DENVER (AP) — A Mexican man who is in the United States illegally is claiming sanctuary in a Denver church basement to avoid deportation.

First Unitarian Society of Denver is welcoming Arturo Hernandez Garcia, who the Denver Post reports left his wife and two children and moved into the church basement last Tuesday.

The church has circulated petitions calling for immigration officials to drop Garcia's deportation and plans to deliver them to federal officials this week.

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