Governor Jan Brewer is drawing attention to border security, as lawmakers debate immigration reform.
She toured the border Tuesday, just hours before President Obama was to address immigration reform as part of his State of the Union address.
Governor Brewer has said she will not support a change in immigration policy to benefit undocumented immigrants until the border is secure.
After her tour, the governor held a news conference in Tucson and announced the Tucson Sector of the border with Mexico is not secure.
The governor flew over the border in an Arizona National Guard Blackhawk helicopter.
Brewer said she also met with Border Patrol agents, with the National Guard and with ranchers who live along the border with Mexico.
In response to President Obama's contention that historic amounts of resources at the border have made it more secure, the governor gave this example that shows, in her opinion, it is not more secure.
"As we were down there today, they were on the other side of the border getting ready to come across tonight. They were staging. So our border is open. And we know in regards to the drug cartels that they are bringing drugs in at a larger quantity than ever."
The governor was asked what tangibles she would need to see to say the border is secure.
Her answer was that people living along the border will be the ones who will know.
She acknowledges there have been improvements along the border, including fewer border crossers.
She credits Arizona's immigration enforcement law, SB 1070, that she says resulted in some undocumented immigrants "self-deporting," as she calls it.
The governor says the economy also played a part in fewer undocumented immigrants coming through Arizona.
However, she says she expects the number of illegal border crossings to begin rising again.
"I believe truly that when our economy gets better that it will all start up again and we are the gateway. And it's not just about the illegal immigration into our state and into our country. It's about the issue of the drug cartels and crime and the cost and what they're doing to our country," Brewer says.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports it has historic levels of personnel, technology and other resources on the southwest border.
Governor Brewer says she wants more.
She says she wants more fencing, more technology and more manpower on the border.
Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.
7831 N. Business Park Drive