Clay seeks to free Honduran residing in sanctuary at church

A bill to change Alex Garcia's status

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay has introduced legislation aimed at freeing Alex Garcia, a Honduran refugee who has spent the past two years residing in sanctuary at a suburban St. Louis church.

The bill introduced Friday would change Garcia's immigration status to permanent legal resident and rescind orders of removal.

Clay says in a news release that Garcia and his family "have suffered enough."

The Department of Homeland Security has been seeking to deport Garcia, who is married to an American citizen and has five children born in the U.S.

Garcia entered the U.S. in 2004 and avoided detection until 2015. In 2017, his request to remain in the country was denied, and Garcia took up residence at Christ Church United Church of Christ in Maplewood, Missouri.