MANCHESTER, N.H. (Reuters) – Since fleeing deadly violence in Indonesia two decades ago, Meldy and Eva Lumangkun built a life in suburban New Hampshire and raised four children, their illegal status long tolerated by U.S. immigration authorities.
But when they showed up at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Manchester in August for their regular check-in, they were told to buy one-way tickets back to Indonesia and get out of the United States in two months.
“We are afraid to go home. We fear for the safety of our children,” Meldy Lumangkun said after an October meeting with ICE officials in Manchester. “Here our children can live safely.”
The Lumangkuns are among about 2,000 ethnic Chinese Indonesian Christians who fled to New Hampshire to escape rioting in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy that killed about 1,000 people in 1998 at the height of Asia’s financial crisis.