A South Carolina Senate committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would set up a registry of every refugee in the state and allow police to track them, as well as ban the state from spending money to resettle refugees unless the legislature approves the funding.
Two Republicans members of Congress representing South Carolina, Reps. Mick Mulvaney (pictured above) and Jeff Duncan, were present in the statehouse to promote the bill on Wednesday.
“Radical Islamic terrorists have said they will try to exploit both the migrant crisis into Europe and the refugee situation to enter into this country,” Duncan told state senators, according to Georgia television station WAGT.
Though the bill does not single out refugees from Syria, Mulvaney did when speaking to state senators.
“If you let in the wrong Irishman–I’m fourth generation– if you let in the wrong Irishman the downside is really not that serious, okay,” he said, according the AP. “You let in the wrong Syrian refugee, one, then people can die as a result.”
Though the bill passed in committee with broad Republican support, one Republican state senator who voted for the bill expressed concern that the registry would be available on the Internet. State Sen. Katrina Shealy said the public should not be able to access the information, “especially people that would be out looking for refugees to even harm them or something,” according to the Huffington Post.
Two Democrats voted against the bill. Democratic state Sen. Kevin Johnson, who is black, said that his parents and grandparents faced similar discrimination, according to the AP.
“They were told the same thing,” Johnson said. “We don’t want you in our state. We don’t want you in our neighborhood. We don’t want you in our schools. All you want to do is kill, rape, steal, whatever.”
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, told the AP that the legislation “raises all kinds of questions, legally and ethically, when you treat a religious minority like they were sex offenders.”
The bill would require refugees to register with the state within 30 days of their arrival, and then their information — including their addresses — would be shared with law enforcement and made available online, according to the AP.