AZ Gov. Jan Brewer Politicizes Border Violence in Arizona


Drug Related Border Violence
Drug Related Border Violence

Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer is desperately using yesterday’s drug related border violence to justify her draconian and perhaps unconstitutional law. Of course, the two have nothing to do with one another and her law is not going to address drug trafficking or border violence in any way other than to escalate the level of engagement by automatically escalating the threat to the drug smugglers.

The Arizona Central reported this morning that a police officer was shot during a confrontation with drug smugglers on the border:

“Five men suspected of smuggling drugs across the border ambushed a Pinal County sheriff’s deputy Friday in a remote area south of Phoenix, underscoring the border-related violence that has catapulted Arizona and its new immigration law onto the national stage. “Here we see the tactics have changed and become more dangerous,” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “This has reached a critical mass for law enforcement.” Babeu said he has “called out for help” from federal officials to no avail. He said smugglers know “the police are after them and the fact they are firing upon us changes the game.”

Gov. Jan Brewer also weighed in, saying in a Twitter message sent out Friday evening: “Our thoughts & prayers go out to the Pinal County Deputy shot during a stop. Contrary to what some leaders say, our borders are not secure.”

Pinal County Lt. Tami Villar said Friday’s incident “sends a very powerful and loud message that we have a problem.” She added that the shooters are Hispanic men who “appear to be undocumented.” “

I’m not sure how one appears to be undocumented and hence, the problem the nation has with her law. Cue the public outcry, cut to her desperate tweet this morning attempting to use this violence to justify her absurd law. This is the old Republican stand by: Razzle Dazzle with Fear and Terror.

GOP Platform: “Dear Country: Your Terror Alert Level is Level Orange. Pardon Us While We Illegally WireTap You Now. And Never Mind That Illegal War, oh, and Show Us Your Papers So You Don’t Get Shot.”

Brewer is using drug related border violence to justify a draconian and perhaps unconstitutional law, but the two have nothing to do with one another. In fact, in the video below the reporter says, “he (Officer Pinal) was tracking the five suspects as they transported marijuana and other drugs…”

So if Brewer wanted to deal with this issue, she should’ve written a law dealing with drug trafficking and undocumented fire arms, not people who “look undocumented”. Hey, I’m just assuming she’d want to narrow the field down to the dangerous folks if her argument is the threat of violence.

Plus, this would allow us to have a discussion about profiling of undocumented weapons, which would be a lot more entertaining than the current discussion as America morphs into a “show me your papers” state.

Brewer assumes the shooting justifies her new controversial immigration law, but she does not prove this argument and the facts don’t support her argument. Let’s reverse this: Can Brewer prove that the border violence did not occur due to the aggressive stature Arizona has taken against illegal immigrants? One of the reasons no one has suggested stopping and searching people previously is a) a lack of resources and b) it automatically escalates the level of engagement with each attempted stop, as there is more at risk for an illegal immigrant. While these cowboy Galtists imagine this to be a good thing, automatically increasing the level of engagement right off the bat is not a good thing. It leads to deadly force and no one wins.

Brewer attempts to blame Obama for this violence by suggesting that “contrary to what some leaders say, our borders are not secure”. The right is always using the threat of violence and danger to justify removing more of our rights. They did this during W’s reign of terror and they continue it now. Brewer is using this tactic of fear to create panic in the constituents. Panicked people want big Daddy to take care of them and the Republican party has always represented Big Daddy, the patriarchal protector who knows best. They use this subconscious desire that we all have for a Daddy to protect us by insinuating that Democrats can’t protect us, are weak, etc. Hence Brewer’s insinuation that Obama doesn’t even know our borders aren’t secure. Yes, some people are dumb enough to believe that the President has not been briefed on the national security issue of our borders. Sigh.

Drug smugglers and illegal immigrants are not always the same entity by a long shot, but Brewer’s logic assumes that they are since she is using drug smuggling violence to justify a law about stopping anyone who appears undocumented. Does a drug smuggler “appear undocumented”? Why, I would suggest that their legality would be the least of the issues most pressing for law enforcement. Sure, drug smugglers getting busted is a good thing, but it is not the same thing as keeping illegal immigrants out of the country. Brewer doesn’t want the reader to realize this.

The drug smugglers will continue to get in like they always do. And they bring violence with them. Is Brewer trying to target this group? If so, she could have tailored her law to drug smuggling activities, weapons, etc. In fact, just imagine the uproar had she suggested that police stop and search anyone who appears to be carrying undocumented firearms? Oh, the outcry of the second amendment activists would be deafening. Somehow it’s OK to infringe on those other pesky rights, but don’t you dare go near that second amendment by even suggesting that we might go after undocumented weapons. Shiver me timbers.

