Arkansas governor encourages helping others while in Harrison

HARRISON, Ark. -- The men and women who live at Hillcrest Home in Harrison got a few special visitors Wednesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson helped honor Ruby Kate Chitsey for her Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents nonprofit. The 12-year-old helps turn people's wishes in nursing homes true.

Hutchinson had more to celebrate in northern Arkansas. He spoke with the Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce to see how it's helping businesses.

"How they've energized their whole chamber and their community to really focus on economic development in a very organized way," Hutchinson said.

But fears of a disorganized refugee system don't seem to bother the governor. He announced in late December the state will continue to help refugees by accepting them in northwest Arkansas.

"These are all legal immigrants. A refugee is someone who has waited in line to come here lawfully," the governor said.

President Donald Trump gave states the option in September to continue or end their refugee programs. The governor has the ultimate say, but State Senator Scott Flippo told us it would help to listen to voters.

"People have concerns that I'm hearing about here on the ground with my constituents," Flippo said. "They have concerns primarily about two things: security, i.e. the vetting process, and also the cost."

A Time Magazine report shows Arkansas only took in about 50 refugees last year and would take about the same in 2020.

Hutchinson says he's seen how the vetting process works and feels helping others is the right thing to do.

"I think it's part of being a welcoming nation and state that we would agree to accept those refugees," Hutchinson said.

Those refugees would be going to the Fayetteville area and would not be coming to the Harrison area.