Man ordered deported finds refuge at NJ church

March 2, 2012 3:26:54 PM PST
A church in New Jersey is now a sanctuary for a man ordered deported to Indonesia, where he's likely to face religious persecution.

He's Christian, the country is predominately Muslim.

So there's a standoff and the fate of dozens of other Indonesian Christians in Highland Park hangs in the balance.

"Christians like me, I'm running from persecution for religion. That's why I need help," Indonesian Immigrant Saul Timisela said.

He needs help because he's a Christian from Indonesia and Saul Timisela fears the brutal violence from radical Muslims in his country.

Radicals with machetes, they burn churches and they mutilated the body of Saul's brother-in-law.

"They found the body in the pulpit of the church without the head and leg and arm and they know that my brother-in-law is a pastor of that church," Timisela said.

Now, Saul is seeking refuge in his own church in Highland Park.

He moved to this country 14 years ago and like more than 80 others in his community he tried to do the right thing after 9/11 and notify authorities of his status.

Saul Timisela has committed no crime, has medical problems, but his pastor says that two 2 days ago, immigration authorities told Saul he'd be deported and Saul's one of eight in this community to be deported this month.

"They became the low-hanging fruit for ICE. It was easy to get the numbers up," Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale from the Reformed Church of Highland Park said.

Meanwhile, ICE released this statement saying, "Mr. Saul Timisela is an immigration fugitive, who was ordered removed from the United States in 2006. He was notified about deportation, February 8th, not February 29th, as was reported."

Saul is staying in a small room at the church, indefinitely.

the pastor tells us -- some of those to be deported have small for saul -- who's worn an ankle bracelet these past 2 months...

"I wanna live my life in this country. I got married, I got married here," Timisela said.

His wife is already in hiding and Saul is just hoping Washington intervenes and that immigration authorities won't come for him.

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