Vice President Mike Pence tried to spin a court decision today in his favor after a federal judge ruled that a ban he instituted as Governor of Indiana in 2015 wrongly denied Syrian refugees the right to settle in the state because he claimed they were a public safety threat.
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At the time, Pence was one of about 15 governors who refused to accept Syrians after there was a report that one of the Paris bombers may have posed as a refugee.
Pence had ordered the state to withhold public funds used by private agencies to find jobs for the refugees.
Exodus Refugee Immigration filed a federal lawsuit with help from the Indiana ACLU against Pence which said his ban was unconstitutional and unfair to Syrians.
In February 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a temporary injunction against Pence which stopped the state from blocking those funds, at least until the case was resolved.
Pratt wrote at the time that withholding the funds “in no way directly, or even indirectly, promotes the safety of Indiana citizens.”
Pence appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, where a three-judge panel in October 2016 upheld Pratt’s ruling because federal law bars discrimination based on nationality.
“The governor of Indiana believes,” wrote Judge Richard Posner, “though without evidence, that some of these persons were sent to Syria by Isis to engage in terrorism and now wish to infiltrate the United States in order to commit terrorist acts here.”
“No evidence of this belief has been presented, however;” concluded the judge, who is now retired, “it is a nightmare speculation.”
Judge Pratt’s order today permanently barred Indiana from preventing Syrian refugees from resettling in the state and authorized payments to Exodus for resettlement in Indiana continue.
Having lost at every level, Pence tried to put a happy face on his court defeat today.
Pence’s press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement today that “it makes sense” that Indiana would now change its politics because of President Trump.
“When the now-Vice President was serving as governor he directed all state agencies to stop resettling Syrian refugees in Indiana until the federal government could provide credible assurances that ‘proper security measures are in place.’ Now under President Trump’s leadership, proper security measures are being implemented – it makes sense that Indiana would settle.”
Unless you count Trump’s March 2017 executive order banning any Syrian refugees from coming to the U.S. to resettle, the Pence position reeks of fake news.
There have been Syrian refugees in Indiana since at least 2014 and they have proven to be for the most part good citizens who want to raise families, succeed in business and do what all Americans want to do.
Pence used scare tactics to stop the resettlement because he was xenophobic, just as Trump is anti-immigrant and anti-refugee to this day.
Pence lost but instead of admitting he was wrong, he paints this as a victory for Trump, and by association, for him.
He is wrong again, as usual.