Posted on January 28, 2005

Huckabee Criticizes Bill Sponsors

AP, Jan. 27

Little Rock — Governor Huckabee has criticized immigration legislation in the Arkansas Legislature, describing the bill as “inflammatory . . . race-baiting and demagoguery,” and challenges the Christian values of its main sponsor.

The bill seeks to forbid public assistance and voting rights to illegal immigrants. Huckabee says it “enflames those who are racist and bigots and makes them think there’s a real problem” when there is not. The bill was filed by Republican Senators Jim Holt of Springdale and Denny Altes of Fort Smith, whose northwest Arkansas region includes the state’s fastest growing Hispanic population.

Huckabee, also a Republican and a Baptist minister, said Arkansans should welcome hardworking immigrants of all races. He singled out Holt, who often talks of his strong Christian beliefs. The governor said “I drink a different kind of Jesus juice. My faith says don’t make false accusations against somebody. In the Bible, it’s called don’t bear false witness.”

Huckabee said Holt’s plan to deny prenatal care for illegal immigrants goes against their shared anti-abortion principles. In response, Holt said he was hurt by the governor questioning his faith. Holt said he is not prejudice “except against those with prejudice.” He said his legislation is an attempt to uphold the law and protect the benefits that apply to citizens.