Indiana Guv, Catholic Group At Odds Over Syrian Refugees Headed For State

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) met with Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin on Wednesday after Catholic Charities announced plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the state this month despite objections from Pence.

Following the Paris terrorist attack, the governor ordered state agencies to suspend aid to refugees from Syria, citing security concerns. And he has asked that Catholic Charities refrain from resettling a Syrian family in the state in December.

However, the Catholic Church so far has stated that it will still help the Syrian family move to Indiana and that it has received donations to cover the costs of resettling the family, according to the Indianapolis Star.

“We’re moving ahead with the intention that they are coming here,” Greg Otolski, spokesman for the archdiocese, told the Indianapolis Star this week. “Unless something happens that makes the situation seem really unwelcoming in Indiana, we want them here.”

Following the meeting with Pence on Wednesday, Tobin told the Associated Press that he would “give serious consideration” to what the governor said.

“My first consideration is not to objectify the family and make them an object of notoriety,” he said. “They are human beings … Our desire is to respect human beings.”

Tobin did not say whether Catholic Charities would still resettle the Syrian refugee family in Indiana following the meeting.

Pence in November asked an aid organization to reroute a Syrian refugee family set to move to the state, and the family was redirected to Connecticut.

The state of Texas filed a lawsuit against the federal government and a refugee aid organization, claiming that both failed to properly consult the state about two Syrian refugees set to arrive in Texas within the next ten days.

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