A South Carolina state Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday requiring state police to track refugees coming into the state, sending the measure to the Senate floor, the Associated Press reported. The bill also holds the refugees’ sponsors liable for damages if they commit an act of terrorism.
While conservative Republicans widely supported the proposal , three Democrats on the General Committee voted against it Wednesday, with one of them blocking floor debate. A Republican who had initially supported the measure said she could not support a provision requiring the refugees’ addressed to be placed on an internet registry.
“Everybody doesn't need to know where they live,” said Sen. Katrina Shealy, the AP reported.
Under the bill, any refugee relocating into South Carolina would be required to register with the Department of Social Services within 30 days. That agency would then share their information with the State Law Enforcement Division to track the refugees. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has condemned the measure.
“It raises all kinds of questions, legally and ethically, when you treat a religious minority like they were sex offenders,” said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, the AP reported.
Democratic state Sen. Kevin Johnson, who is black, said he had a new appreciation of what his grandparents and great-grandparents went through in the segregated South, according to the AP.
“They were told the same thing,” Johnson said, the AP reported. “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.”
Following the Paris terrorist attacks in November, in which one of the terrorists reportedly entered Europe through Greece amid a group of Syrian refugees, governors across the U.S. announced that they opposed accepting Syrian refugees into their states. As hundreds of thousands of refugees continue to flee war-torn Syria, President Barack Obama announced in September that 10,000 Syrians would be allowed entry to the United States in 2016.