New Jersey: Indonesian Deportation Crisis Update

From the Reformed Church of Highland Park in New Jersey:


To our shock and dismay, ICE has forcefully deported three of our Indonesian brothers even though they met several of the U.S. government’s criteria for prosecutorial discretion. A fourth, Saul Timisela, continues to receive protection (Sanctuary) within our church building.

Of the 80+ people in New Jersey who turned themselves in for Orders of Supervision through our special program in 2009, only those with severe medical issues, spouses of people with open motions and DREAM ACT youth and their parents are being considered for 1-year stays of removal. All others, including many families with U.S. citizen children, face deportation in the next 3-4 months. 8 in the next 2 weeks.

For us the forceful break-up of marriages and families regardless of humanitarian factors is a grave national sin. We weep as we watch ICE shatter the marriage of our members Ferdy and Silvya

In particular, the Obama Administration’s June 17 memo from ICE Director John Morton has been deceptive and misleading. Though its factors for discretion include “US citizen children” “strong ties” “fear of returning to country of origin,” it is no help to many people.

In a meeting last Tuesday with the ICE Field Office Director and assistant directors of Newark, ICE Public Advocate Andrew Lorenzen-Straight (via teleconference) stressed that our people shouldn’t expect to get much out of the June 17th policy, since they had all been fugitives since 2006.

We are APPALLED to hear this. We worked hard to gain the trust of our Indonesian friends and bring them into compliance with ICE in 2009. We encouraged them to strengthen and re-open legal cases. We understood the June 17th policy would help most of them continue in that light. This fall, Felicia Escobar from the Obama Administration personally encouraged Pastor Seth, saying that the June 17th memo would be helpful (while the August 18th memo would not), showing that she too believed the memo would be applied more liberally.

ICE is destroying marriages and families right in front of our video cameras. This week we will ask you to take action. We will need your voice to help Seth try to meet with President Obama himself to resolve the crisis for our persecuted Indonesian refugees. Please be ready to support us!

CONGREGATIONS & ORGANIZATIONS — follow the 3 steps outlined here:

INDIVIDUALS call the people listed here:





Read the June 17 memo here: