Beebe: When it Comes to Immigration, "Illegal Means Illegal"

CONWAY, AR - Governor Beebe told a college audience that he is limited by the law in actions he can take for the children of illegal immigrants.

Beebe spoke at the University of Central Arkansas Wednesday, where he was asked by a student about a bill in Congress that would help children of some illegal immigrants toward citizenship.

Beebe responded that the U.S. Constitution requires equal treatment and opportunity for American citizens, so he can't favor non-citizens.  He also said that he believes the Hispanic community has a "disconnect" when it comes to the subject of illegal immigration.  In Beebe's words, "If it is illegal, it means it's illegal."

The bill in Congress would help children of illegal immigrants toward citizenship if they arrived before age 16 and were planning to enter college or join the military.

Beebe says it would be illegal for him to act on the provisions in the bill because the measure is not law.

The bill failed in a test vote in the Senate Wednesday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)