Panel Rejects Prohibition on Harboring Illegal Immigrants

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Questions about the cost and appropriateness of a state ban on harboring or transporting illegal immigrants, and about how it might affect shelters for the homeless and battered women, helped torpedo the measure before a Senate committee.  The proposal by Representative Jon Woods of Springdale was rejected yesterday on a 2-to-5 vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill had passed the House last week.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee raised questions yesterday about whether the proposal would criminalize the activities of some humanitarian organizations, like shelters for the homeless and battered women.  Supporters of the measure said it would merely mirror federal laws, but members of the committee questioned whether local prosecutors and police could afford the added burden, which they said was properly a federal matter.

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