Indiana’s attempt to resist President Obama’s Syrian refugee program was sidetracked by a federal judge on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a ruling in Indianapolis that said Gov. Mike Pence’s plan to bar state agencies from assisting in the process was discriminatory. The 36-page decision came as a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in November on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, a resettlement agency. The group has vetted 19 migrants for the U.S. government.
“[Pence’s order] clearly discriminates against Syrian refugees based on their national origin,” the judge wrote, the Associated Press reported.
Obama’s own FBI director, James Comey, testified before Congress in October, saying it was virtually impossible to screen those claiming to be Syrian refugees because the U.S. has no access to reliable law-enforcement records in Syria, which is a failed state embroiled in five years of civil war.
Yet, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP-led Congress voted in December to fully fund Obama’s expanded refugee resettlement program, which includes 10,000 mostly Sunni Muslims from Syria being placed this year in dozens of U.S. cities and towns.
Pence said he would appeal Pratt’s ruling and that his reason for denying the services was valid – that he simply wanted to protect state residents from a terror attack like the types seen in Paris, AP reported.
Lawsuits have been filed by the governors of Alabama, Pennsylvania and Texas claiming the federal government has failed to provide adequate “consultation” to state officials as required by the Refugee Act of 1980. In South Carolina, a private citizen is suing, as WND reported, to stop the resettlements all together, claiming that Gov. Nikki Haley is failing in her most basic duty to protect the citizens of that state. A hearing in the South Carolina case has been set for March 22.
WND has also reported on citizen protests and resistance to refuge resettlement not only in South Carolina but Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and parts of Texas.
The ACLU claims Pence’s order violates the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees from other countries but not from Syria. The Republican governor made the decision after the Nov. 13, 2015, terror attacks in Paris, France, which killed 130. Islamic terrorism then struck San Bernardino, California, weeks later on Dec. 2, 2015, in plot that killed 14 at the the Inland Regional Center.
Indiana was joined by more than two dozen other states that took similar measures to protect citizens against ISIS, which has vowed to use refugee programs as a Trojan Horse.
“I’ve instructed the [Indiana] Attorney General to seek an immediate stay [and] appeal of the Syrian refugee fed court decision,” Pence said via Twitter after the ruling. “As Gov I have no higher priority than safety & security of Hoosiers. During these uncertain times, we must always err on the side of caution. For that reason, I suspended participation by the State of Indiana in the Syrian refugee resettlement program and I stand by that decision.”
“How does not paying the claims for those services protect the state?” Pratt asked Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher earlier in the month during at a hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction, AP reported.
Fisher said the goal was to discourage Exodus Refugee Immigration and other groups from trying to resettle Syrians in the state.
The Obama administration admitted in December that Islamic terrorists may infiltrate its Syrian refugee program – and then told Americans their concerns were overblown.
“We do have to be concerned about the possibility that a terrorist organization may seek to exploit our refugee resettlement process,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 16. “This is true of this country, that’s true of every other country that accepts refugees.”