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Updated Jun 16, 2012 - 8:58 am

Jan Brewer says US policy muddies waters for Arizona law

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says President Barack
Obama represents a
“pre-emptive strike” aimed at an upcoming U.S. Supreme
Court ruling that
could uphold parts of the state’s immigration enforcement
law.

Obama’s new policy will give some illegal immigrants a chance to remain in
the
United States and work if they were brought into the U.S. as children.

“Should they be deported,” said Brewer. “I believe in the rule of law. I’ve
said this all along. I understand that this whole situation is so far more
complicated.”

Brewer reacted Friday to Obama’s announcement of a new
policy allowing some
younger illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.

“Now is not the time to grant amnesty to nearly one million people,” said
Brewer. “Now is not the time to approve something via executive fiat that
the president knows he could never get through Congress.”

Brewer said the change muddies the waters for implementing the Arizona
immigration enforcement law because people covered by the new federal
policy can
get new documentation.

The Supreme Court could rule as early as Monday on the Arizona law,
which was
enacted two years ago. Lower courts blocked implementation of key parts,
including a requirement that police ask about a person’s immigration
status if
an officer reasonably suspects the person is in the country illegally.

“It’s a pre-emptive strike against Senate Bill 1070. The timing is
unbelievable,” Brewer said.

Brewer also said Obama may have ulterior motives for pushing the new
policy.

“This delivery of this this message today was pandering to a certain
population and, I believe, it was very, very political,” she said.

Brewer said that an issue like this should go through Congress.

“Lo and behold today, he’s able to do it, so go figure,” she said.

The Republican governor also said the change means that
hundreds of thousands
of people will be eligible for work permits and compete with
Americans and legal
immigrants for jobs.

“They’re going to be competing [for] jobs with people that have come here
legally,” said Brewer.

Brewer, who recently ordered police regulators to re-issue training material
on
implementing the Arizona law, said state officials will study the
implications
of Obama’s move.

“The crux of Senate Bill 1070, of course, is documentation, and what he
has
done by his announcement today is he’s going to give documentation to
nearly a
million people that have arrived in our country illegally and not by the rule
of
law.”

Both Brewer and Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, the chief
sponsor of the Arizona law and now president of the Ban Amnesty Now
group,
characterized the change as a “backdoor amnesty.”

“The effect is just the destruction of the rule of law,” said Pearce, who
was
upset by Obama’s announcement. “It’s a slap in the face to those who
come here
legally. It’s a slap in the face to the rule of law.”

The change marks an unconstitutional end run around Congress and
rewards people
for breaking the law, Pearce said.

Pearce said he has sympathy for illegal immigrants who were brought to
the U.S.
as very young children but believes that’s not the issue at hand here. “We
have
laws in this land,” he said.

Several Democratic legislators hailed Obama’s announcement.

“This is a sensible policy. We should support the young people in our
state
who are doing the right things and contributing to the betterment of our
communities,” said House Minority Whip Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson.

Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, D-Phoenix, said the policy change
was
welcome. However, “comprehensive immigration reform is still needed,”
Schapira
added. “This is a positive step forward while Congress continues to
ignore the
problem.”

KTAR’s Jim Cross and Associated Press writer Jacques Billeaud
contributed to this report.

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