Downstate senator pushing for refugee monitoring bill

Local News

A downstate senator is pushing for legislation that would require refugees to register with the state and be tracked.

The bill, introduced by state senator Terrence Murphy, would require refugees to register with the government, and their activities would be monitored.

Murphy says this is for security purposes, but a local agency that helps refugees is concerned.

The legislation would require refuges be fingerprinted and registered with the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, but the Catholic Family Center says refugees are already given at least 7 security screenings before entering the U.S.

Obaida Omar remembers immigrating to the United States when she was just six years old

“I fled Afghanistan and I’m a US citizen now and I have all my freedom here,” said Omar.

Omar now helps other refugees get on their feet at the Catholic Family Center in downtown Rochester.

“We’re a social work agency,” said the Catholic Family Center’s resettlement director, Jim Morris. “Our mandate is to help refugees integrate and become self-sufficient. If we were also mandated to monitor their activities, we would lose all trust and standing within this population.”

News 8 reached out to Senator’s Murphy’s office for a comment and was directed to a statement on his website which states, “It’s crucial we take reasonable measures to protect our state’s residents while working within the confines of federal law, and continuing to provide humanitarian relief.”

Under the legislation, registration would last for one year, or until the refugees became permanent citizens. 

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