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State files notice of appeal, asks for stay in Syrian refugee ruling

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Gov. Mike Pence

(March 8, 2016) — The State of Indiana has filed a notice that it is appealing a federal court ruling that required the State to resume grant payments to a nonprofit contractor for resettlement of refugees fleeing Syria. The State asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to stay, or postpone, implementation of its order while the appeal is under way.

In seeking a stay, the State filed notice that it respectfully intends to appeal to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and will ask that court to review the preliminary injunction that the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis issued Feb. 29 in the case, Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc. v. Pence and Wernert.

The motion to stay the injunction pending appeal notes that the harm to the citizens of the State of keeping the injunction in place outweighs the potential harm to Exodus, the nonprofit grant contractor that had received federal grant funding passed through the State. The State’s position is the State and federal government have parallel responsibilities for security and public safety, and the federal government ought to be more forthcoming with the State about its screening process for Syrian civil war refugees in light of legitimate public safety concerns arising from the crisis before the nonprofit contractor Exodus relocates such refugees to Indiana. The State’s stay motion asserts the Governor’s temporary and partial suspension of pass-through grant funding to the grant contractor to deter such relocations now does not violate the Equal Protection Clause or Title VI of federal law; and that at the moment the State receives only as much information about resettled refugees and how they were screened as the federal government and resettlement agencies are willing to provide.