Days after a November terrorist attack in Paris, France, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence placed a ban on Syrian refugees being resettled in the state.
Pence, who is the GOP nominee for vice president, questioned whether the Obama administration was doing enough to screen refugees.
But the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana fought back.
The ACLU took on the matter on behalf of Exodus, an Indianapolis-based group that works to resettle refugees, and sought an injunction, claiming Pence did not have the authority for the ban.
In February, a U.S. District Court judge in Indianapolis found the practice discriminatory and ordered the injunction. The state of Indiana is looking to overturn that decision.
On Wednesday, ACLU attorney Ken Falk argued before a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
“This is a federal decision. This is a decision the president of the United States and the federal government has made, and there is no room in the program for refugee resettlement for the state to decide they don’t like one particular class of refugee or another,” Falk told WBEZ.
Indiana’s Solicitor General Thomas Fisher, representing the Indiana Attorney General’s office, argued Pence placed the ban after questioning whether federal authorities were adequately screening refugees.
“Out of concern about the federal government’s lack of information about the refugees from war-torn Syria whom Exodus was resettling in Indiana, the governor last November ordered a temporary and partial suspension,” the Indiana Attorney General’s office said in a written statement.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the Appeals Court will rule on the matter.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Michael Puente is WBEZ’s Northwest Indiana Studio Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.