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Indonesians facing detention after meeting with ICE

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 01. 2017 9:38PM

MANCHESTER — Two Indonesians living in New Hampshire were facing detention on Friday, but another family received a temporary reprieve while verifying their deportation plans with U.S. immigration officials, an activist group leader said.

The actions involved four Indonesian families required to check in at the Manchester office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday, said Maggie Fogarty, co-director of the New Hampshire branch of the American Friends Service Committee.

In August, ICE slated them for deportation and told them to return Friday with plane tickets in hand.

One couple faced detention until they could prove they had purchased the tickets, Fogarty said.

Their possible detention prompted U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to say she has contacted acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell on behalf of the Indonesians. Shaheen stressed that the families fled religious persecution.

“The Indonesian community has learned our language, found employment, raised their families and become integral members of our Granite State family. Deporting these individuals is needless and disruptive to our communities,” Shaheen said.

Five years ago, Shaheen’s office negotiated an agreement with ICE to allow the Indonesians to remain in New Hampshire. Most live in the Dover area. On Friday, she faulted ICE for reversing the arrangement.

ICE has said that its Boston field office used prosecutorial discretion to keep the Indonesians in the United States for seven years; most people in similar situations get a year or two.

Also Friday, ICE told parents with four American-born children to return in March, Fogarty said.

“It’s not to say they won’t be deported, but six or seven months in these times is good news,” Fogarty said. Fogarty attributed their reprieve to U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter, D-N.H.

About 75 people, mostly faith leaders, attended a vigil outside the Norris Cotton federal building on Friday on behalf of the four families.

Another vigil is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, when about 20 more Indonesians are expected to check in with ICE and receive deportation orders.

“Deportations are tearing apart families, tearing apart congregations, tearing apart our communities,” said the Rev. Joseph Gurdak of St. Anne-St. Augustin Church in Manchester.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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