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Gov. Jan Brewer plans to attend this year's meeting of the 10 border governors

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer plans to attend this year's meeting of the 10 border governors - including the six from Mexico who snubbed her last year after she signed SB 1070.

The event, set for the end of the month in Ensenada, Baja California, would be the first time Brewer has sat down in the same room as the governors of the six Mexican border states. She did not attend the 2009 event in Monterrey because the state was involved in budget negotiations.

Last year was Arizona's turn to host the annual event. But Brewer pulled the plug when the Mexican governors refused to come to the state after lawmakers approved, and the governor signed, SB 1070. That measure contains various provisions aimed at illegal immigrants, including several designed to give police more power to detain those not in the country legally.

Chihuahua Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas, in a letter to Brewer, said SB 1070 is "discriminatory, racist and violates the International Civil Rights agreement established in 1976."

Brewer lashed back at the governors and accused them of not acting of their own accord. Instead, she said, they were "acting under the direction, I believe, of President (Felipe) Calderón that they ought not to participate."

When it became clear the Mexican governors would not come, Brewer notified them, "I find no appropriate alternative to cancellation."

Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said he believes Brewer will get a cordial reception despite last year's dust-up. Nor does he believe that the Mexican governors are holding a grudge against her for signing the bill.

He pointed out that Guillermo Padrés Elias, the governor of Sonora, attended a conference earlier this year in Arizona hosted by Brewer.

"There was quite a bit of Mexican media, and it was fine," Benson said. "She gets along very well with Gov. Padrés, and she's not concerned about the reception that she'll receive."

Anyway, he said, Brewer's counterparts should understand her position.

"As elected leaders of different states with different constituencies, they're not going to agree on everything," Benson said. And he said Brewer has an obligation to "do what she thinks is best" for Arizona.

"But, generally speaking, they share many of the same goals for their constituents," he continued. "That's what the border governors conference is about: promoting policies that improve the economies and security of the region."

Nor was Benson concerned that others, beyond the governors, might give her a less-than-friendly reception.

"We get protesters all over the place," he said. "That's never kept her in the office before."

Benson stressed that while Brewer plans to go to Ensenada, she will cancel the trip if she is needed in Arizona.

Copyright 2011 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Published Sunday, September 18, 2011 11:35 AM by Zinnia Q.


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