Yes, that might separate the wheat from the shaft were it really drug smugglers Brewer were targeting and we can’t have that. That might work and we all know how Republicans hate it when government works, as that defies their entire raison d’etre.

Of course, the reality is much different from Brewer’s picture. Contrary to Brewer’s bumper sticker tweet, President Obama knows about the border issues—one of the most challenging aspects about immigration reform is the implications of Mexican drug/gang violence for our borders. This is actually one of our larger national security issues, but one that will require more thought than knee-jerk pandering to white supremacists and over-simplified, jingoistic, dare I say epic failure “Drill Baby Drill” solutions. Obama understands this. These are complicated issues that require reasonable people who are putting the good of the country first (for more on this, see “There Was a Day When” Republicans and Democrats agreed on how to tackle this issue).

Even Bush grasped the necessity for immigration reform and tried to get it done. It’s sad when Bush begins to look reasonable and moderate in comparison to the modern day Republican. Shame on Brewer for politicizing the drug related border violence in an attempt to justify her unconstitutional and impractical law.

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28 Replies to “AZ Gov. Jan Brewer Politicizes Border Violence in Arizona”

  1. Perhaps Governor Brewer is avoiding the illegal firearms issue for this reason:

    Most of the firearms used in border disputes (drug and non-drug related) are purchased illegally from “legal” citizens of the United States who cross the border to sell them in Mexico. This traffic that goes south – not north – is a very big business, generating unknown and untaxed profits. Somehow this arms trade, which is illegal, has been given considerably less attention that the violence and tragedy it engenders.

    If we are going to “secure the borders” in a new way, we will first have to deal with OUR folks going to Mexico to sell weapons. I can’t imagine how get through the border. . . .

  2. @Ariana,

    Exactly. This is just one more complex variable that some people want to pretend does not exist. Her law will not secure our borders; it will get rid of some illegals and tax the police heavily — but it will do nothing for our borders.

  3. You’re right. She didn’t know they were illegal. However, AK-47s are the favorite toy of the gangs south of the border, not our local home grown nuts. Oh yes, the deputy indicated they were Hispanics and he was making a routine patrol of a known human and drug smuggling corridor.
    Now for the real crux of the matter. What makes a state law racists when it is a almost word for word copy of the federal law? Read Nowhere does it tell local law enforcement officials to start going after Hispanics, or any other group of people. The law is telling them to check on their status if they have committed or are suspected of committing a crime.

  4. Hmm, doesn’t like links www. /legtext/ 49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s. pdf (pull out the spaces. The other link that got left out is how 17 people have been found in that area, 3 matching the description given by the deputy, and they are illegal.

  5. I live in Chandler, AZ and have been to several gun shows out here in the Phoenix valley. Maybe now they have tightened things up as far as being able to buy a handgun or semi-automatic weapon, but they were sure lax in the recent past due to AZ gun laws! How many semi-automatic weapons (easily converted to full automatic) have been purchased in AZ that have found their way across the border and have been used against INS agents and AZ lawmen? What do you have to say about THAT, Governor Jan Brewer???

  6. @Me, the problem is that A CRIME DOES NOT HAVE TO BE COMMITTED for the police to have to have a “reasonable doubt.” Reasonable doubt can be two Mexican folks speaking Spanish, right? It can be anything the police want it to be! Look at Sheriff Joe, he will come up with all kinds of “reasonable doubts” but of course the right-wing racists here in AZ love that! This poorly-written law basically sets up Mexican folks for RACIAL PROFILING which is ILLEGAL. How man white people do you suppose will be asked to provide their birth certificate on the spot?

  7. @Me, the problem with this law is it allows police to have a “reasonable doubt” and then they can ask for a birth certificate on the SPOT. Reasonable doubt can be two Mexican folks speaking in Spanish, right? And you just KNOW Sheriff Joe is going to find all kinds of “reasonable doubt.” If this isn’t racial profiling, what is? And, how many white people do you suppose the cops are going to ask for a birth certificate on the spot? Hmmm… Maybe that will be next! How would you like that???

  8. The problem with this law is that it allows police officers to demand a birth certificate on the spot (first wrong thing) if they have a “reasonable doubt” (second wrong thing). What constitutes “reasonable doubt”? Two Hispanic folks speaking to one another in Spanish? I’ll wager a year’s salary that there won’t be very many white folks asked to produce a birth certificate! Although maybe that’s their next step?

