INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis says it has brought a Syrian refugee family into the state despite Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s request that it not do so.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin says the family arrived safely in Indianapolis Monday night.
Tobin met last week with Pence to discuss the governor’s order blocking state agencies from assisting Syrian refugees following the deadly Paris attacks last month. Pence said he asked Tobin to not resettle the family in the state.
Tobin said in a statement released Tuesday morning that he “prayerfully considered” Pence’s request but decided that assisting the refugee couple with two small children was an “essential part” of the Catholic church’s identity.
Matt Lloyd, a spokesman for Pence, sent the following statement to media on Tuesday morning:
“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.”