Arkansas group seeks signatures to toughen immigration laws

LITTLE ROCK, AR – The group Secure Arkansas wants to toughen the state's illegal immigration laws. The group says state and federal tax dollars are subsidizing undocumented residents.

It needs to collect 20,000 more signatures in less than two weeks to get their initiative on the November ballot.
It would prevent undocumented people from receiving public benefits like food stamps. The group says it's on a mission to prevent Arkansas from becoming a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

"I'm hearing a lot of reports of illegal aliens involved in traffic accidents that have no insurance," says Jeannie Burlsworth, chairman of Secure Arkansas.

"They're here illegally and that's a felony," says Burlsworth, "This is our golden opportunity to gather signatures and let our voices be heard."

She drafted a ballot initiative that would prevent undocumented people from receiving public benefits. This includes, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, car registrations, and business licenses.

Also, undocumented students would not be able to receive in-state tuition or public scholarships, even if they graduated from a public high school.

"There is fear among the immigrant population at the time, yes," says Steve Copley, chair of the Arkansas Friendship Coalition against Secure Arkansas.

His group feels immigration is a federal issue and Secure Arkansas' initiative only repeats current federal laws.

"Right now undocumented cannot receive the benefits. As far as we know that is not being violated," says Copley.

"There are federal laws not being enforced at this time," says Burlsworth.

Burlsworth mimics her initiative after Oklahoma and Georgia immigration policies.
Pam Baccam, Today’s THV

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