Right before Christmas 2015, I wrote up in Taki’s Magazine a commenter’s common sense proposal for immigration insurance:
Think of immigration as being like driving. If you are going to go hurtling about the landscape in a multiton projectile, it’s only fair to others that you demonstrate that you are able to pay for any damage you might do. Thus, practically every state requires car owners to have driver’s insurance or otherwise post bond in some kind of quasi-insurance system. …
Similarly, immigration exposes Americans to all sorts of potential harms. It’s only reasonable that those who are more likely to injure Americans, whether directly or indirectly, should be charged higher premiums.
The South Carolina Senate on Thursday passed a controversial bill targeting refugees in the state, prompting concern that it may portend a wave of anti-refugee legislation around the country, particularly in the tense climate following the terrorist attacks in Brussels.
The bill, if passed by the South Carolina House and signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley, would require refugees’ sponsors to register them in a database maintained by the state’s Department of Social Services. It would also impose strict liability on a refugee’s sponsor if the refugee, at some point in the future, commits a terrorist or criminal act.
“I fear this may be the start of similar nationwide legislation,” said Jenny Yang, vice president of advocacy and policy at World Relief, an evangelical humanitarian nonprofit group that helps resettle refugees who have been vetted and approved under a federal program run by the State Department. …
Although earlier versions of the Senate bill would have made the registry publicly available, a late amendment would make the registry available only to law enforcement. Still, some refugee advocates are troubled by the provision. “There is absolutely no reason why refugees should be registered and tracked at all, even if it’s privately done,” Yang said.
A second provision would hold any refugee sponsor strictly liable if the refugee at some point in the future “acted in a reckless, willful, or grossly negligent manner, committed an act of terrorism” or a violent crime “that resulted in physical harm or injury to a person or damage to or theft of real or personal property.” They would be required under the bill to pay civil damages to anyone injured by such an act, apparently committed at any time in the future, by a refugee. An earlier version of the bill would have held the sponsors liable only for negligence. The adoption of the strict liability standard, which would impose liability without a finding of fault, has alarmed refugee advocates, who also say it is unclear whether churches who co-sponsor a refugee would be held liable under the bill.
Read my whole Taki’s column there. Being a serious, substantive proposal coming out right before Christmas, it got kind of lost. But it has aged well.