  9. @Nikolai,

    I know; There is some kind of delay with the comments right now. Sorry you are having trouble!

    I’ll let Jason know — it’s his website and he is the tech genius, also too:-)

  10. @Nikolai,

    EXCELLENT points and this goes to prove exactly how disingenuous Gov Brewer is being on this issue.

  11. @Nikolai,

    Right. “Papers please” because you “appear” like you may be illegal. How does that solve the CRIME problem?

    As a Los Angeles resident who had a house in AZ for a while, I can say with all confidence that I am very familiar with the vast problems brought about by illegal immigrants, including gang violence and the burden on hospitals and schools (as well as the heart-breaking reasons why many of them flee their own country). However, the way to solve the problem is not to expect the already over-burdened police departments to patrol for papers and harass legal citizens. How exactly can they tell who is illegal and who is legal? They CAN’T.

    Everyone who seriously has tried to tackle this issue knows you don’t solve the problem this way. That’s why this is nothing more than playing her base; she is not seriously trying to solve this problem and we know it. This is a racist policy; a little early Christmas gift for the white supremacists. A glitzy bully tinsel for their trees. And that makes this even more appalling.

    She wants us to give up our rights as citizens for another Republican policy that is not only offensive and intrusive, but ineffective.

  12. Hey Gov. Brewer, why don’t you step it up a notch?
    Make all Hispanic or Hispanic-appearing folks in your state, sew the letter “M” to the outside of their clothing. (“M” for “Mexican”, get it? But it could be “W” for the slang version if that’s more to your liking.) Then once you’ve got that down, you wall off a section of town and move all the “M”‘s in. Then you start shipping them off to camps. I think there was another government somewhere in history that proceeded along these lines, and I heard they did pretty well for themselves for awhile.

  13. @Nikolai, The comment posting has been a little slow lately. The comments are on the site but they are taking a few minutes to become visible. In case you didn’t notice, I have added an edit button now, so that you can edit your comments in case you make a mistake. I can roll back some of the settings that may be holding up the comments. I will have to tinker and see what the hold up is.

  14. This article shows that you (and others) clearly do not have an understanding of the PROBLEM. First, you haven’t read the bill. Take the time to READ it (it’s only about 17 pgs) and not difficult to understand. Then interview people from AZ on both sides of the issue. Then write an informed article if you wish to be called “a journalist.” Because your uninformed opinion is just that – an uninformed opinion! Back it all up with FACTS if you want to be credible.

    Since our country is “at war,” with Islamic extremists (terrorists), don’t you think it would make sense to SECURE our BORDERS? (To most of us, that’s a no-brainer since most of us like to feel SAFE!) Isn’t that what taxpayers are paying the Fed. Gov’t to do? This is the job of Homeland Security and also the responsibility of the Fed Gov’t. and our President – who, btw, took an “oath of office” to “PROTECT the citizens (all citizens) of the United States from foreign & domestic “enemies” (those who wish to do us harm) and to UPHOLD the Constitution of the US.” (ie. our laws)

    You said: “This is one of our larger National Security Issues.” Well, we have LAWS to ENFORCE these issues – and it’s not complicated at all! Jan Brewer ” could have tailored her law to drug smuggling activities …” There are already Federal Laws to deal with the problem. She is simply forcing the Federal Gov’t to do its job by ENFORCING its own laws!

    We are a Nation of immigrants & we WELCOME them when they RESPECT our laws and come here legally as others have done so in the past.

    There is nothing “racial” about this law because it does not “racial profile.” In order to be stopped by the police or any law enforcement, you have to be committing an offense at the time that you are stopped. You can be stopped for a traffic violation & asked for your license. If you’re driving the car, then you should have a license. Then, if you are arrested for an offense, you can be required to prove that you are a legal citizen. If you are, you’ve nothing to worry about. NO, you don’t have to carry “papers” on you, BUT if you are here on a work visa or a student visa, then you should have your card on you.

    If you or I go to visit another country, and we get stopped for anything, we have to produce our passport. No difference!
    Life really is not that complicated. And LAWS do not have to be complicated either.

    Now, we have Immigration Laws – but the Fed Gov’t is not ENFORCING these laws. WHY NOT? A reasonable question to ask. All countries secure their borders! whether they’re under attack or not. This is a PROBLEM that needs to be addressed NOW – it can no longer be ignored.

    If our borders were being properly secured, it would be difficult for illegal immigrants, illegal drugs and violent gangs
    to come into this country. As citizens, we each have the right to DEMAND that our Gov’t PROTECTS US!

