During a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press," Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer defended her state's crackdown on immigration as a necessary response to drug violence in Mexico, saying that the Mexican government is operated by drug-runners.
"The whole state of Mexico is being controlled by drug cartels and all of that crime is coming across our border and Arizona is the gateway," Brewer said.
Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, which allows police to jail immigrants who fail to present proper documents, has become a template for similar laws in Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Alabama. Although the phrase "illegal immigration" is frequently deployed in American politics, entering the United States without appropriate documentation has always been only a civil offense at the federal level, not a crime. Arizona's law, however, makes it a criminal state misdemeanor to live within the state's geographic borders without federal government documentation.