Judge blocks order barring Syrian refugees in Indiana - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge blocks order barring Syrian refugees in Indiana

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Children among the refugees fleeing violence in Syria (AP Photo) Children among the refugees fleeing violence in Syria (AP Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A federal judge in Indianapolis has blocked Republican Gov. Mike Pence's order barring state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in Indiana.

Monday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt comes in response to a request for a preliminary injunction from the group Exodus Refugee Immigration, which helps resettle refugees.

Pratt wrote in her 36-page opinion that the governor's directive "clearly discriminates against Syrian refugees based on their national origin."

More than two dozen states, most with Republican governors, have taken similar action to suspend Syrian resettlement programs.

According to a release from the Governor's office, Pence has instructed the Office the Indiana Attorney General to seek an immediate stay and appeal of this order.

"As governor I have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of Indiana. During these uncertain times, we must always err on the side of caution," Pence said. "For that reason, following the terrorist attack in Paris and the acknowledgment by the Director of the FBI that there are gaps in the screening for Syrian refugees, I suspended participation by the State of Indiana in the Syrian refugee resettlement program and I stand by that decision." 

Pence had cited concerns following the deadly Paris terrorist attacks when issuing the order in November. He's noted a passport found near one of the suicide bombers had been registered along the route asylum seekers from Syria are taking through Europe.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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