Indiana Governor sued for rejecting Syrian refugees

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence © David Becker
Indiana Governor Mike Pence is facing a lawsuit over his objection to resettling Syrian refugees in the state. The action is being taken by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a week after a Syrian family was turned away after an order by Pence.

Pence is accused of violating the Constitution by accepting refugees from other countries, but not Syria. The governor ordered state agencies to stop resettling activities for Syrians after the Paris attacks on 13 November that killed 130 people.

Pence said that his objection was based on the claim that one of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks arrived in Europe as a refugee, despite the fact that 11 days after the attack this accusation has yet to be confirmed.


The family that was rejected last week had fled war-torn Syria seeking safety, but instead said they felt rejected after arriving amidst a political maelstrom. The couple and their five-year-old son were driven to Connecticut and resettled there.

Indiana has accepted 40 refugees from Syria since 2010, 20 of whom arrived in 2015.

The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday on a bill that sharply increases the security screening of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. If passed in the Senate, it would effectively block President Barack Obama's plan to settling 10,000 refugees in the US over the next year, but the president has threatened a veto.

President Obama has argued in favor of admitting Syrian refugees despite security concerns, saying that turning them away would betray America’s “deepest values.”