INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 16, 2015) -- Gov. Mike Pence says he will suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees to Indiana following Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.
Pence issued the following statement in response to reports that a Syrian refugee was among the perpetrators:
“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, effective immediately, I am directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved. 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. 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.”
According to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, which administers the Syrian resettlement program, since 2010 Indiana has accepted 40 refugees from Syria, 20 of those coming during the 2015 fiscal year.
An agency spokesperson said all have settled in the Indianapolis area, adding there will be no impact on these refugees already settled.
Several other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan and Texas, announced similar moves.
Senator Dan Coats released a statement Monday afternoon, supporting the governor's decision:
“While the United States is a compassionate and welcoming country, our government has an obligation to protect American citizens,” said Coats. “We should not accept any Syrian refugees in Indiana or across the country unless the U.S. government can guarantee, with 100 percent assurance, that they are not members, supporters or sympathizers of ISIS."
Catholic Charities Indianapolis also released a statement Monday, expressing concerns for the Syrian refugees:
We hope that any concerns Governor Pence has concerning Syrian refugees be resolved quickly because the lives of so many families are at risk. Thousands of refugees from the Middle East, primarily from Syria, have been fleeing their homeland due to the barbaric acts by terrorists – the same groups responsible for recent terrorist acts in other parts of the world. Regardless of their religious affiliation, refugees from Syria deserve our respect, care and protection from this horrible persecution.
The decision comes just hours after Pres. Barack Obama spoke at the G20 Summit in Turkey and urged world leaders to accept refugees fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq, noting that many of those driven away from their countries are "victims of terrorism themselves." The president said accepting refugees should require "rigorous screening and security checks."