|Updated: 5/03/2010 8:54 am
||Published: 5/02/2010 8:02 pm
Some Arkansas lawmakers wonder if the controversial new immigration law in Arizona could be right for the Natural State too. Starting this summer police in Arizona will ask people to show proof of citizenship if they think they're in the country illegally.
Some Arkansas legislators say the current system of enforcing immigration laws isn't working so they're looking at alternatives like this. But those with the League of United Latin American Citizens don't like what's happening in Arizona.
Terry Trevino-Richard with LULAC said, "What's happening in Arizona is unconstitutional. The federal government is the only entity that can make any laws dealing with foreign nationals."
Trevino-Richard says on top of that he sees a world of problems ahead for cops, like racial profiling lawsuits. And he thinks people won't call police for fear of being deported.
Trevino-Richard said, "It allows crime to continue unabated and actually the perpetrators get away. Police don't want that."
Republican Representative John Burris of Harrison says undocumented immigrants place a financial burden on the state, costing money for medical care and education without contributing to the system through taxes, with the exception of sales tax.
Burris said, "We're going to continue to bleed and our state's going to bankrupt."
Now Burris and other Arkansas lawmakers have started looking into other options.
Burris said, "I think we need to watch Arizona, see how their law that they passed effects illegal immigration in their state and then when we go into session in January we need to do what we can to effect illegal immigration in our state."
Trevino-Richard thinks the answer is charging money for temporary worker permits.
Also, the group Secure Arkansas wants to get an issue on the November ballot that would require people to show proof of citizenship before receiving any government benefits. Those with the group are about halfway to their 77,000 signature goal.