The Latest: Mexican man who lived in Colorado church freed


GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on a court appearance by an immigrant living in a Denver church to avoid deportation (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

A Mexican man arrested by immigration agents in Colorado last week has been temporarily freed after U.S. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet intervened.

Arturo Hernandez was released Tuesday after being granted a 30-day deportation delay. His lawyers plan to appeal his case to try to keep him in the United States permanently.

Hernandez spent nine months living in the basement of Denver’s First Unitarian Church starting in 2014 after immigration authorities tried to send him back to Mexico. He left after they assured him he would no longer be a priority for deportation.

He was detained last week as he went to his job. Bennet filed a bill to help Hernandez and said he asked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more time to process his case.

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11:30 a.m.

An immigrant who has been living in a Denver church to avoid deportation is appearing in court despite fears that federal immigration agents might try to arrest her there.

Ingrid Encalada Latorre on Wednesday is trying to get a 2010 felony identity theft conviction changed to a misdemeanor in the hopes it would enable her to remain in the United States.

The native of Cusco, Peru, says her lawyer at the time didn’t warn her that there could be immigration consequences for her guilty plea.

In court in suburban Jefferson County, she testified that she left sanctuary in the church because she wanted to fight for her case and be able to stay with her family.

The courtroom was packed with supporters.

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9:05 a.m.

An immigrant who has been living in a Denver church to avoid deportation has ventured out to a court hearing to try to stay in the United States.

Ingrid Encalada Latorre moved into the Quaker meeting house with her 1-year-old son in December to avoid being arrested by immigration agents, who generally don’t enter houses of worship.

She was able to travel to court in suburban Jefferson County about 15 miles (24.14 kilometers) away for her Wednesday appearance. Supporters prayed with her in the hallway before her hearing.

The native of Cusco, Peru pleaded guilty to a felony identity theft charge in 2010 and is trying get that changed to a misdemeanor so she isn’t targeted for deportation. She says she didn’t know the immigration papers she bought were stolen.