During a vice-presidential debate on Tuesday night Indiana Governor Mike Pence sought to defend a controversial stance calling for Syrian refugees to be banned from re-settling in Indiana despite a court ruling that there were no provisions within federal law allowing a "governor to deport to other states immigrants he deems dangerous".
Earlier this week, on Monday, a federal appeals court in Chicago upheld a lower court’s order preventing Pence from prohibiting state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettling in the state.
In a statement prepared on Monday, Judge Richard Posner, said Pence "believes, though without evidence, that some of these persons were sent to Syria by ISIS to engage in terrorism and now wish to infiltrate the United States in order to commit terrorist acts here… No evidence of this belief has been presented, however; it is nightmare speculation."
Following terror attacks in Paris in November 2015 Pence was among dozens of mostly Republican governors who attempted to block the Obama administration’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees.
Speaking at the time Pence said that while Idiana had a "long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world … (my) first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers (people from Indiana)."
However despite two courts ruling against him, during Tuesday’s debate with Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine Paine defended his position.
"We want to keep people out if their dangerous. Donald Trump said keep people out if they're Muslim," responded Paine after Kaine, currently Senator of Virginia described his position as "unconstitutional".
"If you’re going to be critical on me on that, that’s fair game...We’re going to put the safety and security of the American people first."
Monday’s court ruling comes as vindication for Exodus Refugee International, a nonprofit organisation in Indiana that helps refugees resettle there. Exodus sued Pence in late 2015 for attempting to block Syrian refugees from being re-settled in Indiana. A federal court sided with Exodus and issued an injunction preventing Pence’s order from being established in February.
Pence then pursued the case at federal level.