Syrian refugee lawsuit filed by ACLU in Indiana will proceed

DALLAS (AP) — The latest on the arrival of Syrian refugees in Texas and Indiana (all times CST):

2:15 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana says it will proceed with its lawsuit seeking to block Gov. Mike Pence’s order barring state agencies from helping with the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Pence said Tuesday that he wouldn’t stop the distribution of federal aid to Syrian refugees once they are settled in the state. But ACLU attorney Ken Falk said Wednesday that Pence’s statements are at odds with the ACLU’s understanding of the case.

Falk said there would be no need to sue if refugee assistance was not blocked. He also noted that lawyers for the state and the ACLU met with a federal judge and set a court date.

A statement issued by a spokesman for the Republican governor didn’t directly address the ACLU’s remarks.

11:15 a.m.

A federal judge in Indianapolis has set a hearing for next month to consider a request to suspend Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s order that state agencies stop helping with the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on Tuesday scheduled the hearing for Jan. 15.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is seeking a preliminary injunction to temporarily suspend Pence’s move. It sued the Republican governor last month on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration after Pence directed state agencies to stop using federal money to help resettle Syrian refugees. That money is used to provide services such as housing and medical care.

The lawsuit alleges Pence’s action wrongly targets the refugees based on their nationality and violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

1 a.m.

Resettlement agencies and volunteer groups assisting Syrian refugees are continuing their work even in states where officials have said those refugees aren’t welcome.

Refugees arrived this week in Texas and Indiana, both states whose governors have said they reject Syrian refugees due to concerns they might pose a threat to public safety.

The International Rescue Committee settled a family of six in Dallas. Refugee Services of Texas facilitated the arrival of another couple and their four daughters in Houston. And the Roman Catholic archdiocese in Indianapolis announced it had brought in another Syrian family.

In Dallas, volunteers who regularly work with refugees say they’ve actually seen an uptick in donations and offers to help in the wake of more attention being paid to Syrian refugees.

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