Indonesian Man Spends Year In Church Sanctuary

Oct 10, 2018
Courtesy of Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance and Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden / Facebook

One year ago, a former Fulbright Scholar from Indonesia who was living in West Hartford, Connecticut, sought sanctuary from deportation at a church in Meriden. Sujitno Sajuti and his wife, Dahlia, still live in the Unitarian Universalist Church while his case sits before the U.S. immigration court of appeals.

Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

Under President Trump, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are casting a broader net when it comes to who they’re prioritizing for arrest. According to ICE data, the focus in New England appears to be on immigrants with no criminal record.

ICE arrests of non-criminal immigrants living in New England without authorization have more than tripled so far this year.

Bryan Cox / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

Arrests of undocumented immigrants sought for deportation on Long Island and the New York City area have increased by over 30 percent since January.

Richard Drew / AP

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has introduced a bill that would stop immigration enforcement from targeting people at schools, hospitals, churches and courthouses.

Blumenthal says reports that ICE detained a father dropping his children off at school in California have created a climate of fear.

Current policies at Immigration and Customs Enforcement discourage agents from targeting schools and churches. Those policies were put in place under the Obama administration.

Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

Leandro Arriaga is a construction worker, a property owner and the father of four children. He’s also been living in the United States without authorization since 2001. His wife, Katherine Ramos, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and said her husband wanted to change his legal status. That’s what ultimately got him arrested last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.