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Rand Paul's Call to Deny Housing Assistance to Syrian Refugees Violates the Fair Housing Act

The senator gets a lot wrong in his amendment to exclude Syrian refugees from federal housing assistance.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul
U.S. Sen. Rand PaulREUTERS/Brian Frank

Senator Rand Paul was doing so well. He’s been one of the few GOP members willing to talk sensibly about mass incarceration, and among even fewer Republicans able to speak about it in racial justice terms. The REDEEM Act that he’s currently co-sponsoring with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey would allow people who’ve been convicted of low-level drug offenses to become eligible for certain federal welfare benefits.

But now, Paul seems to be moving in a different direction, coming out against offering public benefits to Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. He has proposed an amendment to spending bills for the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would block Syrian refugees from receiving housing assistance when they arrive.