US Judges: ICE cannot deport Indonesian Christians – yet

(REUTERS / Brian Snyder / File Photo)Demonstrators hold an "Interfaith Prayer Vigil for Immigrant Justice" outside the federal building, where ethnic Chinese Christians who fled Indonesia after wide scale rioting decades ago and overstayed their visas in the U.S. must check-in with ICE, in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., October 13, 2017.

A wave of fear is now engulfing illegal immigrants in the United States due to the ongoing crackdown by the Trump administration.

But local US judges are intervening to stop immigrant families from being split up.

The trend began on February 1 in New Hampshire when a federal judge stopped the deportation of 50 Indonesian Christians. The same thing happened in New Jersey the next day as another federal judge protected another group of 50 Indonesian Christians from being deported by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), reports Christianity Today.

Despite the position of the ICE, all 100 illegal immigrants from Indonesia are allowed to remain in the United States for now.

It was US District Judge Patti Saris who gave 50 illegal immigrants in New Hampshire 90 days to to reopen their cases the moment they receive the necessary paperwork.

The Indonesians are believed to be part of a population of at least 2,000 Chinese Indonesian Christians who've fled their homelands because of violence two decades ago, Christianity Today reports. Some of them have been granted legal migrant status while others have not been so lucky. Many of them have entered the country legally but have overstayed their tourist visas.

The 100 illegal immigrants have settled down, have jobs and have also raised families.

US District Judge Patti Saris said that the current situation is very tough considering that the immigrants in question are hardworking people who have stayed in the United States with the government's blessing and were even given work permits.