OTR Interviews

Gov. Brewer Declares War: The Government Has 'Failed' Arizona and the 'People of America'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 10, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is declaring war, a different kind. Taking on the Obama administration over Arizona's SB-1070. That is that controversial immigration bill she signed last year.

Three months after she singed it, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Arizona challenging that law. Now the governor is firing back with a countersuit against the federal government. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joins us live from Phoenix. Good evening, governor.

ARIZONA GOV. JAN BREWER: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, tell me what did you do today? What was that announcement today?

BREWER: Well, we announced that we were going to sue the federal government for not doing their jobs. We didn't want this fight, we didn't want this fight. But now we are in it, we are in it to win. The government has failed Arizona and we believe they've failed the people of America. We countersued, and we are ready to go to war with them, as you indicated.

VAN SUSTEREN: As I understand it, they filed suit first against you. You're responding with your counterclaim within that same suit is that correct?

BREWER: Exactly.

VAN SUSTEREN: And -- go ahead.

BREWER: We filed counter-suit for their failure of not doing their job to not secure our borders, failure for not enforcing the immigration laws, failure for not reimbursing the citizens of Arizona for the incarceration, failure for not protecting the public safety and welfare of our citizens, and failure for not upholding the 10th Amendment and preempting the people of Arizona to protect our own borders.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you had any reaction or has your attorney general had any conversations with the Justice Department leading up to the filing of your counter claim or even today in response to the press conference?

BREWER: Not up to the time we filed suit he hasn't had any conversation. This afternoon I don't know if they've been contacted. I was notified that the federal government didn't have a comment just about two hours ago. So we are still waiting.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have --

BREWER: But we are in it to win it.

VAN SUSTEREN: I understand. Have things improved or gotten worse or stayed the same in the last three months in Arizona?

BREWER: I think that they have probably pretty much have stayed the same. When you talk to the ranchers down on the border, they still are very concerned about their safety and concerned. We continually are looking at arrests of the drug cartels here in Arizona drugs and human smuggling. And it is just intolerable.

VAN SUSTEREN: People think of it mostly in the case of drug smuggling. But the human trafficking is a real crisis, not just on Arizona but also on the people who are victims of this, the people who are smuggled in and the oppressive things that happen to them. It is terrible, isn't it?

BREWER: It is. They are victims. They certainly are. And they are tortured and abused and their families are extorted. It is wrong. That's not what America and certainly what Arizona is about.

It is terrifying for these people that have these drophouses. They wake up one morning and they have this element in their neighborhoods where their children are outside playing. And they are the criminals that are doing it.

We are not going to put up with it. We will fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. Like I said, we didn't start this fight. We didn't want it. But we are in it to win for America.

And it is not cheap, but the people of America have really supported us. And my legal defense fund people have responded to and donated, and that has kept us going. We haven't spent one opinion any of Arizona taxpayers' dollars on the fight with the federal government in regards to this.

And anybody that is interested, they can go to wwwkeepazsafe.com and contribute, and we would appreciate it. And I want to thank everyone that has contributed because without their help and support we couldn't do this.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think about the news about Senator Jon Kyl not running? And any update about democratic congresswoman from Arizona Gabrielle Giffords?

BREWER: Well, I was on the phone this morning at about 8:00 our time talking to Jon, and he told me he was going to make that announcement. I was disappointed that he wasn't going to run. He's been a fabulous senator for the state of Arizona and America. He has served us well and he's a leader and he cares about his country. He has shown such great leadership that it is sad.

But I'm happy for him and his family that he can do this. I know we have two more years of Jon Kyl there representing Arizona and helping America get turned around.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Congresswoman Giffords?

BREWER: Yes, Congresswoman Giffords, from what I've understood and reports we've received is doing quite fabulous, unbelievably well. It is very encouraging. Gabby has all been a fighter. She is a strong woman. I think all the good prayers and everything that support and encouragement she is being received has been remarkable in her recovery.

VAN SUSTEREN: We are all pulling for her. Governor, thank you, nice to see you.

BREWER: Thank you, Greta.