Christian Indonesians Live In NJ Church's Sanctuary to Avoid Deportation

Harry says he can't risk making the trip to Troy.

"I'm in fear of going back," he says. "It would be very hard for me in Indonesia. The government there knows who I am, of my work with Indonesians here."

He believes he faces five years in jail there for his work with Indonesian refugees in the United States. He adds that his daughters would have a dangerous and difficult life if they went back with him.

"I fear how my children would be received in Indonesia. They're being US citizens puts them in danger, radical Muslims there hate Americans and Christians, they could be targets, even killed." He added, "As a US citizen in Indonesia, they can't go to public schools. They would have to go to private school which I can't afford."

Harry says that as a deportee, he would not be given an official government ID. This would prevent him from getting most jobs and healthcare.

While Harry and the other men live in the church, their families live in nearby cramped apartments. There's now a shower where the men can stay clean. They sleep on mattresses on the floor and are frequently visited by their children and wives.

The Reformed Church's pastor, Seth Kaper-Dale, leads the effort to keep the Indonesians from being deported by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"We've been offering sanctuary, which for us is the ultimate form of non-violent resistance to the immigration laws. It's time that these people, the fathers should be granted stays of removal," he says.

"It's dragged on for a very long time, without getting the action we need, for the five here in the sanctuary and the others living in risk outside of the church who can be picked up at any time," Kaper-Dale added.

This is true. ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations unit (ERO) has the power to go into the church, despite its sanctuary, and take the men into custody.

On Friday, ICE released its deportation statistics for its fiscal year 2012. ERO "removed" more than 400,000 people. These show that 55 percent of them were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors-- almost doubling the number in 2008.

"This is nothing to be proud of," said Chicago's Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a longtime proponent of immigration reform. "In the 409,849 deportations are hardened criminals for whom I have no sympathy, but we must also realize that among these hundreds of thousands of deportations are parents and bread-winners and heads of American families that are assets to American communities and have committed no crimes."

The daily web news service that focuses on racism issues,, has taken a closer look at the 45 percent of deportees who do not have a criminal record. Last week they released data from ICE gained through a Freedom of Information Act request. In the past two years, almost a quarter of a million parents of children born in the United States have been deported, despite their children being US citizens.

In a written statement made to ABC News, ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein says that his agency "Exercises prosecutorial discretion on a base-by-case basis, considering the totality of the circumstances in an individual case."

"Prosecutorial discretion" or "PD" is legalese for ERO's legal power to offer stays of deportation to undocumented immigrants including those who have overstayed their tourist visas seeking sanctuary in the Reformed Church.

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