U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey has introduced legislation that would allow Indonesian immigrants the chance to reopen their bids for U.S. asylum.

The bill aims to help Indonesian Christians who say they fled persecution by extremists in the majority Muslim nation.

Hundreds fled to America on tourist visas, but many had overstayed by the time the U.S. started requiring immigrants from Muslim countries to register in the wake of 9/11. Dozens have been ordered deported, and missed the deadline for applying for asylum on religious persecution grounds.

Lautenberg's bill, which he introduced in the Senate on Monday, is companion legislation to a recent House bill.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have said they've considered the merits of each case individually.

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