Lawyers questioned over Indiana’s Syrian refugees order

In this photo from Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, Syrian refugee Fatema, left, sits beside her sleeping 5-year-old son Ayham at the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services in New Haven, Conn. The family was diverted to Connecticut last year after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said they were not welcome in that state. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)
In this photo from Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, Syrian refugee Fatema, left, sits beside her sleeping 5-year-old son Ayham at the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services in New Haven, Conn. The family was diverted to Connecticut last year after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said they were not welcome in that state. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys defending Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s order to bar state agencies from helping Syrian refugees resettle in his state have been fiercely questioned by a federal appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago focused Wednesday on the intelligence and intent behind the Republican vice presidential candidate’s order, which a federal court in February found was discriminatory.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the court will rule.

It suggested Wednesday that Indiana could’ve had a stronger legal argument for opting out of the program instead of excluding Syrians.

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher repeatedly cited an FBI director’s concerns about Syria, which prompted intense exchanges with the judges.

After November’s Paris attacks, Pence questioned whether federal authorities were adequately screening refugees.

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