An Indonesian woman who was held for more than seven months by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) in the United States was released last Friday.
On January 25, Etty Tham, 53, was released from the Strafford County House of Corrections after being confined for more than seven months, Fosters reported. Tham was detained on May 27, 2018, at an immigration checkpoint about 90 miles south of the Canadian border.
Tham was overjoyed by her release as she had craved to see her family. Her daughter Anita was informed of her release.
Tham, who is an ethnic Chinese and Christian by faith, fled Indonesia in 2000 due to the then-hostile environment against religious minorities in a Muslim-dominated society. She reportedly lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for more almost 20 years on an expired tourist visa and had been taking care of her granddaughters before she was taken by ICE.
William Hahn, the lawyer representing Tham, said her case was put on an “accelerated schedule” by a federal judge, which put pressure on the government to free her.
Tham’s son-in-law Mike Lockhardt said the whole situation had been rough on Tham’s family, which included her two grown daughters and her granddaughters.
According to Tham, she was not allowed to leave New England for more than 48 hours and would be monitored with an electronic bracelet, which are the conditions of her release.