Sarah Palin joins Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to defend immigration law

Ofelia Madrid

The Arizona Republic

May 15, 2010

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin defended Arizona's new immigration law Saturday and announced the launch of a website to inform Americans about border security.

Palin said Arizona is "ground zero" for the nation's border-security issues during a news conference organized by Brewer's gubernatorial campaign.

"It's time for Americans across this great country to stand up and say, 'We're all Arizonans now,' " Palin said. "And in clear unity we say, 'Mr. President, do your job. Secure our borders.' "

Palin also said Arizona was an example for the rest of the nation to follow. She was in town to speak at the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation's annual banquet at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in north Phoenix.

Arizona is facing economic boycotts from dozens of cities and groups since Brewer signed the toughest immigration law in the country last month. It goes into effect July 29.

The law requires an officer engaged in a "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to ask about a person's legal status when reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally. Race, color or national origin cannot be considered "except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution."

About 60 protesters from the Dallas chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens gathered outside the resort before Palin and Brewer arrived.

Earlier in the day, the self-titled "Freedom Riders" marched along Washington Street, chanting, waving American flags and holding signs that read "Repeal SB1070."

Later in the afternoon, Brewer chided President Barack Obama for joking about the new immigration law.

"It's fair to ask whether he intends to be the commander in chief or the comic in chief," Brewer said to loud cheers at the news conference, which was filled with Brewer re-election supporters.

The website announced by Palin and Brewer,, provides contact information for individuals and organizations that have called for an Arizona boycott. Visitors are also encouraged to sign a petition supporting Arizona, demanding a secure border and opposing a boycott. The website is paid for by Brewer's re-election campaign.

Jennifer Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party, said Brewer failed to offer any new ideas on securing the border.

"Every word that was crafted today was done with her campaign in mind. Arizona was an afterthought," Johnson said.

Republic reporter Amy B Wang contributed to this article.

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