OTR Interviews

Gov. Brewer Defiant After Legal Setback for Ariz. Immigration Law: 'I'm Not Giving Up'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: A big setback for Arizona's controversial illegal immigration law. Last summer a federal trial court judge said portions of the law are unconstitutional. Governor Brewer fought that ruling to the United States criminal appeals 9th circuit, today she found out she lost again. The court sided with the United States Justice Department and President Obama, going against Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the measure into law last year.

Today's ruling will keep parts of Senate Bill 1070 frozen. So now what happens? Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joins us. Good evening, governor, and I found some quotes. You described the decision, among other things, as "outrageous."

GOVERNOR JAN BREWER, R-ARIZ.: It is outrageous. Of course we are disappointed. The bottom line is it is another hurdle. We believe we are right, Greta, and we are going to continue our battle.

VAN SUSTEREN: It is interesting. Three judges consider it, U.S. court of appeals, and it was two to one, a split decision. You either go for the full court or to the United States Supreme Court. But the two to one split was very, very hot in the sense -- one of the judges said the dissenter resorted to "fairy tale quotes and other superfluous and distracting rhetoric." It is not often that federal judges smack each other around like that on opinions.

BREWER: It was very interesting. Of course, I somewhat appreciated it. I think that the justice was right on target, "Alice in Wonderland." It is amazing they were making a decision based on Judge Bolton's hearing that we had. However, they wanted to weigh in on their own caveat of other things, like talking about international interference for the United States. It is hard to understand why they would do that.

So it is just another hurtle. I'm going to sit with my staff again tonight and tomorrow make some decisions as to where we going to take it, if we are going to go back to the 9th circuit or if we are going to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The bottom line is this has been a long, hard battle for Arizona. And we bear the brunt of everything that takes place here with the drug cartels and the illegal immigrations, the drop houses, the crime. Now we have to stand up for the people of Arizona and for the people of America.

And I say again that I believe that the people of America agreed with Arizona, and we need their help and their support. So it is going to be a long legal battle. Bottom line is that I'm going to ask everybody tonight to remember my legal defense fund, because this is not cheap, but we can win. So I want people to go to KeepAZsafe.com and help us fight this battle. I'm not going to give up, Greta. I'm not giving up.

VAN SUSTEREN: The argument is that the Justice Department said it was unconstitutional, arguing that Arizona can't take matters into their own hands. What was interesting what was written in the dissent, which the dissenting judge on your side said "The majority misreads the meaning of the relevant federal statutes to ignore what is plain. Congress intended state and local police officers to participate in the enforcement of federal immigration law."

So it is sort of interesting and sort of luck of the draw in terms of what judges you get on any of these cases. If you got another that felt like the dissenter, you would be a winner tonight. Now it is on to the Supreme Court.

BREWER: But I'm a fighter.

VAN SUSTEREN: But it is lousy to be on the losing side. You never want to be a loser in terms of -- when you go up another stage it is harder.

BREWER: And you are right, Greta. But the bottom line is, we are going to continue this fight. And we're going to win this eventually. It is so frustrating because I sit and think about the stuff that's in that opinion. You know, our law mirrors federal law. Are the feds going to change their laws?

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, I think the problem is that the federal government has not done its job forcing Arizona to take matters into its own hands. I don't know if that is constitutional or not but the bottom line is you wouldn't have made a constitutional or unconstitutional gesture if the federal government did its job.

BREWER: And that's one of our main arguments. Just do your job Mr. President. Enforce the federal law and we wouldn't have these issues. And they are trying to run us out of time, money, and patience. I'm patient. I think Arizona is patient. And I think America is going to be patient. We will continue --

VAN SUSTEREN: I have to go governor, but we'll be following closely.

BREWER: Keep us posted, thanks. Bye-bye.