Ever since Arizona Governor Janet Brewer has been in office, she has habitually and with certain predictability written assertive letters to heads of major government offices including the President of the United States. Her strategy to be popular with the state’s citizenry is obvious and transparent if you take the time to look at what she does and how she does it. She has created a “paper tiger” persona that is designed to make her look strong, powerful and courageous for her own political benefit and not necessarily those she is pretending to defend. At times, these actions may resemble threats creating a higher level of emotion into the contents of the letter and other times, it may appear to be smooth and compromising but with the underlying intention to create a mental image that illustrates awareness and detection of the opposition’s plan or actions.
The term “paper tiger” originated back in the 1050’s when China and the United States were exchanging words during the cold war. The term has meaning and it is a legitimate method of diplomacy that was created to develop an attitude to establish political domination over other entities creating an effect that their way was better than the opposition’s. In other words they are tools created for “intimidation or shadow boxing” with no real intent to inflict harm or action.
Writing a cease and desist letter is exactly what it says it is; a letter someone wrote or paid to write which has no requirement that the contents are accurate or true and written with an ultimatum or rejection.It is safe to send as it is not designed to offer a just or fair solution, it is merely an expression to show the world you are not afraid. It is likely that when a governor writes such a letter, a lawyer has been hired to assure the contents are borderline inflammatory but not constituting defamation or other legal offense. In government business, it has become a way to conduct business as usual and the easy way to get people to do what you want them to do without the need to assert any legal or actual ways of taking them to court or in some cases, to a public hearing. Writing such letters is effective for political gain and the more newspapers carry the story, the more influence the letter has with the constituents.
Although the intent is to scare or intimidate others, one still has to be careful what is said and what is written. One does not want defamatory material published to the media. This could adversely affect popularity issues and one’s own credibility. Sample ‘” Governor Brewer’s letter to President Obama ‘” [condensed]
“Mr. President, the need for action to secure Arizona’s border could not be clearer. When we visited, you committed to present details, within two weeks of our meeting, regarding your plans to commit National Guard troops to the Arizona border and expend $500 million in additional funds on border security matters.
1. National Guard and Aviation – Support federal, state and local law enforcement'”all three!
2. Border Fence – In short Mr. President, we need to complete, reinforce and then maintain the border fence. In my April 6, 2010 letter to you I proposed inmate labor and other methods (i.e., purchasing instead of leasing equipment) as a means to bring down construction/maintenance costs.
3. Enforce Federal Law and Appropriately Fund the Effort The current “no consequences policy” has resulted in a border security failure. It is without doubt, though, that the current border policy will continue to fail the State of Arizona without additional resources committed to the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and detention facilities; prosecution; public defense; and federal prisons.
4. Reimburse States for the Additional Burden of Illegal Immigration. It is simply unfair for the federal government to force Border State taxpayers to carry these burdens.
Immigration Reform – I am committed to a serious discussion of legitimate reform'”but not any false front for amnesty'” Let’s first block illegal entry into the United States and enforce current law, and then other discussions, including immigration reform, might then, and only then, make sense to the public.
Arizona’s Law – Instead of any discussion about suing Arizona and not cooperating with the efforts of local Arizona law enforcement to address illegal immigration, the federal government should reassure Arizona (and other states) that securing the border and enforcing federal immigration laws are duties to which the federal government will make a renewed and sincere commitment.” This letter created “folk’s hero image in her own state and nationwide publicity on her” courage” to take on the President of the United States on immigration.
Looking at the letter written to Senator Schumer of New York she writes [condensed] Dear Senator Schumer: I appreciate your interest in helping us secure our border and recognizing my duty as Governor to address the public security concerns of Arizonans. Arizona’s border regions, extending into metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson, have become increasingly lawless because the federal government has not effectively controlled our international border and enforced its immigration laws. The federal government’s policy of securing the border in the El Paso and San Diego areas has turned Arizona into the superhighway of illegal drug and human smuggling activity. Credibility with the American people, and Arizonans in particular, regarding border security and interior enforcement of federal immigration laws. We do not need new federal laws, but rather action by President Obama and sufficient funding from the Congress to secure the border and enforce our current laws. The Border Surge would continue until the border is secured as demonstrated by facts on the ground and integrity is restored to our interior immigration enforcement. Thereafter, the federal government would need to keep the resources necessary on the ground to maintain a secure border and enforce its immigration laws. What would the federal Border Surge consist of?
