State senators are expected to resume debate Tuesday on a measure that would toughen requirements for foreign refugees resettled into South Carolina.
Under the proposed bill refugees who resettle in South Carolina would have to register with the state and their sponsors would be held liable if that refugee was later convicted of a terrorist act. The legislation also bars state money from being used for any kind of aid or assistance for thee refugees unless approved by lawmakers.
However, conservative supporters of the tougher requirements indicated they would be open to some leeway on the last of those three requirements as Democratic senators offer new amendments this week.
State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said refugees are in the country legally under federal guidelines that allow them to relocate here. Hutto’s amendment would allow the children of refugees to attend public schools. “In this case we’d be taking in children of parents who are here under a lawful entry into this country,” said Hutto.
The bill’s lead sponsor State Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, indicated a willingness to ease some of the bill’s money restrictions for services like education, so long as it was not welfare money. Bryant said the registration and liability sections of his legislation are non-negotiable, however.
Hutto said South Carolina is taking in children of parents who are not in the country legally. “If you’re a refugee and get a job, it’s not like you get a tax break,” he added. “They have to pay taxes too.”
The state Senate is expected to take up debate on the legislation possibly as early as Tuesday..