Service To Resume Resettling Syrian Refugee Families In Indiana

Mar 3, 2016

Credit Steve Burns / WFIU

Exodus Refugee Immigration is expecting to resettle several Syrian refugee families in Indiana over the next few months, despite Gov. Pence’s continued opposition.

A judge ruled Monday in a civil lawsuit against Gov. Mike Pence, saying that Pence cannot deny state funds to Syrian refugees. The ACLU of Indiana is suing Pence on behalf of Exodus.

Exodus officials resettled a family of four late last year, despite Pence’s standing order not to give state funds to these refugee families. They were able to provide for the family using other grants.

Pence has said he will use any legal means possible to appeal the decision. But, Exodus will move forward with plans for Syrian refugee resettlement even if they permanently lose this state funding.

“We’re not going to turn away families,” says Cole Varga, the Interim Executive Director of Exodus. “It’s not who we are as Hoosiers. It’s not a good move for the state. We fully disagree with Pence’s actions. We would find alternative ways to serve that family.”

Varga says Pence and other politicians are using anti-refugee rhetoric to make a political point without considering the people it impacts.

“They didn’t understand who it was going to affect,” Varga says. “The fact of the matter is, it’s people that are fleeing their lives because they weren’t welcome in their own homes. And now to have them discriminated against when they arrived in their new home is really unbelievable to me.”

Varga is confident that the judge will rule in their favor if Pence decides to appeal.