MERIDEN — Sujitno Sajuti and his wife, Dahlia, would have been in sanctuary at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden for 600 days as of Saturday, June 1.
The Indonesian couple, who have resided in America for more than 40 years, was free to return to their West Hartford home on May 31, after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a favorable pre-determination on a request for a U visa for Sajuti, according to immigrant advocates.
“The U visa is a U.S. nonimmigrant visa set aside for victims of crimes (and their immediate family members) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse while in the U.S. and who are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation,” according to one definition.
Alok Bhatt, a member of the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, said Sajuti’s lawyers in early 2018, applied for the U visa for him because he was the victim of a violent crime, a claim that was confirmed after a police investigation.
Because of the favorable pre-determination, Immigration and Customs Enforcement no longer has jurisdiction over Sajuti.
Sajuti, 69, went to ICE offices Friday, accompanied by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, to have his ankle bracelet removed before returning home.
He has been in the U.S. off and on since 1981, earning several advanced degrees.
His student visa expired in 1996. He remained here after not being able to complete a doctoral program for bureaucratic reasons, according to a story in the Huffington Post.
The feature on the couple said he would have been ostraicized back in Indonesia.
“In many Asian cultures like in Indonesia, failure is perhaps one of the worst of the “sins” one an commit — far worse than rape or even murder,” the Huffington Post reported.
Sajuti has been recognized in West Hartford for his volunteer teaching, as well as his advocacy for human rights.