In summary, I would highlight the following four categories of actions that would prove very helpful to the State of Arizona in the proposed Border Surge:
1. Send the National Guard troops back to the border and increase the number of Border Patrol agents. Border governors renewed their joint request in April of this year. My border security plan announced last month has redeployed Arizona’s very limited aerial resources to the border regions, and I have asked for additional support.
2. Complete a real border fence. The President’s proposed budget provides no funds for completion of the border fence. Arizona’s problem was caused in large part by the federal strategy of building a border fence only in the El Paso and San Diego areas in the 1990s.
3. Fund federal agencies to be able to enforce current immigration laws.
4. Reimburse Border States for costs related to the federal government’s failure to secure the border. The federal government should fully fund the existing Operation Stonegarden, a program that provides funding to border law enforcement agencies. State employees, including myself, are taking a 5% pay cut to balance the state budget. If the federal government won’t secure the border, the State of Arizona will step in to complement federal efforts in a constitutional manner and protect the security of its citizens. I believe the Border Surge strategy is the only way forward. Everyone agrees that our border is broken.”
A response letter written by Senator Schumer states [condensed]
“The only way to combat illegal immigration is through comprehensive immigration reform, as it is the only practical solution that can pass in both the House and Senate. A bipartisan bill would likely require completion of significant border security measures, such as the border reinforcements sought by Senators McCain and Kyle, before any other measures could take effect. A bipartisan bill would be a “border-first” bill, but it would not be a “border-only” bill because securing the border is a necessary but insufficient remedy for fixing our broken system,”
In another letter [condensed], Governor Brewer wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter. Reading her words it reveals her strategy about Arizona’ immigration laws as a means to show defiance to the government for expressing their opinion of SB 1070. “Dear Madame Secretary: The purpose of this letter is express my concern and indignation to you about the “Universal Periodic Review” report (“Report”) submitted on August 20, 2010, by the United States Department of State to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The State Department describes the Report as a “partial snapshot of the current human rights situation in the United States, including some of the areas where problems persist in our society.” Apparently, the federal government is trying to make an international human rights case out of S.B. 1070 on the heels of already filing a federal court case against the State of Arizona. The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a State of the United States to “review” by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional. Human rights as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions are expressly protected in S.B. 1070 and defended vigorously by my Administration. In fact, the Department of Justice has correctly not included these so-called “human rights” issues in the current litigation against the State of Arizona.”
“Furthermore,[Brewer writes] it is hypocritical for the State Department to include S.B. 1070 in the Report, while taking credit for the “sophistication and breadth of [the United States’] anti-trafficking efforts” in Paragraph 99 of the Report. The federal government’s failure to secure the entire border has resulted in life-and-death consequences. The flow of illegal immigrant trafficking to a large degree across the harsh Arizona desert is a result of the federal policy to secure the border in San Diego and El Paso and leave the Tucson (Arizona) Sector less secured. Moreover, the Obama Administration has stated that its official policy is to not enforce major portions of our federal immigration laws, which encourages only more illegal immigration. Federal government secured the entire border and enforced our immigration laws, if these human rights problems would not be occurring for citizens, legal residents and illegal immigrants.”
“I understand that the next step is for the Report to be reviewed by some members of the United Nations Human Rights Council later this year. I again respectfully request that you amend the Report to remove Paragraph 95 relating to the State of Arizona and S.B. 1070. Be assured that the State of Arizona will fight any attempt by the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations to interfere with the duly enacted laws of the State of Arizona in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. In closing, I encourage the State Department to compare the immigration laws and records of any United Nations Human Rights Council member commenting on S.B. 1070 in this process to those of the United States and then publish that comparison. I am confident that the generous immigration tradition of the United States and Arizona will win in any such comparison.”
Strong worded and deliberately emotional to stir the passion of Arizona citizens with a touch of “paper tiger” ingredients as this letter served no other purpose but to illustrate to the state and the American public, Janet Brewer’s behavior was that of a person who appreared to be offended and embarrassed by Hillary Clinton, taking this matter way too personal. Her strategy however, was clever as she now illustrates her willingness to not only fight the United States on immigration reform but the United Nations as well on human rights. This created a champion of the people within her state and boosted her popularity enough to win a landslide election last November, 2010.