Burmese youth raise voices for refugees in Greenville - FOX Carolina 21

Burmese youth raise voices for refugees in Greenville

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Former Burmese immigrants sing at Falls Park (FOX Carolina) Former Burmese immigrants sing at Falls Park (FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A North Carolina church youth group consisting of mainly former Burmese refugees visited downtown Greenville Thursday in hopes to motivate churches and local governments to open their hears to people fleeing persecution. 

Many of the youth were born in refugee camps in Thailand, according to youth group leader Tim Cross. The singing group called "New Start" hails from Winston-Salem, NC and representatives said the group has helped more than 500 refugees in that state. 

Their visit to Greenville came just days after a controversial South Carolina Senate bill passed that would require refugees to register with the Dept. of Social Services and would hold resettlement programs liable if a refugee commits a violent crime or an act of terror. 

Lawmakers who supported the bill said it will help combat terrorism and improve the vetting process for refugees coming into the country. Opponents of the bill said it will only discourage charitable organizations like churches from reaching out to refugees. 

"If this bill were to pass then churches would be hesitant to get involved at all," said Cross. 

Sen. Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson), who co-sponsored the bill, disagreed. 

"This doesn't prohibit refugees at all, but the organization that brings them in will have civil liability." He added the bill, if passed in the House and signed by the governor, will encourage groups to more closely vet incoming refugees. 

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