Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer created a frenzy in April 2010 when she signed a law that makes being an illegal immigrant a state crime and requires legal immigrants to carry papers that confirm their status. Then in late June, she linked illegal immigrants and drug smuggling.
The string of controversial comments began June 15, 2010, during a debate with three other candidates running for the Republican nomination for governor.
Republican candidate Matt Jette said that most people who cross illegally into Arizona are “just trying to feed their families.” Brewer, according to the Arizona Republic, disputed that, saying, “They are coming here, and they are bringing drugs. And they are doing drop houses, and they are extorting people and they are terrorizing the families.”
A few days later, on June 25, Brewer expanded upon her comments during a question-and-answer session with reporters. (A verbatim account of the exchange is available here.)
“Well, we all know that the majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules,” Brewer said. “They are coming across our borders in huge numbers. The drug cartels have taken control of the immigration. … So they are criminals. They are breaking the law when they are trespassing and they are criminals when they pack the marijuana and the drugs on their backs.”