Talking Points:

  • Unnecessary And Expensive. This bill would be expensive to implement and enforce. Now is not the time to spend money when there is no proven benefit.
  • No Savings: Public Benefits Argument Is A Red Herring. HB1093 will not save Arkansas any money. Most public benefits are already unavailable to immigrants by federal law.* Not one public official who testified on the cost of providing public benefits to undocumented immigrants at the summer 2008 legislative hearings said the State is losing money by providing services. This bill will only confuse local authorities and lead to massive bureaucracy and headaches as clerks around the State try to check the immigration status of every person who applies for poorly-defined "public benefits." Checking eligibility in the federal database runs about $.50 to $2 per check. (Exceptions: services that are allowed by federal law include fire-protection and vaccinations. When these services are provided, all Arkansans benefit.)
  • Harmful To Innocent Businesses. Employers already must verify the employment status of their employees. The bill would require employers to use an unreliable federal database to hire new workers called E-verify – a system currently being challenged in state and federal court. Rampant errors – documented by the Federal Government Accounting Office – would cost employers the loss of both revenue and badly needed legal employees.
  • Lost Jobs For People With The Right To Work. Because of the faulty E-verify system, people with the right to work have already been denied jobs – and filed lawsuits as a result.
  • A Burden On Jails and Local Law Enforcement. The bill would place unreasonable demands on our jails at a time they are already stretched too thin. It requires county sheriffs to verify the immigration status of people charged, but not found guilty of, certain crimes within 48 hours, deny them bond, and then hold them – indefinitely – for federal immigration authorities.
  • Bad Use Of State Police Resources. The bill would create a whole new State Police Unit to monitor the distribution and use of all identity cards – whether issued by the federal or state government, individuals or private groups (like the Lions Club). Creating documents that simulate official documents is already a serious crime; the State Police know best how to enforce these laws.
  • Discriminatory. This bill would target people who look "foreign." Afraid of violating the law, employers will hesitate to make hires and service-providers and charities would hesitate to provide services based on the color of a person's skin or perceived accent.
  • Inhumane.

By making it a crime to house or feed families in need of food, shelter or transportation to church or the doctor's office, the bill would make felons out of Good Samaritans.

  • Will Lead To Litigation. States like Oklahoma with similar bills have gone straight to the courtroom, spending taxpayer dollars in their defense. The U.S. and Oklahoma Chambers of Commerce have successfully sued to block similar legislation. This bill will likely lead to illegal discrimination by the State, cities, jails, employers, charities and others.
  • Not Arkansas' Job.Arkansas is not responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws and can't afford to do the federal government's job.