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Indiana Governor Pence Suspends Syrian Refugee Resettlement

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Monday, joining growing opposition among fellow governors, moved to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state.

A few hours later, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Pence and other GOP governors across the country.

Pence cited reports that a Syrian refugee was among the perpetrators of the terrorists attacks that took place in Paris on Friday.

Pence issued this statement:

"In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, effective immediately, I am directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved. Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers. Unless and until the state of Indiana receives assurances that proper security measures are in place, this policy will remain in full force and effect."

According to an Indiana Department of Health report, Indiana took in 12 Syrian refugees between 2012 and 2014.

The U.S. State Department reports the state took in 18 refugees so far in 2015. All 18 settled in the Indianapolis area.

Over the weekend two other governors, Alabama's Robert Bentley and Michigan's Rick Snyder, issued similar freezes.

Arkansas' governor Asa Hutchinson said Monday that he also has concerns about resettlement.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also joined Pence and Hutchinson on Monday.

By midday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant joined their GOP counterparts.

The United States in September pledged to take thousands of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria in the next year.

An estimated 85,000 total refugees are expected to be resettled in the U.S. in 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sept. 20.

Speaking to reporters in Turkey, President Obama addressed the issue.

The president said the U.S. would continue to accept more refugees from Syria after security clearance.

"Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values," he said.

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