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Pence vs. Syrian refugees

Pence being... Pence

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Yes, he did it again. Governor Mike Pence smeared Hoosier hospitality in a series of tweets, this time marginalizing Indiana's foreign-born residents.

Pence joined nearly half of the country's Republican governors in calling for the suspension of Syrian refugee resettlement in Indiana.

Pence made the declaration in response to last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, France that left over 100 people dead and injured countless others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. French investigators believe one of the terrorists involved came to Europe as a Syrian refugee.

People in disagreement with the position of Pence and his colleagues took to social media in a firestorm. Journalists from publications large and small sought to answer the question, "Can they do that?"

Indianapolis attorney Bill Groth pointed out on Facebook that the governors don't really have a say in the matter.

"Justice Kennedy on behalf of the Court held in 2012 in Arizona v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012), that the federal power to determine immigration policy is 'well settled,' for it is 'fundamental that foreign countries concerned about the status, safety, and security of their nationals in the United States must be able to communicate on this subject with one national sovereign, not the 50 separate States.'"

Those who work to help immigrants establish their new lives in our strange land were also upset by Pence's declaration.

Terri Morris Downs, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Center, says approximately 40 Syrian refugees have settled in Indiana over the past two years with 23 refugees arriving this year so far. These immigrants speak English, are well educated and have adapted to American life very quickly.

"The Governor's statement sends a message to all foreign-born that Indiana is not a welcoming place that values diversity, and that's simply not true," says Downs. "Refugees come from all over the world and have for decades. To my knowledge, none of them have become terrorists. They are fleeing persecution in their homeland and welcome the safe haven, liberty, and human dignity we value in the US. It's one of the noblest acts our country continues to do. So many Hoosiers work tirelessly to help welcome the stranger in a strange land, and with one statement, our Governor decides to roll up the welcome mat. It's shameful at best, racist and xenophobic at worst."



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