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The Highland Park Indonesian Immigrant Saga Continues [POLL]

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You may know the story…but if you haven’t, it’s been something we’ve talked about for some time now.

To sum up.

A group of immigrants from Indonesia came here back in the ‘90s to escape religious persecution back in their native country. They put down roots in the community…however their visas expired, and ICE began deportation proceedings against some of them.

Senators and Congressmen, such as our own Frank Lautenberg, rallied on their behalf.

And some have found refuge in the Reformed Church of Highland Park.

Fast forward to today, where the pastor of the church, the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale has put up 9 of them in the hope of persuading ICE to allow them to stay.

According to this:

“Helping nine people get haircuts and nine people go to the dentist — it’s really changed our life around here,” said the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, who took in the first immigrant four months ago.

“It’s a full time circus.”

All the Sunday school classrooms and even the youth group meeting room have become makeshift quarters.

The “fugitive” immigrants are sticking to church property, so hairdressers have set up shop in the social hall and doctors make house calls. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have no plans to raid the church.

Like dozens of Indonesians affiliated with Kaper-Dale, Saul Timisela, 45, left Indonesia more than a decade ago and says he fears returning. His pastor brother-in-law was dismembered, he says, and his church burned to the ground in an anti-Christian attack.

Initially, Kaper-Dale brokered many Immigration and Customs Enforcement reprieves for area Indonesians who faced deportation after overstaying tourist visas and missing the one-year deadline to apply for asylum. But starting late last year, the immigration agency told some to leave immediately and gave reprieves to about 25. Nine have been deported since January, the pastor said.

Spokesman Ross Feinstein said the agency is looking at “specific circumstances” in each case to decide who can stay temporarily.

A new bill introduced last month in the Senate and pending in the House of Representatives would let all Indonesian Christians reapply for asylum, despite a missed deadline.

Making exceptions…is that something we can do in the face of opposition to harboring illegal immigrants…no matter what their circumstances? Despite the fact that they’ve now put down roots in Highland Park and have become industrious members of the community.

Should we make an exception and allow these immigrants to stay in the U.S.?

As long as we’ve talked about the problem of illegal immigration, I’ve come across countless instances where extenuating circumstances are present.

However, if you allow one party to stay due to “extenuating” circumstances…then who to deport? Especially seeing is how our federal government seems to have adopted a “no mas” stance when it comes to deporting illegals!

(See how I did that? A little boxing reference there!)

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