SC Senate passes refugee bill - DatelineCarolina

SC Senate passes refugee bill

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Bill sponsor Sen. Kevin Bryant expressed his concern for the saftey of South Carolinians. Bill sponsor Sen. Kevin Bryant expressed his concern for the saftey of South Carolinians.
Registry backers said they are conerned terrorists could enter the state posing as refugees. Registry backers said they are conerned terrorists could enter the state posing as refugees.
Bedria Jazic says the bill stems from bias is unconstitutional. Bedria Jazic says the bill stems from bias is unconstitutional.

By Caitlyn Hummel

The South Carolina senate approved a bill that requires a state registry of refugees late Wednesday night.

The bill was filibustered over the past week, but co-sponsor Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, said the senate was motivated to get the bill passed as quickly as possible since the Brussels terrorist attacks early Tuesday morning.

"ISIS has proven they will infiltrate refugee programs. They've done it in Europe, they've done it in other states, and we don't want attacks here in South Carolina," said Bryant.

Only two Syrian refugees have settled into Richland County with the help of the Lutheran Services South Carolina Charity, a group that helps settle refugees when they arrive in South Carolina.

"It is unfair and in some sense unconstitutional," said Director of Refugee and Immigrant Services Bedrija Jazic.

The bill contains several amendments. Sponsoring agencies, like Lutheran Services, will have to enroll refugees with the South Carolina Department of Social Services within 30 days of entering the state. State Law Enforcement Division and local law enforcement agencies can use the registry to track refugees and determine if they pose a safety risk.

The revised bill says the information about the refugees would not be made public, and will no longer hold agencies responsible for refugees.

The Senate voted 39-6 to start the registry, it still needs approval from the South Carolina house before going to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature.

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