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U.S. has failed Americans over immigration, Arizona governor

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, firing a fresh salvo in her legal and political battle with president Barack Obama over illegal immigration, said on Tuesday that Washington had "failed every single American" by neglecting to secure its border with Mexico.

Speaking at a border security conference, the Republican governor said both parties had failed Arizona residents and the rest of the nation on the hot-button issue of illegal immigration.

"Of course, there are those in Washington who will tell you -- from 3,000 miles away -- that our border is more secure than ever," Brewer said in prepared remarks before about 200 attendees at the Phoenix Convention Center.

"The federal government, Republicans and Democrats alike, has failed every single American. All of us," she said.

Brewer has been at odds with the Obama administration since she signed into law the state's controversial crackdown on illegal immigration in 2010, the first of a series of laws by a handful of U.S. states aimed at clamping down on illegal immigration.

The Arizona law, which requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they detained and suspected was in the country illegally, was challenged in court by the Obama administration.

Federal judges have blocked implementation of the most controversial provisions of the law, and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the case in April.

On Tuesday, Brewer told the crowd that the nation's poor immigration policies had "haunted border states like mine" for decades.

"Washington's abdication of responsibility is the overarching outrage of America's illegal immigration crisis," she said.

Luis Heredia, executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, said the governor's remarks were an attempt to score political points and not to foster any immigration reforms.

"Governor Brewer has found a political persona with this type of rhetoric," Heredia said. "But Arizonans and the rest of the country want solutions. This does nothing."

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Cynthia Johnston)

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