Indonesian couple take refuge in candidate's church

Associated Press
By Shawn Marsh
OCTOBER 16, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. – A Christian Indonesian couple who fear they'll be deported if they follow orders to report to U.S. immigration officials have taken refuge in a church run by a candidate in New Jersey's governor's race.

The Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, the Green Party candidate, offered sanctuary in the Reformed Church of Highland Park to Arthur Jemmy and his wife, Silfia Tobing, last week. They fear they'll join seven other Indonesians in New Jersey who were deported and four others who left on their own as Immigration and Customs Enforcement reviewed their status this year.

Kaper-Dale, who is waging a long-shot bid in the race to replace Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has highlighted his long-running efforts to help immigrants living in the state illegally in his campaign. Kaper-Dale's church gave sanctuary to nine Indonesian refugees for almost a year in 2012.

Kaper-Dale said he has reached out to attorneys for the family, and said his actions were not politically motivated.

"Take a look at my track record since 2002. I have been fighting hard for this. I can't help if I'm doing real stuff," he said.

Kaper-Dale's campaign platform includes making New Jersey a "sanctuary" state that wouldn't help federal immigration authorities, would issue drivers licenses to immigrants no matter their status and provide health care to all immigrants, as well.

His welcoming of the Indonesian couple comes amid a national debate over President Donald Trump's immigration policies, and the same week immigration became a flashpoint in the governor's race.

Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy said during a debate last week that New Jersey should become a sanctuary state that doesn't assist federal immigration authorities in detaining immigrants when they're arrested for lesser offenses. Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno quickly turned that line into an ad slamming Murphy and linking his immigration policies to a brutal murder case.

The ad drew immediate backlash from Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who called it the "return of Willie Horton," a reference to an explosive 1988 anti-Michael Dukakis ad derided by many as racist.

Jemmy and Toing are part of a community of Indonesian Christians who overstayed their visas after fleeing persecution in the 1990s and early 2000s.

"It's very scary," said 40-year-old Jemmy, who was detained for three weeks in 2009. "We have to wait for a miracle. I hope Donald Trump can change his mind."

In 2013, they were granted a temporary stay of their deportation orders, allowing them to remain in the U.S. legally for a year. They were required to report to immigration authorities. However, ICE has said the group waited too long to file for official asylum.

ICE policy directs agents to avoid enforcement activities at houses of worship, schools and hospitals without approval from supervisors or in emergency situations, a spokesman said.

Hundreds of Christians fled Indonesia between 1996 and 2003, when churches were destroyed by anti-Christian extremists in the majority Muslim country. The U.S. government allowed many to enter the country on tourist visas after the fall of the regime of dictator Suharto.

Many established lives in the U.S. and had U.S.-born children. But after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks, the government required all males between the ages of 16 and 65 to register if they had entered the U.S. on temporary visas from Muslim nations.

The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System program was scrapped last year by the Obama administration after years of inactivity. Legislation that would have allowed Indonesian Christians to reopen their asylum bids has failed to win congressional approval.

A federal judge in September put on hold the deportation of nearly 60 Indonesians in New Hampshire and Massachusetts who had lost their bid to remain in the U.S. In Connecticut last week, a former Fulbright scholar from Indonesia took sanctuary inside church after he was ordered by ICE to board a plane.

Arthur Jemmy walks through a hallway at The Reformed Church of Highland Park, where he and his wife are taking sanctuary to avoid deportation, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Highland Park, N.J. The church, who is led by pastor Seth Kaper-Dale, a Green Party candidate in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, has a history of hosting immigrants in danger of deportation. The candidate's platform includes declaring New Jersey a sanctuary state. Julio Cortez AP Photo

Arthur Jemmy walks through a hallway at The Reformed Church of Highland Park, where he and his wife are taking sanctuary to avoid deportation, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Highland Park, N.J. The church, who is led by pastor Seth Kaper-Dale, a Green Party candidate in the New Jersey gubernatorial election, has a history of hosting immigrants in danger of deportation. The candidate's platform includes declaring New Jersey a sanctuary state. Julio Cortez AP Photo

KAPER-DALE/DURDEN FOR GOVERNOR

Anti-Racist Alliance of North Jersey

As you know, we held a powerful and successful Racial Justice Town Hall with New Jersey gubernatorial candidates on September 16th at Essex County College. As a result of the passionate presentation by Green Party candidate Seth Kaper-Dale, as well as his profound achievements in transformational organizing, the Anti-racist Alliance of North Jersey proudly endorses the Kaper-Dale/Durden ticket as our choice in the November 7th governor’s race.

This year’s election has prompted us to take big action to put matters of racial disparities and systemic racism in New Jersey front and center on the political stage. Seth Kaper-Dale and Lisa Durden are a rare example of a pair of activists taking our fight to the New Jersey electoral process.

They are up against 2 billionaire-backed candidates, so they are relying on a grassroots movement to show the establishment that they, and we, are serious!

We call on our members to go to www.kaperdaleforgovernor.com and learn about Seth and Lisa and contribute what you can to their campaign.

