Arizona became the most recent state to target Middle Eastern refugees, when its House panel passed legislation on Wednesday that would allow the state to reject helping refugees to resettle in Arizona, if the state can’t ensure they were properly vetted by federal officials.
Arizona’s House Republicans said they don’t trust the federal government to properly vet refugees, despite the fact that only three refugees out of more than 784,000 have been plotted attacks. Of the three, two attacks were non domestic and “the plans of the third were barely credible,” Kathleen Newland of the Migration Policy Institute wrote last year. The screening process in the U.S. is already incredibly thorough and can take months or years.
Arizona’s SB 1070, described by the ACLU as an anti-immigrant law, is one of the most controversial state laws on the books and is often described as a form of racial profiling. The law “requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ they are not in the U.S. legally.”
Arizona follows Florida’s lead, where lawmakers “are considering legislation allowing the governor to use military force to keep out immigrants or refugees from countries outside the Western Hemisphere,” and South Carolina, where the 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,” according to ABC News.