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FACT CHECK: What did Asa say about sanctuary policies for illegal aliens?

1. Did Governor Asa Hutchinson say he supports sanctuary cities and colleges to protect illegal aliens/ undocumented immigrants?

NO. But what the Governor said stunned people who oppose sanctuary policies.

2. Did Governor Hutchinson express opposition to legislation to prohibit sanctuary policies at public universities?


You may be thinking, “Isn’t that the same thing?” Not quite.  While the Governor didn’t want to prohibit sanctuary policies, that is not the same thing as encouraging sanctuary policies.

Before we get to the Governor’s statement, here is a short background on the legislation.

Representative Brandt Smith (R) of Jonesboro sponsored HB1042 of 2017 to prohibit sanctuary policies at state-supported institutions of higher education. Rep. Smith introduced the bill after over 100 students at Arkansas State University petitioned the university to adopt a sanctuary policy. Smith’s bill was intended to maintain the status quo of there being no sanctuary campuses in Arkansas.

The Democrat-Gazette reported Governor Hutchinson’s comments as follows:

Asked about Smith’s bill, Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday that illegal aliens have been allowed to attend public institutions.

“We don’t want to create a climate of fear for them,” he said. “We want to recognize that many of them are here in the United States because their parents made a decision to come here. It was not a decision of their own. They are living here as a result of their parents’ decisions, so I think we just need to be very careful about that. I talked to Rep. Smith and expressed my concerns about it.”[i]

The Governor’s statement “We don’t want to create a climate of fear for them” seems out of place. Why would Rep. Smith’s bill create a climate of fear if there are currently no sanctuary policies at public universities and the public universities are cooperating with federal immigration authorities?  Wouldn’t Smith’s bill just be the status quo?  Asa’s peculiar statement has made some wonder whether some state universities are not fully cooperating with federal immigration authorities, but just don’t have an official sanctuary policy.

If universities are fully cooperating, then perhaps the Governor just searched for something to say and decided to repeat a liberal talking point.

Back to the FACT CHECK.  The Governor did NOT said he supports sanctuary policies, HOWEVER, the Governor opposed prohibiting sanctuary policies by law.

The bottom line is:

  • If you think a public university or local government should be allowed to adopt sanctuary policies, then you would be pleased with the Governor’s statement against the legislation.
  • On the other hand, if you oppose sanctuary policies, then you would be concerned about the Governor’s statement.

Tell us on our Facebook page if the Governor was right or wrong in not supporting a prohibition against sanctuary policies.



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