Metuchen Immigrant Detainment Press Release
**Schedule of events – a brief vigil will be at 1st Presbyterian Church starting at 1pm. At approximately 1:15pm attendees will join in a peaceful march through main street Metuchen to Borough Hall where the press conference will start. Due to concerns on family privacy, we are requesting that no family photos are taken**
On Thursday morning a beloved Metuchen husband, father of two, and law-abiding resident was detained in our community after dropping off his daughter at school.
Mr. Roby Sangar is a good man and posed no threat to any member of our community, or our nation. He is an Indonesian Christian who fled religious persecution in Indonesia about 20 years ago and has dutifully checked in with ICE officials with no issues in the past. He was scheduled for his next standard appointment on March 1. Mr. Sangar was arrested on public grounds after having dropping off his child at school. He is currently being held at the Essex County Jail, as there were no more beds available at the ICE detention center in Elizabeth.
In addition, a resident and father from Franklin Township, Mr. Gunawan Liem, was detained after dropping off his child at their bus stop. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman and Mayor Phillip Kramer from Franklin will also be in attendance on behalf of concerned residents. A statement from NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is detailed below and reference these specific actions to Mr. Sangar and Mr. Liem.
The community is holding a press conference and vigil for immigrant rights this Sunday (January 28) at 1PM in Metuchen, NJ (at 1st Presbyterian Church located at 270 Woodbridge Avenue with a community march to Borough Hall at 500 Main Street). Congressman Pallone will be in attendance along with local officials and members of Metuchen Interfaith Clergy.
From Reverend Justin Karmann of 1st Presbyterian: “We are deeply saddened by the recent actions of ICE to members of our Church community. These are law abiding residents and contributing members of our community and we will continue to work to draw much needed attention on the plight of the Indonesian Christian community and many other communities who are affected by these actions.”
From Mayor Jonathan Busch of Metuchen: “The events of Thursday morning present a local example of an unfortunate national movement that appears to target good, hard working, and family-oriented members of our communities. Mr. Sanger is active in our community through his church and is also a dedicated father and husband. It is our job to work for all residents, regardless of their immigration status, because we value them as friends and neighbors.”
- Visit www.speakupnj.org on ways to help, donate and call to action scripts
- Facebook Invite for Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/events/155679785212711/
- Statement from NJ Attorney General
Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General
For Immediate Release: For Further Information Contact:
January 26, 2018 Lee Moore (609) 292-4791
Attorney General Sends Letter to U.S. Homeland Security
Expressing “Serious Concern” Over ICE Enforcement Action
TRENTON – New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security suggesting Thursday’s arrest by federal agents of two Indonesian nationals as they dropped off their children may have violated a longstanding prohibition on immigration enforcement actions at “sensitive locations,” and calling for the official to personally review the incident.
The letter, addressed to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen and sent Thursday afternoon, expresses “serious concern” about the arrest of Indonesian nationals Gunawan Liem of Franklin Park and Roby Sanger of Metuchen by agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Middlesex County. Liem reportedly was arrested after dropping his daughter off at her school bus stop. Sanger was arrested after dropping off his daughter at school.
In his letter, Attorney General Grewal notes that ICE has a “longstanding policy that prohibits immigration enforcement actions ‘at or focused on sensitive locations,’ “ and that schools are deemed to be sensitive locations under that policy. Grewal characterized ICE’s action as “deeply upsetting.”
“I am not aware of any exigent or unique circumstances here that would justify such a departure from ICE’s settled policy on sensitive locations,” Grewal’s letter states. “Undoubtedly, this creates a chilling environment for parents, who were simply ensuring that their children arrived to school safely. I trust that you will personally evaluate the circumstances surrounding this enforcement action and take any and all appropriate measures to remedy any violation of ICE policy.”
The letter goes on to express broader concern about ensuring there are no ICE enforcement actions at courthouses and at State facilities throughout New Jersey.
Enforcement actions at state courthouses would compromise the integrity of New Jersey’s justice system, the Attorney General notes, and such actions at State facilities would be an “undue intrusion” on the function of state government services to New Jersey residents, including children, families and military veterans.
“As a former federal prosecutor, county prosecutor, and now the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey, I fully understand the need to enforce our nation’s laws,” Grewal writes, “but I am equally committed to ensuring that all of the residents of New Jersey have a safe environment to attend to their lives, whether it be to attend school, participate in our judicial system, or access state government services.”