UPDATED Tuesday Nov. 24, 2015 at 12:49 PM
INDIANAPOLIS -- Pence spokeswoman Kara Brooks issued the following statement after the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana announced it was filing a lawsuit on behalf of the nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration that seeks to block the governor's actions regarding the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana:
"Governor Pence took decisive action a week ago to put the safety and security of the people of Indiana first by suspending the state's participation in the resettlement of Syrian refugees. The governor is confident he has the authority to suspend the state's participation in the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana and will not reverse course until the Administration and Congress take action to pause this program and implement measures necessary to address security gaps acknowledged by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
"The governor believes that public safety is not a partisan issue. A bipartisan majority of governors have taken similar actions. Last week, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to pause the entry of Syrian refugees until proper security screening measures are implemented.
"The governor believes that caution and compassion are not mutually exclusive. We can take measures to ensure the security of our nation even while we continue to extend support and refuge to people around the world fleeing from the ravages of hardship and war."
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED Nov. 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM
INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Mike Pence is facing a lawsuit challenging his authority to block Syrian refugee resettlement in Indiana after the governor announced he was halting such settlements following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.
The complaint, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Indianapolis-based Exodus Refugee Immigration, is seeking an injunction that would prevent Pence from blocking or withholding "aid from refugees or from Exodus."
According to an ACLU press release, Exodus is a nonprofit that receives federal funding via Indiana's Office of Refugee Programs, which is located within the state's Family and Social Services Administration. John Wernert, the state's Family and Social Services Adminsitration secretary, is also named as defendant in the lawsuit.
The suit claims that Pence's actions are in violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constituion and TItle VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act because the state continues to allow the settlement of other refugees but, specifically, not those of Syrian origin.
Following the Paris terrorist attacks, Pence announced that he had directed all state agencies involved in refugee resettlement to halt any such placements of Syrian refugees until the federal government provided assurances that "proper security measures are in place" to prevent such an attack on U.S. soil. That's after one of the Paris attackers was suspected of having used a forged Syrian passport to slip into Europe by way of Greece.