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Undocumented Mother Again Faces Deportation, Despite Being Granted Sanctuary

Edith Espinal speaks to an audience at Columbus Mennonite Church.
Adora Namigadde
Edith Espinal speaks to an audience at Columbus Mennonite Church.

Earlier this month, Edith Espinal became the first undocumented immigrant to be publicly granted sanctuary in Columbus. A temporary change in Espinal's case allowed her to return home, but now she is once again facing deportation. 

The Columbus Mennonite Church agreed in August to offer sanctuary to Espinal, who has lived in the city for over a decade and has two children who are U.S. citizens.

According to Austin McCabe Juhnke, who works with the church, Immigration and Customs Enforcement allowed Espinal to apply for a stay in her deportation in September. At that point, she left sanctuary at the Church to live in her Central Ohio home.

On Monday, however, members of the church learned that Espinal had been denied a stay in her deportation.

"Edith's request to be able to stay in the U.S. has been denied by ICE and she was forced at her check-in yesterday to purchase a plane ticket on the spot," McCabe Juhnke said.

He says Espinal is still contemplating whether she will return to Mexico, her country of origin, or take sanctuary once again at the church.