Pence is accused of violating the Constitution by accepting refugees from other countries but not those from Syria following last week’s violent terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people.
The federal lawsuit was filed late Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration.
“There is no border around the state of Indiana that prevents people from entering our state who may move freely within the United States,” ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk said in a statement.
Pence, 56, had halted Indiana’s plans to resettle Syrian refugees last week after European officials said a Syrian citizen was among the attackers in Paris.
He and 26 other U.S. governors later penned a letter to President Barack Obama on Friday urging him to halt all resettlement plans in the country until proper security measures have been achieved.”
“We are deeply concerned that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria may have exploited the generosity of the refugee system to carry out Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris,” the memo said.
Pence did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.
The U.S. has resettled about 1,800 refugees from Syria so far in 2015, according to the State Department. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the temporary block.
“Indiana is a welcoming state known for our hospitality,” Exodus Executive Director Carleen Miller said. “History will judge us in this moment – whether we take the moral stand for victims of war and persecution in their time of need or reject our core principles by giving in to fear and terror.”