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."
Pence and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott were among more than two dozen Republican governors who said they would refuse any new Syrian refugees following the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks, which have been linked to the Islamic State in Iran and the Levant (ISIL)
"The governor holds Catholic Charities in the highest regard but respectfully disagrees with their decision to place a Syrian refugee family in Indiana at this time," Pence said Tuesday in a in a statement.
The debate over immigration has only become more charged since then, with Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump drawing widespread condemnation for suggesting all Muslims should be barred from entering the country.
Pence, who said he hoped residents would welcome the new family to Indiana, despite his misgivings about the vetting process, rebuked Trump on Twitter Tuesday, saying calls to ban Muslims "are offensive and unconstitutional."
Pence said the issue is not about the Syrian refugee family that arrived in Indiana or about Catholic Charities, but "about an administration and Congress that should take decisive action to pause this program."
But Pence indicated he wouldn't try to deny Medicaid, food stamps or other social services to any refugees who do arrive in Indiana.
Abbott, meanwhile, was in Washington with Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to support a bill Cruz will introduce allowing governors to reject any refugees they deem to be a security risk.
Federal officials and refugee agencies have ignored the governors' calls to halt resettlement, saying states are denying a safe haven to families displaced by war and that a state's role in resettlement does not include the authority to block them.
Texas has taken in more refugees than any other state in the last five years, including about 250 Syrian refugees. But it also fought harder than any other state to stop the inflow of Syrian refugees after the attacks.
Texas' health commissioner sent letters to refugee resettlement agencies threatening them with the loss of state cooperation if they continued to bring in Syrians. The state then filed a lawsuit against the IRC and the federal government.
The state has since backed down from an immediate demand to halt the arrival of Syrian refugees. A hearing is expected in the lawsuit next week.