Opinion: Should Christian immigrants get citizenship for simply being Christians?

Jazmyne Boozer, Associate Writer

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

The views and opinions expressed on in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of The Vision NGU or North Greenville University.

New Jersey Christian immigrants just hit the winning streak. A judge recently halted a mandate to deport 50 Indonesian refugees. This edict came after a lawsuit was filed by the immigrants who were requesting work authorization and stays of deportation.

Since then, New Jersey finds itself torn on whether or not these 50 upstanding, law-abiding men and women should be granted stays of deportation and their work authorization. Some are even saying that they were given this halt of deportation because they are Christian. The argument is that Muslims, or any other religion, would not be granted this opportunity.  

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas issued the order on Friday, Feb. 3. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in response to the targeting of Christian Indonesians who filed for work authorization. This order affects any Indonesians with a deportation mandate before the year 2009. 

Pangemanan, an Indonesian Christian, fled his homeland in fear of persecution. During the '90s, Christians were severely persecuted by Muslims in Indonesia. In fact, by the end of 1999; the bloodshed caused by the clashing of two faiths caused the displacement of up to 2,000 Christians from their homes and churches. It was during the surge of the fighting that Pangemanan fled to the United States. His wife followed him the year after he arrived. Since he arrived, Pangemanan and his wife have obeyed all laws, payed taxes and built 200 homes after the Hurricane Sandy disaster.  

The problem lies with whether Pangemanan, along with the other 50 Indonesian immigrants, should be granted stays of deportation or if they should be sent back to their homeland. I for one do not think they should be deported, but it's not because of their faith.  

Although I admire Pangemanan and the others for their Christian faith; I do not think they should be granted citizenship or the likes of it because of their faith. Frankly, this comes down to what the lawsuit was originally for. 

The problem was the fact that police and members of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) targeted these immigrants. According to the evidence given (various paper records); once ICE found out that these Christians were filing for work authorization, they sought them out to find out when they were supposed to be deported. This is highly illegal as it is classified as discrimination by religion.  

To say that a Muslim or any other religion would not be granted this privilege is cliché at best and preposterous at its worst. Any religion would be granted this privilege, especially a member of the Muslim faith, as it is a hot-button issue right now. The problem is not based on religion; which is what the masses are relaying. The problem is based on ethics. It is simply not ethical to deport these men after they were targeted; they just happen to be Christian this time.