Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer cancelled the Border Governors Conference that annually reunites governors of states on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and set to be hosted in Phoenix in September, after six Mexican border governors threatened to boycott it in retaliation for the state’s new immigration law.
“I find no appropriate alternative to cancellation,” Brewer stated in a missive to the governors at the end of June. “Naturally I am disappointed by your decision, as I sincerely believe the gathering of the governors in Arizona would have presented a great platform to initiate dialogue about the legislation and other topics of great importance to the border region.”
Other U.S. border governors reacted adversely to Brewers decision. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is one of them. Richardson’s office considered that Gov. Brewer doesn’t have the authority to cancel the Border Governors Conference and that behind her decision there are political reasons. They also informed Gov. Richardson will look for alternative sites to host the conference “with or without Arizona’s participation.”
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, like Brewer, a Republican himself, also said he supported moving the conference to an alternate location. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office informed he is open to holding the conference elsewhere, as well.
Every year, the occasion is an opportunity to meet with fellow border governors to discuss issues from border security to trade and commerce, within other issues impacting the bi-national region.
Gov. Brewer posted her cancellation notice on the front page of the website for the 2010 Border Governors Conference.
Read Brewer’s missive full text below:
June 30, 2010
Letter to the Honorable Governors of the States of Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora and Tamaulipas
Acting in my capacity as Chair of the XXVIII Border Governors Conference, I am writing you to let you know that your recent confirmation regarding non-attendance at the upcoming conference has led to my decision to cancel the Conference. As you know, all member Governors originally agreed many months ago to have Arizona as the site for the 2010 event. At this time, I find no appropriate alternative to cancellation, since each of you has stated in your correspondence that you will not come due to legislation recently passed in Arizona. Naturally I am disappointed by your decision, as I sincerely believe the gathering of the Governors in Arizona would have presented a great platform to initiate dialogue about the legislation and other topics of great importance to the border region.
As mentioned in my letter to the Commission of Migration Affairs of the National Conference of Mexican Governors, I took very seriously the process of addressing immigration related matters during Arizona’s 2010 legislative session. I remain unwavering in my belief that signing Senate Bill 1070 and House Bill 2162 was the right thing to do for the State of Arizona. With a federal government that has been unwilling to secure our border for decades, Arizona has been left with little choice but to initiate our own efforts including steps that mirror federal law. I believe the passage of the legislation has clearly ignited talk of action in Washington for the people of Arizona and other Border States.
Notwithstanding these legislative matters, which have been misunderstood and misinterpreted by a number of people, I want to assure you of my belief regarding the importance of Arizona’s relationship with Mexico. Through the Arizona-Mexico Commission we have maintained a strong 50-year commitment to that relationship. I would like to extend the same invitation to you as Border Governors as I did through the National Conference of Mexican Governors’ Commission on Migration Affairs. I strongly encourage you and members of your Cabinet to come to Arizona and meet with my Administration and members of our law enforcement community who are responsible for monitoring the implementation of the new law. By doing so, you will be able to better understand the legislation, how it will be implemented and the myths that have been created about what the law requires or allows.
Please contact my Policy Advisor for Mexico, Margie Emmermann at 602.542.1325 or [email protected], if you wish to take me up on my invitation.
Janice K. Brewer