't even mentioned when his staff came out here last -- this week.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, he mentioned in his speech today -- because we actually -- we actually went to the speech because it's so much different, at least I think, when you actually sit in the room. So we actually went and sat in the room at American University. But he talked about -- he said that he had -- he had spoken to law enforcement and he has said that SB1070, according to law enforcement he has spoken to or his staff has spoken to -- that they are opposed to it, that it's going to make it more difficult for them to do their jobs. You're shaking your head no.
BREWER: Law enforcement in the state of Arizona supports Senate bill 1070. We have many organizations and groups of the officers on the ground that understand the problem, need another tool in order to address the problem and support it wholeheartedly. And everybody that I come across in law enforcement, other than a couple of sheriffs in a couple of areas -- other than that, you know, the majority of law enforcement support the bill! So that's just misrepresentation again on behalf of the federal government!
VAN SUSTEREN: Is he cherry-picking a couple issues or a couple supporters in an effort to be less than candid about the seriousness of the problem, or am I overstating it?
BREWER: No, I don't you're overstating it. I think he's picking out a couple of people that maybe might disagree with the issue and how we're looking at it. But the bottom line is, is that he's wrong. He's absolutely wrong, Greta. And it's his responsibility. And you know, our law mirrors federal law. If Arizona's law is wrong and is what he says that it is, well, then, the federal law is wrong, too! Enforce the laws! We're a nation of laws! We have to abide by those laws!
VAN SUSTEREN: It seems...
VAN SUSTEREN: It seems where the great divide is, if I can try to figure this out, between the two parties -- in Washington, it's very much (INAUDIBLE) I realize that Arizona is -- is sort of separate on this dispute, but here in Washington on the sort of the national immigration policy, is the Republicans want to secure border first. Once the border is secure first, then look to doing something in terms of developing a national immigration policy, whatever that is. The Democrats, on the other hand, want to do both simultaneously, and that's where the two are at war. Is that how you see the issue on a national level?
BREWER: Absolutely. You know, let's be practical. If your house is burning down, you put out the fire and then you call the architect to see how you're going to rebuild it. Bottom line is, we have been down this path for decades in regards to the border security issue. And we've had president after president -- even my favorite star, my idol, Ronald Reagan, back in 1986, you know, tried to secure the border and afforded amnesty. Well, amnesty was afforded, but the border never got secured. And it has continued on. The people of America, the people of Arizona -- we want our border secured! And then we'll deal with all those other issues. We're not going to be talking about hope and promises anymore!
VAN SUSTEREN: The Yuma sector has been successful in securing the border, is that right, that part of...
BREWER: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... the Tucson -- the Tucson is really what we're talking about. Now, what I was told the other night -- I said, Why don't we just do in the Yuma -- in the Tucson sector what's being done on the Yuma sector, and what I was told is that the terrain is so profoundly different that that can't be done. True or false?
BREWER: Well, you know, the terrain is a little bit more difficult to secure. But the bottom of -- the bottom issue is, is that is we can secure it. We can get those fences up there. We can have unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance. And -- and it's not impossible.
One of the problems, of course, is that we have federal land down there, and we can't have law enforcements going onto that federal land. I mean, it's like a wide-open corridor, where the illegal immigrants are coming through with the drug cartels. And they just have an open area which they can travel where law enforcement can't enter.
So I will say this. Congressman Bishop from Utah is introducing legislation on the federal level to give access to those law enforcement enforcers to go onto the federal land. And I'm hoping that our Congress will pass it to give them access.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, if you'll stand -- Governor, if you'll stand by, we have much more with you coming up.
VAN SUSTEREN: We're back with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Governor, I certainly know your view on securing the border. That's been pretty plain to me. But I'm -- but let me ask you about post-securing the border. What would you -- what -- what do you think we should do about overall national immigration policy? What would you suggest?
BREWER: Well, you know, I think it's something that needs to be discussed. I certainly think that we need some legal pathway, of course, to allow legal immigrants into America, into Arizona. We certainly can utilize a lot of their talents in regards to our workforces here. So I think that it's something that we need to really sit down and collectively look at and see just where exactly where we can lead (ph) this agreement between immigration and America.
But you know, I believe that -- I don't want to go there now. You know, I know that we need some kind of an immigration reform. Right now, I am dead set and focused on one thing and one thing only, and that is our border security.
VAN SUSTEREN: If the Democrats were to roll the dice and say, OK, we're going to secure the borders and we're not going to, you know, roll in right now an issue of a comprehensive immigration reform, what is it that the Republicans who are so dead set on separating those issues could say to the Democrats now to convince them that, yes, once the borders are secure, we will turn towards swiftly resolving the other issue?
BREWER: Well, I think they would say and I would hope that the majority would agree that it is absolutely an issue of which we need to discuss. And we have to come to some agreement of how we're going to do that and set forth some parameters about how we're going to accomplish that. You know, nothing is accomplished just by saying, We're going to do this, this and this. You got to sit down. You got to vet it. You've got to move forward.
But I believe that, you know, in the past, we've seen elected officials on both sides of the aisle discuss this and made some progress. Progress can be made. But I don't believe it's going to happen until our border is secured. It is an issue, regardless of what the president wants to believe or what he wants to pursue. I don't believe it's going to happen simply because America wants our borders secured! And they've been promised in the past that if we did certain things that some people agree with, that the borders would be secured. It didn't happen. So we're not - - we're not banking on promises anymore.
VAN SUSTEREN: When the president sent down Mr. Brennan -- and frankly, I would have thought it would have been a lot smarter to send down former governor Napolitano to handle it because it is so sensitive at this point and she certainly sure gets the problem of Arizona. Since he sent Mr. Brennan down, have they contacted you at all? Has there been any sort of movement beyond the Powerpoint presentation?
BREWER: No. No. And you know, that was so disappointing. We had been hopeful when they came that they would have given us information, at least a hard copy of the deck (ph) of the Powerpoint. You know, nothing was left with us. It was a very fast presentation, and you know, and not really valid, solid information, you know, a bunch of data kinds of things that you can throw about and around.
We wanted to be able to be prepared so that we could be helpful in the dialogue. And unfortunately, nothing was even given us to us prior to them arriving here. So although I appreciate them coming, it really didn't serve any purpose. You know, we -- what we found out is that they're willing to give more money to Mexico than they are to -- you know, to -- than they are willing to spend on National Guard on our borders. And although we are appreciative of, of course, the National Guard, if and when they ever arrive, you know, it's not enough. It's not enough.
You know, I was hoping for a good dialogue, a sensible dialogue, and where do we go from here and how do we -- how are we able to get more people on the border that can protect the border and deliver to the people of Arizona what is absolutely necessary. That wasn't discussed. You know, it's...
VAN SUSTEREN: Is -- so is the next step that Arizona goes full speed ahead on enforcing its law when it goes into effect at the end of July, and the only thing that might sort of get in the way or create an issue is if the federal government files a lawsuit? I mean, there's no other discussion planned between you and the White House, right?
BREWER: That's correct. That's correct. And of course, we already have people that have filed lawsuits. I believe we have five. And we are prepared, you know, to stand up and defend Arizona in that regard. I think it's pretty sad that the federal government would file suit against the state of Arizona on a piece of legislation, a law that has been enacted that mirrors the federal law. They could sue themselves, and they could save a lot of time and energy and money and sue themselves and then give us the money for border security.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you. And of course, as you know, we're going to be following this story. Thank you, Governor.
BREWER: Thank you, Greta.