Undocumented Indonesian immigrant Sujitno Sajuti has been living in sanctuary at Meriden’s Unitarian Universalist Church since October, when his last request for stay was denied and Immigration and Customs Enforcement moved forward with deportation orders.
Cathleen Cusachs, a 2014 recipient of the Record-Journal journalism scholarship, spent a day with Sajuti to document his experience through photos.
“It started as a project for my documentary photography class. My own church, Meriden’s Center Congregational Church, has been bouncing around the idea of becoming a sanctuary church for undocumented immigrants. The process needed to convert a church into a home was fascinating to me,” Cusachs said. “I decided to do my project around this idea of what makes a home and the experience of this one couple, who were forced to flee their West Hartford apartment to the Unitarian Universalist Church, where they’re unable to leave out of fear of deportation. The Sajutis welcomed me in with open arms, encouraging me to consider further exploring this topic.”