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Man who spent year in a Philly church to avoid deportation walks free

Written by The Associated Press | Oct 12, 2017 3:23 AM
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Javier Garcia Flores steps outside the First Methodist United Church in Philadelphia. (Courtesy of Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

(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 has left the Arch Street Methodist Church, surrounded by his family.

He 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.

He took sanctuary in the church last November, when he was to report for deportation.

The man says he plans to stay in Philadelphia.

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