Arkansas Illegal Immigrant Benefits Ban Amendment (2012)

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The Arkansas Illegal Immigrant Benefits Ban Amendment did not make the November 8, 2012 ballot in the state of Arkansas as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, spearheaded by the group Secure Arkansas, was gathering signatures for the fall 2010 ballot, but did not collect enough signatures for the ballot. Supporters stated a desire to make the 2012 ballot, but did not make that either. It would have banned most illegal immigrants from receiving benefits given by the state.[1]

According to supporters, the ban would have not been extended to children under 14 years of age and illegal immigrants could have received emergency care. Sponsors for the measure submitted signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, and signatures were reviewed. According to reports, sponsors submitted approximately 78,000 signatures for the November 2, 2010 ballot. However, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, only 67,542 were valid.[2][3]

Reports out of the state claimed that the Arkansas Secretary of State's office had hired an accounting firm to count the signatures turned in. The office had 30 days after the deadline to inform sponsors if the measure had made the ballot.[4]

Support

Supporters

The following were supporters for the proposed measure:[5]

Arguments

Arguments that had been made in support of the measure were:[5]

  • Secure Arkansas, the group circulating the petition, claimed that illegal immigrants were draining state coffers.
  • According to Jeannie Burlsworth, chairman of Secure Arkansas, "When we have to educate and feed and do the health care with the illegals, it’s overwhelming to the taxpayer. Finally, the taxpayer can’t give any more."

Tactics and strategies

  • During the Arkansas primary elections on May 18, 2010, Secure Arkansas set up stations near polling places to gather signatures for their petition drive. In Fayetteville, the group had collected about 100 signatures during the elections.[6]
  • According to reports, supporters held 38 statewide rallies on June 11, 2010.[7]

Opposition

Opponents

The following were opponents of the proposed measure:[5]

Arguments

Arguments that had been made against the proposed measure were:[5]

  • According to LULAC, any action on the illegal immigration issue should have been a national matter. Spokesman Michel Leidermann referred to the immigration bill signed into law in Arizona, stating, "The solution to immigration has to be on a national level and cannot be state by state. The only thing they’re forcing with that is that Latinos in Arizona will emigrate to other states, so we don’t solve anything with that.”
  • According to one voter voting in the Arkansas primary elections, and commenting after seeing Secure Arkansas' petition drive's strategy to set up signature collecting stations at polling places, "Steal bread if you're hungry. They're not stealing bread. They're just here to work so they can earn money to buy bread."[6]

Path to the ballot

Petition organizers must have collected the required 77,468 signatures by the July 2, 2010 petition drive deadline in order the measure to be considered for the November 2, 2010 ballot. The signatures must have been turned in to the Arkansas Secretary of State and signatures must have been from registered voters in the state in order to have been considered valid. However, this process was not completed. The initiative's sponsors stated they would focus to place the measure on the 2012 ballot if legislature did not act on the issue. No 2012 ballot initiative came into fruition.[9]

See also

Additional reading

References