ACLU sues Governor Pence over decision to suspend Syrian refugee resettlement
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit against Indiana Governor Mike Pence and the Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration after the governor suspended the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.
The ACLU alleges in its lawsuit that violates the US Constitution and federal law.
"There is no border around the state of Indiana that prevents people from entering our state who may move freely within the United States," said ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk in a press release. "Decisions concerning immigration and refugee resettlement are exclusively the province of the federal government, and attempts to pre-empt that authority violate both equal protection and civil rights laws and intrude on authority that is exclusively federal."
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the governor from suspending, blocking or withholding aid from refugees or Exodus.
According to an ACLU press release, "Exodus is a nonprofit corporation that receives federal money through the state's Office of Refugee Programs, located within the Family and Social Services Administration, to assist in resettlement of federally approved and screened refugees. The funds are used to assist with employment training, English language education and other services."
The governor's office released a statement after the lawsuit was filed.
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.