Governor Chris Sununu is asking the President not to deport a group of Indonesians who’ve been living in Dover since the late 1990s.
The deportations are currently on hold, pending the ruling of a federal judge in Boston.
In a two-page letter sent to the White House, Sununu explained that the 69 Indonesians were fleeing religious prosecution when they came to the U.S. and they did so legally. But they weren’t able to navigate the legal system and now face deportation.
Sununu says this is a perfect example of how our country needs to make legal immigration easier to manage.
"The system has really gotten in the way, which is the most unfortunate thing, these were folks who were really trying to do the right thing, that came here in the right manner but the system really failed them in a lot of different ways," Sununu told NHPR.
The Republican Governor, in his letter dated Friday, said the families have become an integral part of their neighborhoods, schools and churches and they seek to practice their Christian faith without fear of persecution.
Read the full-letter below
“They are part of the community, they are engrained here, they came here through a legal process and they came here the right way, and for the right reasons, they were facing very severe prosecution, so it just makes sense that we are advocating for these folks," Sununu said.
Sununu says this is an issue of legal immigration and says he still supports enforcing existing laws for those who enter the country illegally.
ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt, who's defending the Indonesians in court, said he was pleased to hear that the Governor has vocalized his support.
“Regardless of your views on immigration you can still take a position for fairness in particular cases and I think that is what the governor is saying – not that we shouldn’t have immigration enforcement but we should temperate with some amount of discretion and humanity," Gelernt said Monday.
The Trump Administration has yet to respond but Sununu says he plans to follow up with them.