WHAT IF? A proposal to use this facility in 2016 for holding immigrants produced a furor. Might it figure again in plans to place detainees in Arkansas.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson revealed yesterday that a second unnamed location in Arkansas, in addition to Little Rock Air Force Base, was being considered for immigrant detention facilities.

Hutchinson has, so far, been willing to bear any immigrant burden placed on Arkansas — border duty by members of the Arkansas National Guard, a detention facility at LRAFB and, now, perhaps yet another detention facility.

There’s potential political peril, though for now the U.S. doesn’t seem quite so worried about children from Guatemala as it did about, say, the Cubans held at Fort Chaffee in 1980. But Trump got where he is by whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment and his vote in Arkansas is an indication it resonated strongly here.

What if the alternate site is that former Job Corps center once mentioned as an immigrant youth holding facility? Remember how Republicans in Congress — Bruce Westerman, John Boozman and Tom Cotton, particularly — went nuts about that use for a vacant facility in rural Garland County in 2016? I bet another Garland County resident, Jan Morgan, could make some noise if the governor went along with THAT.


Children are being shipped all over the country and the Trump administration is imprisoning immigrants at a rapid pace, in part by forcing them into illegal status by obstructing the asylum process. It’s an ugly thing.

Whatever sympathy for the children separated for parents, I’d predict less for whole families placed in these jails. Particularly if this “infestation,” as Trump calls it, is visited on the Land of Opportunity. Perhaps I underestimate the charitable impulses of my fellow Arkansans, but that 63 percent Trump vote is an indicator.