By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)-- A New Jersey community of 72 Indonesians who years ago were spared deportation after a pastor brokered an agreement with immigration authorities allowing them them to stay in the country temporarily may soon be deported thanks to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Most of the Indonesians, many of whom fled their homes from the religious persecution of Christians by Muslim majorities, recently received letters from Homeland Security informing them to appear at the agency's Newark office with one-way tickets to Indonesia; the letters were surprising in light of recent assurances by the Obama administration that it would focus its enforcement strategy on illegal immigrants with criminal records while sparing those with no arrests and strong ties to their communities.
However, when 12 of the Jersey Indonesians finally arrived at the Newark office, they ignored demands to bring plane tickets; officials informed them to return later this month at which time the agency would then supply them with plane tickets.
Among the dozen was Grace Laloan, 42, who arrived in here in 2002 with her husband. Christians of Chinese descent, they fled from religious and ethnic persecution in Islamic Indonesia in 2002. Although they now both have jobs and a 7-year old American-born daughter, agency officials told them they would all learn their fate just in time for Christmas.
"I don’t know, maybe they’re going to send me back," Laloan said. "It feels bad because I want to stay here."