Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) called on President Barack Obama to tour the Arizona-Mexico border Tuesday, just hours before he took the stage to deliver his State of the Union address, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
“Mr. President, you need to come down and talk to the ranchers, to the some of the people that are working on the ground. They will tell you differently. But our border is not secure,” Brewer said at a news conference in Arizona.
The Arizona governor, who met with National Guard officers and ranchers, called the border the “gateway of the drug cartels" and called for more manpower to police it.
Though the rate of illegal immigration has decreased, Brewer said cartel activity and drug smuggling has been on the rise. She expects the number of undocumented immigrants to increase in the future.
"The fact of the matter is our economy went down and some of them [immigrants] went back across," Brewer said. "But I believe truly that when our economy gets better that it will all start up again."
Brewer is known for her staunch and sometimes controversial conservative beliefs on illegal immigration. The Arizona Republic reported in January that Brewer was softening some of her positions, though she remains firm on border security.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama addressed the topic, saying he would pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. While he did not specifically speak about border security in his speech, it is one of the key principles in his immigration reform plan.
As the White House said in a fact sheet released last month:
Continuing to Strengthen Border Security: President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004 and today border security is stronger than it has ever been. But there is more work to do. The President’s proposal gives law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime. And by enhancing our infrastructure and technology, the President’s proposal continues to strengthen our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute national security threats.