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Hullabaloo


Friday, March 25, 2016

 

If you've got a fear, they've got a bill

by Tom Sullivan

South Carolina is not to be outdone by its northern neighbor when it comes to legislation written to address unreasoning fears. The S.C. Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to create a refugee registry that requires law enforcement to investigate refugees entering the state:

"We can make South Carolina out of the 50 states the most unwelcome state for refugees," said state Sen. Kevin Bryant, a Republican from Anderson.
ABC News reports:
The bill requires refugees resettled by the federal government into South Carolina to register with its Department of Social Services. That agency would share the information with state police, who would be asked under the measure to confirm that the refugees aren't security risks and report back to lawmakers.

The bill passed 39-6. Some Democrats supported the measure after Bryant agreed to remove a requirement that no state money be spent on refugees — including funds to educate their children. Bryant also removed a provision that would make the registry public after many lawmakers worried that would threaten the safety of the refugees.
If passed in the S.C. House and signed by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, it would be the first of its kind in the nation:
Haley has expressed concerns about the vetting of refugees to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and FBI Director James Comey. Registry backers said they are concerned terrorists could enter the state under the guise of being refugees.

[...]

A provision in the bill would hold refugee sponsors — often church organizations — liable in civil court if a refugee commits a violent crime or act of terrorism. That provision could slow or halt refugees from entering South Carolina, said state Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, who co-sponsored the bill.

“With the danger today of a terrorist infiltrating the refugee program, we have no other option than to enroll this information,” Bryant said. “We’ve got to choose our own citizens over those who are not citizens of our country.”
State Sen. Brad Hutto, a Democrat from Orangeburg, voted against the bill for singling out people based on national origin. He doubts any court would hold churches or refugee agencies liable for criminal acts committed by people they help. "I think there is a higher likelihood of being struck by lightning while drowning," Hutto said.

Mother Jones points out that, yes, South Carolina's "refugee registry" is just what it sounds like: a means to confront the international refugee conspiracy.

Perhaps there should be a national registry to monitor state governments with a history of committing terrorist acts against the United States. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least eleven.

Whether your personal phobia is young, old, and brown people voting, Mexicans, transgender people in restrooms, or hourly workers getting a raise, these stout-hearted manlies have your back. And they are watchful for other fears they can gin up.