Half of Katrina Refugees Are Criminals
Report; Posted on: 2005-09-22 14:09:29
Criminals among Katrina refugees sought
By Eric Tucker, Associated Press Writer
After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, federal officials flew Brian Murph and more than 100 other victims to Rhode Island. They were greeted by the governor and cheered by residents.
Then the handcuffs were placed on Murph.
State police did criminal background checks on every refugee and found that more than half had a criminal arrest records — a third for felonies. Murph was the only one with an outstanding arrest warrant, for larceny and other crimes.
Around the nation, state and local authorities are checking refugees' pasts as they are welcomed into homes, schools, houses of worship and housing projects. In some states, half the refugees have rap sheets.
"It's a balancing act," said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. "We don't want to treat them like criminals after they have been traumatized, but we want to make sure they are in no danger nor the families they are housed with."
Civil libertarians call the checks thinly veiled race and class discrimination against people who have suffered already. The checks are made on those evacuated or forced to seek help from charities or others — in other words, people who are often black and poor.
"I think it's happening partly because who these people are and where they came from," said Steve Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island ACLU. "The mere fact that people have past criminal records in and of itself doesn't say anything about harm to the community."
( http://www.nationalvanguard.org/story.php?id=6237 )
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