The South Carolina Senate on Thursday passed a controversial bill targeting refugees in the state, prompting concern that it may portend a wave of anti-refugee legislation around the country, particularly in the tense climate following the terrorist attacks in Brussels.
The bill, if passed by the South Carolina House and signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley, would require refugees’ sponsors to register them in a database maintained by the state’s Department of Social Services. It would also impose strict liability on a refugee’s sponsor if the refugee, at some point in the future, commits a terrorist or criminal act.’
Although earlier versions of the Senate bill would have made the registry publicly available, a late amendment would make the registry available only to law enforcement. Still, some refugee advocates are troubled by the provision. “There is absolutely no reason why refugees should be registered and tracked at all, even if it’s privately done,” Yang said.
A second provision would hold any refugee sponsor strictly liable if the refugee at some point in the future “acted in a reckless, willful, or grossly negligent manner, committed an act of terrorism” or a violent crime “that resulted in physical harm or injury to a person or damage to or theft of real or personal property.” They would be required under the bill to pay civil damages to anyone injured by such an act, apparently committed at any time in the future, by a refugee. An earlier version of the bill would have held the sponsors liable only for negligence. The adoption of the strict liability standard, which would impose liability without a finding of fault, has alarmed refugee advocates, who also say it is unclear whether churches who co-sponsor a refugee would be held liable under the bill.’
The whole thing
No reason to track refugees? Really? The government tracks drivers, gun owners, voters, anybody licensed to do anything, but not foreigners. OK. Whatever.