A little of what you will find: Seth Kaper-Dale is a pastor known for creating affordable housing, and defending prisoner and migrant rights.

Lisa Durden is a television personality, producer, and outspoken subject matter expert on social issues.

They decided to run for governor and lieutenant governor because they are tired of party bosses and Wall Street running New Jersey.

Check out their policies page that stands out for its revolutionary content: Medicare for All in NJ; a $15 an hour minimum wage that extends to the labor of the imprisoned; and a plan to both legalize marijuana AND ensure that resulting economic benefits boost communities that have suffered from its criminalization.

Please join us in supporting the #OnlyProgressivesRunning for governor and lieutenant governor in 2017.

Our work will be well supported when proven anti-racist advocates get to the State House where we need them.

In solidarity,
The Antiracist Alliance of Northern New Jersey and Anti-Racist Alliance of Morris Count
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Report: U.S. pulling back on refugee resettlement

Arthur Jemmy and his wife moved into an upstairs room at the Reformed Church of Highland Park after Newark’s Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked Jemmy to come in for an appointment. The 40-year-old Christian asylum-seeker from Indonesia feared ICE would deport him, just like seven of his friends ICE has already sent back to Indonesia this year, where violence and discrimination against Christians has occurred.

Pastor and Green Party candidate for governor Seth Kaper-Dale has offered sanctuary here before and also runs a resettlement program for asylum-seekers.

October 11 Schedule

Campaign Schedule Today: Oct 11

Subjects:
The Big Loser in NJPAC Debate: NJ Voters /
Day 2 of Sanctuary for Indonesians in Pastor / Activists Church

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Seth Kaper-Dale accompanying Immigrants to Hearing with ICE

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM 
Seth available for media interviews by phone or live from Highland Park

6:45 – 8:45 PM 
Seth attends Burlington County Freeholder Meeting in Mount Holly to join citizens opposed to Pinelands Pipeline construction.
49 Rancocas Rd , Mt Holly, NJ

7:00 PM
Lisa Durden interviewed on Mathews Broadcast Show, Verona

MEDIA ADVISORY  - October 11, 2017
Contact: Richard Moser
(732) 331-2969
comms@kaperdaleforgovernor.com 

Green Governor Candidate Defies Trump: Opens Church as Sanctuary

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Highland Park, NJ – On Tuesday, October 10, 2017, while big money candidates prepared for an exclusive televised debate, Green Party candidate and long-time social justice activist Seth Kaper-Dale opened his church to an Indonesian couple, threatened with deportation today.  The Reformed Church of Highland Park received an Indonesian family under order of deportation in a welcoming event at 12 PM today.

Addressing the crowd, Kaper-Dale called for support from the Highland Park mayor and state legislators, and responded to questions about making New Jersey a Sanctuary state. "I am proud of our work to make our town a fair and welcoming community, and as governor I want to pass sanctuary legislation that has teeth," the candidate said. "I am not in the televised debate tonight which unfortunately means that people concerned about keeping our families together will not have someone representing them who is driven by this kind of experience," he added.

The immigrants who arrived in Kaper-Dale's church this morning recently received a letter threatening their immediate arrest if they do not report to immigration authorities today, according to Kaper-Dale's campaign.

As a pastor and activist, Kaper-Dale's defense of the rights of migrants catapulted him into the national spotlight in 2012, when his church served as a sanctuary to 9 Indonesian refugees for 11 months.

"I am not doing this because I am running for governor.  My community, my church and I are doing what we have always done.  We are opening our doors in solidarity with the victims of wrong-headed policies of hatred.  I did this before I was a candidate and if I am elected governor on November 7, I will continue to put myself on the line to accompany people wronged by unjust policies and politicians preaching hatred," Kaper-Dale said in an interview before the gathering.

Kaper-Dale's platform includes declaring NJ a sanctuary state, issuing drivers licenses and providing healthcare to all NJ residents including the undocumented, with a plan he claims will save money. 

Plainfield Zoning Board Begins Hearing on Yates House

Plainfield residents and many veterans thronged City Hall Library Wednesday evening as Zoning Board testimony began on whether to allow the Yates House for Military Veterans in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District.

Attorney Steven C. Rother made several mentions of a witness who was on his way, but who had to attend a political event as he was running for governor. It turned out to be Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale of Highland Park, where he had converted a church into veterans' housing. Kaper-Dale spoke of turning "NIMBY" (not in my back yard) to "YIMBY" with his housing advocacy, and said the veterans had gotten involved in the life of the community.

Read more at Tap into Plainfield

New Jersey is a One-Party State

"But, what is broken in Jersey can be fixed in Jersey if we have the courage and vision to restore competition, democracy and basic honesty to politics. This election we are lucky to have a real alternative with the Green Party candidates for governor Seth-Kaper Dale and Lisa Durden.

"It's time to stop voting for the bosses unless we want to be political prisoners for the rest of our lives."

Read more at counterpunch