Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer said today on Fox News that the recent release of several hundred immigrant detainees in Arizona who do not have serious criminal records “could be payback” from the Obama administration. ”It could be to punish Arizona, to make them squirm,” said the outspoken governor, who has long clashed with the Administration as well as many Latino civil rights groups opposed to Arizona’s immigration law, SB1070. The Arizona Governor was speaking to Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer.
“Do you think they are picking on you?” asked Hemmer.
“I think it’s obvious they are doing everything in their power,” said Brewer to Hemmer. “This is just another notch in their belt bucket if you will. They are suing Arizona, when did you see the federal government sue a state?”
The Administration - as well as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have stated that the release of several hundred immigrant detainees was a decision made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. ICE Deputy Press Secretary Gillian Christensen said the decision was made in anticipation of looming budget cuts. Christensen said that “as fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s budget.”
Petra Falcón, Executive Director of the pro-immigrants rights group Promise Arizona, responded to Brewer’s remarks. ”The Governor just needs to always have it be about her, but it’s about these families,” says Falcon. “Detention is causing an impact on people who are here and who provide for their families, so releasing detainees is only going to help families,” adds Falcon.