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State Legislatures Propose Registry of Refugees

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Legislatures in South Carolina and New York have proposed bills to register refugees with the government. The most comprehensive bill was proposed in South Carolina, where lawmakers say the tough conditions are to prevent acts of terror.

The South Carolina bill has three components:

  • A registry of refugees
  • Civil liability for those sponsoring refugees from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism (which currently includes Iran, Sudan and Syria)
  • A prohibition on spending any state money on refugees and their families

The South Carolina bill, sponsored by state Senator Kevin Bryant, is clearly designed to discourage refugees from settling in South Carolina.

"Why should we bring one refugee here when we could spend the same money and help 10 in their part of the world?" Bryant asks.

The senator suggested instead of bringing refugees to America, people could donate to relief agencies that help refugees where they are.

South Carolina has taken in 850 refugees since 2010. Lawmakers say the bill will ultimately be amended to provide some state money to refugees, especially for education.

CAIR, the Council on American Islamic relations – a Muslim Brotherhood front group linked to terror funding – objected to the bill saying it singles people out by their countries of origin and aims at discriminating against Muslims.

The New York bill stipulates refugees must register with the state, be fingerprinted and have their activities monitored for one year or until they become permanent residents, whichever comes first.

A coalition of 200 groups working with refugees and immigrants objected to the conditions, calling the proposed legislation a "heinous bill that treats refugees who are fleeing from violence and conflict like criminals."

Meanwhile, Florida House speaker Steve Crisafulli killed a bill that stiffens criminal penalties for terrorism and material support for terrorism by blocking a vote on the bill.

The bill had unanimously passed the Senate, two subcommittees of the House and a full committee of the House. Proponents say the legislation is needed to counteract a “bureaucratized counterterrorism apparatus on the federal level.”

The bill also creates a civil cause of action empowering victims of terrorism to sue in state court individuals who provide material support and aid those committing acts of terror.

The legislation became known as Andy’s Law after Private Andy Long, who was killed June 1, 2009 by radicalized convert Abdulhakim Muhammed outside an Army Recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas. A documentary called Losing Our Sons was made about the two men by their fathers.

Similar legislation was enacted in Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.

In Virginia, a man pled guilty to providing material support and resources to the Islamic State. Joseph Hassan Farrokh, 28, of Woodbridge, Virginia, a U.S. citizen, attempted to board a flight to Chicago from where he planned to fly to Aman, Jordan. According to officials, he then planned to cross into Syria so that he could “chop heads.” 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org