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Syrian Family Blocked From Entering Indiana

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The State of Indiana has blocked a Syrian refugee family, due to arrive in the state on Thursday, from entering the state.

Gov. Mike Pence, along with two dozen other GOP governors, said this week that resettlement programs must be suspended so that the United States can fully vet refugees for security reasons. Initially, one of the Paris terrorists was believed to be a Syrian refugee, but authorities later determined that person was carrying a fake Syrian passport.


Officials believe it is the first true test nationwide of a policy dozens of governors have implemented since Friday's terror attacks in Paris, CBS 4 in Indianapolis reported.

The Indianapolis-based group Exodus Refugee Immigration received a letter Tuesday from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, saying that the arrival of the family expected Thursday must be suspended.

Syrian Refugee Letter

"We would ask that you notify your national resettlement agency that the scheduled placement for the Syrian family scheduled to arrive this Thursday, November 19, and all subsequent Syrian arrivals be suspended or redirected to another state that is willing to accept Syrian placements until assurances that proper security measures are in place," FSSA director Adrienne Shields said.

Exodus Refugee Immigration's executive director Carleen Miller said she made the decision to find a new state for the family to arrive in.

"It was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do since I've been here for eight years," she told CBS 4 in an interview Wednesday. "I think we wanted to push back and say this is not OK, but it was too quick of a time period, and we did not want this family caught in the middle of this."

The family of three, Miller said, fled Syria in 2011 and have been working to resettle in the United States since 2012. They were diverted to Connecticut, CBS 4 reported.

"We have an obligation to the other nations of the world to do out part," said Connecticut Governor Dannel Mallory.

Chicago Kent College of Law Dean Harold Krent believes the governors really want Congress to delay Syrian refugee entrance or deny federal funding for their resettlement.

"Once the individual is legally in this country, the states cannot close their borders, so all this ruckus going on right now is merely for show," said Krent.

Council on American-Islamic Relations staff attorney Rabya Khan says, "It's extremely disheartening and disappointing to see the reactionary climate right now."

CAIR has written a letter to Illinois Governor Rauner, who has also taken a stance against the refugees.

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