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ACLU files lawsuit against Governor Pence, seeks relief for Syrian refugees

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 23, 2015) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and ACLU national filed a lawsuit against Governor Mike Pence and the secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration.

The lawsuit was filed to stop attempts by the governor to suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees, and ACLU claims the governor’s actions violate the United States Constitution and federal law.

“There is no border around the state of Indiana that prevents people from entering our state who may move freely within the United States,” said ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk. “Decisions concerning immigration and refugee resettlement are exclusively the province of the federal government, and attempts to pre-empt that authority violate both equal protection and civil rights laws and intrude on authority that is exclusively federal.”

Exodus is a nonprofit corporation that receives federal money through the state’s Office of Refugee Programs, located within the Family and Social Services Administration, to assist in resettlement of federally approved and screened refugees. The funds are used to assist with employment training, English language education and other services.

“The actions taken by Governor Pence to block Syrian refugees from entering the State of Indiana are not in line with Hoosier or American values,” said Carleen F. Miller, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc. executive director. “Indiana is a welcoming state known for our hospitality. History will judge us in this moment – whether we take the moral stand for victims of war and persecution in their time of need or reject our core principles by giving in to fear and terror.”

The case, Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Mike Pence, et al., Case 1:15-cv- 1:15-cv-01858-TWP-DKL was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, on November 23, 2015.