A federal appeals court judge scorched Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) on Monday for cutting state funding to a group dedicated to resettling refugees fleeing from the instability and destruction wrought by Syria’s ongoing civil war.
According to BuzzFeed legal editor Chris Geidner, a three-judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously voted to affirm an injunction against the Republican vice presidential candidate that prevents him from blocking the funds.
“Fearing that Syrian immigrants may be potential terrorists, the governor wants to minimize their number in Indiana,” wrote Judge Richard Posner.
Pence was unable to use his office’s power to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees, said Posner, so he “shifted his focus” to cutting off funding to Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. — a nonprofit organization that works hand in hand with the state to help refugees find homes and form new communities.
Posner ripped Pence’s fear of Syrian refugees as discriminatory, writing, “He argues that his policy of excluding refugees is based not on nationality and is therefore not discriminatory, but is based solely on the threat he thinks they pose to the people of Indiana. But that’s the equivalent of him saying (not that he does say) that he wants to forbid black people to settle in Indiana not because they’re black but because he’s afraid of them, and since race is therefore not his motive, he isn’t discriminating. But of course that would be racial discrimination, just as his targeting Syrian refugees is discrimination on the basis of nationality.”
Furthermore, Posner wrote, Pence’s defense brief “provides no evidence that Syrian terrorists are posing as refugees or that Syrian refugees have ever committed acts of terrorism in the United States. Indeed, as far as can be determined from public sources, no Syrian refugees have been arrested or prosecuted for terrorist acts or attempts in the United States.”