Arizona House Panel Approves Measure to Reject Refugee Resettlement

Republicans say they don't trust the fedgov to vet the refugees.

An Arizona House panel has passed a measure that would allow the state to refuse resettled refugees if they have not been properly vetted.

Republicans said they don't trust the federal government to properly vet incoming refugees. Democrats pleaded against passing another bill that would stereotype the state for demonizing foreigners.

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff said his measure would also require the federal government to reimburse the state's costs.

"These refugees have trauma, they have war-related problems, that tells me that those people are going to need a huge amount of dollars from taxpayers," he said.

Other state legislatures are also considering measures resisting the federal government's refugee resettlement program.

Florida lawmakers are considering legislation allowing the governor to use military force to keep out immigrants or refugees from countries outside the Western Hemisphere.

South Carolina's Legislature is considering a proposal requiring state police to track refugees coming to the state and hold their sponsors liable for damages if they commit an act of terrorism.

More than 3,600 refugees have been resettled in Arizona in the past budget year. The refugees come from all over including Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Democrats opposed the measure. Rep. Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix said, "I think that oftentimes Arizona has a reputation for demonizing foreigners and a lot of fearmongering. What (the bill) does do is send yet another message that we are motivated by fear, that we want to keep people out that don't look like us."

On the other hand, Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott said he supports the measure because he doesn't trust the federal government to do its job.

"We all know how the government operates. You hear these great things about how we are going to vet people and it never happens and people come into this country and cause great damage."

The federal government claims it subjects refugees to the highest level of security checks.

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