A state lawmaker who’s call for preventing the “Islamization” of Missouri and for camps for Syrian refugees drew national attention is explaining his positions.
In Representative Mike Moon’s (R-Ash Grove) letter to House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff), he urged the speaker to push for a special session to debate how the state should respond to Syrian refugees entering its borders, and to “tie the hands” of Governor Jay Nixon. That left many asking whether the state can do anything regarding those refugees, whose relocation is under federal control.
Moon thinks it can, and it means setting up a challenge to federal law.
“With the Refugee Act of 1980 it says that the president of the United States has essentially sole power to bringing refugees and relocate them to wherever he wishes,” Moon said. He believes that should be challenged. “You can’t grant anyone in government – an individual or group – sole power to do anything.”
Moon wants the legislature to block the use of state resources and money on the relocation and care of refugees. He believes that would lead to a court challenge of the Refugee Act.
Moon told Missourinet he isn’t suggesting a permanent block to the entry into Missouri of refugees.
“But when you consider what some U.S. officials have stated very clearly – that they cannot properly vet these individuals – then I think we need to be very careful on the process as to how we allow refugees to come into the country,” said Moon. “At least in the interim we need to put a stop to it and make sure [the federal government has its] ducks in a row until we accept more.”
Moon, in his letter, suggested refugees who are Muslims should be scrutinized and urged the Speaker to begin the process of calling a special session to put, “a stop to the potential Islamization of Missouri.”
“With the Islam religion in particular they have a belief system that, if you look at Islam, it says that they are a peaceful religion, yet when you look deeply into it you find that their version of peace is total domination,” said Moon. “If you or I decide that we don’t want to convert to their religion and faith, the only result is death. They have a mantra, too, ‘Death to the Great Satan,’ and it’s not any surprise that the ‘Great Satan’ is the United States of America. Therein lies my main concern because proper function of government is to protect our citizens, and we can’t do that by ourselves as a state. We have to rely on the federal government.
“When they say that they cannot properly determine whether these individuals are terrorists or not, that’s when we draw the line,” said Moon.
In his letter Moon said the nation’s preference, “should be to place the refugees in camps so they can be properly cared for and returned safely home when the time is right.” This statement was criticized, including by House Democrats, as calling for putting refugees in internment camps, but Moon said that’s not what he meant.
He said he was referring to camps not on U.S. soil, but “in [the refugees’]region or close to it,” and similar to those he saw while helping provide medical care in Sri Lanka after the 2004 Tsunami.
“There were refugee camps … where these folks who were displaced from their homes because of the tsunami were cared for, clothed in some cases, and especially given food and other care, such as medical attention,” said Moon. “When things settled down they went back to their respective cities and they either rebuilt or reestablished their homes.”
“They’re not internment camps and I’m not suggesting that we fence off the perimeter and keep them there against their well, however I believe that proper care can be given,” said Moon.
He said camps near Syria would cost less in providing care for refugees than having them in the U.S., and having them in camps there would mean they would be more likely to return home when possible rather than remain here.
For the legislature to call itself into special session requires the support of three-quarters of each chamber. Moon doesn’t think there would be 123 votes in the House, the total necessary, in favor of a special session, though he said other lawmakers do support the idea.