The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis has resettled a family of Syrian refugees despite Gov. Mike pence’s recent announcement that, due to security concerns, he was stopping state support for such relocation efforts.
The family of four arrived Monday night in Indianapolis after two years of security checks by the U.S. government, which asked the archdiocese to assist in resettling the family according to a statement released by Archbishop of Indianapolis, Joseph Tobin on Tuesday. The family was resettled in Indianapolis because they already have family living here, said Greg Otolski, archdiocese spokesman.
Helping people flee violence is an “essential part of our identity as Catholic Christians and we will continue this life-saving tradition," Archbishop Tobin said.
“Three years ago, this family fled the violence of terrorists in their homeland of Syria,” he added. “We welcome this family during Advent, a time when the Christian community asks God to renew our hope and recognize God’s saving power among us.
The two met last week privately to discuss the response to the Syrian family’s difficulty after the diocese said it had received offers of private assistance to fund the family’s relocation, which would make up for government aid which has been blocked by Pence.
“I thank Governor Pence for meeting with me last Wednesday, when I was able to explain in some detail the plight of this family as well as the role of the Archdiocese’s Refugee and Immigrant Services program in welcoming them to Indianapolis, where the family already has some relatives,” Tobin said in his statement today.
“I listened to the governor’s concerns regarding security and prayerfully considered his request that we defer from welcoming them until Congress had approved new legislation regarding immigrants and refugees.I informed the Governor prior to the family’s arrival that I had asked the staff of Catholic charities to receive this husband, wife and their two small children as planned.”He added.
Catholic Charities has resettled more than 400 refugees from 10 countries to Indiana this year.
Pence said he respects the work of Catholic Charities and he called Tobin, the Indianapolis archbishop, a friend and a mentor. But on this matter, he said he must “respectfully disagree” until he’s convinced ISIS terrorists won’t infiltrate the Syrian refugees program. “This is not about a family, this is not about Catholic charities, this is about an administration and Congress, that should take decisive action to pause this program and review it and ensure we can go forward with the placement of Syrian refugees without compromising safety and security," Pence said.
Gov Pence is one of the 30 Governors that has made efforts to shutout resettlement of Syrian refugees over security issues in the wake of the Paris November 13 Terrorist attacks.