Gov. Brewer: It's just 'backdoor amnesty'

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 15, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: ... with a language that you may not even speak. That's what gave rise to the DREAM Act.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Critics are already calling it backdoor amnesty. The president says he is doing what is good for America, announcing an immediate halt to the deportation of some young illegals.

Now, for the first time since this announcement, the governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, who's no stranger to taking the president on, is about to do it all over again here and only here.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto and surprising Friday, the president just outlining a plan to stop deporting younger illegal immigrants and grant them work permits. The decision will affect upwards of 800,000 illegals brought to this country before the age of 16 who have lived in this country for at least five years, have no criminal history.

Now, we're going to gauge the political fallout from all of this with Governor Mitt Romney, his official response coming shortly.

But first on Fox, to a person who has been at the epicenter of what she called the amnesty storm, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

Governor, what do you make of this?

GOV. JAN BREWER, R-ARIZ.: Well, it was an interesting surprise this morning waking up to this kind of news.

And I believe that it is certainly a preemptive attack, if you will, on Senate Bill 1070, certainly something we have fought long and hard for. And it doesn't -- we keep wanting him to address the issue of securing our borders. And to do this, in my opinion, it's just backdoor amnesty.

CAVUTO: All right, so it sounds like you found out when the rest of us did, Governor.


CAVUTO: There was no heads-up call from anyone in the White House or any of that.

BREWER: No, nothing. Nothing.

CAVUTO: What do you think of the fact that these are the children of illegal immigrants who have done nothing wrong and that they have been sort of caught up in this fury? What do you make of the president's position on that?

BREWER: Well, you know, it's a difficult decision. It's a difficult situation that we are in, in America because our borders haven't been secured.

And this is the result of it. But we need to get our borders secured and then we could deal with all those other issues. But up until that time, what are we supposed to do? America, or the United States, has been the most favorable place to immigrate to around the world. And our nation was built on immigration.

But we need legal immigration. And now doing backdoor amnesty for almost 800,000, almost nearly a million more people, when our economy is down? People are hard-pressed to find jobs. And now we're going to give documentation, work permits, documentation to almost nearly a million more people to compete in our economy? Is that fair? Is that fair to the legal citizens of our country?

CAVUTO: Do you think what the White House is saying; is it fair to these children of illegals to be victimized, to hide in the shadows? After all, it&'s 800,000. It's not the 20-some-odd million illegals who are reportedly already here and maybe more than that and you know these numbers better than I. And that this is really fine-tuning it to really clear cases of kids or young adults who have nothing to do with a crime themselves? The only ones eligible for this would be those who have no criminal record whatever, so this is a very fine-tuned approach; you don't buy that?

BREWER: Well, it's difficult. It is very difficult, because we know that a lot of those children were brought over here at a very, very young age, but I still maintain that we are a nation of laws.

We believe in the rule of law. I know we're going to have to address that issue. And I think that some of them really excel in their education and in their businesses. But the bottom line is, is that we believe in the rule of law. And until we get our borders secured, it's going to continue. It's not going to not stop now.

I would imagine that people will be making a big run for the border, not to mention the additional cost of the Obama health care. Now we've got people here that are going to qualify probably for Obama health care. What does that do to the states? Now we're going to have a larger, much larger base to have to deliver health care services to.

And Arizona already spends $1.7 billion a year on illegal immigration. All I have asked all along, Neil, was to have our borders secured and then collectively together, maybe we can sit down at the table and solve some of these other issues.

But in the meantime, we are the recipients of bearing the costs and we're the recipients of the open borders and we are the recipients of the drug cartels, and we are the gateway to America. And to drop this -- drop this on Friday when there is a good possibility the Senate Bill 1070 will be issuing -- the Supreme Court will be issuing their decision on Monday, they preempt everything. They've preempted everything.


CAVUTO: OK, so, you question the timing of all of this.

BREWER: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Well, this became a bit of a heated discussion with one particular reporter at today's announcement featuring the president. I want you to respond to this, Governor.


OBAMA: And the answer to your question, sir -- and the next time I prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question -- is this is the right thing to do for the American people.They -- I didn't - - I didn't ask for an argument. I'm answering your question.

It is the right thing to do for the American people, and here's why.

QUESTION: ... high unemployment.


CAVUTO: That was a Daily Caller reporter.

What did you think of that, and how do you think the president handled it and got back to saying it's the right thing to do?

BREWER: Well, I believe that it's a distraction to our mission.

And I believe that it was probably inappropriate, maybe, for a reporter to act that way. But I believe everything that he's done today you in regards to his delivery of this bombshell, if you will, has been a total, total distraction to the mission.

CAVUTO: Well, do you think that for the reporter -- it was inappropriate for the reporter to act as he was?

BREWER: I was asked that earlier today.

And at first, I was a little cavalier. And I said, well, you know, the bottom line is, it happens to me all the time, get used to it. It's not for me to decide. I guess it's for others to decide in that regard. Sometimes, the press are kind of aggressive. And we tolerate it. I tolerate it every day.

CAVUTO: That is a bipartisan view, isn't it? You guys just don't flip over us. I guess sometimes I can understand why.


CAVUTO: But, Governor, now I want to know where we go with this. The argument has always been you can't shift 21 million, whatever that number is, and it's all over the map, back to Mexico or wherever, so there has got to be a way of taking at least some of them, particularly maybe the kids of some of them, and allowing there to be, as John McCain once put it, a path to citizenship.

If this path isn't the way, Governor, what path is?

BREWER: Well, this might be the path down the road, but it's not the path at this time.

Our mission right now is to get control of our borders, to stop this illegal immigration. And then we can all come together. And we ought to be able to come up and find a solution. But up until that time, even my president whom was a role model for you, President Reagan, he promised that he would secure the borders when he gave amnesty, and he didn't do it.

And so today we are still fighting the same issue. My goodness.

CAVUTO: Are you going to fight this, Governor? Is there anything you can do in Arizona or promise to do?

BREWER: Secure our border.

CAVUTO: What are you going to do in your state?

BREWER: I don't know. This is breaking news.

I have done everything that I could do and I will continue to do everything that I can do in the future in order to get our border secure, because that is the root of the problem.


CAVUTO: No, I understand that, Governor. But if the president is saying this guy has a permit, he's free to go, leave him alone, don't hassle him, Governor Jan Brewer in Arizona is going to say what?

BREWER: I don't know if the people of America -- it doesn't matter what Jan Brewer is going to say. Are the lawful American citizens of America, of the United States, are they going to sit back and say that the rule of law is no longer important? And if he's allowed to do this under the guise of Homeland Security rules and policies, what more can he do to us?

CAVUTO: All right, Governor Brewer, thank you very much.

BREWER: I mean, why...

CAVUTO: Go ahead. Finish that statement. I'm sorry.

BREWER: Thank you, Neil.

I mean, this is the problem. When they start down this path, what more are they going to do to us?


BREWER: I mean, they can do anything.

CAVUTO: Thank you, Governor, very, very much.

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