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Arizona's Gov. Brewer meets Obama on the tarmac, the sequel

August 07, 2013|By Sandra Hernandez
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has an intense conversation with President Obama in January 2012 after his plane landed in Mesa, Ariz. Their meeting this time, on the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, was friendlier.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has an intense conversation with President Obama… (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated…)

Who can forget the time last year when Gov. Jan Brewer greeted President Obama on the tarmac in Mesa, Ariz., and famously wagged her finger at him as the two discussed their differences over immigration.

The two met up again Tuesday, in a tarmac sequel that produced far more smiles and far less finger-pointing. Clearly, a great deal has changed since that first January 2012 exchange.

For starters, the Obama administration successfully challenged the state’s SB 1070 law that essentially sought to drive immigrants out of the state. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the bulk of that law last year, finding it intruded with the federal government’s lone authority to regulate immigration. And then Brewer unexpectedly turned out to be a supporter of the administration’s Affordable Care Act, even going so far as to urge state lawmakers to move swiftly to broaden the impact of the healthcare legislation in Arizona.

But for all that has changed, one key issue remains unchanged -- immigration.

As it turns out, also on hand to greet Obama on Tuesday was Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who presented the president with a letter from a young man who thanked Obama for helping provide temporary protection from deportation for young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents. Last year, the administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows qualified immigrants to live and work in the United States temporarily.

The administration has said the program was a stop-gap measure intended to help those young immigrants stay in the U.S. while Congress hammered out broad immigration reform, including the Dream Act, which would offer them a conditional pathway to citizenship.

Of course, that legislation remains stalled in the Republican-led House, just as it has for nearly a decade.

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