Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's office is walking back comments from the Republican governor, that it was "fine and dandy" to work on comprehensive immigration reform before the border was secured.
In an interview with KPNX that aired on Sunday, host Brahm Resnik told Brewer that both House Speaker John Boehner and Fox News host Sean Hannity had called for comprehensive immigration reform after Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote.
"We all know that we need to resolve this huge issue that's facing the United States," Brewer agreed. "And if I believe that if we could get our border secured -- and I've said this all along -- secure our border and then we can deal with all these other issues."
"But here's the thing," Resnik pointed out. "With John Boehner and Sean Hannity, Grover Norquist and [Maricopa County Attorney] Bill Montgomery -- what he said in particular was, 'You know what? We can do both at once. We can secure the border and do comprehensive immigration reform.' Is that something you're on with? Because it sounds like you are just a secure-the-border-first person."
"What ever works," Brewer replied. "If we can do both at the same time, I'm fine and dandy with that. But we cannot resolve these kinds of issues today and then have the problems still existing."
"So, again, these national Republicans and even here in the county are ready to move on, to move forward with immigration and, I would assume, at the same time pursue a secure border," Resnik pressed. "Are you willing to do that, yes or no?"
"Yes," Brewer insisted. "Of course, I think everybody is on board."
On Sunday, KPNX reported that Brewer's office had contacted him after the interview was recorded on Friday to walk back her support for comprehensive immigration reform in concert with securing the border.
"Spokesman Matt Benson said the governor still believes in securing the border first," Resnik wrote. "He added that she was willing to 'come to the table' to deal with all immigration issues. Later Friday, the governor's office issued a statement reaffirming her 'secure the border first' stance."
During her interview with Resnik, Brewer also said that no blame could be placed on the Republican Party for losing the Hispanic vote.
"No," she said. "President Obama, in the last four years, they've had four years to get our borders secured and they refused to do it, but yet we know they can. We know that they can secure the borders. Why won't they secure the border? Because they wanted that out there because they knew that they could turn it into an issue of all about racism."
"I think the Democrats have been more responsible because they keep want to make this a race issue. The keep using the race card, that we are racists and we are bigots because we want our borders secured because we are the recipient of a lot of the crime that happens and the costs that it takes."
"So SB 1070 and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's divisiveness have nothing to do with the national Republicans' problem with Latinos?" Resnik wondered.
"Senate Bill 1070 simply mirrors federal law," Brewer opined. "We believe in the rule of law and that's why we're the country that we are."
(h/t: Talking Points Memo)