DALLAS - Syrian families have been settled in Texas and in Indiana, the groups helping them said Tuesday, defying efforts by the conservative states' governors to stop their arrival.
A family of six went to live Monday near relatives living in the Dallas area, said Lucy Carrigan, a spokeswoman for the International Rescue Committee.
"They seem very happy," Carrigan said, noting that they were put up in an apartment with basic furniture and a stocked refrigerator. "And it was almost like breathing a sigh of relief that they have arrived. This has been a long journey for them, and it's been a long journey for a lot of Syrian refugees."
Carrigan declined to make family members available for an interview, but she said they were not fazed by the state's fight or concerns that they might not be welcome in Texas. Fifteen more Syrians are expected to arrive in Houston this week, according to court filings.
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 United States.
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 GOP governors who said they would refuse any new Syrian refugees following the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, which have been linked to the Islamic State group operating in Syria.
The debate over immigration has only become more charged since then, with 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." Abbott, meanwhile, was in Washington with Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) to support a bill Cruz will introduce allowing governors to reject any refugees they deem to be a security risk.