Two Syrian families of six were settled in the Dallas and Houston areas on Monday, the Associated Press reports, and another family of four was settled near Indianapolis. “They seem very happy,” a spokeswoman for the International Rescue Committee, Lucy Carrigan, said.
More than two dozen Republican governors, including Greg Abbott of Texas and Mike Pence of Indiana, said they would refuse to accept new Syrian refugees in their states after the attacks in Paris. Texas even filed a federal lawsuit to block resettlement efforts, though it eventually backed off.
“We can reassure all Texans that the refugees are receiving a warm and compassionate welcome from staff and volunteers,” said Aaron Rippenkroeger, president and CEO of Refugee Services of Texas.
Meanwhile, a Syrian couple and their two small children arrived safely Monday night in Indianapolis, where they have relatives, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis said in a statement. It said the family fled Syria three years ago and underwent two years of security checks before being allowed to enter the U.S.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin said he considered Gov. Mike Pence’s recent request to not bring the family to Indiana until Congress had approved new legislation regarding immigrants and refugees. But he said he welcomed them anyway because helping refugees “is an essential part of our identity as Catholic Christians.”
“It was almost like breathing a sigh of relief that they have arrived,” Carrigan said. “This has been a long journey for them, and it’s been a long journey for a lot of Syrian refugees.” Nine more refugees are expected in Texas later this week.