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Temporary Reprieve For Indonesian Christians Facing Deportation

Indonesian families in New York and New Jersey are fighting to avoid deportation. (credit: Facebook.com)

Indonesian families in New York and New Jersey are fighting to avoid deportation. (credit: Facebook.com)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A group of Indonesian Christians facing deportation has been granted a temporary reprieve, according to the leader of a New Jersey church that granted them sanctuary.

The Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale of The Reformed Church of Highland Park said officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are allowing the Indonesians to remain in the U.S. for one year under temporary legal status.

Kaper-Dale said the decision allows the Indonesians to leave church, where they have been living in defiance of deportation orders.

A spokesman for ICE confirmed that eight Indonesians have been granted orders of supervision.

In 2011, more than 70 Indonesian immigrants in the group received deportation warning letters from the Department of Homeland Security in recent months or were told to report to local ICE offices and bring a one-way ticket to Indonesia with them.

Many Indonesian Christians came to the U.S. in the late 1990s, but made the mistake of waiting for more than a year to apply for asylum, Kaper-Dale said back in 2011. When they eventually applied, most were denied only because they had missed the deadline.

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of (D-N.Y.) have backed legislation that would allow Indonesian immigrants to reopen their bids for U.S. asylum based on being Christians from a majority Muslim nation.

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