President Donald Trump promised to step up immigration enforcement.
In New Hampshire, the impact of that promise can be seen in efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport a group of Christian Indonesians who came the state seeking safe haven from religious persecution.
To learn more about immigration enforcement the state level, visit our State Immigration Enforcement issue page.
NH's Indonesian community
The group of 69 immigrants has been living here for nearly 20 years.
Since 2010, ICE had ongoing orders of supervision with the group that extended their stays, allowing them to live, work, and raise families in New Hampshire as long as they checked in regularly and stayed out of trouble.
However, during the spring, the secretary of Homeland Security directed ICE to remove all undocumented immigrants, not just those involved in criminal activity, as part of a policy initiated by the Trump administration.
Because the group of Indonesian immigrants are here illegally, they have been informed by ICE that they must return to Indonesia.
Pushback against the deportation order
Efforts to stop the deportations involve both political pressure and legal action.
In September, a U.S. District Court in Boston stopped the deportations one day before a Somersworth man was expected to leave the country.
Last week, Gov. Christopher Sununu wrote a letter to Trump, asking that his administration reconsider its decision to deport the Indonesians, whose families have become part of their neighborhoods, schools and churches
“People such as these 69 individuals who have made an honest attempt to navigate the legal process, who have a valid legal claim for asylum, and who have come forward to work with authorities should not be on the front line for deportation,” Sununu stated in his letter.
But those who support the deportations say the law is the law -- the Indonesians are in the country without legal status and should return to their country of origin.
What do you think: Should the Indonesians be deported, even though they are not considered criminally dangerous? Let us know with your vote and your comments.