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Man to leave Meriden church after seeking sanctuary for over a year

New Haven

A man who has been in sanctuary for a year and a half in Meriden is now leaving to be reunited with friends and family. 

Sujitno Sajuti has lived at the Unitarian Universalist Church since October 2017 after his application to renew his stay in America was denied. 

Sajutni was recently granted deferred action by U.S. citizenship and immigration services and ICE has confirmed that the department is no longer seeking to deport him back to his native Indonesia.

There have been lots of cases of undocumented immigrants coming to churches to avoid deportation orders. This one stand out because of the amount of time involved. 

Related: Man spends 1 year taking sanctuary in Meriden church

Sajuti came to the United States 38 years ago in 1981 on a Fulbright scholarship. He was working on his Ph.D at UConn when he lost his scholarship for some reason.

That meant he lost his visa, too.

So he stayed, hoping to sort it all out and continue his studies, but it did not get sorted out. He got a stay of deportation in 2012, but under the new immigration rules that was not renewed in 2017, that’s when he went into sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden.

After more than 19 months living in this church, Immigration and Customs Enforcement are now saying they will no longer try to deport Sajuti. He has been granted what’s called deferred action.

His family and supporters say Sajuti has spent much of the past two decades helping, mentoring and educating others.

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