Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Pence, No. 16-1509 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1157(a)(2), the President authorized entry of 85,000 refugees for fiscal 2016; at least 10,000 were to come from Syria. Since 2001, all persons seeking to enter the U.S. as refugees are required to undergo screening by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, followed by multiple layers of screening by the federal government, which can take two years. Indiana has an approved refugee resettlement plan (8 U.S.C. 1522) and receives federal funds to contract with private agencies for the provision of services, “without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, or political opinion.” Indiana’s governor refused to pay for services to any refugee whose “‘country of origin” is Syria. The Seventh Circuit affirmed entry of a preliminary injunction. Regulation of immigration is a federal function. The state’s brief provided no evidence that Syrian terrorists are posing as refugees or have ever committed acts of terrorism in the U.S. The court characterized the governor’s argument as “the equivalent of his saying . . . 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.” Indiana is free to withdraw from the refugee assistance program, but withdrawal might not interrupt the flow of Syrian refugees; the Wilson/Fish program distributes federal aid to refugees without the involvement of the state government.