The ACLU of Indiana issued the following press release this afternoon:
Indianapolis - Today a federal judge awarded a preliminary injunction to Exodus Refugee Immigration in a case brought by the resettlement agency, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and ACLU national. The order prohibits the State of Indiana from taking any actions to interfere with or attempt to deter the resettlement of Syrian refugees by Exodus in Indiana, including by withholding funds and services due Exodus and the refugees it serves.
"We are extremely pleased by the decision," said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. "The equal protection clause of the United States Constitution demands that all of the refugees who are extensively vetted and finally approved by the federal government be treated equally. Indiana was not, and now, pursuant to the trial court's order, must do so."
The lawsuit, filed in November on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc., sought the injunction to stop the governor from taking any actions to suspend, block or withhold aid from refugees or from Exodus. Exodus is a nonprofit corporation that receives federal money through the state's Office of Refugee Programs, located within the Family and Social Services Administration, to assist in resettlement of federally approved and screened refugees. The funds are used to assist with employment training, English language education and other services.
"This ruling puts the brakes on Governor Pence's end run around the Constitution. No state can unilaterally ban a group of refugees that has been vetted and admitted by the federal government. By trying to block Syrian families based solely on their nationality, Indiana is flouting federal law, the U.S. Constitution, and our fundamental American values of providing refuge for families fleeing war and violence," said Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.
Exodus has settled 892 refugees, including some from Syria, in the past fiscal year, and is projected to settle approximately that number in 2016, including 19 Syrians approved for refugee status by the federal government that have been placed with Exodus.
The decision, Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Mike Pence, et al., Case 1:15-cv-01858-TWP-DKLwas entered in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, on February 29, 2016.