Indiana: ACLU files lawsuit against governor on behalf of resettlement contractor over Syrians
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 27, 2015
This is news from the day before Thanksgiving and would not have caught my eye except for the fact that the resettlement contractor—Exodus Refugee Immigration—was the subject of a post here earlier this year when they said they would welcome Syrians to Indianapolis because a major Muslim Brotherhood organization was located nearby!
First, here is the story from the Associated Press about the lawsuit:
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A lawsuit challenging the Indiana governor’s decision to stop state agencies from helping resettle Syrian refugees alleges that the action wrongly targets the refugees based on their nationality and violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the federal lawsuit Monday night on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration. It accuses Gov. Mike Pence of accepting refugees to Indiana from other countries but not from Syria.
The first-term Republican governor objected to plans for refugees to arrive in Indiana following the attacks in Paris. Five days after the Nov. 13 attacks, a family that had fled war-torn Syria was diverted from Indianapolis to Connecticut when Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities.
The ACLU of Indiana filed a motion Tuesday asking a federal judge to put a temporary hold on Pence’s directive that state agencies stop helping with the resettlement of Syrian refugees by using federal money to provide services such as housing and medical care.
It’s going to be interesting to see if the governor has any power. I wonder what would happen if Pence did not single out the Syrians and instead said Indiana wouldn’t take any refugees from anywhere—now that would be fun to see!
Expect to see more lawsuits like this one against the governors.
Here is what I said back in March about this resettlement contractor—Exodus Refugee Immigration:
This is a really informative news report from reporter Gretchen Frazee at Indiana Public Media. The story begins with a warm introduction to a Syrian family which has just arrived in Indianapolis with the help of federal resettlement contractor Exodus Refugee Immigration which is a subcontractor of both Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries (two of the big nine contractors).
Muslim Brotherhood organization nearby!
We are told that one reason Indianapolis was chosen is that the Islamic Society of North America is nearby (ahhhhh!)
The State Department normally sends refugees to cities where they have friends or family. But Lababidi and Alhamoud didn’t know anyone in the U.S., so the government used a kind of formula to determine which location had the resources to best meet their needs. The department determined that place was Indiana. [I sure would like to see this formula!—ed]
“The main thing is that refugees go to a place that’s welcoming, that has a cost of living they can survive in, that has employment and opportunities,” says Carleen Miller, the executive director of Exodus Refugee Immigration, which is handling Syrian families’ resettlement in Indianapolis.
She points out that the Islamic Society of North America is based just outside of Indianapolis in Plainfield. There is also a mosque which many Syrians attend in Fishers and a group of Christian Syrians at a nearby church.
“There are people who are interested in Syrians in our city, so it makes for a good environment for them to be successful,” Miller says.
Not the first time the ACLU is working with a federal resettlement contractor.
Way back in July 2007, our first month in existence, we reported on a lawsuit in Tennessee where a resettlement contractor (also affiliated with Church World Service) filed a lawsuit with the ACLU (and CAIR) so the resettlement contractor would not have to give information to the FBI about the location of some missing Iraqi refugees. Of course, the issue is different, but shows the willingness of the ACLU to join forces with a federal resettlement contractor, a ‘church’ group which is a subcontractor of Church World Service.
I’ve been wondering all these last 8 years why the ACLU isn’t interested in suing the federal “church” contractors over the separation of church and state!
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