The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, is opposing efforts by lawmakers in two states to create refugee registration systems and — in one — to hold the sponsors of refugees civilly liable in the event that a refugee engages in domestic terrorism.
The two otherwise considerably disparate states are South Carolina and New York, reports the Associated Press.
A bill under consideration in South Carolina proposes a refugee registry; civil liability for sponsors if refugees from Syria, Sudan and Iran commit acts of terrorism; and an injunction against state spending on refugees or their families.
Syria, Sudan and Iran are specifically singled out because the federal government considers those nations state sponsors of terrorism.
Kevin Bryant, a Republican from Anderson, S.C., noted that the Palmetto State has welcomed almost 850 refugees from all over the world since 2010.
“Why should we bring one refugee here when we could spend the same money and help 10 in their part of the world?” Bryant told the Associated Press.
Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s national spokesman, said the bill is not in accordance with American values and threatened a legal challenge if it becomes law.
“If it is not illegal, it is at least un-American,” the Muslim activist group spokesman told the Associated Press.
Other critics say the proposed law is out of line with the hospitable nature of South Carolina’s generally Christian population. (RELATED: The Christian Case For Resettling Muslim Refugees)
“I want us to be who we have always been — a welcoming people,” Kevin Johnson, a Democrat from Manning, S.C. and an opponent of the bill, told the AP.
Meanwhile, in New York, Hudson Valley Republican Terrence Murphy has introduced a similar bill in the state senate which would order refugees to be fingerprinted and to register with a government welfare agency. The agency, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, would then monitor the refugees for up to a year, or until they gain permanent resident status.
“We do have the authority and responsibility to begin tracking who these people are, where they are coming from and to monitor the situation for potential threats,” Murphy said when proposing the bill, according to the Associated Press.
The New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella coalition of some 200 group, has called the bill “heinous.”
President Barack Obama approved a proposal to allow at least 10,000 refugees to settle in the United States. A couple thousand have reportedly arrived so far. (RELATED: What You Don’t Know About Vetting Syrian Refugees)
Recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. have heightened tensions concerning the issue.
CAIR is most notable, of course, because the organization was listed by the U.S. government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme that provided funding to the terror group Hamas.
In 2014, the United Arab Emirates officially designated 83 groups as terrorist organizations, including CAIR. (RELATED: UAE Designates Two American Muslim Groups As Terrorist Orgs)
This weekend, CAIR, and the American Civil Liberties Union and others announced the formation of a coalition questioning Cleveland police and their plan to use riot response equipment at the upcoming Republican Nation Convention in July. The groups will hold a press conference Monday to present their demands regarding the city’s plans. (RELATED: Muslim Group Objects To Police Efforts To Protect Themselves In The Event Of Riots At RNC Convention)