NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – A native of Ecuador living in Connecticut who took sanctuary inside a New Haven church last summer to avoid deportation can go home to his family.

An attorney for Marco Reyes Alvarez says the Department of Homeland Security has agreed not to arrest, detain or deport him while his appeals paperwork is being processed. Alvarez was notified on Wednesday.

Alvarez entered the U.S. illegally in 1997 and has been living in Meriden. The father of three was supposed to board a plane to Ecuador on Aug. 8 but instead took refuge inside the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church.

His supporters say a family member was murdered in Ecuador and he fears for his life if he returns.

Alvarez’s attorney says he will remain on GPS monitoring.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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