Pence at center of debate over Syrian refugees

Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Mike Pence holds a press conference discussing the backlash against the RFRA bill on March 31, 2015. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A majority in Congress agree with Mike Pence when it comes to stopping the flow of Syrian refugees into America.

Pence is still defending the effect his new policy had on one Syrian family.

The vote in Congress was a lopsided 289-137 for a bill aimed at stopping the relocation of Syrian refugees in America.

Shortly after the vote Mike Pence was on CNN explaining why he put a policy in place that led to a Syrian family relocating to Connecticut instead of Indiana.

“There are serious gaps in the kind of information that we currently have under the current program,” he told CNN.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy explained Wednesday that the family had gone through three years of vetting.

Malloy suggested that Pence was wrong for turning them away.

“You know, this is the same guy who signed a homophobic bill in the spring surrounded by homophobes,” Malloy said, “and protested how proud he was that he had done it, so I’m not surprised by anything the governor does.”

It’s an attack that Pence won’t respond to directly, instead choosing to talk about the policy.

“And unless and until we have the absolute assurance that steps have been taken to determine the background, the identity and the intentions of people that are coming in as Syrian refugees,” he told CNN, “we’ll keep that policy in Indiana in place.”

Meantime, a second Syrian family was scheduled to come to Indiana next month and can expect to be turned away as well.

The name calling directed at Pence is not new. Malloy called him a bigot following the passage of RFRA, which Malloy also called “incredibly stupid.”

Pence has not engaged in similar name calling, but the state of Indiana did purchase a Wall Street Journal ad earlier this year.

The ad was aimed at luring Connecticut companies, including General Electric, to Indiana.

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