WASHINGTON -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is ducking a U.S. Senate invitation to come defend her state's harsh immigration law.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had challenged her Thursday to appear before his Senate Judiciary subcommittee to explain why the federal government's recent $600 million spending spree on tighter border security was inadequate. Brewer is due to be in Washington on April 25, when the Supreme Court hears oral argument on her state's law, which lower courts have partially blocked as unconstitutional.
But a Brewer spokesman told news outlets Friday that she would decline and accused Schumer of staging a publicity stunt.
"Governor Brewer has long said border security is one of the nation's most pressing issues, so it is odd that she is unwilling to even come to Congress to defend her views," responded Schumer, who chairs the immigration and border security panel, in a statement. "It makes you wonder whether there is genuine interest in finding real solutions to our broken immigration system. We hope the Governor will reconsider.”
Critics of the Arizona law, SB 1070, which allows police to jail immigrants who fail to present proper documents, contend that it amounts to racial profiling.
Schumer had argued in a letter to the Arizona governor that arrests were up and illegal crossings were down at the Southern border since Congress passed the border security bill in 2010. He wondered if she thought the efforts were working and whether a tough local law was still necessary.