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Tuesday, October 17, 2006 

Immigration looms as issue between Beebe, Hutchinson

By ANDREW DeMILLO
Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK (AP) -- Democrat Mike Beebe suggested Tuesday that his Republican rival's plan to train state police on immigration enforcement would overwork state troopers, while Asa Hutchinson accused Beebe of not understanding immigration policy as the two faced off in their final televised debate.

More than 250 people attended the third and final debate between the two major party nominees for governor, held at the Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock.

Beebe questioned Hutchinson's proposal to provide additional training for state troopers on immigration and said it would shift a federal responsibility to the state.

"If you're talking about state police arresting somebody that's here illegally and taking (them) back across the border to Laredo and not giving them to the federal government we're going to need a lot more state police," Beebe said. "If that's your plan, we need to go back to the drawing board."

Hutchinson called Beebe's remarks "the silliest thing I've ever heard."

"You don't understand at all immigration enforcement," Hutchinson said. "The state police would be trained so they could process them and hold them at the federal government's expense until the federal agents are able to get them and return them across the border."

The two nominees stuck largely to the same debate topics - namely, competing proposals to eliminate the state's six-cent tax on groceries
- that have highlighted their previous two televised debates.

Tuesday's hourlong debate was broadcast live on Little Rock television station KARK.

Tuesday's debate, like the two previous, excluded independent gubernatorial candidate Rod Bryan and Green Party nominee Jim Lendall.
Earlier Tuesday, a state judge rejected Bryan's attempt to stop Tuesday's debate because it included only the major-party nominees.

Hutchinson criticized Beebe for voting as a state senator against Gov.
Mike Huckabee's covenant-marriage proposal that makes it difficult for couples who engage in such a marriage to get a divorce.

"It helps send a signal to our young people that marriage is serious,"
Hutchinson said. "It's a way for couples to reinforce their vows."

Beebe defended his vote against the covenant-marriage proposal and said he did not want to create second-class marriages.

"Adding a second marriage to the first marriage and having another ceremony won't change the marriage," Beebe said. "You either have a marriage or you don't have a marriage ... You're either going to try and stay that way or you're not."

BB's comment about covenant marriage just proves he doesn't understand the concept (that along with SO many other things). When a couple has a covenant marriage, that means that they will seek counseling before they even think about divorce. The covenant marriage makes it harder to get a divorce except in extreme cases, such as infidelity or abuse. While covenant marriage is not a campaign issue, BB's stand on this issue just shows where his morals are (or the lack thereof) on other issues such as gay marriage, gay adoption, and abortion.

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