Published June 29, 2010
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is slamming the Obama administration over government signs posted in the Arizona desert warning visitors to beware of illegal smugglers, saying the signs are hardly the kind of border security plan her state needs.
"This is an outrage," Brewer said in a new reelection campaign ad.
The ad shows the governor standing next to one of the warning signs in the middle of the Arizona desert, 80 miles from the border and, according to the ad, 30 miles from Phoenix. The signs have in recent weeks drawn attention from border-state lawmakers who say they demonstrate how unsafe the region has become. In the ad, Brewer noted that she recently met with President Obama, who "promised that we would get word" on the administration's border security plan.
"Well, we finally got the message -- these signs. These signs, calling our desert an active drug and human smuggling area. These signs warning people of danger and telling them to stay away," Brewer said in the ad. "Washington says our border is as safe as it has ever been. Does this look safe to you?"
The ad ended with a confrontational message: "Washington is broken, Mr. President. Do your job. Secure our borders. Arizona and the nation are waiting."
One of the signs warns visitors that "smuggling and illegal immigration may be encountered in this area." Another says "travel not recommended" due to "active drug and human smuggling" routes.
Though warning signs have been placed in certain areas of Arizona, broad swaths of federal land are considered dangerous because of the smuggling routes.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., brought up the signs on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. Calling for stepped-up border security, he said "the rise of violence and the influence of the drug cartels and the human smugglers" compelled the government to put up the signs.
After the Obama administration met with border-state governors Monday to detail plans to deploy 1,200 National Guard to the region, Brewer told reporters that the influx of more than 500 National Guard troops to her state would not be enough.
Brewer has said she wants 3,000 National Guard troops sent to her state and 6,000 total sent to the border. The Obama administration has also faced criticism for planning to assign the National Guard to surveillance and support positions, as opposed to in-the-field work.
Obama has asked Congress, however, to approve $600 million in new spending for more Border Patrol, immigration officers and drones.