LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Mike Beebe says that he opposes a ballot measure that would require government agencies to verify that everybody seeking public benefits in the state is a legal U.S. resident.
Beebe said in a statement yesterday that, while he opposes illegal immigration, he cannot support the initiative that supporters hope to put on the November ballot in Arkansas.
Beebe said the proposal would duplicate laws that are already on the books regarding illegal immigrants. A group called Secure Arkansas is gathering signatures to place the proposal on the November ballot.
According to Beebe, all of the major provisions the measure proposes are already covered by federal or state laws, and this ballot title will create bigger government and cost Arkansans money.
Jeannie Burlsworth, a chairwoman for Secure Arkansas, says she disagrees with the governor and believes the measure would help strengthen existing law. She said she was disappointed that Beebe was unwilling to lead on the issue of illegal immigration. She said a government agency asking for proof of citizenship is not increased bureaucracy, it's just common sense.