South Carolina has been at the forefront of the battle against President Obama’s refugee resettlement plans for nearly a year, with grassroots activists fighting not only the White House but their own Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.
Since that time, it has become apparent to South Carolina conservatives, including many who voted for Haley, that she is a supporter of Obama’s drive to convert millions of recent immigrants into “new Americans” by the time he leaves office, using not only the United Nations refugee pipeline but also a steady influx of illegal immigrants from Central America.
Haley has supported the president’s plan to bring in refugees from jihadist hotspots like Syria and Iraq, the activists say, while also quietly embracing Obama’s resettlement of illegal Central American children in their state, using the family courts to secretly place them in communities without their knowledge or approval.
So now they’re taking their battle against Haley into the courtroom, filing a lawsuit against the governor, the State Department of Social Services, and two church-based organizations that help the government transplant refugees not only in South Carolina but dozens of cities and towns across America.
The suit seeks to halt all resettlement of refugees in South Carolina “until a full accounting of any and all federal money used in this program and specifically where it was allocated and how allocated (and) in which counties.”
South Carolina’s brouhaha over refugees erupted in March 2015 when a local newspaper ran an article “announcing” that World Relief Corp. planned to partner with churches and resettle about a dozen Syrians in the Spartanburg area. Secretary of State John Kerry dispatched his top refugee overseer, Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard, to the Palmetto state to calm nerves.
Thus far no Syrians have been sent to Spartanburg and only three have been placed in the state, near Columbia.
The plaintiff in the civil case is Brian Bilbro, a husband and father of two young girls who lives near Columbia in Richland County and works in medical sales. He says he and other South Carolina families have not had their concerns addressed, or even taken seriously, by Haley’s administration or the state legislature.
“Over the past year I’ve really become aware and concerned about what’s going on in our world and our country and the fact that the Muslim states have really taken it up a notch toward Christians and people like myself,” Bilbro added. “I’m not an Islamophobe but I’m just observing and if anyone can’t look at Europe and see what’s happening there then they have their heads in the sand. These people are getting very aggressive and I look at my daughters not as people they can do what they want with. I want to protect them. I just said, somebody’s got to stand up and make a stand, so really I did it for our children and the children of our state.”
Bilbro attended a legislative committee hearing on refugees in Columbia last month but didn’t feel like his concerns were taken seriously by the lawmakers.
“One senator said it’s just the way the world is now, that we live in a more dangerous world, and tough luck. He didn’t care that 26 citizens had expressed their concerns,” Bilbro said.
Haley endorses ‘amnesty’ candidate Rubio
Even though South Carolina is a heavily Republican state, with a key presidential primary looming on Saturday, it remains under the control of the establishment wing of the party, a fact that is borne out by the string of recent endorsements: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has endorsed Jeb Bush for president, while the state’s other senator, Tim Scott, has endorsed Marco Rubio, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., has endorsed Rubio.
But tea party-type activists say the most stunning betrayal has come from Haley. After first saying she would not endorse a candidate prior to the March 1 primary, Haley announced Wednesday she is falling in line with the other state Republican leaders and backing Rubio, author of the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill that conservatives called “amnesty.”
Just last month, Haley was quoted in the Washington Post saying: “Marco Rubio believes in amnesty, which I don’t.” She later walked back the comments when it was clear she had caused problems for the Rubio campaign in South Carolina.
The rise of Donald Trump in this state illustrates just how far from their base the one-time tea party darlings – Haley, Gowdy and Scott – have strayed.
According to the latest CNN/ORC poll, Trump is running away from the GOP pack in South Carolina while beating the drum against illegal immigration, Muslim immigration, and refugee resettlement.