N.J. Church Offers 2 Men Wanted For Deportation Sanctuary, Vows To Fight

Pastor: Christian Men Could Be Harmed If Forced To Go Back To Indonesia

HIGHLAND PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A church is helping two men from Indonesia defy the law. Rather than be deported by immigration authorities, the two men are being offered sanctuary by a pastor is taking a step back in history.

The two men are Rovani Wangko and Saul Tinisela. The action they’ve taken dates back centuries.

“Indonesia is no good for Christian,” Wangko told CBS 2’s John Slattery on Thursday.

“Possibly, they threat me, finally they gonna finish my life. Get killed,” Tinisela added.

Both men, many years ago, overstayed tourist visas, missed deadlines for applying for asylum and submitted to GPS ankle monitors, but were told to report for deportation during the past month.

“By staying here, they are saying, ‘No, I don’t want to go’ and we as a church are blessing their decision,” said Rev. Seth Koper-Dale of the Reformed Church of Highland Park.

The 36-year-old pastor is offering sanctuary because he said if they returned to Indonesia and its Muslim majority, they would, as Christians, face violence. Wangko said he came to the United States because he was beaten on a public bus.

Around the Highland Park church, there are signs of support for the two men. Harold Ort, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said: “As a matter of policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not conduct enforcement actions at sensitive locations, including places of worship, without prior approval from headquarters.”

“They don’t come into churches or schools as a rule. They could,” Rev. Koper-Dale said.

The two men are not hiding. Immigration officials know where they are. The church is taking a stand, hoping some sort of relief can be granted.

The pastor said, in the past month, he knows of three Indonesians deported from central New Jersey.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

  • Steve Stern

    I think the Church was duped by these guys. The US law allows you one year to file for asylum if you think you will be harmed by returning to your country. These guys didn’t apply and only claimed fear to return to their country after they were caught for overstaying their visas, then it was ‘oh I am Christian, I will be killed if I return’. When they came to US they were allowed to stay a certain time, now, its time to go home….

  • Serena Joy

    When churches involve themselves in matters of secular law, they should surrender their tax exempt status.

  • None Of Your Business

    U.S. Immigration and the federal government seem to have no qualms about letting millions of illegal Mexicans stay in this country–illegally–and take everything they can from American citizens as if what American citizens have is supposed to be given enthusiastically to illegal Mexicans, so why can’t the government let these 2 men stay in the country — I think if they return to Indonesia they will face certain death. If illegal Mexicans return to Mexico all they’ll face is the wrath of their families for no longer sending them money from jobs taken away from American citizens.

    • Elsie Kay

      We should hold the immigrants to some standards. We have enuff native born scofflaws, and while a traffic ticket should probably be overlooked, the line should be drawn somewhere..

  • Elsie Kay

    While our and perhaps even the pastors actions may be commendable, it is time the opressed of the world start taking care or themselves. We are, to say the least, overburdened with the cowards of the world who come here, take our welfare, hospital care, and sympathy… Some is fine, even commendable, but too many have gone to our watering hole for too long… we are running our of water….

    • chris

      it’s unfair to call them cowards of the world, they were not privileged to be born in or live in a country that offers the amenities you stated above so freely.Taking care of themselves?with what?Not every country has the opportunities that we have.
      Think of it this way, if you were starving and came across someone with loaves of bread wouldn’t you ask for some?wouldn’t you hope that they would show you some kindness and give you some,wouldn’t you be willingly to work for it?pay for it if you could?you’d hope they would not not kick you when you are down and say “deal with it” .if given the opportunity I know they could help build up the economy. The united states stands on the hardwork of millions of immigrants from all across the world not just those who came on the mayflower.See yourself in them, you were lucky enough to be born who you are but what if you were born different?

      • Elsie Kay

        Yeh, and a lot of people died and will continue to die to maintain what we have and what you wish to give away. I dont disagree, but there are limits, we do seem to be bankrupt, and with the physical part of that will eventually join the emotional as we continue to degrade to the lowest common demonator… a place our president is leading us,indeed selling us, toward., to gain his personal political power…. see, you started me off. sri

        • Darla

          I think you should get your story straight. It was the last president who led us to the “lowest common demonator” we are currently experiencing. This president is doing his best to correct the mess that was left. You call helping your fellow man “gaining personal political power”? We are bankrupt because the last president gave it all away to the rich oil companies and big corporations, not because the current president cares about his fellow man. See, now you started me off.

          • Elsie Kay

            yeh, we are both moreor less half right.. but you will never convince me that the mutt in the white house is not a marxist….

            • Darla

              And that’s the beauty of our country. You can say what you feel. You can even call the president of your country names. Even when your wrong. Let’s hope you never need a a helping hand cause carma has a way of giving you back exactly what you give to others!!!!!

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