Go on talk radio in Arkansas and a politician inevitably gets peppered by attacks from the anti-immigrant redhots. So it was for Mike Beebe yesterday, who calmly replies that Arkansas police have their hands full with dangerous criminals and jails inadequate to handle them without adding to work with vigorous enforcement of federal immigration statutes.

Beebe made the remarks in response to a caller who asked if he would be willing to suspend funding for the state’s preschool program to tackle the problem of illegal immigration.

“It’s the federal government’s primary responsibility,” Beebe said. “We will help and we will follow the law, but I’m not going to raise your taxes to create more police forces and I’m not going to take education dollars and cut them for that purpose.”en.