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Judge blocks Indiana's Syrian refugee order

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A federal judge in Indianapolis on Monday blocked Republican Gov. Mike Pence's order that barred state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in Indiana, saying the governor's directive "clearly discriminates" against refugees from the war-torn country.

The ruling grants a request for a preliminary injunction from Exodus Refugee Immigration, which helps resettle refugees in Indiana. The group sued shortly after Pence issued his order in November, saying the change would hurt aid groups by withholding reimbursements for housing and medical care to assist Syrian refugees.

Exodus and other organizations have continued to resettle Syrian refugees, though the state has sought to withhold funds earmarked for resettlements. Four Syrian refugees were settled in January, with Exodus planning to settle nearly 200 more this year, Monday's opinion said.

More than two dozen states, most with Republican governors, have taken similar action to suspend Syrian resettlement programs.

Pence released a statement saying he stood by his decision and would quickly appeal. The governor has repeatedly cited the November attacks in Paris as justification, noting that a passport found near one of the suicide bombers had been registered along the route asylum seekers from Syria were taking through Europe.

In her 36-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said the state had a compelling concern to protect its residents, but that withholding federal grant money from the aid group "in no way furthers the state's asserted interest in the safety of Indiana residents."

Pratt also wrote that the governor's directive "clearly discriminates against Syrian refugees based on their national origin."

Similar lawsuits have been filed in Texas, Alabama and Pennsylvania, according to the judge's ruling. An attorney for the Indiana plaintiffs, Kenneth Falk, said he believes Pratt's ruling is the first action taken by a judge in such a case.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the refugee group by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said the state was violating the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees from other countries but not from Syria. At the time, the group said it expected to settle about 19 Syrians vetted by the federal government within the next several months.

Pratt said she granted the preliminary injunction because she believed the plaintiffs would eventually prevail in their lawsuit.

The judge said the state had acknowledged it doesn't have the authority to bar Syrian refugees from crossing into Indiana after the U.S. government already gave them a green light to enter the country. But she said the aim of yanking funding from groups like Exodus was to achieve the same result.

"The State deprives Syrian refugees that are already in Indiana of social services in the hopes that it will deter (voluntary agencies) from resettling other Syrian refugees in the State," she wrote. "This is essentially a policy of punishing Syrian refugees already in Indiana in the hopes that no more will come."

Pratt added that the state's decision to not pass on funds to Exodus would mean the group might be forced to cut funding to other refugee clients — not just those from Syria.

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  1. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  2. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  3. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

  4. Thanks Jim. We surprised ourselves with the first album, so we did a second one. We are releasing it 6/30/17 at the HiFi. The reviews so far are amazing! www.itsjustcraig.com Skope Mag: It’s Just Craig offers a warm intimacy with the tender folk of “Dark Corners”. Rather lovely in execution, It’s Just Craig opts for a full, rich sound. Quite ornate instrumentally, the songs unfurl with such grace and style. Everything about the album feels real and fully lived. By far the highlight of the album are the soft smooth reassuring vocals whose highly articulate lyrics have a dreamy quality to them. Stories emerge out of these small snapshots of reflective moments.... A wide variety of styles are utilized, with folk anchoring it but allowing for chamber pop, soundtrack work, and found electronics filtering their way into the mix. Without a word, It’s Just Craig sets the tone of the album with the warble of “Intro”. From there things get truly started with the hush of “Go”. Building up into a great structure, “Go” has a kindness to it. Organs glisten in the distance on the fragile textures of “Alone” whose light melody adds to the song’s gorgeousness. A wonderful bloom of color defines the spaciousness of “Captain”. Infectious grooves take hold on the otherworldly origins of “Goodnight” with precise drum work giving the song a jazzy feeling. Hazy to its very core is the tragedy of “Leaving Now”. By far the highlight of the album comes with the closing impassioned “Thirty-Nine” where many layers of sound work together possessing a poetic quality.

  5. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

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