Pastor’s theory: ‘White supremacist’ ICE ransacked immigrant homes
NEWARK — The Newark branch of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied any of its agents ransacked the homes of two men seeking sanctuary at a Highland Park church.
In a Facebook Live video, Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale said he blamed ICE agents for ransacking the homes of Harry Pangemanan of Highland Park and Arthur Jemmy of Edison — both of whom are in the country illegally — after they went to the Reformed Church of Highland Park to seek protection from being taken into custody.
"I believe that this is coordinated attacks by ICE — the abusive arm of our out-of-control administration," Kaper-Dale wrote on his Facebook page.
Spokesman Emilio Dabul of ICE's Newark office denied the agency's personnel had any involvement in the incidents.
"If true, these reports of vandalism are unfortunate; however, to suggest that ICE law enforcement officers were involved in such an incident is patently false," Dabul said in an email to New Jersey 101.5. "ICE law enforcement officers carry out their sworn duties daily with the utmost professionalism, in accordance with their training. To suggest that they would cause intentional harm to property is irresponsible and spreads undue fear in the community, which the Reverend claims to support."
Kaper-Dale said in his Facebook video that Pangemanan's home was vandalized and money appeared to be stolen. He said he did not suspect ICE of being involved until Jemmy's home was also ransacked.
During his sermon on Sunday, the pastor compared racism to demons, and urged his followers to continue to resist ICE agents.
"Let's keep recording ICE agents possessed by the logic of white supremacy and hyper masculinity as they knock down doors, ransack houses and try to haul away our friends. Let's make it harder for themselves as human beings to justify their own inhumanity," Kaper-Dale said.
Edison Police told New Jersey 101.5 that about $700 worth of jewelry was taken during a break-in at Jemmy's apartment in Redfield Village, sometime between Thursday and Saturday, and that the incident and is under investigation. Jemmy shares the apartment with Silfia Tobing, 40. Indonesian passports belonging to both were also stolen, according to police.
Entry to the bedroom was made by pushing an air conditioner through a window and climbing through, according to police.
Gov Phil Murphy and Rep. Frank Pallone met with Pangemanan on Thursday as he went to the church to seek protection from ICE agents who sought to take him into custody to deport him.
Two other men, Indonesian nationals Gunawan Liem, of Franklin Park, and Roby Sanger of Metuchen, were taken into custody as they dropped off their daughters at school.
Jemmy and Pangemanan are among a large number of ethnic Chinese Christians, who fled persecution from Indonesia in the 1990s, then overstayed their visas. Such immigrants had their removal from the country routinely extended by federal officials for years as they sought asylum status, but a number have been deported since 2006.