ICE Director Morton: Stop Deporting Persecuted Christian Indonesian Gunawan Liem
  • Petitioned DHS

This petition was delivered to:

Director, Dept. of Homeland Security
President of the United States
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Rep. Luis Gutierrez
New Jersey-04
Rep. Chris Smith
New Jersey-06
Rep. Frank Pallone
New Jersey-08
Rep. Albio Sires
New Jersey-09
Rep. Bill Pascrell
New Jersey-12
Rep. Rush Holt
New York-11
Rep. Michael Grimm
Rep. Peter Welch
Rep. Eric Swalwell
Sen. Barbara Boxer
New Jersey
Sen. Cory Booker
New Jersey
Sen. Robert Menendez
Sen. Patrick Leahy
Rep. Niki Tsongas
New York-22
Rep. Richard Hanna
Rep. Ed Pastor
Rep. Jared Polis
Rep. Juan Vargas

ICE Director Morton: Stop Deporting Persecuted Christian Indonesian Gunawan Liem

    1. Liz ESTES
    2. Petition by

      Liz ESTES

      Highland Park, NJ

February 2013


From Liz ESTES: After hundreds of days imprisoned at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, NJ, Gunawan Liem is safely at home with his wife and children. Thanks for your support!

Naomi (4) and Christopher (7) are U.S. Citizens who deserve to be raised by both their parents in their Franklin Park, NJ home, supported by their church family in the First Indonesian Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Plainfield, NJ and at the Reformed Church of Highland Park where they have many friends and neighbors.

But ICE has PRIORITIZED deporting Christian Indonesians, deporting 9 from our community since January 1, 2012.

ICE gave Naomi and Christopher's father Gunawan a deport order for Jun 27, 2012.  He now receives SANCTUARY in the Reformed Church, courageously giving up his job and his freedom, in order to keep his family together and continue to advocate for all Indonesian refugees. Naomi and Christopher can only see their Dad when they visit him at the church. But that's better than being 9,000 miles away! 

Gunawan petitioned the U.S. government for asylum when he first complied with special registration (NSEERS) in March 2003. His asylum case and appeals have been denied because Gunawan missed the 1-year deadline. Now ICE has denied his request for prosecutorial discretion, even though he meets multiple factors in John Morton's June 17, 2011 memo promising to re-focus ICE on deporting criminals.

Gunawan refuses to return to Indonesia where violent mobs have destroyed 1,700 churches since 1995. He especially fears for the safety of his children Christopher and Naomi, who, as Christians and Americans, face discrimination and persecution in Indonesia, and a life without a father in the U.S. 

SIGN THIS PETITION and set Gunawan free to work and raise his children . . . 

Gunawan's faith that God will find a way where there seems to be no way has inspired our small community in Central New Jersey to advocate and work tirelessly for him and thousands of Christian Indonesians across the country. A big job for our small group! We need your help. Learn more at

Born in 1963 in Surabaya, Indonesia, Gunawan came to the U.S.  on February 27, 1999, entering legally with B1-B2 Visa. He was 36. "I came to the USA seeking refuge from the mistreatment and discrimination that we faced in Indonesia as practicing Christians," he explains. "In Indonesia, violent, fundamentalist Muslims were taking over the town I lived in. It became very difficult for me to practice my religion freely. Muslims were burning down the Christian churches and for this I feared for my life."

On June 15, 2012, rather than comply with deportation, Gunawan left his long-time job, working in a trucking company, in order to take sanctuary with 9 other Christian Indonesians at our church.  He serves as Deacon in his Seventh-day Adventist congregation where he has worshipped for 10 years. Like Gunawan, thousands of Christian Indonesians across the U.S. belong to families that are being torn apart. Like Gunawan, they registered for NSEERS and applied for asylum to help the U.S. fight terrorism post-9/11. They have become entrapped in an immigration system whose quota of 400,000 deportations per year in the last three years leaves scant room for humanitarian concerns and the welfare of U.S. Citizen children. 

Learn more at

Along with 11 members of the U.S. Congress, including Carolyn Maloney and Yvette Clarke from NY and Frank Pallone and Rush Holt from NJ, we urge ICE to stay deportations for Gunawan and Indonesian families while a bill our Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale helped write, the Indonesian Refugee Family Protection Act is being considered in both Houses. Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced S-3339, while Ms. Maloney and Mr. Pallone introduced HR-3590, now supported by 18 Representatives. It allows Indonesians who fled from 1997-2003 a chance to file for asylum without the 1-year deadline that has kept their cases from being heard.

US HOUSE OF REPS. Colleagues urge ICE to prevent Indonesian Christian Refugees from being deported back to a life of persecution in their homeland.

THE NEW YORK TIMES   A Sanctuary Amid Fears of Persecution at Home.                                          

THE STAR LEDGER    NJ Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes introduced a state resolution to enact HR-3590

HUFFINGTON POST    NY Rep. Carolyn Maloney, visited the immigrants and said, "They fled violence, they fled the burning and the raids of their religious sanctuaries. I think it's just the fair and just thing to allow them their day in court."

WASHINGTON POST   Minister sees no choice but to fight for refugees.

THE NEW REPUBLIC   Broken Promises: How Obama's Immigration Failures Have Put A New Jersey Community On Edge

CHRISTIAN POST    Indonesian Christians Facing Deportation in US Appeal to Obama



Recent signatures


    1. URGENT NEWS: SAUL TIMISELA has been detained by ICE

      Liz ESTES
      Petition Organizer

      October 15

      URGENT - Saul has been detained by ICE

      by Liz ESTES

      Petition Organizer

      Dear Church Family,

      Saul Timisela was detained this morning and he is now in Elizabeth Detention Center.
      For 6 months Saul never left the church property-March-Sept. Since September Saul has occasionally driven off the property, to take his wife to get a ride to work with others in her company. He leaves at 5:30am and comes back immediately afterwards. Today, as he left our parking lot, ICE was waiting for him. He was followed for a mile and then pulled over.


      For those who cannot come tonight tonight but want to help: Please forward the petitions to EVERYONE you know.

      What Saul and Juliana mostly want is prayer--and tonight, that is what we will give them.

      Peace, Pastor Seth

    2. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Joshua Riley EDISON, NJ
      • almost 2 years ago

      I have done volunteer work for Hurricane Sandy clean-up alongside the Indonesian refugees in Central New Jersey, Gunawan Liem included, and have witnessed many of the good works they have done and continue to do. I have come to the conclusion that these are good people that benefit to our society. They are here escaping serious persecution for their religious beliefs, and we would be wise to allow them to stay here with their families and to continue to make our communities better places.

    • Jean Thomas MILLSTONE, NJ
      • almost 2 years ago

      This man is a dedicated Christian and a valuable person in our community

    • Virginia McCarthy MATAWAN, NJ
      • almost 2 years ago

      To defend freedom of religion

    • Charles Page PISCATAWAY, NJ
      • almost 2 years ago

      Do not break up families. These are good people who are refugees from muslim persecution.

    • Kelly Kane PISCATAWAY, NJ
      • almost 2 years ago

      Because these are people who are here because of religious persecution. The same reason for which America was founded. It's the right thing to do.Why is this important to you? (Optional)


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