Dear Church members,
Below is an update from the Highland Park Reformed Church on the Indonesian situation.
Please continue to hold everyone in your prayers.
Standing Together Against the Deportation of Dads and asking that President Obama honor the June 17th Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion.
Friday, June 15, 1:00pm
Dear Supporters of the Persecuted Indonesian Christian Community in New Jersey and throughout the United States,
How are you celebrating Father’s Day? Could you start your celebration by coming to the Reformed Church of Highland Park Friday, June 15th, at 1pm, for a Press Conference called “A Father’s Day Commitment to Keep Indonesian Fathers with their Children.” Bring a picnic lunch, bring signs that say, “President Obama, for Father’s Day keep our Dads here!” “Honor the memo!” “Keep Families Together!”.
In the next two weeks there are 11 U.S. citizen children in our community who will have their father’s sent away to Indonesia. All this is happening 1 year after President Obama and ICE introduced a new policy that showed the agency would emphasize the removal of dangerous criminals. Why are these good fathers, who face persecution in Indonesia, a deportation priority? The President has not made good on his promises to immigrant families.
This Sunday, June 17, 2012, marks two important occasions. First, it’s the one-year anniversary of the fabled June 17 policy memorandum from the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, that immigration advocates across the United States hailed as a major sea change that would refocus our country’s $10 billion immigration enforcement, detention and deportation industry on criminals who prey upon our society, instead of tearing apart mixed status families, where U.S. Citizen children are currently thriving, and casting those children into abject poverty that can only be abated by the whims of charity and the public safety net.
Shockingly, instead of relief, our community of more than 80 undocumented Indonesian adults have seen enforcement efforts ramped up on a scale that rivals the 2006 apartment complex raids ICE conducted in our neighborhoods. In December 2011, after they faithfully participated for two years in a church Orders of Supervision program, ICE required dozens of our friends to report with plane tickets. As a church who had coached hundreds of Christian Indonesians fleeing religious persecution to come forward and identify themselves, we had put our trust in our government. This December we lost that confidence in our government, and we told our friends: Do not comply. Since January 2012, ICE has deported five of our friends, sending persecuted people back to the land of their persecutors, and splitting marriages. In addition, 4 more, fearing detention and mistreatment, left on their own, now seeking to find some country in the world that will ‘take them in.’
In March, Saul Timisela sought sanctuary in our church. Saul faced imminent deportation, a life without his wife, and a return to the homeland he fled when his brother-in-law was dismembered as part of the violent destruction of the church he served as pastor. Having advocated in every way we know how, including writing and championing a bill, HR-3590 “The Indonesian Refugee Family Protection Act” which is now sponsored by 18 members of the U.S. Congress, we could not refuse Saul’s request. Since then four others joined Saul, their stories equally chilling.
This Father’s Day, we have a special request for Mr. Obama and for all the fathers at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and for all U.S. congress members–especially the fathers, uncles and brothers who oversee the DHS:
Today we ask you to abide by the spirit of the June 17 policy memo as it urges all Americans everywhere to answer to a higher law, a law of basic human rights and dignity for American families, honoring the reality that millions of American children live in mixed status families, and all deserve to be raised by their own fathers and mothers. Together with immigration advocates across our nation we remind you: Someday soon these children will join our ranks of wage earners and voters. Their welfare is our common interest.