Federal Court Rules Against Gov. Mike Pence Over Syrian Refugee Ban

Update: A federal court of appeals has ruled against Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s order blocking Syrian refugees from settling in the state, according to The Associated Press.

A three-judge panel for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday to affirm a preliminary injunction against Pence’s order, rejecting arguments that admitting the refugees into the United States exposed Americans to terrorism, and calling the suggestion “nightmare speculation.” The ruling found that Pence’s order "clearly [discriminated]" against refugees, and noted that the state could provide "no evidence that Syrian terrorists [were] posing as refugees."

The decision comes the day before the October 4 vice presidential debate, in which Pence, who is currently running for vice president under Republican Donald Trump, will face off against Democrat Tim Kaine.
This article was originally published on November 19, 2015.

The first trial for refugee placement in American states is at hand. Yesterday afternoon, a family of Syrian refugees waiting to be resettled in Indiana was blocked by the state’s governor at the last minute, Chicagoist reports.

Gov. Mike Pence is among the more than two dozen governors who have said they will not allow refugees into their state due to fears of terrorism. Although state governors do not technically have the power to forbid refugees from being relocated to their states, they can make things very difficult, which in this case meant sending a nasty letter to the refugee-settlement agency. The letter, from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, notified the agency that “the scheduled placement for the Syrian family scheduled to arrive this Thursday, November 19, and all subsequent Syrian arrivals be suspended or redirected to another state that is willing to accept Syrian placements until assurances that proper security measures are in place have been provided by the federal government.”

In turning the family away, Indiana is repeating the myth that the screening process for refugees entering the United States isn't thorough enough to ensure that terrorists don't slip in disguised as refugees. However, from start to finish, the screening process for refugees involves 13 steps, including an in-person interview and a background check.

The family, a married couple and their 5-year-old son, fled Syria in 2011 and have been living in Jordan since. They have waited three years to resettle in the United States.

Instead of Indiana, the family was flown to Connecticut, where it was personally greeted by Gov. Daniel P. Malloy. According to the Associated Press, he was happy to welcome them. “I have to say they were absolutely wonderful and charming folks.”

There is another group of refugees, a family of four, with two children under 3, scheduled to be placed in Indiana on December 10th. It remains to be seen how their situation will be handled.

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