Franklin Township Mayor, Phillip Kramer, and other elected officials will attend an "emergency immigrant rights vigil" at the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to show support for three Indonesian men, two of which have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
One of the men Gunawan Liem, of Franklin Park, was arrested and detained by ICE agents on Jan. 25 after he dropped his daughter off at her bus stop.
"What has happened to this family is just awful," Kramer said. "This is a country that was founded on the notion to protect individuals, two days ago we took a step backward."
Roby Sanger of Metuchen was also arrested and detained by ICE on the same day.
ICE agents attempted to detain a third man, Harry Pangemanan, but he was able to take refuge in the Reformed Church of Highland Park.
Congressman Frank Pallone, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Mayor Jonathan Busch of Metuchen, Metuchen Human Relations Commission, and others are expected to attend the Sunday vigil along with Kramer. Attendees will gather at the church for the vigil and then a march to borough hall, where a community rally will be held.
Other state officials have also shown support for Liem, Sanger, and Pangemanan.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal wrote a letter questioning the move by ICE's detaining of Liem and Sanger.
Grewal, in his letter to Kirstjen Nielsen, US Secretary of Homeland Security, said he had “serious concerns” about the feds going after undocumented immigrants at “sensitive locations,” that being schools, courthouses and places of worship.
According to ICE's website schools are considered a "sensitive location."
Emilio K. Dabul, a spokesman for ICE in Newark, said in a prepared statement "ICE enforces the Nation’s immigration laws while also upholding the humanitarian commitments of the United States."
"The enforcement actions ICE employs are intended to fulfill the agency’s responsibilities fairly and safely," Dabul went on to say in the statement. "Under the President’s Executive Orders and pursuant to the Department of Homeland Security’s implementing guidance, except in certain limited circumstances, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All those in violation of U.S. immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and removal from the United States pursuant to a final order of removal, issued in accordance with law."
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