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Kansas House Bill Would Allow State To Bar Refugees

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

A committee in the Kansas Legislature is considering a bill aimed at giving the state the power to block refugees. It says the governor can suspend refugee resettlement if it's warranted.

The bill would allow local governments in Kansas to request that no refugees be settled in their area because of a lack of available services for refugees or questions about security. Republican Rep. Peggy Mast says she has security concerns related to Muslim refugees.

“Whether they come over with the intent of committing terrorist activity or whether they come over here and get into a mosque that teaches radical Islam, they can become a threat as a refugee. They have a different culture than we do,” Mast says.

Rabbi Moti Rieber, with the group Kansas Interfaith Action, says multiple religions call for helping people in need. Rieber says concerns over security are being prompted by “anti-Muslim tropes.”

“To say that we should fear these people and keep them out because of where they come from or what language they speak or what religion they hold I think is anti-American,” Rieber says.

The House Federal and State Affairs Committee could vote on the bill in the coming weeks.