DENVER (CBS4) – On Tuesday morning Arturo Hernandez Garcia walked out of a Denver church with a low risk of being arrested and deported. He had sought sanctuary in the church for nine months to stay in this country.
Garcia, from Mexico, had called the First Unitarian Society of Denver home. The church is considered a sanctuary — a safe place for immigrants like him who are facing deportation.READ MORE: Businesses Continue To Be Impacted By Cameron Peak Fire More Than A Year Later
The breakthrough for Garcia came on Tuesday when he received a letter from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement stating that his deportation is not a priority with the department anymore.
Garcia walked out of the church surrounded by his supporters.
“This is a partial victory in my case and we’re going to keep fighting, we’re going to keep fighting until I have a way to stay here legally with my family,” Garcia said through a translator. “There is so much work to be done for so many other thousands of families that are in the same situation.”READ MORE: Fish Count In Poudre River 1 Year After Destructive Cameron Peak Fire Brings 'Shocking' News
Garcia got on the deportation list after being charged with a crime and was still on it despite the charges being dropped.
“Day after day what we found were that people just like Arturo were finding themselves arrested by Immigration and put through a deportation mill,” Laura Lichter with Lichter Immigration said.
Garcia says his life has profoundly changed the nine months he’s been away from his family and staying inside the church.
“They have shown us what courage looks like, what patience feels like, what a family can endure when they are grown in great love and commitment,” Rev. Mike Morran with the First Unitarian Society of Denver said.MORE NEWS: Efforts To Contain The Cameron Peak And Future Fires: Forest Managers Explain How Prescribed Burns Help
Garcia has applied half a dozen times for some form of leniency in his deportation case, all of which were denied.