Jan Brewer

Former Governor of Arizona

As governor of Arizona, Brewer signed into law one of the harshest pieces of anti-immigrant legislation, SB1070, drafted by IRLI’s Kris Kobach, that prompted a mass economic boycott of her state and multiple lawsuits by civil rights organizations. The former Arizona Governor has argued against the issuance of licenses for DACA recipients and after President Obama announced the program in 2012, Brewer changed the state’s policy, to do just that. The move was met with legal challenges, which Arizona’s Justice Department fought even after Brewer left office.

  • In 2010, then-Governor Brewer signed the Kobach-authored SB 1070 into law. That same year, she spoke at FAIR’s National Board of Advisors Conference. Brewer has remained a staunch supporter of the anti-immigrant movement since leaving office in 2015. 
  • Brewer, who is a devoted supporter of President Trump, and has spoken at his campaign rallies, appeared alongside him and disgraced Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a Hannity segment in 2016. Later that year Brewer confirmed that she had advised the Trump transition team in 2016. The former Governor has repeatedly praised the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, and in April 2019 she defended President Trump’s proposal to place some immigrants in localities they identified as sanctuary cities. In the same month she voiced her support for closing down the Southern border.

Anti-immigrant Views

  • At the signing of SB1070, Brewer said, “We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of drug cartels. We cannot stand idly by as drop houses, kidnappings, and violence compromise our quality of life. We cannot delay while the destruction happening south of our border — our international border creeps its way north.”
  • In her memoir which she released in 2017 entitled Scorpions for Breakfast, Brewer defended the unconstitutional law which devastated the state calling it “a fair, effective and necessary response.”
  • In 2016 Brewer dismissed the importance of Latinx voters saying: “They don’t get out and vote.”
  • In 2012, Brewer stated that Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio has “been very successful.” In 2016, Arpaio and Brewer appeared alongside Trump for a campaign event. 
  • In 2011, Brewer sent out a fundraising email in support of Russell Pearce.

Anti-immigrant Activity

  • In 2010 Brewer signed SB1070 into law. The harsh measure made it a state misdemeanor to be in Arizona without immigration documentation, turned local law enforcement into immigration agents, and enabled racial profiling. The law was met with immense opposition and, in a blow to Brewer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three of its four provisions. However, the court’s decision did not deter Brewer from her work to make life as difficult as possible for immigrants in Arizona and throughout the United States.
  • Soon after the Obama administration announced DACA in 2012, Brewer changed the state’s policy to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. The decision was again met with legal challenges and civil rights groups filed suit on behalf of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC) and individual DACA recipients to challenge the policy. Arizona argued that DACA recipients were not authorized to be present in the United States under federal law, and did not meet the state’s driver’s license requirements.
  • After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Arizona’s policy was preempted by the federal government’s power to classify non-citizens, Arizona asked the Supreme Court to take up the case which would become Brewer v. ADAC. Brewer’s litigation was pursued even after she left office, though in January 2019 Governor Ducey agreed to issue driver’s license to all DACA recipients. In 2017, IRLI submitted a legal brief in support of Brewer on the case.
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