Ministers, refugees ask House to block anti-refugee bill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Opponents of legislation that requires refugees in South Carolina to register and holds liable those who help them resettle are asking a House panel to block the bill.

Ministers, volunteers and college students said Thursday the bill discourages churches from their Christian mission of helping people while targeting people who are fleeing persecution at home.

Noor Amiri told the panel he’d be dead if not for the federal refugee program. The Kabul, Afghanistan, native worked alongside U.S. Army soldiers for six years as their interpreter before coming to South Carolina in 2014.

He pleaded with legislators not to “punish the people who need protection the most.”

The panel postponed voting on the bill. The Senate passed it last month.

All two dozen people who testified opposed the bill.

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