Edith Espinal

Edith Espinal, right, was granted an order of supervision by ICE on Feb. 18, 2021, allowing her to return home after three years in sanctuary.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Undocumented immigrant Edith Espinal is going home after spending more than three years in sanctuary at Columbus Mennonite Church.

Adora Namigadde

Protesters gathered outside the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Westerville to demand stays of removal for Edith Espinal and Miriam Vargas, two undocumented immigrants who have spent the last several years in sanctuary at local churches.

President Biden's Immigration Policy

Jan 26, 2021
Edith Espinal (right) speaks at the Columbus Mennonite Church, where she's been in sanctuary since 2017.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

In words and in policy, former President Trump painted immigrants, especially those from majority non-white countries, as a burden and a threat.

With the stroke of a pen, President Joe Biden on his first day in office began to dismantle Trump’s nativist immigration policies.

Edith Espinal (right) speaks at the Columbus Mennonite Church, where she's been in sanctuary since 2017.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

A group of protesters downtown called for ICE agents to grant stays of removal for two undocumented immigrants who have taken sanctuary in Columbus churches.

Edith Espinal sitting in the sanctuary of the Columbus Mennonite Church.
Nick Evans

Federal immigration officials are withdrawing their nearly half-million dollar fine against Edith Espinal, the Columbus woman who’s been living in sanctuary in a Clintonville church for two years to avoid deportation.

Julian Castro met with Edith Espinal at the Columbus Mennonite Church in north Columbus Tuesday morning.
Steve Brown / WOSU

Hours before Tuesday evening's Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, candidate Julian Castro met with Edith Espinal, the Columbus woman who’s been living inside a Clintonville church for two years to avoid deportation.

Edith Espinal (right) speaks at the Columbus Mennonite Church, where she's been in sanctuary since 2017.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Inside the Columbus church where she's sought sanctuary for almost two years, Edith Espinal spoke out Wednesday about the nearly $500,000 fine she's been charged by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

The Trump administration is seeking to fine some immigrants, who are in the United States illegally, hundreds of thousands of dollars for failing to take steps to leave after being ordered to do so, according to government documents obtained by NPR.

The Department of Homeland Security sent out a batch of notices across the country to targeted individuals ordering them to pay fines of up to nearly $500,000 for "failing to depart the U.S. as previously agreed," among other factors.

Ruben Herrera leading chants with a bullhorn.
Katie Forbes / KRForbesPhotography

“Larger than life" is how one friend and fellow Central Ohio activist describes Ruben Castilla Herrera.

Herrera died at the age of 61 this weekend, after spending more than 30 years championing Latino/a causes in the Columbus area.

Edith Espinal sitting in the sanctuary of the Columbus Mennonite Church.
Nick Evans

The Columbus Mennonite Church sits a block off High Street on a Clintonville avenue lined with craftsmen houses. For the past year, this church has been Edith Espinal’s home.

“Very long days for one year,” she says, looking down at her hands. “I don’t how much I can wait.”

Ohio Interfaith Immigrant and Migrant Justice Coalition / Facebook

Edith Espinal, the first undocumented immigrant offered sanctuary by a church in Columbus, was scheduled to depart on Tuesday for Mexico, her country of origin. Instead, Espinal decided to remain in the U.S. and is asking that Ohio leaders visit and hear her story.

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

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. 

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

The same day the Trump administration announced the end of the DACA program, ending protections for many young immigrants, the Columbus Mennonite Church announced it would grant sanctuary to a local mother facing deportation.