FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - About 100 people attended a college campus demonstration in Fort Wayne to protest Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s attempts to block Syrian refugees from the state.
The demonstration took place Wednesday at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in front of Neff Hall, The Journal Gazette (https://bit.ly/1TnK4RQ ) reports. Demonstrators carried signs, and more than a dozen people spoke at an open microphone.
University senior Tony Tran said his parents came to Fort Wayne as refugees from the Vietnam War with help from agencies affiliated with the Lutheran church and Catholic Charities. The move “gave them an opportunity to settle down and have a life here,” he said.
“We in the United States say we’re the land of the free, but if we’re closing off the borders, we’re not,” Tran said. “We’re keeping people out.”
Retired university staff member Terry Dougherty said he has worked with Afghan refugee families and that in his experience, refugees come to the U.S. “for a chance.”
“I would suggest we all push back, stand up, sign petitions, write letters, to change the attitudes of our government and everyone after the French violence,” he said.
Pence issued an order blocking state agencies from assisting Syrian refugees in response to the deadly Paris attacks last month. A Syrian family being resettled by a refugee group was redirected to Connecticut as a result.
Pence met with Indianapolis Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Tobin on Wednesday, and said he asked Tobin not to bring a Syrian refugee family into Indiana.
That meeting took place a day after the archdiocese said it had donors willing to pay for resettling a Syrian refugee family expected to come to Indiana later this month following a two-year vetting process. Tobin would not say after the meeting whether the archdiocese would still try to locate the family in the Indianapolis area.
A panel discussion on the refugee crisis was held Wednesday evening at the Fort Wayne university.
Information from: The Journal Gazette, https://www.journalgazette.net
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