The Common Good

Pastor Who Granted Sanctuary to Meet with ICE Officials

The Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, a New Jersey pastor who granted sanctuary to an Indonesian immigrant, is scheduled to meet with a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement public advocate on March 20.

But Kaper-Dale said he remains skeptical given the wording in the invitation.

“It’s an invitation to talk, but [says] ‘you’re breaking the law,’” he said.

Saul Timisela — who fled to the United States to escape religious persecution 14 years ago — has now lived in the Reformed Church of Highland Park in Newark, NJ for two weeks, avoiding deportation.

“He’s participated in every church program imaginable,” Kaper-Dale said.

Kaper-Dale granted Timisela sanctuary March 1 after ICE officials told him to report for deportation. Timisela is one of 80 men who were told in December to purchase plane tickets, Kaper-Dale said — two of whom have since been deported, half given 12-month stay, and another eight slated for deportation.

Kaper-Dale says the move is essentially a policy to break up families.

The 300-member church — which hosts a variety of religious groups including Mandarin and Cantonese services, both Orthodox and Reformed Jewish services, and Indonesian service — is making an ecumenical push to get the word out about the situation. Kaper-Dale said his hope is to get churches, businesses and homes all over the metro to display the church’s “Let Them Stay” signs.

Kaper-Dale said that ICE authorities may continue to push for deporting members of the congregation, but the Reformed Church is forced to respond to a higher authority.

This article is a follow-up to one posted on God's Politics last week. For more background, and to read the article, click HERE.

Sandi Villarreal is Associate Web Editor for Sojourners. Follow Sandi on Twitter @Sandi.

 

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)