WCBE

Columbus Church Offers Sanctuary To Undocumented Immigrant

Sep 6, 2017

Edith Espinal
Credit WCBE

A Columbus resident, undocumented immigrant and mother of three has taken sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church to avoid deportation.

Edith Espinal says she doesn't want to leave her children.

Espinal says two of her kids were born in the U.S. Her daughter Stephanie says deportation breaks up the entire family.

Church officials say they were compelled to offer sanctuary so the family could stay together, and Espinal can stay at the church as long as necessary. They're hoping U.S. immigration officials continue to follow a 2011 memorandum regarding enforcement actions at sensitive locations, including schools, hospitals and places of worship. Under the policy, agents may still carry out enforcement in these locations but only if it involves national security and terrorism, or when there's an imminent risk of violence or destruction of evidence in an ongoing criminal case.  Espinal is he first person to take sanctuary in a Columbus church this year.