The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit against Governor Mike Pence [official website] and the state’s Secretary of Family and Social Services Administration on Monday, on behalf of Exodus Refugee Immigration [advocacy website], after Pence announced his plans to suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state as well as assistance from state agencies. The complaint [text, PDF] states that refusing Syrian refugees while still permitting refugees from other countries violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, the governor’s actions are preempted by the Constitution and federal law because the federal government has the exclusive authority to regulate immigration, the ACLU of Indiana argues. Exodus Refugee Immigration is a non-profit organization that assists refugees after they have been federally approved and screened. The organization is expecting to receive 19 Syrians who have already been approved by the federal government for resettlement in Indiana, despite Pence’s order.
The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Last week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly and cautioned the international community to avoid discrimination against Muslims, especially refugees and migrants entering Europe, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris a week earlier. Earlier this month Amnesty International [advocacy website] analyzed [JURIST report] the EU’s approach to the refugee crisis and recommends changes to ensure international law is followed and human rights are appropriately valued. In October Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] called on [JURIST report] the EU and Western Balkans states to focus on remedying what it characterized as deplorable conditions for asylum-seekers in Europe. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave the opening statement [JURIST report] at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council in September in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis. Germany announced [JURIST report] that month that it was invoking temporary border controls at the nation’s southern border with Austria, after thousands of immigrants entered the country.