Indra Sihotang fled to the United States from Indonesia more than a decade ago to escape religious persecution. In our immigration system, he’s called an asylum seeker.
He’s also called Dad.
Indra is a father of four and his family’s sole provider. So when immigration officials tried to forcibly place him on a plane to Indonesia, he held fast to the bolted-down airport furniture and took their blows. “I was shocked,” Indra told the New York Times. “I was thinking about my kids. I told them, ‘I’ve got four kids and my family. How will they survive without me?’”
Indra has lived and worked in New York City for years under an Obama-era protection for asylum seekers. But days after President Trump’s inauguration, that protection was reversed. Suddenly, and with little public notice, thousands of families like Indra’s have become vulnerable to separation. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what this crackdown on asylum seekers living in legal limbo is: family separation. Recently the Trump Administration has instituted further restrictions on asylum seekers and plans to detain them indefinitely.
You can read the full story in the New York Times.