Advocates and activists came together on Thursday morning to rally against the deportation of a West Hartford man.

The rally was to support 68-year-old Sujitno Sajuti, who is originally from Indonesia. Sajuti was ordered to leave the U.S. by Oct. 10.

Dozens of people gathered on the steps of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement office in Hartford at 10 a.m. They marched around a corner into the office with Sajuti so he could check in with ICE.

"Not one more deportation. Not one more deportation," the supporters chanted as they held signs that said, "keep families together."

Those who know Sajuti said he came to the U.S. from Indonesia in 1980 as a Fulbright Scholar. He holds degrees from the University of Connecticut and Columbia University.

They said after his student visa expired, he had no way to gain legal status in the country.

"I work hard. I do whatever I can do," Sajuti said. "But to treat me like this, it's not fair."

Sajuti said he continued to live in West Hartford as a community supporter who teaches language and culture classes in the Hartford area.

In the early 2000s following the Sept. 11 attacks, Sajuti submitted to a special registration program that profiled men from Muslim-majority countries. After doing what the program asked, he was targeted for deportation in 2011.

"He's the kind of person who is an asset to the community," Imam Kashif Abdul-Karim with the Muhammed Islamic Center of Greater Hartford said. "Why are you trying to get rid of assets to America?"

His friends said he was incarcerated for two months before his community intervened and helped free him.

Sajuti has since been granted "stays of removal" from ICE, which have allowed him to live and work in the U.S. Following changes made by the Trump administration, Sajuti has been targeted for removal once again.

"I keep positive all the time," Sajuti said. "I have a strong faith."

Now, supporters of Sajuti are hoping that he can stay in Connecticut to continue his life with his wife, Dahlia.

"We want you to stay here," Abdul-Karim said. "We want you to be home."

Oct. 10 is the day Sajuti is ordered to leave the united states and go back to Indonesia.

As a reminder, Thursday is the last day for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, which is otherwise known as DACA, to renew their status.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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