Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said on Fox News last night that the Obama administration has ignored her requests to work together on border security issues and is ignoring its responsibilities along the border.
In spite of an influx of federal resources along the Southern border in the past year, including an increase of people on the ground, Brewer said the administration's response to security issues is "frustrating" -- and her message appears to be resonating with the public.
"Seventy percent of the American public agrees with Arizona that no one is taking any action -- no one is calling us, no one is corresponding with us," Brewer said on Fox News' "On the Record." "It's very, very frustrating. We have the right in Arizona, as does everyone else in our country, to feel safe, and we cannot afford the expense that is the federal government's responsibility."
Brewer was referring to a Rasmussen telephone survey often cited by Republicans showing that 70 percent of likely Arizona voters approve of the state's controversial new immigration law, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. It also mandates that legal immigrants must carry documents proving their status. Opponents of the law, including President Obama, contend it could lead to racial profiling.
A gaining ground among likely voters in her state since signing the immigration measure into law.showed that 60 percent of Americans thought the Arizona law was "about right" in its approach or did not go far enough to address illegal immigration. Meanwhile, a new Rassmussen survey out today shows Brewer, who faces a GOP primary challenge this year,
"We are on the battlefield getting the impact of all this illegal immigration and all the crime that comes with it," Brewer said last night. "We need help. [Administration officials] need to do their job. They need to step up and secure our borders!"
The Department of Homeland Security responded by telling Hotsheet that the federal government has dedicated unprecedented manpower, technology, and infrastructure resources to the Southwest border over the course of the past 14 months. The Border Patrol is better staffed today than at any time in its 85-year history, according to DHS spokesman Matt Chandler. In 2009, the number of agents at the border reached 20,000, with more than 4,000 deployed in Arizona.
Over the past year, Chandler said, an additional 110 special agents for the Border Enforcement Security Task Force have been deployed, doubling its personnel. The number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement intelligence analysts along the Southwest border tripled with 28 new analysts added in April 2009.
Additionally, state and local law enforcement officials working with DHS identified 46 percent more criminal aliens in 2009 than they did in 2008. DHS statistics, displayed in a chart by the pro-immigration group America's Voice, show more criminal and non-criminal deportations under the Obama administration than at any other point in the past 10 years.
"The administration continues to evaluate additional law enforcement options as needed, including the use of the National Guard, along the Southwest Border," Chandler said. "We continue to work with Congress on comprehensive reform of our immigration system, which would provide lasting and dedicated resources at our borders."
Nevertheless, Brewer said she has had trouble communicating with the administration on the issue.
"I have repeatedly sent letters to the administration and to the president of the United States with absolutely no response," she said. "I'm hopeful when I'm in Washington, D.C. in about a week I will be able to at least touch base with the secretary of Homeland Security and the president of the United States."
She added, "A nation without borders is like a house without walls -- it collapses. And that is what is going to happen to our wonderful America."