NewsPublic Affairs / October 3, 2016

Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Attempt To Keep Syrian Refugees Out Of Indiana

A federal Appeals Court Monday ruled against Gov. Mike Pence in his attempt to block Syrian refugees from resettling in Indiana. 

In November, Pence announced he would stop giving money to refugee organizations that resettled Syrian refugees in Indiana. One of those organizations, Exodus Refugee Immigration, sued the state.

Pence argued – and still maintains – that the federal government’s screening of those refugees is inadequate and, thus, resettled Syrians pose a threat to Hoosiers. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday upheld a lower court’s decision to block Pence’s move. In the unanimous ruling, Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner says the state offered no evidence to justify its fears of Syrian refugees, labeling those fears “nightmare speculation.” And Posner says Pence’s order was discriminatory and no different than trying to stop black people from settling in the state.

ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk, who represents Exodus, says the ruling means that, for now, the organization will continue receiving federal funds for resettling all refugees.

“We thought that this was an obvious case of discrimination based on nationality or national origin – and it seems like the Seventh Circuit agreed,” Falk says.

The state could appeal the court’s ruling.

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