On Monday, a federal judge ordered in favor of 51 Indonesians living in New Hampshire absent proper documentation and legal status. The court order delays deportation for these individuals, providing the group time to make a case arguing that conditions in their home country make it unsafe to return. The group is entirely Christian and fled Indonesia roughly two decades ago, as the violence of the region made it too dangerous for them to live. They have been living in New Hampshire under an informal contract since. Most members of this group overstayed their temporary visas and did not seek permanent asylum elsewhere. Beginning in August, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials ordered them to prepare to leave, offering only a two-month grace period. This is a result of Donald Trump’s crack down on illegal immigration.
The group themselves are interviewed explaining that they fear persecution or violence due to their Christian faith and Chinese ethnicity. They are very scared to return back to Indonesia, the world’s largest majority-Muslim country. Judge Patti Saris, a Chief U.S. District Judge in Boston ruled that she had the authority to make sure the Indonesians have an opportunity to argue this case.
Our Verdict: Two-months is not long enough for individuals to find new living arrangements. The Indonesians in New Hampshire should have a fair opportunity to renew their temporary status and argue their case. There are several cases like this happening around the U.S. as immigration is changing swiftly due to the Trump administration.