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Indiana officials appealing judge's Syrian refugee decision

March 8, 2016

The Indiana attorney general's office is asking a federal judge to put on hold her order against Gov. Mike Pence's efforts to bar state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in the state.

The motion filed Tuesday argues the state should be allowed to withhold funding to refugee assistance group Exodus Refugee Immigration while it appeals U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt's ruling to a federal appeals court.

Pratt's decision last week called Pence's directive discriminatory. She also rejected the governor's arguments that his order would enhance the state's security.

The attorney general's office argued the state has legitimate public safety concerns about refugee screening.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the refugee group. ACLU attorney Cecillia Wang says she confident Pratt's ruling will be upheld.

More than two dozen states, most with Republican governors such as Pence, have taken similar action to suspend Syrian resettlement programs.

The governor has repeatedly cited the November attacks in Paris as justification, noting that a passport found near one of the suicide bombers had been registered along the route asylum seekers from Syria were taking through Europe.

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