A bill being discussed in the South Dakota legislature today represents a rare case where a legislator is willing to stare down the US State Department with a demand that those who live in the state have a right to say “NO” about who is resettled in the state as their tax dollars are gobbled up in the process.
State Senator Neal Tapio, a candidate for Congress, is sending a message.
Here is the AP story at The Seattle Times. AP obviously assumes the story is big enough to free it from local South Dakota media where it would normally be hidden from national view (so as not to give other states any ideas!).
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota would suspend refugee resettlements from countries on “any federal travel ban list” under a measure awaiting a legislative hearing that critics argue would be struck down by the courts if it ever becomes law.
The bill is set to have its first hearing Wednesday before the Senate State Affairs Committee. Republican Sen. Neal Tapio’s legislation would also direct the state to refuse “chain migration” from citizens of countries on such a list. That system gives advantages to the relatives of legal immigrants.
Tapio, a congressional candidate, said a potential legal challenge would be worth fighting if the bill becomes law. He said the federal government doesn’t have the right to “make your neighborhood less safe.”
“We should fight for our wives and our daughters and our kids and our grandkids,” Tapio said. “This is about the future of our communities and the citizens that live within them.”
Taneeza Islam, an immigration lawyer and executive director of South Dakota Voices for Justice, said the bill’s sponsors don’t understand the “fundamental rights that we have in our U.S. Constitution” and didn’t think through how the proposal would be implemented.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen, told the Argus Leader that the Republican executive opposes the bill.
We will be back tomorrow with news about the hearing.
We have written on many previous occasions about South Dakota, a rare pocket of resistance, where business (meatpackers!) and community leaders have often been out front in saying they want the steady supply of (cheap) labor that refugees and other immigrants represent in the state.