State Senator Says Syrian Refugees In U.S. Should Be Segregated In Camps

Internment camps didn't work so well last time.

Rhode Island state Sen. Elaine Morgan (R) said in an email Tuesday that she opposes resettling Syrian refugees because "[t]he Muslim religion and philosophy is to murder, rape, and decapitate anyone is a non Muslim."

If the U.S. does "take these people in," she added, "we should set up refugee camp to keep them segregated from our populous [sic]."

A source shared the email, which had been sent to a constituent as well as her state Senate colleagues, with The Huffington Post. A state senator confirmed receiving the email and its contents, and Morgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

She told Rhode Island's WPRI that because of a new smartphone, she sent the email before she edited it and meant to refer only to "the fanatical Muslim religion and philosophy."

Morgan's email came as a majority of governors around the country, all but one of them Republicans, have called for the U.S. to stop admitting Syrian refugees after terrorist attacks in Paris last week. The Islamic State, also called ISIS, claimed credit for the attacks, and a Syrian passport was found at one of the scenes, although Germany's top security official says it may have been a false flag to promote backlash against refugees.

That backlash has occurred -- although Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has not thus far jumped on the bandwagon. She said in a statement Monday that the state has not "received any requests to help, so there’s nothing to decide at the moment," but if there were requests, she would coordinate with the White House and local law enforcement to ensure background checks. 

The U.S. House of Representatives is planning to vote Thursday on a bill that would "pause" resettlement of refugees and add requirements to the process for admitting them from Syria and Iraq. Senators are considering taking action as well.

Other state lawmakers have similarly proposed extreme ways to keep Syrian refugees out. Tennessee state House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada said Tuesday that his state needs to "to gather [Syrian refugees] up and politely take them back to the ICE [federal immigration] center and say, 'They're not coming to Tennessee, they're yours.'"

Refugees have the right to remain in the U.S. and move between states freely, just like anyone else.

The U.S. has tried forcing a group of people into camps before, and it didn't turn out so well. About 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were rounded up into internment camps during World War II without being convicted of any crime. Half of the people in internment camps were children. Some people died in the camps, and others suffered long-term medical and psychological problems from the trauma.

In 1988, the U.S. Congress voted to formally apologize to those internees and granted each of them $20,000 in tax-free reparations, at a cost of $1.25 billion to the government.

Read Morgan's full email:

Thank you for your correspondence. I feel the exact same way, I do not want our governor bringing in any Syrian refugees. I think our country is under attack. I think this is a major plan by these countries to spread out their people to attack all non Muslim persons. I think the protection of our US citizens and the United States of America should be the most important issue here.


If we need to take these people in we should set up refugee camp to keep them segregated from our populous. The Muslim religion and philosophy is to murder, rape, and decapitate anyone is is a non Muslim. We definitely need to stop this nonsense I agree! this is a major threat to our nation's security and people. When our government was formed the top priority intended for the government was security and safety of our people.


Senator Elaine J. Morgan

UPDATE: 11/20 -- Morgan released a statement on Friday saying she had been taken taken out of context, according to Rhode Island Public Radio.

"The first point I need to stress is that my statement was taken out of context," Morgan said. "I was responding to an email from a Rhode Island constituent. He was extremely concerned and expressing his opinion to all Rhode Island senators on a potential Syrian refugee influx. My response was directed to FANATICAL/EXTREMISTS Muslim groups."

"The second thing I would like to clarify relates to detaining Syrian refugees temporarily until fully vetted/investigated," she added. "The reference was to create a Federal immigration Center. Not a refugee camp."

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