Immigrant living in church leaves sanctuary for surgery

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A man living in a Massachusetts church as he tries to avoid deportation to his native Guatemala was forced to leave the sanctuary for the first time in months to have his appendix removed.

After the emergency procedure, supporters of Lucio Perez escorted him back to First Congregational Church in Amherst on Thursday. They say they feared he could be taken into custody while outside the church's walls, but an immigration official dismissed that idea.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman John Mohan tells the Boston Globe there was no attempt to apprehend Perez. He says policy generally bars agents from trying to take anyone into custody at places like churches and hospitals.

Perez came to the U.S. without proper documentation 20 years ago. He moved into the church in October.


Information from: The Boston Globe,