Judge permanently bars Indiana from blocking Syrian refugees

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A federal judge has permanently barred Indiana from trying to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in the state under an order Vice President Mike Pence championed as governor.

U.S. District Judge Tonya Walton Pratt approved a judgment Tuesday permanently enjoining Indiana from withholding authorized payments to Indianapolis-based Exodus Refugee Immigration, which resettles refugees in the state.

Pence cited terrorism fears in issuing a November 2015 order barring state agencies from making payments to help relocate Syrians to Indiana.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued Indiana, arguing Pence's order illegally targeted Syrians based on their nationality and violated the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

Pratt temporarily blocked Pence's order in February 2016, saying it "clearly discriminates" against Syrian refugees.

A federal appeals court sided with Pratt in October 2016.

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