ELIZABETH, N.J. — Two more Indonesian men who fled to the United States to flee religious persecution were deported back to the country this week.
The two were among four who had been living in New Jersey since the 1990s, but were detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after checking in with officials in Newark last month.
Rovani Wangko and Saul Timisela were deported this week, according to the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, who’s led efforts to help the men. Arino Massie was deported last month, while another man had a request to stop his removal rejected Friday.
The men came to the U.S. on tourist visas, but remained after the visas expired. Kaper-Dale says they were denied after applying for asylum past a deadline, but that they worked out an arrangement with ICE to stay as long as they checked in periodically.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, who introduced a bill to allow the immigrants to reopen their asylum cases, called their removal from the country and their families “morally reprehensible.”
“These men who sought asylum from religious persecution have now fallen victim to the Trump administration’s appalling refugee and immigration policy,” Pallone said in a statement.
Kaper-Dale told NJ.com that their families were not warned the men were being deported.
“His wife called me at a quarter to 6 a.m. (Friday),” he said. “She’s been going every single night to see him. When she went last night, she asked to see Rovani, and they said there’s no Rovani here.
“That’s how Rovani’s life in America comes to an end. With lies, with family breaking, with insensitivity and hate — the well-developed skills of our government officials and their enforcers.”