    Why is this president not doing his job? National Security is one of the TOP PRIORITIES – that we spend Billions of $ on. Why have a Homeland Security, if they’re not doing their job – and they are not!

    We have MILLIONS of “illegals” in this country – on our welfare system, in our healthcare system, our schools and in our prisons – and it has to end! We’re in a recession, with a high unemployment rate. It’s unsustainable.

  15. @Cato, so, cut to the chase, right? Fix all the problems RIGHT NOW that took what, 50, maybe 60 years to crop up and to create the situation we have now? Just pass laws that are not constitutional, and will ultimately get the state of AZ sued into oblivion? This will solve our budget problems??? I’m sorry, but you’ve got it all wrong, pal. I’m sure there’s a set of folks out there (who you may or may not be part of ) that would just love to unleash the cops, INS, etc on the Hispanics, and round them up, legal U.S. citizens and illegals alike, then sort out the illegals and ship ’em back to Mexico, pronto. Sorry, but it can’t be done like that and intelligent, thinking Americans with even an ounce of compassion know better.

  16. @Cato,

    Where do you live?

    You can find on this very website stories about previous bills addressing this issue which were nothing like this absurd bill.

  17. If the Arizona Governor is concerned about crime on the border, why doesn’t she have the police patrolling the borders to see who is carrying or trafficking guns from the US to Mexico? How is it that the majority of guns found in Mexico from drug and gang related crimes come from the US? The report by the ATF agency says it’s 90%. There are about 7,000 gun shops in the border area. And the only people contesting this information on the guns coming from America is Fox news and the NRA. Surprised??? I think not. Check out those gun shops. Are they selling to illegal immigrants? Or maybe the gun shops are selling to Americans taking them to Mexico. What’s up in Arizona really?


  18. @F Joy,

    Now you’re onto the real point here. Selling this law “protecting the borders from violence” is nothing but razzle dazzle, while in fact, they are turning the other cheek on purpose to that very violence.

    More red meat for the base, who will push and shove like dogs after a bone to defend this, when in fact, it’s just MORE lies from an already damaged party. Yes, we can all agree this issue needs to be addressed…

    but this law does not do so.

  19. @Ariana, .

    In the USA, assault weapons “look” like military weapons, but they aren’t. They fire a single bullet with each trigger pull. These weapons are semi-automatic.

    Military weapons which fire automatically, are NOT avaiable to citizens of the USA.

    The drug cartels of Mexico are not seeking our semi-automatic (assault) weapons. They have the cash and connebtions to purchase military weapons which hundreds of rounds, per minute automatically. These cartels are prchasing from N. Korea, Iraq, and others that deal in automatic style, military weapons.

    It’s simply false, that Americans are selling legal, assault weapons to these cartels. Any American doing this is dealing in illegal military weapons, not legal assault weapons.

    The funtionality of assault weapons is the same as an ordinary hunting rife. One trigger pull equals one bullet. The illegal Mexican cartels want the “best” weapons possible and assaul weapons aren’t “sellable”.

  20. It is amazing to read and listen to critics of the Arizona law as they lock their doors, secure their fences and turn on their electronic security systems to protect their homes and property. For those that are opposed to the Arizona law – which by the way is less stringent than the Federal law and even California’s illegal alien law – please open your doors at night and turn off your security systems to allow anyone to walk into your home. The hypocrisy of this debate is telling in showing that those individuals and organizations who oppose the Arizona law tend to be the first to call a cop if anyone were to trespass on their property. The right of a nation to protect and maintain its border is essential to national sovereignty. I suggest that if you don’t like Arizona new law, let’s replace it with Mexico’s immigration rules and regulations. Contact

  21. Both Political Parties wanted to reject the legal framework that the United States is based upon. If you break the law there should be a consequence. Citizenship is a privilege. We need to create a culture of success – not a culture of pandering. Both Parties are only interested in illegal votes. What a way to run a country! More at

  22. @Yale Wishnick, Ed.D., I couldn’t agree with you more. Citizenship is a privilege does not gain by crossing a border illegally and committing a felony. Here in the US we take away the right to vote from a convicted felon, yet at the same time we want to give the right to vote to people who commit felonies.

    There’s just something wrong with that

  23. We retrieved a copy of an unpublished manuscript by Yale Wishnick from his trash just last week and were shocked to find references to his advocacy for the creation of `concentration camps’ and `death squads’ to deal with illegal immigrants in the U.S. and elsewhere. Its amazing what people throw out in their trash and even more bizarre that they hold the views they do. I suppose you don’t really know who your neighbors are until you look at their trash.

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