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Indonesian couple fearing deportation take refuge in NJ church

Posted on | October 12, 2017 | No Comments

ICC Note: Jemmy and Tobing, a Christian couple that escaped religious persecution in Indonesia are fearing of being deported back. After the fall of dictator Suharto, mobs in the Muslim-majority country launched ethnic cleansing campaigns against ethnic Chinese Christians and other minorities. They came to the US to seek new life. These immigrants were not targets for deportation under Obama’s administration. However, President Trump makes all unauthorized immigrants, regardless of their situation, priority for removal. They hope the President can change his heart.

10/11/2017 New Jersey (APP.com) – Immigration and Customs Enforcement gave Arthur Jemmy and Silfia Tobing a choice: report to Newark Tuesday morning or you’ll be considered fugitives.

Jemmy and Tobing skipped the meeting with ICE.

Instead, the Indonesian Christian couple claimed sanctuary in the Reformed Church of Highland Park. Jemmy and Tobing say this is their only alternative at a time when seven of their neighbors and friends, who also fled religious persecution, have already been deported to Indonesia this year.

“I can’t go through it again,” said Jemmy, 40, who was detained for three weeks in 2009 over his lack of legal status. “I can’t even explain it. I’m so speechless.”

They are among dozens of ethnic Chinese Christians who now live in Central New Jersey after fleeing religious persecution in Indonesia in the late 1990s and 2000s. After the fall of dictator Suharto, mobs in the Muslim-majority country launched ethnic cleansing campaigns against ethnic Chinese Christians and other minorities.

The ethnic Chinese Christians immigrated to New Jersey on visas and have lived in Central New Jersey ever since, repeatedly seeking opportunities for asylum.

Many failed to qualify for such protection. Some say they did not learn until they were in the country for years that immigration reforms in 1996 entitled asylum seekers to apply for protection, provided they did so within a year of arriving in the U.S.

While these immigrants were not labeled targets for deportation under the Obama administration, a Jan. 25 executive order by President Donald Trump makes all unauthorized immigrants, regardless of their situation, priority for removal.

“Hopefully Trump can change his heart,” Jemmy added.

[Full Story]


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