Son of deported Indonesian man pleads for father’s return

Posted: Updated:
HIGHLAND PARK -

A 13-year-old Metuchen boy is pleading for his Indonesian father’s return after the man was deported by immigration officials.

Joel Massie says that he was in school when his father, Arino Massie, was put on a plane headed for Jakarta on Thursday.

“For those 13 years he’s been kind, happy and loving,” said Joel before breaking down into tears.

Arino Massie and three other Indonesian men have been in an immigration detention center since May 8.

Arino Massie and several ethnic Chinese Christians escaped persecution in Indonesia in the 1990s, but they missed the U.S. deadline for amnesty.  With the help of leadership at the Reformed Church of Highland Park, they struck a deal with ICE that granted them stays of removal for the last 10 years.

A spokesperson for ICE said in a statement, “Arino Massie, who was a visa overstay, was ordered removed on July 17, 2006 by an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review.  After exhausting all legal remedies, on May 18, 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Officers removed Arino Massie to Indonesia.”

An immigration attorney is arguing that Joel Massie is dependent on his father and that Arino Massie’s life could be in danger if he stays in Jakarta.

“What I don’t understand is why he’s being deported,” Joel said. “He’s been cooperative. He hasn’t done anything against the law. He has a clear record.”

Leaders at the Reformed Church of Highland Park say that they are mounting an effort to allow Arino Massie and the three other men who are detained a chance to stay.

“It’s just really irresponsible of a government to forcibly break up families,” says Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale. “That’s anti-family value.”

ICE officials previously told News 12 New Jersey that immigrants who have overstayed or violated the terms of their visas “have violated our nation's laws and can pose a threat to national security and public safety."

The three other Indonesian men who are still in the detention center say that they are fearing a fate similar to the Massie family.

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