Indonesia

On October 9th, 2015, a man named Feky Sumual walks into Stateline Guns, Ammo & Archery, a gun shop in Plaistow, New Hampshire, where he buys seven 9-millimeter handguns.

Because of the number of guns involved, and because 9-millimeters are common in gun smuggling rings, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms begins to investigate.

For the better part of two decades, New Hampshire has been home to dozens of Indonesian families who immigrated to the United States fleeing religious persecution. Some of them were denied their applications for religious asylum, and they've spent years checking in with authorities and receiving temporary means to stay in the country. Now, under President Donald Trump, they've been told their time is up. 

This week on Word of Mouth, producer Ben Henry follows one family's journey from Indonesia to New Hampshire to the brink of deportation. 

Ben Henry

New Hampshire's undocumented Indonesian population is taking legal action against President Trump's deportation crackdown. A judge today agreed to halt ongoing deportations for two weeks while the case moves forward. 

Ben Henry for NHPR

Under prior administrations, Christian Indonesian immigrants living illegally in the US were required to check in with immigration officials every few months, but they were not deported. Under President Trump, that’s changing.

Twenty-three Indonesians in New Hampshire arrived at a check-in on August 1st in Manchester and were told they would be deported within a month, to a home country where they fear religious persecution.

The wall of silence in Indonesia surrounding one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century is beginning to fall apart. A forthcoming report by Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights estimates that a purge of suspected communists during the mid-1960s killed between 600,000 and 1 million people.

The violence reshaped Indonesia's political landscape and affected the course of the Cold War, just as the U.S. was escalating its fight against communism in Southeast Asia.