Governor said Afghanistan's border is secure, Arizona's isn't
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - She came, she saw, she offered an opinion.
Governor Jan Brewer is just back from an aerial tour of the Tucson sector's border with Mexico.
The Governor rolled up in an Arizona National Guard Helicopter. Soon after her feet hit the tarmac, she was describing meeting with border area ranchers fearful about illegal border crossers and smugglers crossing their land.
She says for a secure border Arizona needs more technology, more fencing, more people.
She said, "We need boots on the ground. My goodness. You know, I can't believe. I just got back from Afghanistan. They can secure the border over there. Why can't we secure our border here?
Surprisingly, no one challenged her about that right away. When we got a chance for a follow up, we did.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith said: "Governor when you reference Afghanistan, there's often complaints the Afghanistan border is quite porous, that militants and terrorists move back and forth almost at will. Gov Brewer: "Well, you're right. You are right in that regard but I tell ya, they got boots on the ground and it'd probably be a heck of a lot worse it if wasn't."
This gets back to the debate over what a secure border is, and whether we'll ever satisfy all the different people fighting over that definition. For some people, it's no illegal crossers, for others, the buzz phrase is operational control---a tight grip that squeezed traffic to a trickle.
Alex Gibilisco of Border Action Network says that's already happened.
Craig Smith asked him: "What's your definition of when you know you've achieved it?"
Gibilisco: "Definitely when we have operational control. I don't think we're ever going to be able to address every single person that's gonna cross the border but we're definitely in control of the border as it is right now."
The Governor says she'll believe the border is secure when she hears that from ranchers there.
The Governor toured the border without talking with the Border Patrol. She says she met with members of the Border Patrol Union, and National Guardsmen involved with border security, but not official leadership of Customs and Border Protection.
When KGUN9 News asked why, Matt Benson, her press secretary said several months ago, CBP invited her on a tour, then took back the invitation without explaining why.
We've sent a question to Homeland Security Headquarters in DC to hear their side of this.