Indiana Governor Mike Pence is standing by his decision to try to block Syrian refugees from being settled in the state.
In making the Executive Decision, Pence said that his main duty, as Governor, is to keep the residents of Indiana safe. He went on to say that he was unwilling to risk the safety of Hoosiers at a time when Islamic terrorists appear to be using the refugee situation in Syria as a way to infiltrate their targets. Multiple media outlets have reported that at least one of the attackers in Paris was in possession of a fake passport, identifying him as a Syrian. These passports are reportedly very easy to get for people looking to enter Europe.
The Governor is using the Obama Administration’s own statements in reaffirming his decision. Matt Lloyd, Deputy Chief of Staff of Communications and Strategy, cited statements made on October 8 by President Obama’s FBI Director, James Comey. In testimony before Congress, Comey stated that “gaps” remain in the United States’ process of screening Syrian refugees. Among the statements made by the FBI Director, the Pence Administration had particular concern with the following two:
Comey said, “There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that.” He added, “There is no such thing as a no-risk enterprise and there are deficits that we face.”
Lloyd went on to say that that Comey, and other national security officials, have stated that the lack of solid, on-the-ground intelligence assets in Syria has “clouded the U.S.’s ability to crosscheck the backgrounds of every refugee hoping to come to the U.S.”
Gov. Pence says that while Indiana, and her residents, are welcoming, he will do everything in his power to keep a terrorist attack from occurring in the state. He also noted that he wasn’t against resuming help to displaced Syrians in the future. However, he added that more must be done to insure that the vetting process for those seeking refugee status is clear, rigorous and thorough.