68-year-old Sujitno Sajuti has lived in West Hartford with his wife Dahlia for more than 30 years. However, last month Sajuti was ordered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to leave the United States by October 10.
Instead, The Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance says Sajuti has decided to defy those orders and has taken sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden.
Sajuti first came to the United States in the 1980’s, to pursue advanced degrees from UConn and Columbia University. He then chose to remain in Connecticut after he says he was lacking options to gain status when his student visa expired.
“Essentially you have this couple that doesn’t hurt anyone. Based on letters from all sorts of organizations, they’re great people. Everyone loves them. I don’t get why ICE finds time, money effort to spend on this couple,” immigration attorney Alex Meyerovich told News 8 in September.
Sajuti also faced deportation in 2012, but according to his lawyer, he was given a stay of removal because of strong community support and senator involvement.