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 http://keepfamiliestogether.com
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 http://keepfamiliestogether.com
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. http://maloney.house.gov/press-release/rep-maloney-joins-house-colleagues-urging-ice-prevent-indonesian-christian-regugees
THE NEW YORK TIMES A Sanctuary Amid Fears of Persecution at Home. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/nyregion/reformed-church-gives-sanctuary-to-indonesians-ordered-to-be-deported.html
THE STAR LEDGER NJ Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes introduced a state resolution to enact HR-3590 http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20120511/NJNEWS/305110070/Assemblyman-visits-Indonesian-immigrants-Highland-Park
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."http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/indonesian-immigrants-pastor-congress-church_n_1409248.html
WASHINGTON POST Minister sees no choice but to fight for refugees. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/minister-sees-no-choice-but-to-fight-for-refugees/2012/04/05/gIQAbJmrxS_story.html
THE NEW REPUBLIC Broken Promises: How Obama's Immigration Failures Have Put A New Jersey Community On Edge http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/101307/immigration-indonesians-new-jersey
CHRISTIAN POST Indonesian Christians Facing Deportation in US Appeal to Obama http://www.christianpost.com/news/indonesian-christians-facing-deportation-in-us-appeal-to-obama-69540/