Man who spent year in church to avoid deportation walks free

PHILADELPHIA — A man who'd been living in a Philadelphia church for nearly a year to avoid deportation to Mexico has walked free.

Javier Flores Garcia left the Arch Street Methodist Church on Wednesday, surrounded by his family.

Garcia crossed into the U.S. without proper paperwork in 1997 and had been caught and returned to Mexico multiple times.

In 2004, Garcia was stabbed and worked with the government to capture the men responsible. His actions made him eligible for a special type of visa for people who help police.

Garcia's attorney says his client has been granted deferred action, which allows him to live and work in the country.

Garcia took sanctuary in the church last November, when he was to report for deportation. He says he plans to stay in Philadelphia.

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