WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama plans to meet this week with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a critic of his administration's efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
A White House official said Tuesday that the meeting between Obama and the Republican governor is scheduled for Thursday. The official requested anonymity to discuss the president's schedule ahead of its public release.
Brewer said last week that she wants to meet with Obama to discuss border security and immigration when she visits Washington. At the time the White House said Obama's schedule wouldn't allow for a meeting, but that the president wanted to talk with Brewer in the future.
Obama announced last week that he would deploy 1,200 troops and request $500 million to help secure the southern border, but Brewer said more troops are needed.
"I think it's important that the leader of the United States and the governor of the State of Arizona sit down face to face and have a conversation about what exactly is going on in Arizona," Brewer said.
Obama has criticized a tough new Arizona law, signed by Brewer in April, that cracks down on illegal immigration. It makes crossing the border illegally a state crime and requires police to verify people's immigration status if the officer has "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the United States illegally.
Arizona's law has prompted fierce debate across the nation. Opponents say the law encourages racial profiling and discrimination against Hispanics. It has sparked massive protests as well as economic boycotts of the state from communities as large at Los Angeles.
Conservatives have hailed Brewer and others supporting the law for taking a hard stand against those in the country illegally, and polls indicate that 59 percent of Americans approve of the measure.
Obama said Arizona's law is the wrong approach to addressing illegal immigration and asked the Justice Department to review the law to determined whether it violates civil rights.