Mar 6, 2012

NJ Church Provides Sanctuary for Indonesian Immigrant Facing Deportation

Source: By Luiza Oleszczuk , Christian Post Reporter
March 3, 2012

A Christian undocumented immigrant from Indonesia facing deportation has been provided protection from a New Jersey church as his application for asylum remains in limbo and he fears persecution from Muslim extremists in his native homeland.
Saul Timisela, 44, escaped religious persecution at home 14 years ago and was living in the shadow of the law in the Garden State alongside a few dozen of his Christian countrymen in a similar situation, while the church's pastor, the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, has been fighting for the government to give the Indonesians a chance to re-apply for their asylum applications on the grounds that they are refugees.
Timisela was supposed to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Newark on Wednesday with documentation that, as he was reportedly told, was needed for furthering his Application for a Stay of Deportation or Removal, only to find out that he was to be deported the next day, Kaper-Dale told The Christian Post. Timisela's wife is currently living in hiding, as she never even filed for asylum, the pastor said.
"We just thought that was cruel and unusual and so we offered him sanctuary," Kaper-Dale told The Christian Post Friday.
Instead of showing up at the airport Thursday morning, the immigrant turned up at the Reformed Church of Highland Park in Highland Park, N.J., where he is currently staying under the care of the church community and its leader, who has been fighting tirelessly since 2009 to save the Indonesians from deportation. The undocumented group revealed themselves to the government after 2001, when the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) initiative called for illegal immigrants from specific countries to register, following 9/11 terrorst attacks.
"We are humbly and respectfully disagreeing with the government," Kaper-Dale said. "We are not trying to be flamboyant in any way. We are people who love government, who trust in laws; who believe that God uses law to bring order to society. We are not anarchists or anything like that. We just really feel that sometimes it's the role of the church to remind the government of a higher law."