Lawyers Questioned Over Indiana’s Syrian Refugees Order

September 14, 2016
Republican vice president candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the Republican National Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Republican vice president candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks at the Republican National Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Cliff Owen/Associated Press

Attorneys defending Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's order to bar state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in his state have been fiercely questioned by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago focused Wednesday on the intelligence and intent behind the Republican vice presidential candidate's order.

A federal court in February found that order discriminatory. It wasn't immediately clear when the court will rule.

Days after terrorists struck Paris, France last November, Pence placed his ban on Syrian refugees. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sought an injunction, stating Pence doesn’t have the authority to do that.

ACLU’s attorney Ken Falk made the same argument in court Wednesday.

"This is a federal decision," he said. "This is a decision the president of the United States and the federal government has made and there is no room in the program for refugee resettlement for a state to decide they don’t like one particular class of refugee or another."

The court suggested Wednesday that Indiana could've had a stronger legal argument for opting out of the program instead of excluding Syrians.

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher repeatedly cited an FBI director's concerns about Syria, which prompted intense exchanges with the judges.

Story source: AP