Indianapolis – Following Catholic Charities’ decision to settle Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana, Governor Mike Pence’s spokesman Matt Lloyd issued the following statement:
“The governor holds Catholic Charities in the highest regard but respectfully disagrees with their decision to place a Syrian refugee family in Indiana at this time.
“Prior to the terrorist attacks in Paris, which involved a Syrian refugee as one of the attackers, the Obama Administration’s own FBI Director said there are ‘gaps’ in the Syrian refugee resettlement program.
“Yesterday, the Chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee stated that ‘The U.S. government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U.S. refugee program.’
“Despite these facts, the Administration continues to ignore calls from governors of both parties, as well as a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House, to pause and strengthen the program.
“The safety and security of the people of Indiana is Governor Pence’s top priority. The State of Indiana will continue to suspend its participation in the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana until the federal government takes action to address the concerns raised about this program.”
In accordance with standard practice, the Indiana Department of Health will continue to reimburse county health departments for screening of all refugees, including those from Syria.
In 2009 the Obama Administration paused the Iraqi refugee program for six months after the FBI found evidence that terrorists from Iraq infiltrated the United States through the refugee program in Bowling Green, KY.
Indiana continues to welcome refugees from other countries. Since Governor Pence paused the Syria program last month, the state has resettled 28 refugees from Burma and Congo in Indiana.
Governor Pence also supports calls for humanitarian aid from Senator Coats and others in order to help innocent victims of the Syria crisis.