The United States has long been considered a safe haven for persecuted people. When violence spreads through countries in any corner of the world, people often flee their native countries seeking safety and opportunity in the United States. Now, a large group of Christian immigrants from Indonesia, who have lived in New Jersey under conditional permanent resident status, are about to get their legal status revoked. Over 70 people face imminent deportation.

Recently, many Indonesian Christians living in New Jersey, received letters from federal authorities indicating that they would be deported. The community sprung into action and has lobbied U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg to provide legislation that would allow them to stay.

The reality is that many of those facing deportation have been in the U.S. for a number of years. There has been a longstanding "conditional agreement" that has allowed these immigrants to find jobs and stay in the U.S. without the threat of deportation, until now. Not only have these individuals found security by moving to America, but they have also built new lives for themselves.

For so many immigrants living in the United States today, their presence in the country is about so much more than economic opportunity. Though many might enjoy the benefit of having an occupation, the safety that the U.S. provides is essential for their well-being. Countless people have fled persecution and danger in their native countries and found have found refuge in America.

Those in New Jersey now dealing with the real threat of deportation could face hostility if they return to Indonesia. The thought of being deported is probably frightening for many of these people. Backed by community leaders, the Indonesian immigrants will hopefully find a way to continue their lives in New Jersey.

Source:, "N.J. Indonesian Christian immigrants to lobby against potential deportation," Feb. 2, 2012