Below, text of a letter sent by United States Congress members Frank Pallone and Bonnie Watson Coleman to the Field Office Director, ICE office in Newark
February 8, 2018
Field Office Director
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
970 Broad Street, Room 1300
Newark, NJ 07102
Dear Director Tsoukaris:
We are writing to you on behalf of Gunawan Liem of Piscataway and Roby Sanger of Metuchen Christian Indonesian nationals who were arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on January 25, and Parlindungan Sinaga of Woodbridge who was detained by ICE in October. Mr. Liem and Mr. Sanger are currently being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey, and Mr. Parlindungan is being held in the Elizabeth Contract Detention Facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
In previous correspondences with your office, we have urged you to exercise your prosecutorial discretion in dealing with persecuted religious minorities like the Christian Indonesians living in New Jersey. Given the Stay of Removal issued by U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in New Jersey on February 2, we urge you once again to use this discretion to release Mr. Liem, Mr. Sanger, and Mr. Sinaga from ICE custody while this case is pending.
As you are aware, these individuals, along with many other Christian Indonesians in New Jersey, were issued Orders of Supervision years ago and consistently made their required check-in appointments with ICE. They have raised their families here for decades, becoming important, law-abiding members of their communities who pose no flight risk before or after the conclusion of their immigration proceedings. Releasing Mr. Liem, Mr. Sanger, and Mr. Sinaga would allow them to be with their families and friends during this difficult process and provide support for their U.S. citizen children. It would also allow ICE the opportunity to better appropriate its resources in detaining individuals that pose a real threat to our communities.
By issuing a temporary stay, Judge Salas has ensured Roby Sanger, Gunawan Ongkowijoy Liem, Parlindungan Sinaga, and all other “similarly situated” Indonesian nationals in New Jersey are able to seek legal representation, litigate their cases, and potentially find a resolution to their current standing with ICE. Mr. Sanger and Mr. Liem also have pending motions to reopen before the Board of Immigration Appeals. We believe releasing these individuals while they have a federal stay or are pursuing relief through the immigration system is the humane and commonsense action to take.
We look forward to your review of this matter and prompt reply.
FRANK PALLONE, JR. BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN
Member of Congress Member of Congress