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Judge prohibits ICE from deporting man detained on church grounds

Judge prohibits ICE from deporting man detained on church grounds
© OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday blocked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from deporting an Indonesian man who was detained at a church.

Judge Paul Grimm ordered ICE to return Binsar Siahaan from a detention facility in Georgia to Maryland, where he was initially detained. Siahaan is currently seeking asylum, saying he’d be persecuted for his Christian beliefs in Indonesia. 

Grimm ruled that it was “impossible” to ensure that Siahaan would be protected, adding, “He can’t get the relief. It’s gone.” 

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Siahaan was first arrested at a Maryland church, a site considered a “sensitive location” where immigration authorities historically avoid making arrests.

Siahaan, 52, has lived in the U.S. for about 30 years, working legally at the Indonesian Embassy as a driver before overstaying his visa. He was first arrested in 2012 and then placed on an order of supervision. That order was revoked in February, leading to a second detention, though he was released in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was arrested for a third time in September on the grounds of Glenmont United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, Md.