The SEIU New Jersey State Council, representing more than 23,000 workers throughout the state, vehemently opposes the “targeted enforcement” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this week that led to the detention of two Indonesian immigrants in Middlesex County and prompted a third to seek refuge in a church.
Gunawan Liem and Roby Sanger were detained as they dropped their children off at school Thursday morning. Harry Pangemanan sought refuge at the Reformed Church of Highland Park. If forced to return to their homeland, the men say they will face discrimination for being Christians.
“These men face discrimination and potential persecution in their home countries. They have built lives and families in New Jersey, where they pay taxes and contribute to their communities. Targeting them for deportation is totally unjust and counterproductive,” said Wilfredo Larancuent, President of the SEIU State Council and Co-Manager of Laundry, Distribution and Food Services Joint Board at Workers United. “Just last week, Mr. Pangemanan was lauded for his volunteer disaster relief efforts to help rebuild homes after Hurricane Sandy. How does removing him from the county help anyone? We applaud Governor Murphy and Representative Pallone for coming to their defense and standing in solidarity with all the New Jersey families that are threatened by the risk of detainment and deportation.”
“ICE’s raids on families in Highland Park yesterday are the latest horrifying examples of the cruelty and racism of Trump’s deportation agenda,” said Milly Silva, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU. “That ICE described these actions as merely part of ‘routine, daily targeted operations’ only further exposes the shameful normalization of their abusive actions. These raids rip apart peaceful families, terrify children, and ultimately make our communities less safe and more distrustful of law enforcement.”