At his anti-Muslim speech in Aberdeen Tuesday, Republican Congressional candidate Neal Tapio claimed he has “a pretty heavy legislative agenda that I want to push through,” including some legislation “that I have yet to introduce.”
When he made that statement, he had one bill in the hopper, Senate Bill 168, which he cribbed from Rep. Tim Goodwin’s House Bill 1133 to test legislators for drugs. (Goodwin’s bill died Wednesday; Tapio’s limped out of committee yesterday to likely death on the Senate floor.)
As of this morning, Tapio’s “pretty heavy” legislative agenda consists of one more bill, Senate Bill 200, which proves what an uneducated jerk Tapio is.
SB 200 attacks the family reunification policy of our national immigration system. Tapio’s unconstitutional bill uses the dog-whistle term “chain migration” to conceal the real intent: to weaken immigrants by keeping their families apart:
The state shall suspend all direct or indirect resettlement of refugees and refuse to accept chain migration into South Dakota from citizens of countries appearing on any federal travel ban list. The state and any contracted voluntary agency may not assist in the transfer or direct resettlement of refugees or assist in the chain migration of refugees or immigrants from Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Libya, Yemen, and North Korea, without the consent of the Legislature [Senate Bill 200, as introduced 2018.02.01].
Tapio’s hateful bill ignores the fact that pre-Trump, tightened vetting of family members applying for reunification reduced their share of refugee arrivals from as much as 20% in the 1990s to less than 1%.
Tapio’s hateful bill ignores the fact that immigration is exclusively federal jurisdiction and that states have no right to refuse entry into the state to any person based on national origin (see the 14th Amendment).
Tapio’s hateful bill ignores the fact that reuniting families is not only a basic moral good but a practical benefit to immigrant families and the communities that welcome them:
The bedrock of U.S growth and prosperity is immigration and for nearly 30 the priority has been family reunification. The Immigration Act of 1990, the most comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system since 1965, was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. Under Bush, over 475,000 refugees were welcomed and family reunification was prioritized by expanding the number of family-based visas allotted per year.
…Families of every type are the foundation of strong communities across the globe. As a rule, families provide mutual support to their members: share culture, customs, language and traditions; provide discipline and guidance to young members and support elders or ill members in need.
…Family reunification has a positive impact on individuals and the communities in which they live and is a cornerstone of our country, the country built by immigrants.
…Family reunification policies reflect our country’s values and are the secret recipe to our success.
Immigration based on family reunification is a national asset, not a burden and changes to this focus of the Immigration Act of 1990 are not needed. Recognizing the humanity of immigrants includes having respect for their families [Stacie Blake, “Family Reunification an Asset for Immigration,” News-Press.com, 2018.01.19].
That’s how uneducated Neal Tapio is.
Children from Somalia live here in Aberdeen. They go to school with my daughter. I don’t know their individual family situations, but if any of them are here with only part of their families, if any of them still have a mom or a dad trapped back in Somalia, still trying to raise the money and complete the paperwork and vetting necessary to join the rest of the family here in Aberdeen, I want our country to do all it can to speed their families’ reunification. And I want them to know that our country is working to reunite their families, so on that happy day when mom and dad and kids are all together here in Aberdeen, they will turn to us and say, “Thank you, America the Beautiful, for making us a family again.”
Instead, Neal Tapio is looking at those Somali kids and saying, “You little terrorist brats! I’m glad your relatives are still stuck in Somalia. Why don’t you go back there, too, where you belong?”
That’s what a jerk Neal Tapio is.
Constitutional scholars and decent South Dakotans alike should Vote NO on Tapio’s Senate Bill 200.