about edith

Edith Espinal has been living in sanctuary since October 2nd, 2017.


Edith is living in sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church.

She is fighting to remain in Ohio with her family. Please read these frequently asked questions about Edith’s decision to enter sanctuary.

Why did Edith move to the United States?
When Edith was a teen, she moved here with her father as he sought opportunities for his family. Now, more than 20 years later in Columbus, she is desperately trying to keep her family of five together.

Does Edith or her family have criminal records?

How long has Edith been in sanctuary?
Edith has been in sanctuary since October 2017.  

Why has Edith been singled out by ICE?
In the past, there have been policies intended to create space for people like Edith, who arrived without documents but do not have a criminal record. Now, having a criminal record isn’t a requisite for being targeted for deportation.  

Is sanctuary permitted?
Humanity’s lowest moments include those when people are not legally identified as equals. In these moments, neighbors can take a risk to represent equality and life. That risk has challenged America’s understanding of equality for the better. Through current ICE policies, sanctuary allows Americans to continue making this challenge. Namely, ICE has upheld its Sensitive Locations Policy, meaning that community members like Edith can enter into sanctuary.

What’s the point of sanctuary?
Applying for citizenship takes time and resources. By entering sanctuary, Edith has a little more of both - and she can stay close to her family. Her legal team is working tirelessly to open a path for official permanent resident status

What is the process to be in the U.S. legally, and is Edith following that process?
Visas and green cards are the primary means to coming to the U.S.; however, there is a backlog that affects applicants - especially people from Mexico. As of August 2018, The State Department started processing visas for the Mexican married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens who have been waiting in line since May 1995. Over the years, Edith has applied multiple times to go through paths to stay in the U.S. and, up until entering sanctuary, was compliant with each step ICE and the government required from her.

Why can’t Edith go back to Mexico while her documents are being processed?
Once someone is deported, they cannot re-enter the United States for a minimum of five years. In many cases, re-entry is not an option. The indefinite nature of this separation between children and parents means it is important to apply while still in the country.

Why is Edith’s case important?
Edith’s is the longest-standing of all public sanctuary cases in Ohio - and Ohio is one of top states in the nation providing public sanctuary. What happens with Edith will determine how other cases are handled in both the state and the nation

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