Indonesian Christians who fled their home country after suffering religious persecution and found a safe haven in the state of New Hampshire are now in danger of being deported.
SRNNews.com reports that there are about 2,000 Chinese Indonesian Christians who living in New Hampshire. They fled persecution in their home country in 1998. That year, about 1,000 people were killed in the violence.
Most of the Chinese Indonesian Christians live in small communities on the New Hampshire seacoast. They primarily work in factories and other blue collar jobs. Some are also pastors.
One such family is the Lumangkuns. Although they are not legal residents of the U.S., in previous years, as long as they checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, they were allowed to stay.
Due to President Trump’s new immigration policies, however, this year may be different. Families like the Lumangkuns fear they will be deported back to Indonesia where they may face more persecution for their faith.
Although Indonesia’s laws guarantee freedom of religion, Christians often end up being marginalized or persecuted in the 87 percent Muslim country.
Only a few months ago, the former governor of Jakarta, who is a member of the Chinese-Christian minority, was sentenced to two years in jail for blaspheming Islam.
The Indonesian Christians living in New Hampshire fear that this is the sort of religious climate to which they would be returning were they to be deported.
They do have a number of U.S. political leaders fighting for them, however. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hopes to find a way to allow members of the Indonesian Christian communities to remain in the U.S.
“It’s totally inconsistent with American values,” she said, referring to their possible deportation. “This is a country that was born of people that were fleeing religious persecution.”
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Publication date: October 16, 2017