Citing security concerns, Gov. Mike Pence announced Monday that Indiana will stop accepting Syrian refugees in the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday.
In a statement released this morning, the governor said he’s directing state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees until the state receives assurance from the federal government that “proper security measures” have been put in place.
“Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers,” Pence said in a statement.
Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-South Bend, applauds Pence’s decision.
“While millions of Syrians, including women, children and orphans have endured immense hardships, current State Department mechanisms are inadequate because often no paperwork exists, and since they are arriving from a failed state in Syria, it is nearly impossible to determine who is a threat and who is safe,” Walorski said in a statement.
Rep. Todd Young, R-Bloomington, says he also supports Pence’s actions.
“With matters of national security, there is no room for error,” Young said in a statement. “We must be certain that our verification procedures protect the American people from the threats we face, and certainly the very specific, direct threats ISIS issued against our homeland in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris.”
And Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, tweeted in support of the governor.
We should not accept any Syrian refugees unless U.S. govt can guarantee, with 100% assurance, that they are not ISIS members or supporters— Senator Dan Coats (@SenDanCoats) November 16, 2015
But Director of Indiana University’s Center on American and Global Security Sumit Ganguly says the move is unnecessary.
“These individuals would be fingerprinted, their backgrounds would be checked quite rigorously,” Ganguly says. “Their names would be checked against existing databases of terrorists or potential terrorists.”
Ganguly says it’s unclear whether governors even have the authority to bar Syrian refugees from entering their states.
Exodus Refugee Immigration, which has helped Syrian refugees relocate to Marion County, says it’s disheartened by Pence’s decision. The organization says Pence acted out of fear.
“To be clear – refugees are the most screened group of newcomers entering the country,” Exodus Refugee Immigration said in a statement. “They receive extensive background checks from various U.S. security agencies and they are screened in person by Homeland Security. Every effort is made to ensure that no one is granted admission into the U.S. who would want to do us harm.”
Indiana joins several other U.S. states in barring Syrian refugee resettlement.