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Half Of Katrina Refugees Have Criminal Records

What’s this? From the Associated Press:

Half Katrina Refugees Have Records
Thursday, September 22, 2005

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — 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.

You could knock me over with a feather. Of course society is to blame. ®

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 22nd, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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