South Dakota lawmaker proposes bill to ban refugees from certain countries

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PIERRE, S.D. - (KSFY) South Dakota State Senator Neal Tapio has sponsored a bill in Pierre that says refugees from certain countries shouldn't be allowed to move to South Dakota.
But at least one South Dakota group is ready to challenge him saying this idea sends the wrong message.
Tapio's bill would suspend the resettlement of refugees in South Dakota if their original country is part of any type of federal travel ban.
In addition, Tapio says people from seven specific countries should be banned outright.
“I think that we should take President Trump's discussion of the travel ban seriously and that he has named five states that we should be concerned about, or five countries that we don't have a proper way to vet the folks coming from those countries,” Senator Tapio said.

Tapio says outright bans are needed for anyone from Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Libya, Yemen and North Korea.

“We should have a fundamental right to determine who we bring in to our communities. It's only fair,” Tapio said.

Many of the countries listed in Tapio's measure are areas with predominantly Muslim populations.

“Pew research indicates that's there's up to 300 million people who consider themselves Muslim that believe you should be killed for leaving Islam… Do you think that we should keep those people out of our country if they believe you should be killed for leaving the religion,” Tapio said.

“We also condemn any act of Terrorism, but I’d like to see what his facts and statistics are that are backing up that are backing up the reasoning,” South Dakota Voices for Peace representative Samantha Spawn said.

Spawn says she thinks the bill is unconstitutional.

“The state does not have the right to dictate where refuges are resettled in South Dakota.
It's currently managed by Lutheran Social Services and the federal government. So, the South Dakota legislature can't really just step in and say no more refugees being resettled,” Spawn said.

Spawn says she believes if this bill becomes law, it would send a message that she says doesn't reflect South Dakota’s values.

“It sends a message of hate, and it sends a message of intolerance, and at the end of the day we need to ask ourselves what kind of South Dakota do we want,” she said.

The bill was just introduced this week.
It would have to make it out of committee and then be approved by both the House and Senate before being sent to Governor Daugaard's desk.
Tapio has also proposed a resolution saying South Dakota believes the root cause of global terrorism is Islam.