Catholic Charities: Decision to ban refugees 'disappointing' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Catholic Charities: Decision to ban refugees 'disappointing'

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Children among the refugees fleeing violence in Syria. Children among the refugees fleeing violence in Syria.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Syrian refugees are being banned from settling in some U.S. states, including Indiana. This comes after reports that a Syrian refugee was among the perpetrators of the terror attacks in Paris.

In a statement Monday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence said:

"Unless and until the state of Indiana receives assurances that proper security measures are in place, this policy will remain in full force and effect."

Some other state governors have also decided to refuse to accept any more refugees fleeing turmoil in Syria. They're raising concern that terrorists might use the refugees as cover to sneak across borders.

President Barack Obama says the U.S. should not cut off refugees.

“We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.”

Becky Jordan, state refugee coordinator with Catholic Charities Louisville, says the decision to ban refugees is disappointing. She says the resettlement process is complex and safe.

She said in a statement, "It's unfortunate. They're trying to escape terror and want to come here and live in peace and to not have that process provided to them after they've been vetted for two years is unfortunate."

Jordan says because Kentucky's refugee resettlement is managed by Catholic Charities, a non-profit, the governor's office doesn't have the power to keep Syrian refugees from resettling in the commonwealth.

She says it's been like that since 1992, when the state withdrew from managing the resettlement program.

Laurie Kraus, director of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance agrees with Jordan.

“I regret very much that these states have made this decision. I think that in a very real way that's appealing to the least common denominator of fear in us and to deny the welcome people need and require to secure their safety when our country was based on that kind of welcome when everyone knows someone whose family's story is achieving welcome is to diminish our humanity and to diminish our American identity,” said Kraus.

Kentucky Governor-elect Matt Bevin released a statement late Monday that said in part:

"It is imperative that we do everything in our power to prevent any similar attack by evildoers from taking place here in America."

Governor Steve Beshear tweeted a statement late Monday afternoon saying refugees are women and children in desperate need of help and America should help out.

According to officials, most of the Syrian refugees currently in Louisville are children.

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