A Syrian refugee family who arrived in the U.S. last night after waiting three years to move to Indiana was denied entry into the state but has found home in Connecticut, according to Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy, who met with the family and welcomed them to New Haven today.
The family of three — a mother, father and their 5-year-old son — had been temporarily living in Jordan as refugees after escaping strife in Homs, Syria, Malloy said at a news conference today, where he emphasized the years-long, rigorous approval process they and other Syrian refugees went through to come to the US.
“It’s the right thing for us to do to respond to this tragedy,” Malloy said. “We have an obligation to the other nations of the world to do our part.”
Malloy added that he was “more than happy” and “proud” to welcome the family and that their meeting together was filled with “lots of smiles.”
The Connecticut governor said he had “no security concerns at all about Connecticut and these folks” and also criticized opposition to taking in Syrian refugees as “feeding into” hysteria.
Less than a day before the family was scheduled to arrive, the head of Indiana’s division of family resources sent a letter to Carleen Miller, the executive director of Exodus Refugee Immigration in Indianapolis on Tuesday, saying that the state was seeking to have the arrival of the Syrian family and all future Syrian arrivals “suspended or redirected to another state that is willing to accept Syrian placements,” The New York Times originally reported.
The letter came after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence joined a growing list of governors refusing to take in Syrian refugees.
“Effective immediately, I am directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved,” Pence said in a statement on Monday
Several calls for help to relocate the Syrian family eventually led to Chris George, the executive director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven, Conn.
“We had to scramble a bit to find housing very quickly for them,” George said, adding that the family will be placed into temporary housing until a long-term home can be found.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement Monday that “if refugees -– many who are children fleeing a horrific, war-torn country –- seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut.”
George agreed with Malloy, noting that Syrian refugees “are the most heavily screened and documented refugees in the country” and that the vetting process “takes years.”
“These people have been screened by Homeland Security and they should be welcomed here,” he said. “It’s the American thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.”
ABC News is respecting the family’s wishes to remain unidentified “for fear that their families back in Syria may be put in harm’s way,” according to George.(AVIANNE TAN)
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