New York and South Carolina have proposed creating registries to keep track of refugees who enter their states.
The New York proposals would require all refugees to be registered, fingerprinted and monitored for one year or until they achieve permanent resident status, whichever happens first, The Associated Press reported.
“While the state may lack the ability to block refugees from coming here, we do have the authority and responsibility to begin tracking who these people are, where they are coming from and to monitor the situation for potential threats,” state Sen. Terrence Murphy, the bill’s sponsor, stated.
South Carolina’s bill takes it a step further by holding refugee’s sponsors accountable for any acts of terrorism committed by a refugee they are responsible for, according to the Associated Press.
Sponsoring Sen. Kevin Bryant said the bill has three components: a registry of all refugees; civil liability for sponsors of refugees from counties considered state sponsors of terror by the federal government (currently Iran, Sudan and Syria) for crimes committed by refugees; a prohibition on the state spending any money on refugees and their families.
Bryant said the goal of the bill is to protect people’s safety. Nearly 850 refugees from a number of countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East have come to South Carolina since 2010, with 87 arriving since last summer. The Anderson Republican said if only one of them were to conduct a terrorist attack it would be devastating.
Bryant said a better way for South Carolinians to support refugees would be to give to charities that help them.
“Why should we bring one refugee here when we could spend the same money and help 10 in their part of the world?” he said.
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, said the bills single out Muslims and he expects a legal challenge to them.
“If it is not illegal, it is at least un-American,” he said.
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