Homes of Men Seeking Sanctuary at Church Ransacked, Pastor Says
HIGHLAND PARK — Burglaries at the homes of two men seeking sanctuary at a church a day after a visit by Gov. Phil Murphy are being blamed on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents by the church's pastor.
In a Facebook livestream video Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale said that the the home of Harry Pangemanan of Highland Park was the first to be vandalized, and property possibly stolen. A second home, the apartment of a couple he identified as "Arthur and Silfia" was also broken into. NJ.com identified one of the people as Arthur Jemmy of Edison.
"We haven't done anything to publicize these addresses. It really seems to us much more likely that ICE has now been carrying out co-ordinated attacks on homes of the people living in sanctuary...ICE feels its okay to go into people's homes and tip things upside down." Kaper-Dale said in the video, in which he asked for legal help from an attorney watching the video or the ACLU.
Kaper-Dale went on to criticize ICE, and said they should wear patches indicating they are "enforcement agents of the gestapo state." He called the U.S. government as being "totally out of control" run by a "lunatic president Donald Trump."
During his sermon on Sunday the pastor compared racism to demons, and urged his followers to continue to resist ICE agents.
"Let's keep recording ICE agents possessed by the logic of white supremacy and hyper masculinity as they knock down doors, ransack houses and try to haul away our friends. Let's make it harder for themselves as human beings to justify their own inhumanity," Kaper-Dale said.
Murphy and Rep. Frank Pallone met with Pangemanan on Thursday as he went to the church to seek protection from ICE agents who sought to take him into custody to deport him. Two other men, Indonesian nationals Gunawan Liem, of Franklin Park, and Roby Sanger of Metuchen, were taken into custody as they dropped off their daughters at school.
In a tweet Murphy called the incidents "cowardly and shameful. We must stand up for our neighbors in their time of need."
Pallone said in his tweet "these cowardly acts have no place in Highland Park, New Jersey or America. I know we will all stand with Harry, Arthur and their families during this difficult timev
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Friday said the ICE agents appeared to have violated a federal prohibition on immigration enforcement actions at “sensitive locations” such as schools. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Grewal called Thursday’s arrests “deeply upsetting” and urged her to make sure that immigration officials do not attempt to arrest people at courthouses or government facilities.
Police in Highland Park told NJ.com they are investigating a burglary while a spokesman for Edison Police told New Jersey 101.5 he is looking into the matter.