N.H. Indonesian immigrants shielded from deportation

NASHUA – Immigrant families who fled religious persecution in Indonesia several years ago and found safety in New Hampshire’s Seacoast region have been shielded from deportation, according to members of the Granite State’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said the Board of Immigration Appeals overruled efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to deport the Indonesian immigrants. Shaheen also said the immigrants will now have their asylum cases reconsidered.

“I hope further progress can be made to grant permanent asylum to these families and will do all that I can to provide assistance toward this goal,” Shaheen said. “These are men and women who have found a safe haven in the Seacoast to freely practice their faith. Deporting them to a place where they could be persecuted is not consistent with American values. These individuals learned our language, found employment and became contributing members of our community and shouldn’t have to live under constant threat of removal to a hostile land.”

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., also applauded the board’s decision, while adding she will oppose what she called President Donald Trump’s “misguided immigration policy.”

“Many of these families fled religious persecution in Indonesia years ago and have raised their families here, becoming active, contributing members of our economic and civic life. I will keep standing up against the Trump administration’s misguided immigration policy that prioritizes the deportation of these families, and to ensure that these Granite Staters have the long-term support that they need,” Hassan said.

“This is a wonderful development for the members of New Hampshire’s Indonesian community who have been living with the horrible fear of being deported from their homes and communities of over 20 years,” U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., added.

“These families should have permanent asylum, and my office will continue providing all assistance possible to stop their unjust removal. Deporting these people to a country where they could face violence because of their religion defies the values we share as Americans. So many people have worked tirelessly to stop these deportations, and I am deeply thankful for their efforts to fight this terrible injustice,” Shea-Porter continued.