December 13, 2011
Around 70 members of a New Jersey community of Christian Indonesian refugees who fled persecution in their country more than 10 years ago are facing imminent deportation, the Christian Post reports. The refugees had been living in the U.S. since the late 1990s, but following a crackdown on illegal immigrants after 9/11, all the men in the community decided "after much prayer" to reveal themselves in hopes of gaining asylum. They were denied, however, and the U.S. government began mass-deporting them in 2006. In 2009, the remaining group was finally granted special status to remain in the U.S. temporarily, but in recent weeks, most of the refugees have received letters from the Department of Homeland Security ordering them to appear with a one-way ticket to Indonesia. Many fear that if they are sent back to their home country, they will find themselves in danger again -- but for now, they are waiting quietly at home in New Jersey, preparing to be detained and deported any day. Two New Jersey members of Congress have begun a fight for the refugees' right to stay, but it is yet unclear how U.S. Immigration Services will respond.