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Lazy Tapio Files Refugee-Phobic Bill Attacking Families and Constitution

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].

Neal Tapio hates families and the Constitution.
Neal Tapio hates families and the Constitution.

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,”, 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.


  1. Jenny 2018-02-02

    Somali families are lovely. I’ve known many of them in MN. The women especially are a joy to have for neighbors, always making delicious Somali food and bringing it over as a gesture! They are very hardworking and love their families. Tapio is a misguided racist.

  2. owen reitzel 2018-02-02

    Tapio is just like his Hero Trump. A racist and an idiot. I’m guessing he’s another fake Christian as well.

  3. Miranda Gohn 2018-02-02

    Now more than ever we need to send someone who actually represents and works for ALL of us to Washington. Tim Bjorkman for Congress. We are stronger united than divided. Enough of the distractions with imaginary phantoms. Lets focus on the real challenges that face everyday South Dakotans and Americans. Please do what you can to help Tim Bjorkman

  4. Buckobear 2018-02-02

    From yesterday’s Rapid City Journal, “Within the last four years, up to 50 Somali men from Minnesota attempted to join ISIS, the most violent terrorist organization this world has ever seen.
    Did you know those Somali men weren’t refugees? They were the children of refugees. (There goes the theory that we understand how to properly vet refugees.)” – Neal Tapio
    So, now we are to punish parents for the misdeed of their children??
    Idiot ………

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-02-02

    Tapio misses the point: help families reunite, and they have a stronger support system and better chances to keep their relatives from radicalizing.

    Every family matters, especially the ones who’ve been torn apart by war, famine, and tyranny and whom we can help reunite.

  6. Nick Nemec 2018-02-03

    Cory, Tapio’s proposal also violates the freedom of assembly clause in the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” If some person has been legally admitted into the United States no state or other legal jurisdiction has the authority to post a sign saying “no people from country X allowed”. All people have the right to peacefully live (peaceably assemble) where they want and if the they want to peaceably live in South Dakota, Senator Tapio and a majority of the South Dakota Legislature can’t stop them.

  7. Jenny 2018-02-03

    But don’t just get after Tapio, a whole herd of mean Republicans are signed onto this bill like racist Phil Jensen (the meanie that wanted to make it legal to discriminate against minorities a couple years ago), Blake Curd, Stace Nelson, Jenna Netherton the Greenfields, Al Novstrup, goofball Monroe from Pierre, deadbeat hero Pishke, Laterell, etc. All of these pubs proclaim all the time that they are pro-life, but I guess only if you’re a white Christian. Come on just admit it, SD Legislators.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-02-04

    Agreed, Jenny. Governor Daugaard has called out Tapio’s bigoted, misinforming, and counterproductive rhetoric, but the GOP caucus hasn’t rejected Tapio’s anti-immigrant bill. 19 Republicans, including the meanies you name, have signed onto this bill. And Tapio will take at least 20% of the primary vote—that may be 20,000 of our Republican-registered neighbors who will reflexively cheer for Trumpist bushwah spewed on the prairie. Shame on all of you who are unpatriotic enough to fall for this destructive demagoguery.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-02-04

    Nick, I agree. Suppose the parents or siblings or other legally admitted relatives of some of the Somali kids in Aberdeen finally get the money to move here and reunite with their families. How would the state enact SB 200 to keep them out? Would Daugaard send the Highway Patrol to intercept them at Big Stone City or Browns Valley? Would he impose martial law at the airports and refuse landing privileges to any planes carrying Somalis? How would SB 200 actually work in any way that would not violate the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, or basic decency and practicality?

  10. Jason 2018-02-04

    Non US Citizens have no rights to come to our Country.

    And Owen, the Democrats have a long history of being the racist party. Even now democrats are racist for thinking non-whites don’t have the ability to get an ID to vote.

    That is what is sad.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-02-04

    … but once here, Jason, those persons have a right to due process and equal treatment under the law, regardless of national origin, that SB 200 denies.

    South Dakota has no authority to regulate immigration. South Dakota cannot kick Somalis, Iranians, North Koreans, or any other legally present refugees out of this state.

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