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Samantha Schmidt, WaPo, Oct. 12, 2017 - "For nearly 11 months, Javier Flores Garcia’s world fit inside the basement of a Philadelphia church. The Mexican father of three spent 24 hours a day within the church’s walls, unable to support his family and only occasionally receiving visits from them. But those walls protected him from a fate that he saw as far worse: deportation. Arch Street United Methodist Church began providing Flores with sanctuary in November. On Wednesday, he left the church after being granted a waiver that would defer his deportation while his immigration case moves forward, his lawyer said. The waiver made him eligible for a special visa granted to victims of crimes who have cooperated with police. ...
What allowed him to apply for a visa goes back to one day in 2004, when Javier was attacked and stabbed with box cutters in Bensalem, Pa., according to a police report cited by ABC News. Because he worked with law enforcement to locate and arrest his assailants, Flores was made eligible for a special visa for victims of certain crimes who cooperate with police, his lawyer, Brennan Gian-Grasso said. While his visa application was filed in 2015, Flores required a specific waiver because of the illegal re-entries on his record. After two denials and appeals, Flores’s lawyer finally obtained the waiver last week. It will likely take about another year for the visa to be finalized, Gian-Grasso said, because of a major backlog of cases. Afterward, he will be able to file for permanent residency, his lawyer said. In the meantime, Flores is protected from deportation, Gian-Grasso said."
- Brennan Gian-Grasso