ACLU of Indiana calls new travel ban ‘unconstitutional’ as Hoosiers react to President Trump’s new executive order

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INDIANAPOLIS – The ACLU of Indiana, Exodus Refugee Immigration and Muslim Alliance of Indiana united Monday afternoon in their call denouncing President Donald Trump’s latest executive order, temporary banning travel from six predominately Muslim countries and temporary halting the nation’s refugee program.

Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana, called the travel ban “unconstitutional” and promised to fight the latest executive order in court alongside their national partners at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The order, which takes effect March 16, suspends the issuance of new visas for citizens from Libya, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Iran for 90 days. It also suspends the nation’s refugee program for 120 days while the program undergoes a federal review.

“It ignores the fact extreme vetting already exists,” Cole Varga said, executive director of Exodus Refugee Immigration. “The refugees are the most thoroughly vetted. To say otherwise is to not understand what the process is.”

But in announcing the new order, administration officials said the FBI is investigating about 300 refuges across the country for potential ties to terrorism but declined to say which countries the individuals were from.

“It’s important we do properly vet people coming from other countries,” Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) said in a recent interview with FOX 59 before Monday’s executive order was signed. “It’s also important we respect the rights protected in the constitution, like religious liberties.”

Varga said the impact will have an immediate and widespread effect on his organization, citing staff cuts and a reduction in services with the new order.

“Pausing this program for 120 days is a major blow to our services,” Varga said. “Small nonprofits like Exodus cannot simply go through the ups and downs of arrival flows. A lot of money is based in this federal program.”

The group resettles about 1,000 refugees in Indianapolis annually from several dozen countries. During the past two-and-a-half years, the organization has resettled more than 200 Syrian refugees in Indianapolis alone.

“I still think it’s a Muslim ban,” Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) said in an interview Monday, one of two Muslims serving in Congress. “Even though they’ve taken religious minorities off the list, it is still a Muslim ban. And I still think in nature it’s un-American, using the language of national security to justify this, it’s still a huge mistake.”