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Couple Seeks Sanctuary in Church to Avoid Deportation

A pair of Indonesian immigrants who have been living in the United States for over 10 years face possible deportation and recently sought sanctuary at the Reformed Church of Highland Park rather than report to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Newark, N.J.

Like many immigrants, this Indonesian couple fled to the United States to avoid the religious persecution and violence which has been prevalent in Indonesia for over 20 years. It has been reported that in 2011, Indonesia had over 100 incidents of violence perpetrated against minority religious groups.

Many Indonesian immigrants have applied for asylum in the United States in an attempt to avoid being sent back to their turbulent homeland, however, because of confusing regulations and a difficult application process, many are over staying their visas and seeking sanctuary from religious and social institutions in a last ditch effort to avoid deportation.

The Reformed Church of Highland Park is not working alone but is part of a network of houses of worship known as the New Sanctuary Movement that offer shelter to those in danger of deportation. Currently, the Reformed Church of Highland Park is sheltering five Indonesian refugees. The rising number of immigrants seeking refuge is likely the result of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) implementing a more aggressive deportation policy.

While ICE does not conduct enforcement operations in sensitive areas, such as religious institutions, they will arrest and jail illegal immigrants until they can be deported. Currently, there is legislation pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that if passed would allow immigrants, like the Indonesian couple here, to reopen their asylum cases.

Deportation is the process by which an immigrant is forcefully expelled from the United States for the violation of certain immigration or other laws. Once deported, a person may lose the right to return to the United States, even as a visitor. Moreover, deportation proceedings are governed by a unique set of rules and regulations.

If you are loved one is facing this very serious consequence it is paramount to contact an attorney with comprehensive knowledge of New Jersey immigration law, specifically deportation defense. A skilled deportation defense attorney can analyze the unique facts of your case and provide a guiding hand in what you should do next.

Source: USA Today, “Sanctuary movement keeps couple from deportation,” Susan Loyer, Home News Tribune, April 18, 2012.

 

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Morristown, NJ

(973) 660-0006

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Morristown, NJ
07960

Scotch Plains, NJ

(908) 322-7000

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Scotch Plains, NJ
07076

Middlesex, NJ

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East Brunswick, NJ
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