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ICE disputes cancer claim of man facing deportation; pastor says man being treated

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 07. 2017 11:40PM


An ICE official disputed a key fact reported earlier this week about an Indonesian man who faces deportation despite a diagnosis of advanced cancer.

The media reported that the man had stage 4 cancer. At least one publication interviewed him outside the Manchester office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where he had a scheduled appointment and was told he had to leave the United States by November.

ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer said federal privacy laws and ICE regulations prevent him from discussing an individual’s medical history. But he disputed any statement that one of the eventual deportees has stage four cancer.

“None of the individuals who had come to that office have supplied any evidence from medical professionals of significant issues that would prevent their removal from the country,” Neudauer said.

The man’s minister, who also advocates for the Indonesian immigrants who live in the Seacoast, confirmed the 52-year-old man has colon cancer. But the Rev. Sandra Pontoh said she does not know what stage the cancer is.

Pontoh, who said she did not have permission to release the man’s name, said he regularly goes to a Dover clinic for cancer treatment. Pontoh said she has driven him to treatment herself. The man hasn’t been able to hold down a long-term job because he is frequently too sick to go to work, she said.

“To hear that ICE doesn’t know about him doesn’t make sense,” said Pontoh. She helps prepare his submissions to ICE, which includes his medical files, she said.

Pontoh said she does not know the origin of the report of stage 4 cancer.

The Union Leader reported the stage 4 cancer and attributed it to Maggie Fogarty, the co-director of the New Hampshire branch of the American Friends Service Committee, which organizes vigils outside the ICE office.

Fogarty said she read it on SeacoastOnline.

The SeacoastOnline article reports that the immigrant has stage 4 cancer, but does not attribute it to anyone. The article quotes the patient, who said he has cancer. He said he had surgery in 2012, started bleeding again and has to see the doctor every three months.

Neudauer said that if someone had advanced cancer, ICE would look closely to see what discretionary measures could be applied in his case.

According to Pontoh, 69 Indonesians have lived in New Hampshire for years, faithfully checking in with ICE on a regular basis. They are Christians, having fled Islamic extremism in their country.

Earlier this summer, ICE started telling them they would will eventually have to leave. At least 40 have been told to return the following month with a plane ticket for departure.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has criticized ICE’s change of heart, calling it needless, disruptive and unconscionable.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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