In order to avoid deportation, some undocumented immigrants in the United States have claimed sanctuary in local churches. As of August, there were four such cases in Connecticut. I sat down to talk with one of them.
Claiming sanctuary is a legal gray area. While it is not recognized by federal law, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are mostly ordered to stay away from sensitive locations. The individual I spoke with has not set foot outside of the church in over a year out of fear for what could happen.
Extended interview with Sujitno Sajuti can be found here:
#1: “War on ICE: Church Sanctuaries Used as Sanctuaries! – The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper.” YouTube, The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper, 5 June 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTFUt4pEN38.
#2: Engber, Daniel. “Can Criminals Hide in Churches?” Slate Magazine, Slate, 16 Aug. 2006, slate.com/news-and-politics/2006/08/can-criminals-hide-in-churches.html.
#3: “Sanctuary Congregations and Harboring FAQ.” American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, 13 Apr. 2017, http://www.aclu.org/other/sanctuary-congregations-and-harboring-faq.
#4: Schallhorn, Kaitlyn. “What’s a Sanctuary Church? A Look at the Policy and Its Legality in US.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 17 July 2018, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/whats-a-sanctuary-church-a-look-at-the-policy-and-its-legality-in-us.
#5: Chichester, Ryan. “Undocumented Immigrant Has Spent One Year as Refugee in Meriden Church.” MyRecordJournal.com, 9 Oct. 2018, http://www.myrecordjournal.com/News/Meriden/Meriden-News/Sujitno-Sajuti-one-year-in-Meriden-sanctuary.html.
#6: Westfall, Sammy. “Nelson Pinos, A Life in Sanctuary.” Yale Daily News, 12 Oct. 2018, yaledailynews.com/blog/2018/10/12/nelson-pinos-a-life-in-sanctuary/.
#7: “Pakistani Couple Living in Old Lyme Church Sanctuary Return Home to New Britain.” LymeLine, 17 Oct. 2018, lymeline.com/2018/10/pakistani-couple-living-in-old-lyme-church-sanctuary-to-return-home-to-new-britain/.
#8: Ratliff, Jamie. “Supporters of Father Facing Deportation Rally for Family to Reunite for Holidays.” NBC Connecticut, NBC Connecticut, 14 Nov. 2018, http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Supporters-of-Father-Facing-Deportation-Rally-for-Family-to-Reunite-for-Holidays-500421832.html.
#9: Sajuti, Sujitno. In-person interview. 2 Oct. 2018.
#10: “FAQ on Sensitive Locations and Courthouse Arrests.” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 25 Sept. 2018, http://www.ice.gov/ero/enforcement/sensitive-loc.
#11: NewsHour, PBS. “Watch Donald Trump Announce His Candidacy for U.S. President.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 June 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpMJx0-HyOM.
#12: “8 Prototypes for Trump’s Border Wall.” YouTube, CNN, 26 Oct. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5EIkVF6XyY.
#13: Eggers, Dave. “No One Is Safer. No One Is Served.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 24 Aug. 2018, http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/no-one-is-safer-no-one-is-served.
#14: “New Britian [sic] Family Seeking Sanctuary from Deporatation [sic] in Old Lyme Church.” YouTube, WTNH News8, 22 Mar. 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTaNVfooDoI.
#15: “ICE RAIDS CALI.” YouTube, CNN, 21 July 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWGXSsBGfog.
#16: “Video of Woman’s Immigration Arrest Sparks Outcry.” YouTube, CBS Evening News, 9 Mar. 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4BHUQ1_ky8.
#17: “Immigration Raid – 2007-08-08.” YouTube, Orange County Register, 2 July 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkxYhDxJdTU.
#18: “Sean Hannity Speaks At A Trump Rally On The Eve Of The Midterm Elections | TIME.” YouTube, TIME, 6 Nov. 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzskmXBGMz8.
#19: “South American Illegal Immigrants Arrested in Raid.” YouTube, Associated Press, 24 July 2015, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41Do7fiTNos.
#20: Footage created using Google Earth Pro for MacOS.
#21: Outro Song: “Fill Me In” by Atwaters featuring Yeon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW0iKqFMoxo Used with artist’s consent. The contents and views of this video may not necessarily be shared with the artist.